Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Reassurances to First-time Potty Trainers

Guest post by: Julie Kieras of the blog, A Year With Mom and Dad

I’m a former first-time potty trainer. In about a year or so, I’ll be back in the trenches, potty training my second child.

What I’ve learned from my sixteen month experience (yes, that long!) with my son is: “When they are ready, they are ready.” Our son gave many indicators he was interested in the potty at twenty-two months, but then lost interest about three hundred or so days of the following year!

I spent a lot of time being frustrated, comparing his progress to other children, and worrying something was wrong with him. In the end I learned … it was all okay and very normal. So I’m here to give a few reassurances to first-time parents of toddlers.

It’s okay: if the 72-hour plan doesn’t work for you. It didn’t for me. And I really, really tried it! In fact, in truth, it likely WON’T work unless your child is absolutely ready to potty train. (And you’re not nursing a newborn!).

It’s okay: if your child isn’t ready to potty train at the same time as other children his age. As my motherin-law always told me, “He’s not going to go to kindergarten in diapers.” Likely not!

It’s okay: if your child has an accident just milliseconds after you ask him if he wanted to use the potty.

It’s going to happen. About a million times! Just be consistent and help him attempt to go at regular intervals (upon waking, before meals, bathtime, sleeping are good signal times).

It’s okay: if your child seem unconcerned about whether they are wet or dry. One of these days it will just “click” and they will want to stay dry! Keep being positive about any success. When there are accidents, be matter-of-fact and positive about future success: “Uh-oh, it’s an accident! Next time we’ll get to the potty on time!” There should be no shame in trying to learn this very important life skill!

Look for true indicators your child is ready. Their excitement over a new potty chair and a sticker/reward chart might get you all excited too… but here’s what you should look for:

• Ability to take clothes off independently

• Finding more frequent dry diapers when you change them

• Willingness to sit on the potty for an extended length of time (more than 10 seconds!)

Above all – have fun with potty training. It can be draining and disappointing by turns! But don’t neglect to sing a special song to remind your child to use the potty, create a “potty dance” for successful “go’s,” and praise-praise-praise your child for all their efforts. Even when you do find toilet paper trails through the entire house because they wanted to find you to let you know wiped!

Looking back, most of the times I had to grit my teeth and keep pressing on have dimmed, and I mostly remember his delightful smile when he shouted, “I DID IT!” or “I’m DRY!!”

Then him beckoning me, “Come on, Mommy! Do the potty dance!”

And why not? – because every parent could use a little more dancing, right?

*Note that none of my advice here is to be considered professional or medical advice. I am speaking solely from my own experiences in hopes of helping other parents!

*Note from Joovy:  be sure to check out our potty for your potty training toddler. The Joovy Loo looks good and pairs perfectly with the StepTool for reaching to wash hands!

IMG_0540