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All about potty training

>> Monday, February 13, 2012

I potty trained my first child 3 weeks ago, so I am obviously an expert (at nothing, but I like to pretend).

Here are my thoughts and opinions on the matter. (Really, they are simply thoughts and opinions...take it for what it's worth)

--Thanks to the influence of my mother (who successfully potty trained 7 children) and seeing other people struggle through trying to potty train their child multiple times, I knew it would be key to wait until he was ready to be potty trained. I think that sometimes as parents we try to "keep up with the Jones' " in the parental sense and think that if someone else has potty trained their child that is the same age, we need to potty train ours as well. Every child is different and what one child is ready to do, another may not be.

--Now that's not to say that I didn't try to gently nudge him in the right direction. Once he turned 3, I made it a point to point out other children that he knew that were potty trained. I would say things like "Did you know that she uses the big potty?" or "Do you see he's wearing big boy underwear?" I'd also take him by the underwear sometimes at the store and show him all the cool ones he'd get to wear once he started using the potty. Most of the time he'd just say "Oh." and that was that, but he was still taking notice. In fact, him seeing that one of his good friends was potty training was what made him decide on his own. He said "I want to wear underwear, I don't want to wear a diaper. I want to use the potty." all on his own. And he was very adamant about it.

--If that is the route you choose to go, be prepared! Like I said, I had no set time in mind, and was waiting for him to give the go-ahead, and he gave the go-ahead way before I expected him to. So on a Saturday, I was stuck at home with my husband gone and really nasty weather outside and my son insisting I put underwear on him. So very luckily, I happened to have some that my sister gave me for him a long time ago. Who knows what would have happened if he'd been ready then and I wasn't prepared for it. The moment could have passed, and I might have had to wait even longer.

--Because I waited until he was ready, I have to say, potty training went quite smoothly. The first day was rough, but that was mostly because he was upset my husband wasn't around on a Saturday and he thought he needed to keep throwing tantrums. There were a few accidents the first few days but after that, we were pretty much good to go. But like I said, the first day was rough...very rough. I soooo wanted to give up and wait until I had time to really "get ready" for this, but we'd started, and I knew once we started, we had to follow through! I knew that if I gave up, we'd have to start from square one (back to waiting until he was ready to be potty trained) and I didn't want to take that chance because I didn't know when he might possibly be excited about it again. And I'm so glad I didn't give up because after the first few days, it was so much better!

--I think most people know that when it comes to potty training you have to reward, reward, reward. Know your child, though. I made the mistake of telling him about the sticker chart and getting a prize at the end, and then showing him the prize. He decided the prize wasn't worth it. Luckily, I had a better prize up my sleeve. I told him about it, but wouldn't show it to him. So consider your child and know if it would be better to keep them in suspense or show them what they are working towards. So every time he went in the potty he got to put a sticker on his chart, and get 2 m&m's. He filled up the sticker chart in a little less than a week, and was really excited about getting his guitar!

--After I'd been potty training for almost 2 days, I read that you aren't supposed to ask "Do you need to go potty?" but rather say "Make sure you tell me when you need to go potty." about a million times a day. He responded to this much better than me asking if he needed to go. And it really did work. When he needs to go, he tells me, and although do ask sometimes, like before we are leaving the house, I will still remind him every now and again to let me know when he needs to go.

--I think training toilets are over-rated. I didn't want to get my son one, but my husband ended up getting him a "Cars" one that he was super excited about...for about 2 hours. I guess maybe it helped in the excitement, but I mostly feel like it was a huge waste of $25 when he ended up being more interested in using the toilet anyways.

--As some of you may have seen on the Milan Maternity facebook page, I was having the internal pull ups/no pull ups debate. Everything I read was saying NO PULL UPS!! When it came down to it, thanks to the advice of everyone, I decided pull ups are ok. He only wears them at night, and sometimes during nap time, depending on if he goes potty before I put him down for a nap or not. I never put him in pull ups any other time, and he has been able to grasp the concept pretty well. Sometimes in the morning it can be a little bit of a struggle to get him back in underwear, but I just distract him and let him know he can't have his morning orange juice until he gets them on, and we are good to go. It's definitely one of those "Do what's best for you." situations.

--Stay positive! Not just for you, but for the potty trainee. Reprimanding a child for not using the potty never goes over well. It will probably be a rough road, but it will get better. And if you are happy and positive about it, it will help them be happy and positive about it.

--When it comes to poop, I really have no room to give advice. I also mentioned on the facebook page that my son has issues in this department. Over a year before potty training, he started holding in his poop, and it's still a major issue that we are working on. The only thing I can say with a certainty is that everyone I've talked to that has potty trained has mentioned that their child does great with potty training, except when it comes to pooping. Rewarding, consistency, distraction, encouragement....all those things are needed, and will probably be hard to do when frustrated, but I know it will pay off eventually.

**Photo from google images.

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Emily February 13, 2012 at 3:33 PM  

Congrats! Great tips and ideas. It's funny b/c I'm having kind of the opposite experience. My daughter wanted to be potty trained b/c her friends were being potty trained and will almost always poop but rarely pee in the potty. I can't stay home all day every day so I've had her in pull ups. I put underwear under her pull ups so she could feel when she was wet and she didn't care at all and got a rash right away. I've backed off and will try again when she gets closer to three or whenever she decides to. I'm just happy not to be changing messy diapers anymore though. :)

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