Sunday, August 6, 2017

Three tips to ease potty training

Mom2MomEd Blog: 3 tips to ease potty training
My son and I went through potty training about 15 years ago--he's 18 now and, thankfully, we practically sailed through potty training during the toddler years. I know not everyone is so lucky. Several of my friends have young kids and are going through the potty training journey now with varying levels of success and frustrations.

While there are no guaranteed methods to potty train your child with ease, here are three steps I took with my son and why I think they worked so well:

1. Keep the door open
This seems to be a little bit of a controversial suggestion, especially if your child is the opposite gender of yourself, but if it's not a hassle, why not keep the bathroom door open?

I think one of the big reasons that kids are afraid to use the toilet or have difficulty with potty training is simply that the bathroom is mysterious. They know there's a toilet, and maybe they have some idea of what the toilet is for, but without seeing anyone use it, the toilet is this mysterious thing--it's this bowl, filled with water, with a huge hole. It makes complete sense to me why a child might be afraid of the toilet! If you had to sit on a bowl with an opening significantly larger than your backside, wouldn't you be afraid of falling in???

I struggled with toilet training my son until I didn't get the door shut all the way one morning when I had to use the bathroom. My son followed me to the bathroom and pushed the door open and suddenly the mystery around using the toilet was gone. After a few more times of seeing me use the toilet, it became much easier to convince him to sit on the seat--of course, we did get a little seat that fit on top of the regular toilet so that he wouldn't fall in! (THIS seat is very similar to what we used.)

You can buy little potty chairs, but I honestly think you can skip that unless you are traveling a lot and think your little one can't make it between pit stops.

2. Make it fun
There are a variety of ways to make potty training fun. My son didn't really need stickers or treats or other little trinkets when it came to potty training, but due to some ongoing gastrointestinal issues, he did need a way to pass time on the toilet without focusing on the actual task of going potty.

I kept a basket in the bathroom filled with some of my son's favorite books and periodically slipped in a couple of new books as well. We read books related to using the toilet, as well as many other little books that were simply enjoyable to read together.

We also spent a lot of time singing silly children's songs while he sat on the toilet waiting for the potty action to happen.

Then, once he'd peed or pooped we both clapped and I would give him a hearty "Good job, buddy!" and we'd do a high five. If you can get your child onto the toilet, it doesn't take much to make it a happy, fun experience (as fun as going to the bathroom can be, anyway!).

3. Stick to a schedule
You don't need to be super strict in keeping your child to a potty schedule, like drilling down to the minute or even to the five or ten minute marks; however, your child will benefit from a loose potty schedule. You'll need to gauge where your child is in their potty training and how long they reasonably can go between potty breaks to determine the schedule.

With my son, we started out by going to the potty first thing in the morning, trying for the same time every morning. Then, we would make a trip to the toilet every two hours throughout the day. Over time, we were able to stretch to three, then four hours between bathroom trips. Of course, we weren't always successful and sometimes we were out doing errands and a bathroom wasn't readily available or the only available bathroom was too gross for us to even consider.

As I mentioned, there are no guarantees that any particular method will work for your child. You may have to do some trial and error to find what works best for your family, but above all, pay attention to the clues your child is giving you. You may find that other tips and tricks work best for your family. Ultimately, do what works for your child's temperament and your situation.

Of course, I am not a medical doctor or other medical professional, so if you have any concerns about toilet training or other issues with your child, be sure to consult a pediatrician or other appropriate professional. The tips I provided here are only my opinion and are not to be taken as medical advice.

Are you a seasoned parent that has already gone through potty training with your children? What great tips or ideas do you have to share?

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