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Aside from temper tantrums, potty training has got to be one of the most challenging milestones for toddlers. It takes a lot of patience, focus, and in most cases, bribes to successfully complete potty training. I've had my fair share with not only my son but with my children that I teach. I've heard many people say girls are easier to train than boys and visa versa. In my opinion, they're both difficult, but when they reach the goal, the feeling of being proud is all the same. In this article, I will not only talk about my experiences, but I will offer some tips that will hopefully help along your journey.
Let me start with how I came to the decision to start training with my son. It was a few weeks after his second birthday that I noticed that he was starting to run around the house taking his diaper off. To me that's a sign that he was ready to use the toilet. So for a while I would try to put him on the toilet but it was as if he was scared because he would always clinch his body together. Maybe he thought he was going to fall in, I'm not sure, but for whatever reason he just refused to sit on the toilet. At first I was getting frustrated and thought he was playing games. Once it dawned on me that he might have been scared, I went and bought him a potty for Christmas. It didn't take long for him to grasp the concept which impressed me. Once I saw he was getting the hang of it, I let him pick out the undies he wanted to wear, and we learned sign language for pee and poop. Everything was great.
It took awhile for him to go at school. For some reason, he would never tell his teachers he had to pee but once he saw me he told me. It wasn't until he got in his new class that I guess he felt comfortable with his teacher and he started peeing at school. I am proud to say that my child is officially potty trained, not having to wear a pull up nor diapers to bed or long trips. I basically summed up the story of our journey but even though it took a year and three months to fully complete it, this was the most challenging experience but I could not be prouder of my baby. So now the moment you've been waiting for: here are some tips on how to get your child fully potty trained (some examples will also be from some of my students).
- Make sure your child is actually ready to use the toilet. As I stated before, your child taking off his or her own diaper is one way to know if they're ready. Another sign is knowing if they understand what pee and poop actually is. If your child can say, "mommy I did pee" and actually have pee in the diaper then that is really good. Forcing a child to use the toilet before being ready will cause a lot of stress not only for you but for your child. With the stress, your child may end of getting a fear of the toilet and we don't want that to happen.
- Speaking of fear of the toilet, that brings me to number two. Try and test the waters and see if your child doesn't suffer from a toilet phobia. If this is the case, then there are a few things that can be done to overcome it. A reason why your baby doesn't want to sit may be because they might think they're going to fall in the toilet and that's normal. So something that you can use is one of those toilet covers that is placed on the top of the toilet. This tool is definitely a good way to get your child to sit. If you're still having that problem then my advice would be to go and buy a potty. It's your choice if you want to get a random one, but when I went and bought one, I made sure it was a character that my child liked. He was so obsessed with the Paw Patrol potty that those were his pee pals. Lastly if sitting is not the problem and they're just afraid of the noises that can be a bit tricky. The only tip I can suggest is to assure your baby that nothing bad is going to happen. Try having him/her watch you flush. Try gently (not by force) holding your child's hand and flushing together. In the end, the fear of flushing should go away once they see nothing is going to happen.
- If you can help it please please please DO NOT go from diapers to pull ups (I had to learn that the hard way). When you think about it, a pull up is a waste. You have your child spend a good year and a half in diapers. Then you want them to go through potty training, you completely contradict yourself. Your child is going to be confused because it's the same feel as a diaper. On top of that you're going to continue to spend money on something that you're trying to get your child to stop using. Instead of that, just jump straight to the undies. This way you don't spend your money on one type of diaper to another. Also it gives your child more of an opportunity to get used to the feel of undies.
- Do not under any circumstances have your child think it is ok for them to pee and poop on themselves. Now if it's an occasional accident then it's perfectly fine' however, if these are frequent accidents you should not have them think that it is ok. By doing that you are literally having them think that it's ok for them to pee and poop on themselves and in result you will make the milestone of potty training last longer.
- This step is completely your choice and I found it to be great. If you're child is great in the day time and you just want them to stop wearing diapers or pull ups in their sleep, try having them sleep in the underwear and (now don't freak out) but try waking up as much as possible in the middle of the night to get them to use the toilet. Yes this is breaking your sleep but it does help them get used to the feeling you that lets you know you have to pee. I had to go through this for about 3 months and now my baby wakes up on his own out of his sleep to go pee.
- When your child does finally have that celebratory first pee or poop in the toilet, praise them. Let them know that they did a good job and that you are proud. Also if you so choose give a little positive reinforcement. Positive reinforcement is basically giving a reward towards good behavior or good deed. When you give praise and an occasional positive reinforcement, that can help motivate your child to keep going.
- Lastly, BE CONSISTENT. You will never get to your goal if you don't keep your eye on the prize. I made the mistake to get too comfortable to my baby being in undies at home, but diaper at school and next thing I knew, I got lazy, stopped, and he ended up being back in full time diaper mode. Once I kept at it, we finally made it. There is no point in any of it if your heart is not fully in it.
So this concludes my tips on potty training. I truly hope that this helps many parents out there who are going through this.