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Question: “Potty-training, dos and don’ts? What are some suggestions on how to get your little one sitting on the toilet like a big boy or girl?
I am glad this question is being asked, as I have a 16-month-old son who will need to be potty-trained sooner than later. He is young, but has been showing signs for months, such as going to the same couple spots in the house when he has to go poop and grabbing his diaper when he pees. When I notice he is pooping, I will sometimes put him on the toilet and make a big deal about it when he's finished. I am hoping this might help him have an easier time when it’s really time to give potty-training a go. My husband and I are thinking of giving it a shot this summer, but ultimately I think he will do it when he's good and ready.
Looking forward to seeing what everyone has to stay about this. I could use any tips I can get!
With my girls it was easy. They were just ready at two and went all night. It was a slam-dunk. I would put regular underwear on them, and when they had an accident, they didn’t like that feeling. Of course, this only works if you are able to be outside, as you don’t want that type of accident in the home! With my grandson and foster son, it was a different story. We tried and tried with my grandson and he just wasn’t having it. We learned we simply needed to wait until he knew he was ready. We knew he was ready because he woke up dry every morning, but he still wasn’t having it, so we let it go. One day on a 15-hour car ride, he decided he was ready and he never went back. With my foster son, who is 2-1/2, he wants to badly, but will sit on the potty for a long time, but will just not go. So with him too, I shall wait. I learned the more you push, the more they push back. When the time is right it will happen.
Once the weather cooperates it will be the ideal time for potty training. When my kids were showing the usual signs: staying dry through the night, putting themselves on their potty chair and such, I knew it was getting to be that time. Unfortunately, it seemed any strides we made at home would be undone as soon as we left the house – literally. I remember saying, “We do great in the house; he/she’s running around naked and as soon as they need to go, they put themselves on the potty, but if I need to run an errand, no sooner have we left the house and they have an accident!”
It was very discouraging. The change in atmosphere and routine was just the amount of encouragement they needed to forget about the task at hand and I felt we were back to square one.
I'm a firm believer in the three-day rule – three solid days of consistency to achieve results. Potty training is no different and this method really worked for all four of my babies. As soon as we had warm weather, I picked three days in the week where I had nothing to do and nowhere to go. I stocked up on supplies, like groceries, and especially bribery treats (I chose M&M's). I performed all necessary errand running and holed up for three days of naked time!
The big thing is to never mention the treat. I didn't come up with this one; we relied on the teachings of the wonderful Dr. Jacob Azerrad, whose methods are outlined in many child-rearing books.
Here's the process: first, mentally prepare the child at bedtime for what's to come, re-enforce their "big boy/girl" status. On day one, no clothing on the bottom, breakfast, wait 15 minutes, put them on the potty. If they leave the potty, go get them, put them back, but make it sound fun. Provide tons of reading material, crayons and coloring books, Legos – whatever it takes to keep them there. As soon as they go in the potty, sing, dance, cheer and present them with an M&M (without ever actually saying, “Now you get a treat,” or anything about the treat). In their mind they will make the connection, which means more to them than you telling them what they’ll get. Wash, rinse, repeat; three days and you should have an independent potty-er!
My kids are older, but since I have watched many kids along the way I have seen many situations. Here is a short list of things I have learned:
- They all learn! No child will be in first grade raising their hand with a diaper poking out the top of their pants, I promise.
- Every child is different, not just boys and girls. Every experience will have a uniqueness to it. That’s okay.
- They may show all of the signs of “readiness,” but still not do it. Sometimes it really is up to them. My son was this way and I let it be up to him, and one day he just went for it. Never looked back.
- Talk about it! A lot. That is part of the learning process. When you are changing a yucky diaper, talk about how yucky it feels on them and how much better it would feel if it went straight into a toilet. Talk about cool older kids the child knows that go on the potty, etc. Kids are smart and do get a lot from good dialogues.
- Make up a fun pee-pee/poopy song and dance. So silly, but so fun.
- Get them excited about what kind of underwear they are going to pick out at the store. This can be a huge motivator!
- Pull-ups have the tendency to become overpriced diapers that are way harder to change kids out of.
- If a child doesn't poop every day there is no need to panic that they are constipating themselves. My son did this and I suspected the worst. My pediatrician reassured me kids do not have to go every day! He was right!
- Beware of rewards like toys and candy. We didn't use these and while I know many people who have and did have success, it has the potential to backfire on a lot of levels too.
- There is no single “right” way.
Potty training with my daughter was very easy. When she started telling us when she was going in her diaper we knew it was time. She did great using the toilet for the first few weeks and then we had a week or two where she decided she wasn't interested in it any more. We didn't push it and knew when she was ready she would do it. After those two weeks she went back to going on the toilet and did a great job. We rewarded her every time she went by giving her stickers or something small as a prize. One recommendation I have (that may not work for everyone) was not using pull-ups. We started using them with her, but I eventually got the feeling she thought it was “okay” to go in them because they were like diapers, so we stopped. We had a few accidents in bed, but nothing too bad!
I have a 15-month-old son and have heard that boys are more difficult...we’ll see!
I personally did not find training to be effective with my son. He started showing interest in the potty at 16 months. We bought one and a seat for the toilet and he would sit on it for a while and nothing. When he was around two years three months he really wanted to use it and that lasted for about a week and then total refusal. No toys, treats or special underwear were going to make him use it and the more we asked the more he dug in his heels. Then one day when he was two years nine months he said he wanted to wear underwear and that was it. A few accidents, but he was completely off diapers and on the potty from that day on and within a couple months of waking up dry he was able to go to bed without pull-ups. I plan to follow my almost two-year-old daughter’s cues this time around. We will have the potty available and when she is ready we will let her be the guide – so much easier and less stress all around.
Editor’s Note: If you’d like to check out Dr. Azerrad’s methods on potty-training, you can visit his Web site here.