Monday, April 26, 2010

More Potty Talk :)

I know we have had posts on potty training before so I apologize for writing another one, but we are embarking on this big milestone in the very near future and I have some specific questions that I would love some feedback on. We have been introducing the concept of potty training for a while now, but with a new baby joining our family and a big move coming our way we have yet to start the full blown thing. I just still need to decide on some specific techniques and which ones I want to use and that's where you all come in :)

So tell me your thoughts...
Pull-ups? No pull-ups? Training pants? A combo? Go cold turkey or practice a little each day while still using some diapers? Use diapers at night? What about for special outings like church-did you put a diaper on then? If so, for how long? Or did you just stay home and not go out much for a week or so until potty training was pretty much done? And what about a little potty? Did you use one? Or maybe a tight fitting seat cushion? Or did you just set your child on the big toilet?
Let me know your best "tricks" and wish us luck :)


Shantel said...

I have no personal experience in potty training, although we too are getting close. As I have asked around I have noticed that my friends who have let their kids wear NOTHING on the bottom half for the first few days have had better results that others I have talked to. They have said that it helps the chid be more aware of when they have to use the potty and that they have fewer accidents because the child knows there is no diaper to catch it (apparently underwear/pull ups can cause confusion). Like I said, I am just going off what I have heard, but think I will try that method and see if it works. I also plan on using a pull up for outings and a diaper at night (my little man still wakes up very wet in the mornings).

Delia said...

The only thing about going totally naked at the bottom is that they start playing with themselves...gross but it had to be said.

I definitely think all of the answers to those questions depend on you and your kids. I used to think pull-ups were just expensive diapers and they mostly are. The convenience of pulling them off and on easily is hard to beat though. In the end your child WILL be potty trained. Even if you have a rough start. So don't get too caught up in the particulars. That is how I feel about it anyway. We are playing it by ear without charts and pressure with our second child. We try it before bath and whenever else he tells us he feels like it. When he tells us he is really "ready" to make the switch to underwear then we plan on having a potty party and going cold turkey after that...but who knows in six months our plan might change based on what he seems receptive too. :)

Anonymous said...

Underwear and pullups (especially) can be confusing at first because they don't necessarily feel any different. Unless you've done elimination communication with your baby, they have essentially been trained to always eliminate in a diaper ie. when their bottoms were covered. Underwear, training pants, and pullups give them that "covered bottom" feel. So that's why they will not pay as much attention to it and have more accidents at first. Going bare, they are experiencing something new and are unsure at first if it is "safe" to go without being covered. That's why some children refuse to sit on the potty. It feels different and they have an emotional/security attachment to being covered. Encouraging them and reassuring them that it is safe to go potty without a diaper may be important, depending on the child. Some don't care.

In my experience, it's better to start before the kid turns two. When they are younger, developmentally they are still in a stage where they are learning about the environment through their bodies, so this is a more natural time for them to learn the skill. Their attention is focused outward, instead of inward. Also, they more readily try something new, follow directions, and want to make mom happy. If they can respond to the direction "Come here! Let me change your diaper!" then they can also learn the direction, "Run to the potty! Let's go!"

Obviously young toddlers go through ornery phases too, so it may be helpful to wait for a calm week before starting.

Once they enter the next developmental stage they can become very resistant to new things, and are more about showing how independent they are. They focus inward and become very egocentric. Then you have to wait until they are 3-4 before they are willing to try something new again.

With that being said, there may be less battle working with a younger child, but it will take longer. If you wait until the child is 3-4 then they can learn it in a week because they can put all the pieces together cognitively, instead of through exploratory experience. Usually, for the under twos it takes working with them every day for about a month. It depends on what is easier for you. Is it easier to take a month to train and then not change diapers for an extra year or two? Or is easier to just wait until the child wants to train themself and do it in a few days? There's not a right or wrong, it's all a matter of parental preference. Some children will 'want to' earlier than others. Some parents don't want to change diapers for another year and it's easier to spend a month working on it. I don't feel that "successful" potty training means that it happens fast. Just that there is improvement.

Tannie Datwyler said...

I have to say that from my personal experience, if a child is not ready to potty train then it isn't going to happen.

I'm not sure how I feel about the going naked thing.... what Delia said is VERY true and I'm not sure I would want to put up with that. I didn't try it with my little girl though.

I liked what the annoymous comment said about starting at under 2 because they are more receptive, but to a certain degree I don't agree. I started my daughter when she was just barely over 2 and she was SUPER willing to go to the potty and do all the things I asked her to, however, she simply didn't get it. After 2 months of VERY intensive training, she had not picked it up any better than the first day. That to me spelled out that she was NOT ready. We took a break and then tried again when she was 2 1/2 with the same result - after 2 months of very intensive training she didn't improve at all. But when I tried at 3 she achieved it in a week. So, for some kids starting early might be right, but for some it might make potty training the nightmare of your life. Just watch your own child and he/she will most likely show when the time is right.

One other example - my good friend started training her little girl at about 20 months and now her child is nearly 4 and still isn't potty trained completely.... so again, earlier isn't always better.

