Monday, May 2, 2011

Potty Training 101

When I tell the story of the day I gave birth to Caleb, there is the "nice" nurse and the "mean" nurse. The first nurse - the "nice" nurse - didn't make me push hard, didn't tell me to bear down, didn't tell me that I wasn't supposed to let up between numbers while counting to ten. She told me I was doing great. The second nurse - the "mean" nurse - was the one who came in during the first nurse's break, after I had pushed for two freaking hours, and after the first time I pushed for her she said, "That's not pushing. And don't you let up until you've gotten to ten!" Baby Caleb came out quickly after I met "mean" nurse.

The same might be true for potty training. I've officially potty trained three kiddos. I wish I had someone who would have been "mean" about it with the first child so that I would have just sucked it up and stuck with it right from the start. And then with the second child, I gave up a few times as well. That was the wrong thing to do! I speak from experience when I say...once you start, there's no going back. Just do it! It's more about the parent being ready than the child being ready (that's the "mean nurse" in me).

Here is Chrissy's advice:

1. Pick a day and stick with it. If they can say the word "potty" and "poopie" (or whatever you chose for your home), and if they have, on occasion, told you they've gone in their diaper, they are ready. Some say that waking up dry is also an indication, but considering I have a six-year-old who still wets at night, that's not really an indicator in my book. But that's just me.

2. It is not easy. You will not put on a pair of underwear and magically have a potty-trained kid. Why did I think this was the case? And while no mom will admit it, it must be what we all think. Yes, they will have accidents. Lots of them. They need to do this to learn cause and effect. You might have days of one accident after not lose hope. It is ok! This happened with Sarah, and I wanted to give up! But one of my closest friends wouldn't let me, even though Sarah pottied on her floor!

There is some guess work when it comes to trying to time it to catch them so they will go in the potty seat. "Ok, time for a potty break! Let's sit down and try!" They need to learn this, too, so they know it's the right thing to do! And the first time they do it, DO A HAPPY DANCE! :) Pump them full of water or juice so that they will have plenty of potty to learn with!

3. Do not use Pull-Ups during the day. They are worthless when it comes to training a child to use the toilet. They are only handy at nap time or night time if you so chose, but do not think that because they keep you from cleaning up messes that it's somehow the wonder product for potty training. It's not.

4. Commit to staying at home, and I mean 24/7! This is more difficult when both parents work, but in our case, Josh had spring break that he decided to utilize for this effort. Gabriel did not leave the house for a week. He didn't go to church or the store. We were totally devoted to the training process and kept him home so that he could feel comfortable using the bathroom. A week is not necessarily what you have to have, even a weekend would be good. But the longer the better.

5. Be willing to think outside the box. With all three of our kiddos, we began the process with the potty seat in the living room. I had friends think I was crazy, and I think my mom did, too! But none of the kids were really crazy about sitting on it, so I remember reading something (or maybe it was on Dr. Phil?) about letting them sit and watch their favorite show to get them used to being on the potty seat. This worked for us. I am also not one to bribe my kids to do anything, but we did use M&M's with Gabriel, and this was a hit!

6. In our house, boys sit down first. I'm not sure if everyone does this, but both Caleb and Gabriel pottied sitting down first. As a matter of fact, Gabriel began his potty training on March 25th, and just yesterday he pottied standing up! It's funny to me, but I guess he knows Caleb and Daddy do this, so he wanted to try, too. Since he's tall enough, I'll let him, but I always run to the bathroom when I hear him lift the seat so I can make sure he's directing it correctly. But for starters, I really think it's easier for them to learn sitting down.

If they refuse to sit on the seat, just let them pee their pants. That's right. I said it. I truly feel that eventually this shows them the cause and effect of it. Yes, it's exhausting. I know. But it's worth it. I know that, too.

There is plenty of advice out there, and I'm sure some of you have your own advice as well! I mean, I didn't even mention naked time for the kiddo! But these are the things that have worked for us, and I felt like this post was long overdue.

What are your tips? And if you haven't potty trained, what do you think you'll try?


Andrea said...

I kind of did what you suggest. I flirted with potty-training for a couple of Saturdays, then I decided I would just jump in. I let her pee in her pants when she was stubborn, and though I ran out of clean underwear and pet-stain remover in two days, she had it down within a week!

Causey Fam said...

I became exhausted reading this and extremely thankful that those days have passed! Great advice to those living it. And to those living it, remember as with everything..."this too shall pass!"

Nel said...

I just take the girls every 30 minutes.... very time consuming as well! We stayed home where they were comfy and I agree... pull ups are a waste except for bedtime and naptime - go to panties and get the laundry going! Both girls were pretty fast - Abby much much faster, but we are diaper and pull up free.... until October when baby #3 arrives ;o)

Anonymous said...

I thought potty training was easy! She was about 2 1/2, we talked about it and she was excited. Two or three accidents later...DONE! Since the very start of potty training til now (a month shy of 6 years old) we have had less than 8 or 10 accidents.

Tiffany said...

This is great advice! I only have expereince potty training one - and it was TERRIBLE! Ha! I was told that girls are easier than boys - she is a girl, my next in line is a boy. So, I have been terrified. (And she is five and still wets the bed a lot.) We purchased my son (who will be three in August) underwear for his Easter basket. I just have yet to do anything, but this has encouraged me. Thanks Chrissy!

our home to yours said...

I found that training my boys was much easier then my daughter. She was just plain stubborn. Now my boys, I just sent them in with daddy "to observe and learn" hahaha. Then we would float cheerios in the bowl, and the boys would have to sink them. They enjoyed that so much, we had very few accidents. haha
- ourhometoyoursx

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