Monday, September 15, 2008

Potty Training Boot(y) Camp

I am part of a MOPS email group in my area. Recently the topic of potty training came up and while I am not a potty training expert by any stretch of the imagination, I have potty trained three boys and given this advice to other Moms so I thought I'd share my ideas with the rest of you! So, welcome to "Tara's Potty Training Boot(y) Camp"! Pull up a (potty) chair, sit back, relax and enjoy!

Many parents have tried potty training for a while and then gone back and forth from diapers to pull ups to unders to pull ups to diapers. No wonder the kidlets are confused! (Yes, I did that with ALL THREE BOYS!!!) First, I would give it a short break. Give him a few days to just revert to diapers totally and completely. But, talk about it. "You use a diaper now, but in a few days you'll be out of diapers and will have to use unders like Daddy does!" "Remember, when you're potty trained you can have gum!" (Or whatever incentive you'll give to a mostly potty trained kiddo). "You're not quite big enough right now, but pretty soon you'll put your poops and peeps in the potty!" (We call them that, of course use whatever vocab you use.) "Oh no, I've only got three more diapers! After that we'll have to use unders." (I use pull ups at night so I just call them night time or nap time diapers.)

Also during this time make sure you're getting obedience in other areas. If you're telling him to pick up his toys and getting a big fit you shouldn't expect that he'll obey when you tell him to sit on the potty.

Clear your schedule for a few days for Potty Training Boot(y) Camp. You don't want to have to feel like you need to put him back in diapers for Sunday School, MOPS, grocery shopping or play dates. Make sure you have at least two to three days to dedicate to the project. Gear yourself up for it too! Stock up on M&Ms, jelly beans or whatever else would be a treat. Stock up on incentive treats for the kid, too! :) At first, give him one for just sitting on the potty (you could set a timer for a minute to make sure it's a good try). After a while he gets one for peeing. We also up the ante and give two for a poop!

My kids were a HUGE fan of the sticker chart. Do a google search for "free potty training chart" and you'll get some. Draw a little picture on the bottom of the paper of the incentive (we took the potty trainee out for donuts with a full chart.) One sticker for a pee, two for a poop. Talk about the incentive every time you get a sticker on that chart!

During potty training boot(y) camp I dress the kidlet in a t-shirt and underwear. NO PULL UPS! You want him to feel the wet and feel uncomfortable. Have him check frequently (by touching his pants) to make sure he's still dry! The goal is to stay clean and dry. Reward him for staying dry as well as for peeing on the potty. Yup, tons of treats during Potty Training Boot(y) Camp!

One thing I notice with a lot of parents is that they ask their child if they want to go sit on the potty or ask them if they have to go. "Humm, lets see, I'm playing with my toys and you wonder if I want to stop what I'm doing and go in and sit on the boring ol', nope!" Tell your child it's time to go to the potty, don't ask him if he needs to go. (This carries over into the rest of parenting too, but that's another topic.)

I set a timer to go off every 30 minutes all day long. When the timer goes off tell him it's time go to sit on the potty. Be sure to give lots of drinks and salty snacks which will encourage thirst which will encourage needing to go potty! After a few days lengthen the time on the timer. When you're really feeling brave eliminate the timer all together and let them take the reigns.

Eventually he'll pee on the potty. At that point you have a potty party! Now, some kids get freaked out when Mom starts clapping and shouting so take your own kid into consideration. Most Moms I know have a potty song of sorts. Ours is simple. "Pee pee in the potty! Pee pee in the potty! Pee pee in the potty! Woo!" Done in a chanty sort of voice while shaking a little booty and a big round of applause at the end.

He'll get it. Keep at it. Try to stay positive and when he has an accident try to encourage him that he'll get it next time, no big deal. Also, have him clean up the mess to the best of his ability. "Oh man, you're wet! What should you do? Okay, take off your unders and put them in the laundry (we had an ice cream bucket dedicated for Potty Training Boot(y) Camp accidents). Get some clean unders out of your drawer and put them on."

We have a "diaper drawer" in the living room which I filled with clean unders and pants for Potty Training Boot(y) Camp. I'm also sure to change the name from "diaper drawer" to "unders drawer".

By the time naptime comes around that first morning everyone is ready for a break. I put my kids back in a pull up for nap at first, but right away after nap back to Camp! :)

I've found that once they get the feeling of pooping on the potty they pretty much never go back. Try to hit the potty around the time you notice that he's pooping during the day or watch for clues that he's going and try to catch him and take him to the potty.

Once you've got a couple days under your belt it may be time to venture out into the world. I put training underwear (NO PULL UPS) on them with plastic pants. Have him carry a small backpack or bag with extra clothes (and wipes and a plastic bag for the wet clothes) just in case. Give him that responsibility. He's a big boy now.

Once you've had Potty Training Boot(y) Camp for a few days you may experience a battle of the wills. This is typically when Moms guess that their kids are just not ready and give up. If you're even the slightest bit sure that they're ready and that it is just a matter of wills, press on my friend, press on.

And there you have it. That's how we do it around here. I've heard that girls are easier to train. Anybody willing to share differences you noticed between training boys and girls???


christie said...

I guess I was very lucky with both my kids. Emma(5)starting going to the potty by herself without any problems. She had very few accidents. Caleb (2) is completly potty trained. He has been for about 7 months. He too started going by himself. I guess Im lucky. Hope you have as much success with your daughter.

LiL Sis said...

I was fortunate...Brittanie trained herself at 22 months, after bringing home the annoying lil brother. I don't remember potty training Keven. Needless to say this is a whole new adventure, with a "normal" child;) She's stoked, but at the same time easily distracted. We'll get it.