Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Potty Training Success

Every mom will have her idea of Potty Training Success. As for me, I'm so pleased with Ashton and Noah. They are sleeping through nap time without any accidents. Ashton gets through most nights without an accident (unless it takes me to long to long to get to him in the morning). In addition to that, I can take them anywhere as long as the potty is in the car.

Are they perfect? No. But we are down to only a few accidents a week. In addition to that, Ashton will stop the flow and scream (literally) for the potty when he's on the verge of a major accident. We are still working on him going potty at church and other places. He's a bit uncomfortable, but I feel that will change in the next month.

I know that potty training can be daunting. And after the first 3 days and the setback of the weekend, I was tempted to say it was too much for me. But right now I'm glad that I didn't. It was tough keeping up with the boys without Daniel. But the result is worth it. I can't imagine diapering the two boys and the baby for the next year.

I hear a lot of moms saying let your child tell you when they are ready. I think that's a load of... poo! Around 22 months (and for some earlier), most kids will be ready to start. Noah is extremely verbal. Ashton wasn't as much. But through this, Ashton has really started coming out of his shell. He's more confident in his abilities and it's exciting to see how he's grown with potty training. That truly was an unexpected benefit.

Where do we go from here?

Ashton will not use a standard toilet. We literally carry his potty everywhere. And if we know we can't get back to the car, we put it in a big bag and carry it with us. (No, I'm not kidding!) After Brenna is born and I'm able to bend, I'm going to get a reducer seat for the toilet and start working with Ashton on using it. I'm afraid that if we start that now he may regress.

We are going to continue working on going potty at public restrooms. He gets distracted and doesn't want to sit long enough to do the deed. That's going to be a long term thing though.

Lastly, I'm working on reducing the candy treats. I've been aiming for every other success. If either of the boys has a severe setback, it will be easy to reinstate the treat system.

Final thoughts...

Get rid of diapers from day 1. For the first 2 days of potty training, I suggest letting them run around naked from the waist down. After that, have at least 10 pairs of undies to help get you through accidents. Anytime you use a diaper or pull-up, you extend the time it takes to complete the training.

Parental patience is the key to success. If you are easily frustrated by accidents then you may not be ready to start training your child. There have been a few days where hormones have caused me to want to respond poorly. Thankfully Daniel and I balance each other pretty well during those times or I have had to put a movie in for the kids and walk away! Know that you too will probably get frustrated at one time or another. Just have an exit strategy. You need to be your child's cheerleader during this time.

Don't make a huge deal out of accidents. Acknowledge that they are gross or that the child is all wet and that's not good. It's okay to use a sad voice. Then get more upbeat and tell them it's time to get cleaned up and go to the big boy/girl potty. Kids do not understand guilt trips. But this little admonishment lets them know that while the accident was disappointing, it's not the end of the world. As they figure out that accidents are undesirable, they will become more upset than you! You will just have to reassure them that it's okay and they can go to the big kid potty again.

And, potty talk is essential. Even though Ashton and sometimes Noah tell me that they have to go, I still have to ask at consistent intervals. At times, I even have to make them sit down when they say no. Ashton is pretty reliable when he says he doesn't have to go. But if the kids are really into playing, a no could mean I don't want to take the time to stop. Just remember it's up to you to read your child's signals and respond accordingly.

Do not be embarrassed to take your potty with you. As I stated earlier, it travels in the car with us. We've taken into the mall, to church and into restaurants. We also take it to friends houses. Until we can get him to sit on a regular toilet, the potty is our constant companion! At most, this stage will last for a month or two.

Your diligence as a parent will directly affect the child's ability to succeed or fail. Depending on the age and the child, some kids will pick this up in a day or two while others need a few weeks. Every kid is different.


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