More Potty Talk

Have you read through the comments on last week’s post about Potty Training? If you are potty training or child or getting close to that time, go read them. It was reinforce the fact that this is tricky business, that while every child is unique, you’re not the only one who has a kid who: _______(fill in the blank).

I am by no means an expert, but  I wanted to address a few more issues that were brought up multiple times during the giveaway. I hope it helps!

How do I get my child interested in potty training?

It all depends on your child. You can go buy a little potty together, or wrap it up and give it as a gift to your child. If the weather is nice, don’t discount letting your child run around in the backyard without any bottoms on. Actually seeing what happens can be very helpful. You can leave the door open while you use the toilet, or comment on how an older sibling, cousin or friend is using the toilet. If your child is dry during a usual diaper change time, invite your child to sit on the potty. Before bath was the first time both my children started using the toilet regularly.

My child started training, then stopped and/or is now scared of the potty.

I know children who stopped and started several times before they were fully trained. As a matter of fact, if you search my archives, you can find phrase “pull ups are dumb and a waste of money.” And they can be, when you child is just wetting them like diapers and not coming within 50 ft of the bathroom. If they start with gusto, and then lose interest, don’t sweat it. Keep the little potty out, keep up the positive potty talk, and praise your child when the mood strikes and he uses the toilet. One thing that can work is a deal where you have your child sit on the toilet and count to ten. If he goes, great. If he doesn’t, at least he’s tried. As far as being scared is concerned, try enlisting some help. Maybe grandma can bring buy a new, non-scary potty. At last week’s Twitter party, the idea of using “monster spray” on the toilet seat seemed to be a good one (get a spray bottle of whatever, say it keeps away the monsters).

Poop is a whole different thing.

Remember, your child needs leverage to poop. Pooping in the little potty will be much easier for him, although messier for you. Lots of kids go off and hide to poop. As far as taking off the messy diaper and making big mess goes, you’ve got two choices. You can either give your child a consequence for taking off the diaper or pull up, or you can switch to a brand with sides that don’t open (usually store brands). Incentives sometimes work, it just depends on the child.

Getting Trained for School

If your child is going to be enrolling in daycare where there are children in diapers, don’t sweat the potty training. If the daycare serves ages as young as one and as old as four, you can bet they’ve done their fair share of potty training. Ask what the protocol is at the center, and work with the teachers to facilitate training at home and at daycare. Consistency is key, and don’t be surprised if your child stays dry in one place before the other.

If your child is enrolling in preschool, where the youngest children are around three, then your child more than likely won’t be allowed to attend with a disposable diaper or pull up of any sort. For some facilities, it’s a licensing issue, there are simply some procedures which must be in place if there is diaper changing happening. Your child should be wearing underwear by the time school starts, and able to make it to the toilet on his own (pull pants up and down).  Ask the school how they handle bathroom accidents. They should be reassuring in that it isn’t a big deal, and they should reassure you that accidents will happen (if they don’t, the school may not be the right place for your child). They may expect your child to be able to make a good attempt at dressing himself, so be sure to practice at home. If school is only a few weeks away, ask if your child’s admission can be delayed until he is more independent in the bathroom.

More Questions?

If you haven’t checked out Pull Ups on Facebook, go do it right now! They have a section called “Advice & Tools” where you able to ask your questions and get answers from people who can help. You can also read story after story of families who are working their way to being diaper-free.

Thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway and came with their potty training stories and woes — if nothing else, I hope you’ve realized that you are not alone, and that, in the end, everyone uses the toilet! (Potty Dance Optional, but kinda catchy)

Disclosure:This is the second post in a series  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.

Everything You’ve EVER Wanted to Know About Potty Training (and then some)

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:

Not in Indy? Check out the fun on Facebook. Also, check out all of the resources and incentives that are available at Big Kid Central.

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.