To answer your specific questions:

I did use pull-ups with my little girl the first two tries. I found them reassuring because when we went out I knew I wouldn't have to clean up a mess, but I do think they are confusing. On the 3rd round I never used them during the day. Instead, I took a leaf out of my friend's book. I would put a pair of pants and panties in a big gallon ziploc back and put them in my diaper bag everywhere I went. Then, if she had an accident while we were out we had the means to clean it up and keep it contained. But again... the pullups were no good for us. So we just used them at night. And when she really potty trained she was out of pullups at night within 2 weeks.

As for staying home vs. going out... well, with my little girl I spent an intensive week at home with her the first time I tried. I was about in tears after the end of the week. There was no break for me and all I thought about was potty training and she wasn't getting it at all. That just didn't fly for me. So when she had success on the 3rd time we really just carried on our lives as much as normal with potty training sliding into our normal routine... does that make sense?

If your child has NO experience with the toilet though I'd give at least a full day dedicated to trying to potty train so she can at least get the idea. But a week for me was like torture.

I did use a little potty for my little girl. I really liked it too because now we just use it for a stool. We took the pot out of the seat and now it is just a stool. She transfered to the toilet just a few weeks after she potty trained. She was big though - 3. So depending on the age of your child you can decide if you need a little one or not.

I did use a sticker chart all 3 times with my little girl... but like I said, she picked up the potty training so fast the 3rd time that we hardly needed it.

My biggest word of advice is this - don't EVER feel like you are failure if your child doesn't train early. Some kids are bound to do it at 18 months and some won't get there until 3 or later. Please, don't beat yourself up. I did it to myself for a year and it was miserable. I felt like I was a failure when in reality I had done all I could possibly do.

As always - do what is right for you! I love to see everyone's advice because we all come from different situtations.

Britta said...

I'm in the middle of working on potty training with my first. I tried the whole- going naked- idea and it honestly stressed my daughter out. For her it was so overwhelming to suddenly be naked (she is very sensative to routine and being naked wasn't part of the routine!) that she couldn't even focus on what her body was saying to her. Even if you don't know how she'll react, keep a close eye to make sure you reduce the stress before it becomes traumatic or it might set you back instead.

I am working with pull-ups during the day. So far its going okay. The diapers we bought have fairies on the front and I tell her that the fairies are there to remind her to use the potty. It helps and makes it fun.

I used the potty chair. There are brands that have the chair, a removable seat that can be placed on the toilet and can turn into a stool all together. I like that because getting up on the stool and onto the toilet is just another step that is difficult to work into the routine at first (because sometimes there just isn't enough time....)

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Yes I agree. Every child is very different. I have used a different strategy with each child, and I never felt bad about changing the strategy when I realized, "Okay THAT isn't working!" Also, it's a good idea to consider different learning strategies. Some kids learn by seeing, listening, doing, etc. Because I recognize that each of my kids were different, I tried to pick a strategy that would help them the most. For one, going naked helped because they could SEE what their body was doing. I put cheap shower curtains on the floor to protect the carpet.

For another, they needed to FEEL what their body was doing. I didn't want to do the pull-up route because they feel like diapers. So I chose to do cloth diapers for the duration of potty training and called them training pants. They contained the mess, but allowed the child to really recognize when they were wet. They weren't comfortable. Then I could just throw them in the wash and reuse them. I made all-in-one cloth diapers so I didn't have to do rubber pants. You can find tutorials online for making diapers, and it's really not bad.

But when the child didn't seem to be catching on very quickly, I didn't blame them or assume they couldn't learn. I figured that I hadn't figured out a way to help them learn it. So I tried something else. I stayed positive. It wasn't their fault. I didn't feel like it was my fault either! I was learning how to train a new child and teach them a new skill! Sometimes it takes me a little while to help them figure it out. But eventually they got it.

Just like learning any new skill, kids will learn some things fast, some things slow. Some will learn to count before they can recognize letters. But all kids can learn.

Maybe before you start you want to read around. I read all kinds of things before I started because I knew the more ideas I had, the better! Even when I read the back of the book and I thought, "Oh I fundamentally disagree with this author" I read the book anyway and let them try to change my mind. In the end, I still learned something even if I never followed their procedure. It helps reading opposing viewpoints and just gives you more strategies to use with your kids.

Tannie Datwyler said...

I love that Annoymous - I have only trained one child. How nice to hear from someone who's done it so many times! I'll need to be flexible with my son I think... and take a different route than with my daughter. Thanks so much for the tips.

Tannie Datwyler said...

And yes, I'm slightly dumb to not spell anonymous right... SIGH, it was written right before my eyes to see.

Anonymous said...

Tannie- Anonymous is a weird looking word anyways... don't worry about it!

As I went through the day yesterday thinking about your daughter's story, I began to wonder if those 2 potty training attempts actually helped her learn much faster the third time. Like maybe instead of being "frustrating failures" you should think of them as "learning experiences"? Because what if those two learning experiences made it really fast later? You allowed her to practice the potty concept a third time and it all came together for her that time. Or maybe, like you said it was the switch from pull ups to a different plan. Maybe it was the pull ups that she really didn't get.

Either way, I just wanted to make a point that there are lots of ways to potty train. Just like flashcards aren't the only way to teach the alphabet, going naked isn't the only way to potty train.

Also, I think the more kids you do it with, the more skilled you become! It sounds like you really learned a lot training your first child. The second will be easier because you know a whole lot more. And really, that's why God gave us kids: so we could learn and get better. Parents certainly don't start out perfect! ;-)