Today, my oldest (Emma) graduates from pre-school and tomorrow, she has her kindergarten orientation (even though we still somehow have another few weeks of school here before summer vacation indeed begins).
I honestly can’t believe how fast time has flown or how she literally is growing up right before my very eyes. We have had met, exceeded and surpassed many milestones here.
Recently, I was asked which milestones were my favorites (like first words and walking) and which were truly not.
I readily admit that potty training was one of my least favorite and most challenging, too. I read all the books on this and when it was time to begin with Emma back a few years ago, I thought I was ready, but sadly I failed miserably the first time out. It took us over 6 months to finally get it right.
But, as my mother always told me, “Practice does make perfect” and “Try if nothing else to learn from your mistakes”.
I think I did both on this milestone and when the time came only a few short months after with Lily, I think we nailed it and she actually potty trained pretty quickly and even at a bit of a younger age then Emma. For more on the back story to that, click here.
So, in honor of Emma indeed growing up and reaching another milestone this week, I am going to share a bit about this milestone (potty training) that helped me to learn that it is ok to make some mistakes along the way and still learn from it.
Potty training is a landmark event for your child and for you. Your child will be making strides toward becoming a big boy or girl. The key is to make this a positive experience and to have patience, perhaps more than you’ve ever imagined.
Is This The Right Time For Your Child?
Know that a timer doesn’t go off and then you’re required to potty train your child. Potty training happens when your child is physically and emotionally ready, not at a specific age. Many kids show interest in potty training by age two, but others might not be ready until they’re 2½ or even older, and for your sanity and your child’s there’s no need to rush it. Here’s a checklist that can help you determine if you and your child are ready:
- Not to be Captain Obvious, but does your child seem interested in the potty chair or toilet, or in wearing underwear?
- When you give your child basic directions, can she understand and follow them?
- When your child needs to go potty, can you tell by what she says, any facial expressions or postures, such as crossing her legs?
- Does your child stay dry for periods of two hours or longer during the day?
- Does your child complain (verbally or physically) about wet and dirty diapers?
- Can your child pull down his or her pants and pull them up again by himself or herself?
- Can your child sit on and rise from a potty chair by himself or herself?
These questions can illuminate if the time is now, or if you should wait, according to the Mayo Clinic. Other considerations include if your child has recently faced, or is about to face, a major life change. Have you moved recently? Have you had another baby recently, or are you expecting a baby? For your peace-of-mind, know that a toddler who isn’t receptive or ready for potty training today can make huge strides very quickly and may be open to it in the near future. Don’t stress about it.
Set Your Child Up For Success
- Maintain a sense of humor and positive outlook and you’ll be ready for anything, like here.
- Place a potty chair in the bathroom. A great addition is to use books on how to use the potty chair, so that your child sees how other kids have used it and sees it as something positive. See if your child wants to sit on the potty with or without a diaper, so he gets used to it.
- Schedule potty breaks. Take the time to have regular potty time each day. For boys, it’s easier to master urination sitting down before moving to standing up. Let your child read the potty book while sitting on the toilet. Even if your child just sits there, offer praise for trying, and remind her that she can try again later. While kids practice, some parents have successfully used training pants, as a way to have their child practice pulling down their pants when they sit on the potty and then pulling them back up again. The Honest Company carries cloth-like training pants, which are eco-friendly and are great for this transition time. Training pants are also great if you have a precocious child who shows an interest in potty training at a very early age where she might not have full control over her bladder says Babyparenting. You can introduce potty training but also have some back up.
- Time to go. When you see that your child needs to go the bathroom, get them to the potty quickly. Give kudos to your child for letting you know that he had to go. Make sure girls learn to wipe from front to back, and if she goes on the actual toilet, give her the honors of flushing the toilet.
- Reward. Whether it’s stickers on a chart or a trip to the park, or an extra story at bedtime, make sure you give praise and rewards for your child’s success.
- From diapers to pull-ups to training pants. After several successful weeks of potty breaks, you might reward your child with a shopping trip to pick out their big boy or big girl underwear. Make sure you celebrate this transition. Call grandma and grandpa and let your child share the news. Once they’ve made the switch, make sure you choose clothing that doesn’t get in the way of your child undressing (like overalls, tights, etc.).
- Sleepy time. As potty-training for the daytime is typically quicker than overnight training or naps, continue using disposable training pants and plastic mattress covers when your child sleeps. For your child, pull ups at bedtime will be a reward as compared to a diaper and reinforce the progress they’ve made.
- If at any time there’s too much resistance, just take a break. Potty training isn’t a race, and once you’ve both taken a breath you’ll be ready to try it again in no time flat.
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