Whenever I found out I was pregnant with baby #2 while our first daughter was only 13 months, one of the first thoughts that came to mind (after the joy and excitement of course) was, "Oh my! I'm going to have two kiddos in diapers!" Well, with my husband's work schedule, I knew that one of the things I could tackle that could potentially help relieve some stress from having two little munchkins was potty training our eldest girl.There were glimmers of hope because Gianna was already verbalizing what was happening in the world of poo poos and pee pees at about 17 months. This was a sign that she was ready. Regardless if your child has verbalized his/her diaper experiences, I strongly believe that with the right tools and attitude on the side of the parents, your child can and will be potty trained with very little drama. I am happy to say that Gianna got the potty thing down by her 2nd birthday. Don't get me wrong; she still has accidents on occasion, but overall, she is using the potty for #1 and #2, both during the day and at night. Here are my tips to get your child on the potty training path to success:
1. Be patient. Go into this potty training experience, with the full understanding that it will take some time. How much time? Who knows? Just stay focused on what the goal is and that is to teach your child a life skill. While your child may take 2 steps forward and 5 steps back at times, try not to get frustrated and definitely don't let your child see you getting frustrated! Just take a deep breath and rest assured that your child will not be in diapers forever, unless there is some sort of medical issue (my thoughts and prayers to parents/children dealing with such a situation).
2. Be consistent. You cannot be on a potty roll one day, taking your child to the potty every 30 min. etc., and not even mention potty time the next. You are setting an example for your child so if it's not important to you, then it won't be important to him/her. Be sure to always talk about the potty. Every time you change your child's diaper, encourage your child by saying things like, "Next time, you are going to put the poo poos in the potty, not in your diaper!"
3. Make it fun. Ain't no shame to my game! Whenever I first started potty training Gianna, I gave her bath toys to play with and even had my iPad playing potty songs/videos/stories from You Tube! I sang and danced with her. I also modeled potty time for her by letting her in the bathroom with me whenever I would go. I talked her through everything I was doing (I know. I know. TMI! LOL) and she even sat down on her potty too - sometimes with her pants still on, but at least she was pretending to go! I did the tried and true sticker chart and gave her one sticker for poo poos and one sticker for pee pees so she could only get up to two stickers at a time. Once the chart was full, I treated her to a book at the bookstore, but you can do whatever reward you like. Also, after each time she went to the potty and used it, not only did she get to put her sticker(s) on the chart, but she also did a dance to Dora the Explorer's song "We did it!"
4. Don't give up. There will be times when you think, "My child is never going to learn how to use the potty!" But no worries! He or she will become a pro in their own time. Please do your child and yourself a favor and do not compare your kiddo to someone else, not even mine! Yes, Gianna may be potty trained by age 2, but I also know some parents who had their child trained at 18 months and others who had their child trained at 3 years old. This is not a one size fits all experience! Don't put pressure on your child to perform on your time table. Just provide your child with the learning opportunity and experiences needed to ultimately accomplish the task.
Here are some more tips:
- Before you start putting your child on the potty, monitor/track your child's potty schedule (time he/she does #1 and #2) for about 3 days, taking note of when he/she goes. Then by day 4, start putting your child on the potty around those times. Some hot times are before and after meals, as soon as your child gets up in the morning and right before your child goes to bed for nap time and bedtime.
- Do not have your child stay on the potty longer than 10 minutes at a time.
- Read books to your child about going to the potty. I took Gianna to the bookstore and had her choose her own potty book. There are a ton of children's books about potty time!