Updated 9:15pm, 3/1/11 *this giveaway is now closed* Congratulations to Cindy, comment #20 !
You learn early on in motherhood that a lot of your time, energy and thoughts become dedicated to your child’s elimination habits. It starts as a newborn, tracking wet diapers, watching for meconium, and generally marveling that an 8lb baby can produce a 10lb diaper. As your child gets older, you get into the diaper routine, and then, one day, all of a sudden, you are in the throes of potty training.
And you’re forced to wonder — how long is it supposed to take? do I need to shadow my kid all day long? will I have to send stickers to first grade as a reward when she goes on the potty there without being asked?
Last night I had the opportunity to participate in a conference call that answered all those questions and more. Dr. Gwen O’Keefe was on a conference call with nine bloggers, in conjunction with the Pull Ups Potty Dance Day. We were free to ask our questions and get real answers back. While I’ve talked to our doctor before, and while I’ve talked to fellow moms before, it was great being able to do both at the same time. I got to ask my questions, and listen to the answers of their questions.
Here are six things I took away from our conversation to keep it together while your child is mastering this life skill. At the bottom, see the details on a giveaway to win some tools that will help you in this process!
1) Three year olds are mysterious little people who know the fun of a good power struggle. Or: Keep cool, keep cool, keep cool.
It will take your child about thirty seconds to realize how important potty-training is to you. Interest may wax and wane, and that’s normal. Doing great for a week or two and then regressing is totally normal. Don’t sweat it.
2) Transitions can throw young children off — different environments have different routines, and that’s OK.
I learned that it’s totally normal for children to master going one place first, then a second place. This is why your child may stay dry at home and still wet at daycare or vice versa. Dr. Gwen also spoke about potty-training being a requirement for some preschools. Her advice was if you’re at all concerned, find a school that will work with you. Starting school is stressful enough without mastering potty training at the same time.
3) When your child isn’t responding to you (remember, they are mysterious), call in reinforcements. Sometimes grandma, a beloved babysitter or favorite aunt or uncle can get things rolling.
True story– my friend’s son went to Grandma’s for a long weekend. He left in diapers. He returned in underpants. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
4) Children need a little leverage to poop — that’s why they squat close to the ground. Imagine trying to poop without your feet on the ground. It’d be tricky, no?
So many kids hide when they poop. Dr. Gwen’s point was that if they go off to do it, and tell you they do it, then they are “poop trained”. See #1. Eventually they will use the toilet.
5) Potty training is a process that involves your child’s body, it needs to be child focused and driven.
This was a good reminder for me — it’s not about my timetable, or how I think it should happen. It’s about my child learning to be in control of his body. See #1.
6) Night time training isn’t training, it’s biological.
Up to 10% of 5 year olds are still wet at night. Make it a habit to use the toilet before bedtime, don’t drink too much before bedtime, and be patient. A helpful point is to take your child to the toilet before you’re ready to turn in for the night. Eventually, waking up dry will happen.
Is anyone in the throes of training right now? I have to be honest, I’ve been sort of avoiding it with the boy. To be honest, I’m still kind of exhausted from training MaM. But he’s started, and he’s “getting” it, and so far so good. Being iced-in for that first week in February was definitely good for something.
What is the Pull Up Potty Dance Day Party? It’s a national celebration on March 5 of kids making that transition to being potty trained. In Indianapolis, a concert is being held at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis with Ralph Covert, of the children’s band, Ralph’s World. My family will be there — will you? Here’s a coupon for a discount admission if you’d like to join us: http://www.childrensmuseum.org/promo/dance.pdf
Now for the giveaway!
Just leave a comment here (be sure to enter your email on the comment form so I can reach you) telling me something about potty training, either past, present or future. You’ll be entered to win a Pull Ups Potty Dance Party Pack, which includes valuable coupons, a dance mat, a DVD with helpful tips and stickers for your Big Kid. Comments will stay open til say, Tuesday March 1st. Good luck!
Disclosure: I was asked to be a part of this conference call by Pull Ups in conjunction with Potty Dance Party Day. I received a Potty Training kit, the opportunity to speak with Dr. Gwen, and admission and a stipend for expenses for attending the Potty Dance Party.