Sunday, 3 March 2013

Get on the Pot

Okay, who thinks there is one answer to potty training?
I thought I had found the book that would do it.  I read the testimonials...."it only took 5 hours!" Wow, all my silly friends spent weeks doing it, I must have found the hidden jackpot. Cue uproarious laughter from experienced potty training friends.
Mom, we live in an age where there is a self-proclaimed expert on every corner and a well meaning friend who wants to share their advice with you.  We think we have to do it quickly and easily but friend, we are talking poop here...poop is poop.  Why do you think people who have had a bad day say "I am having a (poopy) day."  It just may not be the funnest time even if you make it a "potty party".  It may be easy but why not start with some realistic expectations and be pleasantly surprised?.....especially if you have boys!
You know your child. You can tell when they might be ready and you will be able to tell when it is not worth fighting another day and to try again later.  With Munch, it seemed he had it figured out with our method within a couple of days (not 5 hours).  Then with no warning, he just decided it was not working for him. I had to take a few months off and start again.  When he was ready, it took no time at all.  Now I watch him run across the room frantically yelling,"Pee...pee. I have to pee."  I can't believe that he just does it all on his own.  He even shuts the door on me now requesting "his privacy"!
In case you don't know if your child is ready, here is what some experts say to look for:

Physical signs
Is coordinated enough to walk, and even run, steadily.
Urinates a fair amount at one time.
Has regular, well-formed bowel movements at relatively predictable times.
Has "dry" periods of at least two hours or during naps, which shows that his bladder muscles are developed enough to hold urine.

Behavioral signs

Can sit down quietly in one position for two to five minutes.
Can pull his pants up and down.
Dislikes the feeling of wearing a wet or dirty diaper.
Shows interest in others' bathroom habits (wants to watch you go to the bathroom or wear underwear).
Gives a physical or verbal sign when he's having a bowel movement such as grunting, squatting, or telling you.
Demonstrates a desire for independence.
Takes pride in his accomplishments.
Isn't resistant to learning to use the toilet.
Is in a generally cooperative stage, not a negative or contrary one.

Cognitive signs

Understands the physical signals that mean he has to go and can tell you before it happens or even hold it until he has time to get to the potty.
Can follow simple instructions, such as "go get the toy."
Understands the value of putting things where they belong.
Has words for urine and stool.
-from Baby Centre

The book I used was Potty Training 1,2,3 by Garry Ezzo.  It is quite different than most other techniques.  I like the concept but really just ended up using candy.  The second time around I told Munch that when he turned 3 he wouldn't be using diapers anymore because 3 year olds go in the toilet.  I gave him the "1 for trying 2 for going." Done.  With Bubblegum, I am sure it will be a whole different story.  He is a completely different personality and has no desire to move from diapers.  It was so stressful with Munch I promised I would not even try until Bubblegum was at least 3.  I am in awe of the people who have kids potty trained before they can even walk.
Some friends let their kids run around naked at home and ask frequently if they need to go potty.  Others lock themselves in their home for the weekend and make the whole time about potty training.  Some make it a chance to party and include balloons, treats and singing and dancing.  Whatever works for your family. One funny and useful idea my friend did was let her child go about the day in nothing but rubber boots. less clean up!  My one piece of wisdom is that YOU need to be ready.  A lot of the training is you.  You need to be ready for the commitment and you need to prepare to exercise patience and grace.  It is so easy to lose it when you find poop on the carpet of their bedroom while they look up smiling riding their poop covered horsey (true story) or when you find your little one making a sensory activity out of it (true story) or when you get called to the church nursery because its in their boots(true story) or when you spend a whole day wiping pee out of couches, carpets and beds (all quite inevitable).  
Just keep telling yourself, "he will not always have a day...."  And lastly, don't be hard on yourself Mom.  (we can never hear that enough.)  

Here is a great article to bring some truth and encouragement.

Here are some resources: 

1 comment:

  1. I agree that it depends upon the personality of the child. I have two compliant children and one strong willed and I didn't even try to attempt the strong willed one until 6 months later than I had potty trained the first.

    I know this is going to sound like bragging because it is! My youngest was potty trained a month before he turned two and I was very proud to have accomplished it. The only reason it happened though was because we were stuck at home a month with chicken pox and I decided to go ahead a tackle potty training at the same time.