Potty Training, UGH!
It took well over a year for us and it.was.aweful. I learned a lot of lessons along the way, most of which involved me going AGAINST what the books said. So I wanted to pass these lessons on to you, in case you have that itching urge to do the total opposite of what the books tell you.
1. Don’t Overpush: My daughter was willing and excited to go on the toilet at 18months. So I thought, this is great! I then went full-boar into trying to potty train. This meant doing all the things below, and I just overdid it for her. Instead, I should have given her some time to just explore doing it on her time, not mine. I’d give her a few opportunities, but not many. I gave us a potty vacation and re-started it again with this concept and did much better.
2. Try Going By A Routine, Not a Timer: Lots of people said to set a timer for every 20 minutes and go to the bathroom. This just meant that there was a battle every 20 minutes. Plus it always interrupted what we were doing, which caused a big fight with her. Plus it was tough when we were away from home. I noticed my daughter generally had no accidents when we went before and after meals and before and after sleeping–she rarely has to go more than that (although we do try if it’s been a bit). So we just incorporated potty time into our daily routine.
3. Naked time doesn’t always work: Oh man, EVERYONE says to do it, and if it works for your kid, AWESOME. Mine couldn’t care less if pee was running down her naked legs. It just meant my carpet smelled like pee. Honestly, I have found that cloth diapers have been the best way to go. I am not spending money on expensive and not-eco-friendly disposable pull-ups, underwear she just peed into and all over the floor, and right now I am still struggling to find a trainer that I can really trust (most only hold 50-75% of an accident–I’ll keep you posted if I find a solution. The closest one I have had is the Snap-EZ stuff able trainer).
4. Try Video Games: Yeah, you heard that right. Go against everything you are told. But the second my daughter had a video game in her hands, she’d sit there long enough to pee, and then she would get a jelly bean, which gave her a chance to get some positive reinforcement. My son even sits there too, and at a year old went pee. It just keeps them busy long enough (but don’t even get me started on when little man stood up and peed all over my husband’s iPad!). My daughter likes my Kindle Fire (which you can get for a good deal if you use Swagbucks). Books are another good substitute, I just found that they fell easier.
5. Consider Rewarding with Food: Yup, you heard that right. I tried stickers, hugs, etc. Apparently the only way to my daughter’s heart is through Jelly Bellys. She loved going and picking out her color. So you just have to try what works. I know that goes against the books, but that was just what I felt I should do. I think most of the food-reward controversy is in regards to causing people to turn to food for emotional reasons–I personally feel like I should teach my own child how to eat these treats in moderation. But again, to each his/her own!
6. Discipline the Child–But For the Right Reason: I kept reading advice about how you should never discipline when potty training, so I didn’t. But I finally realized that the issue I had was not a potty training issue, but moreso an issue of her not coming to me when asked, or her not going to do something when told to do so. I never cared if she went potty, I cared that she went TO the potty. So if I asked her to go sit on the potty, and she ran away, I gave her time out and explained why it’s important to listen and come when asked. That knocked that habit fairly quickly, although we still have some struggles with that.
7. Discipline YOURSELF: I have found that the most difficult part of potty training is me. I get tired after a long day and just want to get her in bed, instead of giving her a chance to go on the toilet. Or we are in the back of Target and she needs to go…..but I have a cartful of things and the bathrooms are all the way up at the front of the store–so I didn’t take her. This was BAD of me, and I kick myself for it all the time. I have found that my own personal consistency has had the best impact on her and potty training.
Most importantly, read your child throughout this whole process. Consider your own child’s unique needs and personality traits. Remember, YOU are the most qualified person to write a book on your child.
What are your potty training tips?