Friday, June 27, 2008

Potty Time

What kind of parent site would this be without a potty training discussion? Every kid has to go through it and most parents fear it even (and sometimes especially) when they've already trained a child. I've trained my daughter but now I have to venture into new territory, training a boy. This brings up new fears and technicalities I'm not sure I'm prepared for. So, here's what I've read and tried in this great obstacle of childhood:
1. Every expert will tell you to wait until they're ready. Unfortunately kids don't hit milestones on our schedule, as convenient as it may be. Training will be faster and less painful for everyone if you take your child's lead.
2. Don't start before a major change in your child's life (ie new baby, move) Every pregnant mom dreams of having her toddler out of diapers before baby comes along (who wants to change two bums), but for the most part any progress you may have will likely be out the window when baby comes (baby gets lots of attention with all those diaper changes). However if your child is the one who decides it's time to train, then you may live the dream.
3. Reading books will both help prepare your child for the potty and provide an activity to encourage longer sitting on the toilet. If you have space in your bathroom consider putting a small shelf or box by the toilet to put books in/on. You can find a lot of great books at the library but may want to buy your own because potty books are read on the potty (see comments for a list of books).
4. For my daughter we talked up being a "Potty Princess." You can even decorate your potty and make a crown (add a jewel for each success). I also painted her toenails while she sat.
5. Some people love mini M&Ms for rewards. To cut back on sugar, I poured real juice into ice cube trays and stuck toothpicks in each cube for mini pops.
6. Sticker charts are fun visuals for some and you can give a reward after completing a row. You can also decorate your child with stickers so they can show Daddy how many stickers they got that day.
7. I've heard several people (including myself) attest that skipping pull-ups and going straight to underwear really got the message across. Pull-ups feel too much like diapers but underwear makes them feel big and are more uncomfortable when messy. Let them pick out their own underwear. Keep the pull-ups for outings and bedtime though to begin with. In fact when you first start, try to stay home a few days and strip your child down to the bare essentials for real success. Summer's a great time to train, less layers to deal with.
8. For boys, toss some Cheerios in the toilet and play "sink the Cheerio" for target practice. My mom trained 4 boys and said this game made her boys easier to train than the girls.
9. Put a couple of drops of blue food coloring in the toilet bowl and watch it turn to green when your child "adds the yellow." You can also use a blue marker to make a spot on a tp square to float in the bowl.
10. To teach good hand washing skills sing a favorite song to be sure they wash long enough.


Real Momma said...

Books: Once upon a Potty; Everyone Poops; No more Diapers!; It's Potty Time; Let's Go Potty; Lift the Lid, Use the Potty; Sara's Potty; Uh Oh! Gotta Go!, and much more. Check Amazon or the library for more titles.
OR make your own book with pictures of your child's favorite character or pictures of your own child.

debs said...

To potty train for bowel movement, David's GI specialist said to put your child on the potty right after a meal. Your bowels naturally eliminate after eating.

Tara L. said...

great ideas. Thank you!

Jodi Jean said...

i'm totally dreading this. good tips!

Real Momma said...

Weston loves to go to the bathroom with Emma. I told Emma she can get a sticker too if she takes Weston with her when she goes to the bathroom. She yells excitedly for me when Weston does something on the potty and cheers him on! He loves the extra attention. Bonus: Having her on the toilet while he's on the potty chair keeps him from playing in the toilet or flushing while in there.