So I am wondering if I write this article on my successful potty training experience the past month, if I run the risk of ‘jinxing’ myself. I sure hope not!
It is no secret that deciding when and how to enter the potty training circus is a very personal decision, but it also is filled with a lot of people telling you how you should do it! It can be overwhelming and you can be made to feel a failure very quickly, never mind how your child may succumb to disappointment and discouragement. It is a tricky tightrope to walk.
I have had the task of training two children many years ago, my oldest is 19 the other 15, so yes…..a long time ago. I cannot say I remember a lot about it but can say it had to have gone fairly easy; otherwise I am sure it would have been locked in my mind as a terrible experience. So when I recently decided it was time to enter into the journey with our 25 month old foster child I just went with my gut and stuck to the only way I knew how to do it! It worked then, so I imagined it would work again……and well…..I was right!
After some discussion over on my facebook page about training tips and stories, I thought I would share some of my own tips in hopes that it might help you as you either prepare to enter into the potty training season, or perhaps finally get you off the potty training treadmill.
How To Potty Training Tips
Every child is different and every parent is different, decide when the best time to begin is best for both. You have to feel 100% confident with your decision and not second guess yourself. That is the worst message you could send your child, in my opinion. If you decide one day to “try it” and things don’t go quite as well as you might have hoped so quit, what message is that sending your child? They don’t have to cooperate and they will then get their way? So make sure you have seen signs that your child is ready, verbal skills are important, knowing that they recognize the feeling just prior to having to use the potty and they can receive encouragement appropriately. Having the right mix is what makes things go a lot more smoothly.
When you decide to go for it, then go for it! Skip the pull-ups, skip the rubber pants over training pants – go right to the underwear. I still am unsure why pull-ups were ever invented? Why would your child decide they wanted to go pull a ‘diaper’ down and use the potty, when they could just as easily go in their pants and continue on with what they were doing? All I can guess is that it was a creative way for diaper companies to keep parents buying diapers, just a new version that has the illusion like you are progressing.
I have to admit I purchased character underwear, ones that my little guy would think were so cool and then we made a big deal to him that he wouldn’t want to go potty on them (the character on the underwear). Not a shameful disappointment, but rather a logical conclusion about not wanting to potty on them.
This conquered two things, he could feel easier when he was about to go, because it was a new situation with the underwear rather than the diaper and if he did have an accident he knew immediately that he was wet. Yes, it created a few more loads of laundry for us in the beginning and created more potty stops while we were out doing errands to help him not have accidents, but it works.
Help your child develop routines with regard to using the potty. Immediately upon getting up in the morning, after breakfast, before nap and bedtime, etc., have him use to potty. Always try to go before you leave the house and while out in a restaurant.
These habits will help as they get older and it becomes a comfortable routine for them. In addition, we gave a potty ‘treat’ when he successfully went in the potty and not in his pants. He got one yogurt covered raisin for a #1 and two for a #2. This was a nice incentive and helped him get into a groove with positive results. Now, 3 ½ weeks in, he sometimes remembers to ask for a treat and sometimes not – I don’t mind keeping yogurt covered raisins on hand for the next year if it keeps me from having to change and buy more diapers!
Let me emphasize again, you know your child best and you will know when your child is ready. Just because I began at 25 months with a boy does not mean it is the right time for your child. Look for signs and then use those to your advantage.
I think I was fortunate and I played to my strengths, which is to be confident as well as consistent with routine. So far we have ventured into wearing underwear for naps – he had been waking up dry with a diaper for over a week, so we went for it! If we have an accident, so be it – I will wash the sheets and bedding. Even overnight, he remains dry 80% of the time, although I do still put him in a diaper for nighttime. Not sure I want to cross that bridge yet, but we are cruising on into toddlerhood with a new feeling of freedom! The only downside – I am a planner and never wanted to run out of diapers, so have about 250 in stock! I guess if I end up donating those, it will still be so worth it!
Post written by Susan Heid…
Susan Heid is the mom behind The Confident Mom where she loves inspiring moms to make small changes managing their home and family life giving them more time, less stress and stronger family relationships! She enthusiastically wears the hat of mom, step-mom and foster mom to 4 awesome kids – ages 19, 15, 11 and 2 years; is married to her very own prince charming, loves coffee, cloudy days, and does think the bluest skies you’ve ever seen are in Seattle. Her FREE 5 part mini series: “The Opening Act” is helping moms worldwide become the calm mom they want to be! Join the community of moms on Facebook or find her @ConfidentMom on Twitter.