Ah, potty training!
Go to a local bookseller and you will find dozens of books on the subject.
Search the Net and there are thousands of websites with information on
how to do it stress free. There are even people who are capitalizing on
a parent's frustration with potty training by offering to do it for you,
for a hefty sum! I honestly can't imagine anything more unseemly than paying
someone to teach my child to "go".
I have successfully potty trained 3 kids so far using this method. I
seem to be the envy of the playgroups when other Moms see that my 3 year
old son has been in whitey tighties for over a year. My oldest was also
2 when he potty learned.
For me, potty training starts with a newborn. Now don't get me wrong...I
do diaper my babes (unlike the native African mothers who wear their babies
on their backs and who, to avoid being soiled on, learn to read their babies'
cues so well that they know when their newborn needs to be held over a
bush...no, I'm not kidding!) but I have always used cloth diapers, which
encourages babies to train early. I'm not a longhaired, barefoot, off-the-grid
hippie (not that there's anything wrong with that, but you're more likely
to find me in Doc Martens than Birkenstocks!) but I have been cloth diapering
since the beginning.
It has saved me hundreds and hundreds of dollars, but I also like the
fact that my babies begin to make the association with the uncomfortable
wet feeling and the knowledge that they can prevent it. Most babies will
wake up dry in the morning at several months of age, demonstrating that
they are physically able to "hold it". In my opinion, Pull Ups are evil
and yet another invention that some clever businessman came up with that
parents now think is a necessity. Along with formula, baby swings, and
the like. Pull Ups just enable a 5 year old to keep soiling himself. Research
has shown that cloth diapered babies potty learn several months earlier
than disposable diapered babies.
So here's Grandma's recipe (and I do owe it to my Mother, like most
of the good stuff I know about parenting) for easy potty training, even
if you choose not to cloth diaper.
Let your baby come into the bathroom when you go. That way, they know
what's going on in there. You don't have to get graphic, just talk to them
about what toilets are for. If you are a woman at home all day with boy
children, encourage Daddy to show 'em how it's done. You don't want them
thinking that if they go on the toilet their equipment will fall off, like
Mum's obviously did. Strange, but true...some tots will come to this conclusion.
Buy 3 or 4 of those cheap little molded plastic potties and put them
around the house. At least, one in each bathroom and one in the kitchen
or the room where you spend the most time with your child. Stick a towel
underneath for the sake of your carpet if said child is a boy. Speaking
of boys...you can take advantage of nature here by keeping an open mind.
I know at least one boy who was trained when his Mom let him go off the
side of the deck.
The summer that your child is closest to two, take two days and don't
leave the house. Let your child run around naked from the waist down, with
a big tee shirt on top so that private parts stay private.
Every 10 minutes, place the child matter-of-factly on the pot. DO NOT
ASK inane questions like "Do you need to go potty sweetie pie!?" We are
talking about dealing with a two year old here! Just do it like it's the
thing to do, and don't ask permission. Don't force it, and if he/she wants
to get up right away, let him or her.
If you have a resistant child, set a timer to go off every 10 minutes.
It's amazing what a child will do when the power dynamic is taken away.
When the "potty timer" goes off, it's time to sit on the pot!
praise but don't go overboard. Act like this is the expected thing. Be
cool. Say "You put peepee in the potty, just like Mommy and Daddy (and
big brother, and your older play group friend...3rd parties are gold here!!)
Don't make a big deal out of what's happening. Don't spend hours reading
potty training books or videos to the child. Again, be cool. If you make
it into a big deal, your child will be more likely to dig in and resist.
Have some "big boy shorts" or "big girl panties" that you know your
child will like, perhaps that you have picked out together, ready for the
end of the two days. Your child will be less likely to have accidents if
s/he is going to mess up their new undies.
When the inevitible accidents happen, don't scold. Be patient and gracious.
This is part of the job. Remember that even if you decide to spring for
carpet cleaning, you will still come out ahead if you don't have to buy
diapers for another year or two!
About The Author
Carrie Lauth publishes a newsletter for Moms doing things the natural
way. Get your free copy at http://www.natural-moms.com.