Get Real Potty Training
Part One – Get Real
My pediatrician tells me that the average age for potty training a child is 2-½. I personally think his other patients are just too embarrassed to admit the truth, or are just trying to make him feel good for statistical purposes. I love him dearly, but Get Real.
I define “potty trained” as complete daytime dryness/un-soiled-ness (reliable in big-kid underwear ALL day).
Using that definition, my earliest was two years and nine months. My latest was almost 3 ½.
I know lots of people who feel the need to complete potty training younger than this. You are free to go read their blogs.
Personally, I have enough stress in my life. I choose the lowest trauma method – easing them into it slowly over a longer period. That way, when we finally take away the diapers, it’s the most natural thing in the world. We’ve had little to no regression.
So relax. Take a deep breath. Loosen up a bit!
Potty training is not a sprint; it’s a marathon.
It's going to be fun!
Part Two – Get Ready
Here’s some gear that might come in handy around 18-24 months.
Option 1- Potty Chair. We started off with a little potty chair with child #1. It sounds good in theory (it’s small, it’s portable), but have you ever (a) kicked one of these puppies over when it was full of tinkle, or (b) cleaned poop out of one of these (note yesterday’s video)? You’ll be wishing you’d let the kid do the big job in a diaper.
Option 2 – Potty Seat. After scrapping the potty chair, we used a potty seat (something like this) for the next few kids. It fits over the toilet seat. It is padded to fit their little hineys, and makes falling in the commode less of a threat. Love this thing.
Option 3 - A small stool. Make sure it’s not tippy, since they will need to be able to climb on it and then turn their little selves around on it. We started with the potty seat and the stool, but now this is the only gear I am using for child #5. She somehow balances her little bottom over the big potty with the help of the stool.
Also for fun:
- A wetsy doll (a little visual aid to play in the bathtub)
- Potty books like Once Upon a Potty (unless you have siblings of the opposite gender who are a bit too curious – might want to put masking tape over certain parts!).
- Be prepared to be followed into the bathroom and/or have your "job" inspected at very close range (toddlers feel the need to place their entire head into the toilet seat!).
Getting these things in place early helps:
- raise their curiosity (it doesn’t take much - we are, after all, in the anal stage)
- make the potty seem like a nice, friendly gadget, and
- reinforce the idea that using a potty is the “in” thing to do (two-year-olds are always game for a party!)
Part Three – Get consistent
If you haven’t figured it out by now, I am a big fan of routine. Kids just do better with it. If your family eats on a wherever/whenever basis, this is going to make potty training practically impossible.
Remember the rule: what comes in must go out.
If your child’s intake is at all hours, so will his outflow be (pardon the pun – just couldn’t resist!). If this is a new concept to you, start by easing your little one into bit of a routine for meals, naps and bedtime.
This is also the time to work on good nutrition. I had one that was perennially constipated, and it made potty training one very extended excursion in frustration. It took several months of working on increasing fiber and liquid intake to make things “regular.” (We ended up consulting a doctor and using mineral oil. It was that bad, and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone).
All the while I am getting consistent with meals and naps,I pick ONE time that I regularly put the child on the potty, every day.
For some, that’s first thing in the morning. My kids are big morning snugglers, so nobody wants to face the Great White Throne first thing in the morning. Plus, morning’s usually the absolute worst time around here.
So we choose bathtime. It's an easy one for distracted people like me to remember, and something about the water running usually makes them pee on the floor anyway, so why not set them on the potty?
I say something cheerful like, “Let’s sit on the potty while the water gets warm.” If they stay on for a nanosecond, shower with praise.
Never, EVER ask, “Do you WANT to go potty?” The answer will invariably be “NO!” Let’s not play on their obstinate tendency at this age. Just make it a normal, natural, “this is what we do” thing. This is, after all, normal, and natural, and this is what we do.
One day, by chance, they will be tinkling on the floor, and we will whisk them onto the potty. The connection has been made.
Now we just go for repetition.
Alas, I'm out of time. Next week:
Get Rewards, Get Creative and Get Rid of the Diapers!
Thanks again to Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer for being such an awesome hostess! Check out all the other WFMW tips and leave her a nice comment.
Did you post a potty training tip? Leave me a comment so I can link you here:
Code Yellow Mom
Tags: Potty training, Parenting, Toddler