Thursday, November 19, 2009

In the beginning...

We have discussed potty training previously, but it's one of those topics that just never goes away...

My daughter will be two in a month and a half. I know she is still quite young, but we have already entered the realm of potty training. I didn't bring it up...she started showing several signs that I have heard are good indicators of being ready to potty train. She talks about going potty often and asks to go--she's interested. She pulls at her pants or even pulls them down after she soils her diaper--she's aware. And she wakes up dry from naps--she's ready???

I have several questions that I think bear discussion, both for me and for everyone else out there who is maybe less than thrilled about venturing into the bathroom.

What indicators do you look for to know that your child is ready to potty train?

How often do you take your child to the bathroom?

So far, we haven't pushed too hard. My daughter generally takes a trip to the bathroom in the morning, before nap, before bed, and a few other times throughout the day, either when she asks or when someone thinks of it. Do you have a "bathroom schedule" or do you just let it happen as it will? Do you require them to sit on the toilet even if they say they don't need to go?

Are there any products you have found helpful? Not helpful?

I have stuck with pull-ups during the day (mostly for my own convenience in the whole deal) and regular diapers at night. I think I'm afraid to get too committed at this point. Do you start with diapers or pull-ups and eventually switch to underwear, or do you start with underwear from the very beginning? I've wondered about training pants (or cloth diapers) thinking that maybe it would help give the feel of regular underwear but keep me from having too much mess to clean up. Thoughts?

And in the toilet department. What do you think of self-contained potty chairs? The size seems nice, but I'm not excited about it needing to be emptied each time it is used. We recently bought a potty seat that sits on top of the toilet itself. That is nice for not needing any emptying beyond flushing, but would it be better if it was the child's size so they can be as independent as possible in the whole process?

And lastly, motivation.

I have shown an overabundance of excitement every time my daughter has successfully gone in the toilet, but she doesn't seem to get why I am so happy. I want her to get excited, too, with the idea that then she'll be that much more interested in going to the bathroom. How do you motivate your child to want to use the toilet? Candy? Stickers? Verbal praise alone?

What is your method? General tips?

Deep breath. We can all get through this together!


On The Go Family said...

There are so many different methods of potty-training: here's what worked for us. We do the hard core approach and go straight from diapers to underwear. We pick a couple weeks when we've got no plans, no visitors, no holidays, etc, and go for it. Note: warm weather months are much easier for this approach than cold ones. Then I let everything go and spend the first two or three days staring at the child looking for any indication that they have to go. I'd say I took them potty every 20-30 minutes. I pump them full of liquids so we have lots of experiences to work with. They usually run around in just their underwear because of the constant cleanup involved and this makes it easier. We stay in areas of the house that can't be harmed (white carpet, etc.)

This process starts out to be very discouraging. The first day basically all you do is clean up pee with little to no successs. But generally by the end of the first day, you'll have one or two full or partial successes. Make a big deal out of those and don't make a big deal out of the messes. The last thing you want is for your kids to feel guilty about the accidents when they don't even know how to recognize when they need to go.

Despite going full throttle through the day, we did diapers at night for the first two or three weeks, then slowly switched to underwear. Neither of my kids have had a problem at night, but I know it's VERY common to need pullups/diapers for a long while after daytime training, so don't stress over that.

For both my kids (who were both around 2 1/2 when they potty trained) by day three they were almost there. We went from 9 accidents and one success on day one to 1 accident and 8 successes on day three. From there, we had relatively few accidents (and planned much of our lives around regular potty breaks) and before we knew it, they had strengthened their bladders and were fully trained.

Now I know this method doesn't work for everyone, but it did for us. With my first, we had tried everything else with her for 6 months and had no success. With my second, we went straight to this approach and he was trained in three days. Beware of creating a power struggle with your child over potty-training; that happened with my oldest and it was a bear to get out of it.

As for incentives -- we used mini marshmallows. They got one for trying and two for a success. This lasted for about two weeks and then when the bag ran out, I said, "All the marshmallows are gone" and we moved on with no problems.

As for products -- we love the Baby Bjorn toilet seat that goes on top of the toilet. It has a little handle that makes it easy to remove or put on. It fits both round and elongated toilets. It has a lever that tightens it so the seat doesn't wobble at all -- this was important with my oldest who was so afraid of falling in. It's not cheap -- about $30 a seat -- but was so worth it for us. That and a stepstool was all we needed. We got two sets -- one for downstairs and one for the kids' bathroom upstairs. They've been great!

Jared and Delia said...

