Toddler Survival Tip #4 Potty Training
4. Potty Training
Eventually kids pee and poo in a potty. You rarely see a college student in diapers unless it was a prank the night before. Fights with your child about his or her body are fights no one wins. Your child ends up feeling shamed, embarrassed and stressed about the potty. If your child show zero interest in toilet training, find opportunities to be around kids who are using the potty and see how quickly he'll want to emulate them. Side step power struggles (see my other tip) You don't have to prove your right to a toddler.
There are a few things you don't have control over with toddlers. That is EATING, SLEEPING, and POTTY. Children have control over their bodies and there is nothing we can do about it. So give up the fight and start to get creative. Be consistent, patience, loving and understanding.
Don't ask your child if they have to pee, the will always answer, "No."
Instead tell them when it's potty time and make it fun. "It's potty time, ALL ABOARD the potty TRAIN!" "Choo! Choo!" Be a train or animal and go down the hall to the potty.
2. Pay attention to your child's facial expression, body language, timing, or schedule. You can sit with him or by the door or just outside the door. You know your child.
3. Make it fun Sometimes, books and patty cakes games encourage longer sit times to help the body relax. We played DVD's on potty training too so he could watch Elmo going potty and the Diaper Doodles go potty. This was a huge success in our training. Lots of songs and stories.
4. Deemphasize when parents insist on a certain behaviour, power struggles may ensue. Causing stress in this department will NOT help training. Remain calm, kinds and refuse to argue. Just invite them to use the toilet, make it fun and let them sit for as long as they want in the beginning. They are just 'testing' it out at first.
5. Familiarity Begin by becoming familiar with the toilet. Let them see dad or mom or sibling pee often. Let them learn about the loud noise of the big toilet. Help him see he won't fall in or get sucked under. Use a small potty instead where they can rest their feet on the floor.
6. Give it a try When your child has peed a lot in the toilet and is getting a little routine down. You see some success and you think maybe they can do it. Take the diapers away for 3 days and shut down your house and give it a shot. DON'T pressure yourself, but give it a 3 day try. No cell phones, no tv, no computer, no interruptions. Just the family and baby's new skills. Put them in training pants or nude and watch them. Notice facial expressions, body language before they pee. Try to say stuff like, "I see you may want to pee, where do we go potty?" There is a great 3 day program that has worked for many parents. I used it, but it took more like 2 weeks and I didn't do the night training until later.
7. Start under the age of 2 Remember this isn't for everyone, but many believe that if you start before they love that word NO, then you will have an easier time potty training. I did this, but it's not for everyone. I taught my babies to sign POTTY and other potty related signs such as MORE, ALL DONE, HELP etc... and then I would let them play with the potty using dolls and themselves and we would sign POTTY a lot. This way they relate early. There is a Program you can follow with pictures of signs and goodies in this kit.
There is a complete kit called Baby Signs Potty Training Kit you can purchase that has the complete program, stickers, train whistle, DVD, and flip board book.
In some countries babies and parents are trained to pee in the cup/bucket/whole by the age of 3 months. Early elimination is a life choice and not for everyone. At first you are mostly training, with a schedule and sounds your baby will soon be on their way to letting you know know when it's time.
Babies use to be trained before the age of 18months. This was done in the 60's before the time the disposable diaper was invented.
Everyone is different. I put my baby on the toilet every hour and 20min after he drank liquids. I noticed he poo'd in the morning around 9am, so these were my times.
Invite cooperation and independence. Change standing up. Begin to change your baby standing up, get their mind out of infant stage. If you keep lying your two year old down to change, you keep their mind in an infant stage of potty development. Invite him to help with handling the changing mat and supplies. Show him how he can wash his own hands and wipe himself. Help him empty the stool into the toilet.
There will be accidents, expect them. Put a plastic sheet on the bed ($7 bucks at Walmart) Keep them naked outside during the summer with the potty outside for practice. Treat your carpets with a stainguard ($20 at Sears) for easier clean up. Don't humiliate or shame your child when he has an accident and don't put him back into diapers. Simply say, "It's okay. You can keep trying. I know you'll get it soon." Even if you think he is trained, they will have accidents. Sometimes a hard week can happen due to illness or family stress. Sometimes they want their diapers back after they have been trained, but don't despair. Remain kind and firm and the situation will resolve itself. Stick to the training and everyone will win.
Remember every family is different and everyone has a number in their head they want their child to be trained on, forget the numbers and focus on your baby. It doesn't matter if they are trained at 7 months or 3 years old. Some children even wet the bed into their elementary age. All babies and family dynamics are different. You can beg, cheer, threaten, bribe but you still may need to hang onto your diapers until their unique schedule and absolute control can be mastered. Respect your child's timeline.
I could talk for hours on this subject and everyone approaches it different. You can do this and so can they. Most parents who delay do it for the wrong reasons, such as they don't know how to start or they have feelings of fears, expectations, anxiety, worry, stress, and doubt. Read up on the subject, get a few books, DVD's and resources out. Talk to parents who have potty trained and ask them exactly what they did. Get ideas and then start to observe your child's facial expression and body language. You know your baby best.
- Positive Discipline, The First Three Years, Jane Nelsen
- Sesame Street's Elmo's Potty Time DVD
- Baby Signs Potty Training Kit
Other potty related articles:
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Twitter @ AmandaMinchau