Monday, April 12, 2010

Potty Training

So, I've been thinking about subjects to write about lately to get the juices flowing again. Not blogging for awhile can do that to you! One subject I've read about lately and talked about is potty training.

I'm not about to say I'm an expert on this, I'm not about to tell you how to do it. I think what I want to write about is personal experience. Primarily when it comes to the child. My daughter is a first born and pretty headstrong. I had wondered often what it would be like to potty train my first. Would she be difficult and take a long time? Would she be afraid? Would she regress at all?

I think most first time mama's really start to get nervous when major milestones are approaching. There's so many variables. So and so did this, such and such happened with this one's child, etc. The number one thing I would say to any mom being nervous about any milestone or teaching step is that you know your child better than anyone!

You know how they react to certain things, you know how to calm them if they do react, and you know how to coax them when needed. I've known people that try and potty train at a year old and some that wait until 3 years old before even beginning. Why I chose to potty train my daughter and when was a personal preference for both my daughter and I.

She seemed to be ready around the time I started training her. She knew what was going on down there and started being ready for diaper changes fairly quickly. I didn't want her to be afraid or think that I was just forcing her to go all of the sudden so I started making a game out of putting her on the toilet with no expectation. My step-son, whom I didn't potty train, was terribly afraid of the toilet and the water and wasn't poop trained until he was 4 years old. I didn't want my daughter to be scared. She enjoyed the time sitting on the pot with a book and thought it was fun.

I bought underwear instead of pull ups because in my mind, they are glorified diapers. They are convenient when you want to rush out the door or have to be doing something in the car, etc. but, I didn't want to use them for training. I bought the thick training underwear and put them on my daughter. I took her to the bathroom about every 20 minutes and still she would wet or go poo in the underwear.

It was time to change tactics after that. I think that if you get stuck or something isn't working, change it up and see how your child responds. I went to the dollar store and bought stickers for my daughter's reward. I'd heard of candy as reward but, my daughter wasn't even two and she wasn't getting candy every day. I had heard about naked training through a friend that did it with her boys and it worked well with them. Off went her underwear and I stayed up on taking her often and asking her. She wasn't very verbal at the time but, she would get a certain look on her face when she had to go and would say "ew" to me. With the naked training, she was able to feel the sensations of going and wonder what to do with it. When I saw those signals, I would take her quickly to the bathroom. When she saw that she went to the bathroom and got a sticker, she was excited and starting putting the pieces together.

Over a few weeks time, she was completely potty trained including leaving the house. It can be done with patience and if you have a very head strong child, sometimes you have to change tactics. Sometimes you have to be patient and do a lot of coaxing but, don't be discouraged! It's a rewarding task to help your child to learn and grow and it's rewarding to have them out of diapers!!