I felt like I gave a very brief summary of potty training adventureland. It was comparable to asking a cook for the recipe and they tell you the ingredients, but forget to tell you all the "little" things they add to the recipe to make it so darn good. I will always call the person later and say "That didn't taste like yours." To which they reply, "Did you run around the house three times with the cake before putting it in the oven?" Nope. You forgot to tell me that little secret of yours. Always essential to the success of the recipe. That would have been helpful YESTERDAY.
So, to provide a more detailed potty training how-to at our house.
A. Understanding the Age
1. I DO NOT stress about potty training. My motto "I have never seen a ten-year-old not potty trained." We will get there. I usually start around 2 1/2 for my girls. My mother has told me boys take longer and are harder. So, if I had little boys I would be resigned that we probably wouldn't start until later unless I thought they were ready. It definitely is one battle I will NOT battle.
B. I begin when the baby is 18 months or so talking toilet.
1. I have no intention of training them at that time, but I will say "Where does "DoDo" go? In the potty?" I ask that almost every time we change their diaper.
2. When I am getting ready to put the child in the bath, I always sit them on the potty first to get them use to the idea. "Do you want to go potty?" For example, I do this with Clairvaux (18 months) now. She thinks it is great because I will call the older kids in to see her. We all cheer. I think this has helped alleviate fear of the toilet. They are so use to sitting there "for fun" that when it comes time to train nobody is freaking out.
C. Assembly Utensils
1. Potty Seat: I LOVE the style that fits onto our normal toilet. I loathe potty chairs. I tried that once and cleaning the chair after each use made no sense to me. I love that we can travel with the little seat and that it is an easy transition to just sitting on the normal toilet.
2. Step Stool: This is essential to begin an important lesson I didn't learn until the last few. Teach them from the beginning the whole process.
a. move stool to toilet and pull down your pants
b. get on the stool
c. turn around and sit down
d. scoot back
e. use the restroom
f. wipe (this is up for discretion as I wipe our children for a while to eliminate the obvious.)
g. pull up your underwear
i. wash hands
j. turn off the light
When we first started training, I would just sit them on the toilet, but this became terribly inconvenient with every day living especially when they really needed to go and needed my help to just get on the toilet.
Vianney will say "I need to go potty." I now respond "You know what to do." She can go in the restroom and get herself on the toilet.
1. I buy two kinds. One for wet and one for the big job.
2. This little trick has worked great for motivation. If Vianney goes potty, EVERYBODY gets a treat. If she goes, I will call out into the living room "Vianney went potty!" Everyone comes rushing in and I have her hand out the treat to them (which she quite loves.) They all tell her "Congratulations!" John told me he likes this trick best because you see all of them ask her all day if she needs to go just because THEY want candy. Good Peer Pressure.
4. Character Undies
It has never worked for me to put them in pull-ups to train them during the day. It feels like a diaper. If they have an accident (BM) I usually throw away that pair of underwear. I look at it like diapers for just a little while. I will say "Don't get your Dora's dirty." My mother-in-law taught me this little trick. She told me to pick someone that the child knows i.e. the doctor and tell them "Dr. McNeely said you can't go in your underwear anymore." Lillie stopped wetting the bed literally that night. I couldn't believe it. I tell this to Vianney and know she understands what I am saying.
5. Books for the child to look at while waiting. Often, the child just needs to sit there for a little bit, but I need to go to something else so if I give them a book they will just eventually go.
D. The Actual Method
1. I wait until John has a couple days off so at least one of can be devoted to her for the first couple days. They have to be watched at all times so they don't sneak away and go.
2. The first three days I set the timer for 15 minutes. When it beeps, I take them into the restroom and start our routine as listed above.
3. Usually, they don't go at first because they are so use to standing and going. With lots of liquids, it is inevitable.
4. If the child goes before 15 minutes, I shorten the timer time to every 10 minutes until I can read there bladder size. Some have a bladder the size of a watermelon and others the size of a grapenut. You will have to watch your child. I mean LITERALLY watch them for the first couple days so you can run them into the bathroom if they start going.
5. For me, if the child isn't making any improvement after 2-3 days, I STOP. I will try again in a couple months.
6. If they are making headway, I eventually wean from the every 15 minute routine and just starting asking them often "Do you need to go potty?"
E. DO-DO Protocol:
1. This is usually the hardest part for most.
2. DO NOT, I REPEAT, DO NOT LET THEM SNEAK OFF TO DO THEIR DUTY. Urine must come out, but the bowel movement can usually be held by them until A) naptime B)when you aren't looking. They will watch. This is a whole new territory for them. Sitting and going versus the old habit of standing and going. I will not them out of my view.
3. You will start reading their signs of trying to sneak off or concentrating rather intently for longer lengths of time. They will probably cry and avoid the issue, but you must catch the act. Vianney cried the first time and said "I want to wear a diaper." John and I laughed because isn't life like that. Just as things are getting hard yet good, we want to put a diaper back on. I left her alone for a while and she went (which scared her). She did go once in her underwear and I showed it to her which completely disgusted her and probably won't EVER do that again.
4. For the first couple days, I don't put them down for their afternoon nap so we can continue to work on it and they don't a chance to do their big duty because THEY WILL if you give them the chance.
F. Going out to Church or errands, naps, and nighttime
(Make it a habit to put them on the toilet before leaving anywhere, before naptime, and bedtime. At least you can say, I tried to take them.)
1. Depending upon my comfort level, I will put them in a pull-up for the first few weeks for outings and mass.
2. For naps, I will put a pull-up on until they are dry for at least two weeks.
3. Same goes for nighttime. It has to be a good two weeks before I trust them.
1. I view it a lot like training them to do other things i.e. using the stairs, getting down from their highchair. It usually has to be taught some quickly others a little longer. Just like you wouldn't teach your 4-month-old to walk down stairs, you have to wait until they are ready for that phase to be taught.
2. Often, after 2-3 weeks they will digress for a few day. At first, I just explain that we don't do that. If it continues and I know they are just being stubborn, we will have some sort of discipline suitable for the age. You will know the difference between just "having an accident" while playing and willfully going in their pants. Most probably will have a few accidents while you are out, while they are playing within the first couple months. I just clean it up and re-explain "We do not go potty in our underwear, okay."
3. We always call John at work and the grandparents to let them know "They went potty." Vianney always says "Can I call Papa?"
4. Have your list of prayer intentions to offer up in case it isn't going easy-peasy. Why not save a soul or two in the process??????