Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Potty Training Tips from a Mother of Nine

I started potty training Cami yesterday.  She sat on the potty, wiped, flushed, washed her hands and got her potty treat a dozen times.  She also peed -- in her underwear -- twice, both quite soon after having visited the bathroom.  She has yet to actually deposit anything into the potty.  Yeah, I'm really good at this.  :)  Some of my kids have been super easy to train and others super hard, and it doesn't always match up with their personalities.  Katie was pretty tough as a toddler, so I dreaded potty-training and put it off as long as I could.  Then, a few months after she turned three, we potty-trained her in the course of a couple of days.  And that was it.  No accidents, she stayed dry at night, and no complaints.  Others of my kids had accidents for months afterwards.  About half of my kids have needed pull-ups at night for years afterwards, but that's more a matter of how deep they are genetically programmed to sleep rather than any kind of potty-training dos or don'ts.

Crazy, Intense Katie!
I don't consider myself a potty-training expert by any means.  It's not something I ever look forward to, and though I've somehow managed to have 8 success stories so far, it's never a guarantee that this time will go well.

Still, I have learned a few things.

My best tips for potty-training:

1.  Wait until they are close to 3.  Sure, your kid might be able to do it sooner, but usually, it involves a lot more work on your part and a lot more accidents.  Waiting until almost three almost always makes it go faster and allows the child to be more aware of their own bodies and more able to manage the many steps required.

2.  Talk a lot about potty-training in the months and years before you do it.  I often point out while changing diapers, for example, "right now, you are using diapers.  When you get bigger, you'll make your poop and pee in the potty!"  Talk it up and make it sound like an exciting, grown-up thing to do.  Read books about potty-training and share your excitement about how great it will be when your child is also big enough to wear underwear.

3.  Pick a week when there is not a lot going on.  Try to stay home completely for the first few days.

4.  Make a special trip to the store to let the child pick out her own underwear.  I prefer to start with training pants since they have the ability to contain accidents a lot better.

5.  Buy potty treats.  I usually use M&Ms or something similar.  During the first few weeks of training, I give out 2 M&Ms for sitting on the potty and trying, even if nothing happens, and a whole handful when poop is made.  After a few weeks, the potty treats usually run out, but by then, the child is pretty well trained, so I don't have to buy more than one big bag.

6.  On the days you start potty-training, have the child wear just underwear, with no pants.  It makes it easier for them to pull them up and down and saves on laundry for accidents.  It also helps remind the child that something is different and helps them remember to go into the bathroom.  Some of my friends swear by having their child run around completely naked and giving them the underwear after they are successfully trained, but I just can't handle the thought of an accident going everywhere, nor do I want to go to the effort of keeping them on hard floors for several days in a row.  Give your child plenty to drink.

7.  Give it a good try for at least 3 days.  The first couple of days, lead your child into the bathroom at least every 30 minutes, whether they go or not.  Have them practice pulling down their underwear, sitting and trying, wiping, flushing, and washing their hands.  Praise them for trying and talk up how grown up and wonderful it is to be using the potty and getting potty treats.

8.  Don't make a big deal of accidents.  Help the child clean it up, change into a fresh pair of underwear, and remind them "We need to keep our pretty new underwear dry.  Let's go pee in the potty next time."

9.  If it obviously isn't working after a week, go back to diapers for a few months.  That's SO much better, in my opinion, than having a half-trained child running around having accidents often.  Don't make a big deal of it and just continue to talk up the excitement of "when you're bigger, you'll get to wear underwear again!"  Then try again.  Trust me, it's much better to wait and have success with a fully-potty-trained child than to push on and deal with constant accidents.  Of course, even if everything goes well, your child will likely have a few accidents here and there.  When that happens, show some disappointment and show them how to clean it up, but don't get angry or punish them.

Here's to success -- yours AND mine!

I'm hoping all goes well with Cami.  If so, it will be the first time in almost 16 years that I haven't had a child in diapers.  And it will last all of 4 months before baby Benjamin is born.  :)


Aflyonmyhomeschoolwall said...

Wishing you well with your Cami. My 3 year old boy (first boy) is adamant that he does not want to use the toilet until he's 4. I'd believe him but he used the same line about turning 3 back when he was 2. :) We're playing it cool, not pushing him, but he's coming up on 3.5, and he's a big kid! I get the sense he's a perfectionist because he sat on the potty one day then peed himself later. Ever since then he's said, "I already peed. I don't want to try again." He's going to take some gentle handling, I think.

Amber Gregory said...

Cami looks so much like you in that last photo! Adorable! Good luck!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...