WOw...we had a tough potty training experience with my oldest son too. He showed almost all the signs of being ready but unlike your daughter he didn't want to say good-bye to diapers just yet. He was not emotionally ready.

As for a small training toilet. If your daughter is afraid of the big toilet, then get one, but it doesn't sound like she is so it may just create an unnecessary step for you in this case.

I REALLY like the method that On the go family described. We tried many different tactics from age 2 until after 3 years old. It only worked when my son decided he wanted it to work. So I can't remember everything we did. I just know we didn't do the cold turkey underwear thing...I was too nervous about that - but maybe I will just have to go for it with my next one. Whatever you do, you know when your daughter is completely ready...not some book, or some list of indicators. WHen you know and feel that she is ready for this big step out of babyhood then go for it. That is the key to any method I believe. It has to be their idea.

Jes said...

Im excited for this post! My daughter is starting to show signs too, and Im thinking this will be where we are within the next few months and I have no idea where to start! :)

Universitybabe said...

I like the leap method--the jump from diapers to underwear. I buy 1 package of pull-ups for running errands or car trips until I am confident I can trust them but otherwise I stick to underwear. I HATE it, I hate cleaning up the messy underwear but my kids have cought on pretty quick. I have to reminde myself to have them go at regular intervals and the adjustment to being self-regulated often sets us a small step backwards because they aren't paying attention just listening to me. I would say this method takes ~2 weeks for me but it is doeable some of the other stuff just isn't me. (My hubby does turn a little red when the kid call him at work to tell about successes in the beginnning. They like that more than the treats because they usually don't talk to daddy till dinner time.) This latest time with my son at almost 2 1/2 we would be doing great then have a week of problems do great and start to forget and then have a few days of problems. Eventually I bribed him with his clothes. If he had an accident he couldn't put on pants and therefore couldn't leave the house. As for equipment--go with the flow. I had one who only used a potty chair, one who made the choice different almost every time she went and one who refused the potty chair.

darcie said...

both of our kids trained young - our daughter was 2 and our son was 1 year and 10 months - both times we left it up to them but made it fun-
We did NOT use the small potty chair after about the first month-the problem with those is, they aren't available where you are for most of your life - ie: at the store, your friends house, a restaurant, etc - so make it easy from the get go-
We also let our kids wear underwear around the house and had them sit on the potty every hour on the hour when we were able to - then we had CRAZY potty dancing celebrations when they went -
another thing that worked for us - stopping to go potty VERY frequently when we were out and about - at Target, at the zoo, etc - because I wanted to show the kids that stopping to go potty and returning to said activity doesn't mean that said activity has to be over - good luck!

JeriLynn said...

Let me tell you one thing: changing diapers is a lot easier than spending months cleaning up the floor and being frustrated because one of you wasn't ready to potty train. Don't give in to any pressure tell you to have your child trained by such and such age. Do it when you are absolutely sure she is ready for it, and when you are ready for it, too.

A year and a half after I started her toilet training, my 3 1/2 year old is pretty much potty trained. (Not at night, but that's a different issue.)

The delay was due to multiple issues: she wasn't emotionally ready at the age of two (neither was I, for that matter), we were about to have a baby AND move cross-country, and I turned it into a power-struggle by losing my temper with her a lot.

Here's my advice:

1- Wait until your child is ready and your life is stable.

2- Do not ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever lose your temper or mock your kid for an accident. Just clean it up (with her help) and move on. Give her as little positive OR negative attention over it as possible.

A couple random thoughts....

My daughter is more likely to run to the toilet by herself if she is naked.

Also, after more than six months of daily (or more) accidents, I gave up trying to potty train her altogether. I had cheap pullups for her and rewarded her when she used the toilet, but otherwise, I just stopped caring. That has worked well because it's helped ease the pressure she felt and heal the damage I did when I got angry. It's taken almost a year, but she is in underwear during the day and only has a couple accidents a week, though it can still be a struggle to convince her to use the toilet.

Buy a bucket to keep in the bathroom to collect the soiled clothing and cleanup rags.

Cloth diapers are absolutely necessary for cleaning up accidents. I pile a stack on the area and step on it until all the urine is soaked up (after she's done the same thing; my weight is more effective at soaking it all up, though). I have never had a problem with staining or odors with this method. I also recommend having a carpet shampooer around, if possible.

I honestly don't think of potty training as that frustrating anymore. It's a hurdle, but if we look at it as something to be feared and hurried past, it only puts more pressure on us and thus on the kids.