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On Potty Training

On Potty Training

 

Sweet Victory

Sweet Victory

Orion is fully potty-trained now and perfecting his technique of standing up. I can’t say this is one of the joys of motherhood as the little one has to still work on grip and aim—there have been some awful bathroom incidents between mother and son where I’ve screamed cause he was peeing on me and everything else while wielding that thing like a weapon; during which time I also yelled  for Eric to come get him and re-instruct him on the art. But at last it seems the worst is finally behind us.  He has been wearing underwear since March, just one week shy of turning 2 1/2.

It feels so good to be diaper free.  Now there’s an expense I’m glad to be without. More testimony to how well God planned our three children.  I am completely done with potty training all of them in just 4 years.  Woo-Hoo! On top of that Orion is able to go to preschool in the fall because he can pee-pee like a big boy.  They don’t change diapers at his school.  Tonight I’m blogging to share a few tactics I used to get them all trained.  I did the same thing with each child.  I’m only going to give you the things that I really think worked.  The rest is useless.  But first let me say this, mothers (especially when training your boys) please do not freak out like I did when your children accidentally start whizzing everywhere while trying to aim for the toilet.  My girls too, had to learn to close their legs while sitting on the potty due to what we call “spraying out.”  Spraying out has been responsible for more than a few unbelievable accidents where pee shoots over or under the rim wetting everything in it’s path.  So remain calm and try out these tips if  you need help with potty training.  Incidentally, I trained my son to sit on a potty using a deflector cup first.  Then I sent him to daddy for the stand up part. Here goes:

1. Start training when they understand directions.  If you can tell them to complete a task and they do it even though they can’t communicate back, that means that cognitively they’re ready. Mine could do this at 15 months old so I start training at 18 mths.

2.Give them the steps. Example, “First you sit on the potty, then you pee-pee on the potty.” Use books to help with the steps as well.  This is also a good time to talk about who else goes potty. Here are some awesome books to use: It’s Potty time, Once Upon a PottyRuby’s Potty and Potty Time.  I got most of them at the library. One mom also said DVD’s were very effective for her son. 

3. Learn their potty schedule.  You’ll need to know about when to put them on it.  Don’t expect them to tell you they need to go just because they can talk.  Help them get used to going to the potty so you can work toward them telling you when they need to go.  First thing in the morning is usually a sure bet.  But, do not force them to sit on the potty.  This can cause defiance.

4.Repetition. Don’t give up.  You really do have to train your child to go potty.  It’s not going to happen overnight.  They have been trained to wet a diaper instead of staying dry, remember?  So stick with it help them over and over again. Repeat yourself one trillion billion gazillion times.

5. Have a potty party.  Put a small potty in your bathroom and when you go, invite your child to sit on her potty too.  It helps them see what you mean.  If they have siblings use the siblings too (if allowed).  If they don’t have siblings, each time they fill a diaper take it to the potty/toilet to dump it.  Then tell them, “Poop goes in the potty, not in your diaper.  See?”

6. Rewards.  Put stickers, candy or both near the potty so they can see it, but not have access to it.  Once they sit on the potty and try, give them a “good-try” sticker.  If they succeed in tinkling then after they wash up, reward them with a sticker and a small piece of candy. Do this every time they try and every time they succeed. I used chocolate kisses and jelly beans.  What’s a little extra tooth brushing when they’re learning to stop pooping in their diaper?

7. Give them praise.  Even when they aren’t on the potty just tell them how proud you are that they are trying to learn. Name all they family members who are proud of them too.

8. Bribery.  I know, it’s awful, but it worked for me.  Each of our children were promised a huge Christmas-like toy or something they really wanted badly once they were fully trained.  We’d keep reminding them every few weeks by saying, “You want that XYZ, don’t you? Then go potty and Mommy and Daddy will buy it for you.”  The girls each got their ears pierced and a $10 shopping spree at Claire’s (yes 2 year olds understand this). The boy got a basketball hoop. 

9. Put them in training pants (aka cotton underwear).  This is where me and alot moms disagree.  First I use pull-ups a while; normally for 3 to 6 months (we all know how expensive they are). Then I switch to real underwear once the child turns 2 years old.  My goal at that point is to  get them to actually say potty before they wet themselves and without me needing to guess when they have to go. So I resist the urge to put them on the potty.  I let them figure it out, so to speak.  If I need to go out of the house once we’ve entered cloth underwear stage, then I put a pull-up on them or plastic coveralls if I remember to do it.  I have tried underwear and had to go back to the pull-ups for about a month.  Then I put them into underwear again and never look back.

There is alot of clean up involved with this method. I stack pee-pee undies in the washer until nighttime when I wash a whole load.  The poop get dumped from the poopy underwear and then the underwear are put into a plastic bucket with hot water and oxy-clean.  After they’ve soaked a few hours, I wear rubber gloves to scrub and rinse them. Then I toss them in with the pee-pee undies for a  good washing.  Any spillage onto a floor anywhere gets cleaned up immediately with woolite or bleach and a scrubbing tool or mop. No smells or stains remain.

10.Buy multiple potties.  Eric’s grandma recommended this.  It was a great idea.  I put a potty on my middle level where there isn’t a bathroom.  Accessibility gave my kids no excuse not to go.

11.Pray.  No, seriously. Pray.  It works.

Potty training is no joke.  It is hard to persevere when you have other little ones depending on you.  I know.  We are talking serious, serious work and a process that takes 6 to 9 months, in my opinion. And if  you believe boys take longer to train than girls, I would start earlier with a boy.    Although most children can understand what to do when they turn 3, remember there may still be a learning curve. Would you rather clean it now or later? Some people are fine with later.  There are also times during training when your child makes great progress only to regress completely and you don’t know why.  No matter. Just suck it up and start with the basics again.  You’ll see progress again soon.  By the way, I know all about punishment for children while potty training such as having them wash their own soiled underwear or spanking them.  I don’t believe those methods work for most children and I would stick to the positive techniques only. 

I’m open to any questions that you might have.  Post a comment or email me directly. Many blessings!