Many times summer offers a good opportunity to potty train. Clothing is less restrictive and schedules can be more sedate. (Those of you with super hectic summers may already be skeptical of the authenticity of this post but please hang in there with me.)
Allie, my daughter, recently potty trained our granddaughter Anna. Watching her work through the process reinforced a few of my beliefs and also opened my eyes to some new tips. I guess my biggest suggestion is to JUST DO IT. Once you start then really go for it. Remember the post about bluffing as a parenting tool, well this is a prime chance to practice a powerful bluff. Just like they say about wild animals, they will sense your fear. It is the same with children and potty training. Plan for it. Make time for it. Just do it!
Here’s the kicker though – you need to be consistent, don’t go backwards, and do it all with a calm, positive, “you can do it” attitude. (This can sometimes be a tough test of your patience – but please perservere.)
Some of you may consider using a potty training chart. Here are a couple from this site: http://www.pottytrainingconcepts.com/CTGY/FREE-Potty-Training-Charts.html
Allie passed on this link to a fabulous post about potty training. http://www.littlellamas.com/2009/08/potty-training-101.html I think Carrie, the author of the blog, is really onto something. It is a long read but worth the time.
A couple of other tips my daughter had were:
- Prep your child with talk about the potty for a while before you actually begin the process. The Potty Time with Elmo book above is available at area stores. The little songs are catchy tunes. Your child will enjoy this fun way to begin talking about the process. Anna received one from a friend and was it was a hit!
- Set a timer to alert you when it is time to try to go. This takes the pressure off of you. “Oh, the timer says it is time to try to potty again!” It is even more fun if you let your child be the one to turn off the timer. We all know how kids love to mess with gadgets so this is a positive reward in itself. I understand some phones can have an app that gives a duck sound for the timer alert – how fun!
- Celebrate dry underwear as much as if not more than going in the potty. This gives you an opportunity to make this process as positive as possible – and it celebrates the ultimate goal, staying dry!
- In the beginning have your child practice with a doll. This gives them the opportunity to feel power over the process.
- If your child is resisting trying, you may want to go first. This just shows that you are on-board with this whole potty on the toilet thing.
- Let your child do what she wants to do at first, if she wants to wipe herself or not, flush herself or not, turn on/off the water or not. Eventually she will get to where she will want to do more herself
- Have your child help change his clothing when he is wet. Be sure to have him feel the wet underwear and talk about how dry underwear feels so good on our skin. I know that is unsanitary but the physical reinforcement will help. You can wash hands really well.
- Speaking of washing hands, make it fun. Buy some special soap, maybe a favorite character or sparkle soap. Your child gets to use this soap only after trying to go potty. Here is a link to a wide variety of fun soaps: http://www.cleanfunsoap.com/whats-new/
- When you begin using public restrooms be sure to hang something over the sensor of an automatic flush toilet. Children can be startled if it would begin flushing while they are sitting on the seat. Warn your child ahead of time when you are going to flush. They are loud and you don’t want anything causing regression in the process.
Those are my helpful hints for the day. Again, I encourage you to read the article. I will add my endorsement for the statement that once you are in underwear – stay in underwear. I believe pull-ups during the day just confuse the issue for children. I think this blog post has some great ideas but it is certainly not the only approach around. Please comment on this post if you can offer some tips or tricks that worked for you.