Ah, imagine it....no stinky diapers lounging in the trash. No wiggling child desperate to escape whether cleaned or not. No weekly expense at the check out for diapers, wipes, ointments, etc. But then reality sets in.....how does one get to this pot of gold at the end of the potty training rainbow??? The answer is as different as each child.
First you must make sure your child is even ready for this step. Almost every child rearing book I have ever read says don't even try until 22 months as their bladders aren't mature enough to accomplish this difficult task.
Then there are some little signs that tell you that you are getting close. For example: staying dry for a couple of hours and/or waking from a nap dry, they want to start wearing underwear, they can understand 2-3 step directions, they have the verbal skills to tell you when they need to go (and the physical skill of pulling their pants up and down), they watch you or sisters/brothers and try to copy what you/they do in the bathroom are some of the main ones. Trying a dry run can help determine readiness also. I did this with my three year old (several times actually) and was about to give up until this latest time when she surprised me. She is now waking up dry and only having an occasional accident! If they are ready it really isn't a terribly difficult experience at all (depending on personality, of course - always a really stubborn one in the bunch).
Next, I did a big build up to the whole process, like it was going to be a big trip to Disney or something, hey don't laugh, it worked on 2 of my kids! I'd start saying things like "Pretty soon you'll be going to the potty like mommy/daddy. "Pretty soon you'll wear underwear all the time like (stick the name of your child's favorite person here)" and "Pretty soon we will go to the store and you can pick out some underwear of your very own!"
Everybody is excited, right?! Now you need a little incentive to go because, be honest, it is much easier to go in a diaper then it is to remember to go in the potty, even though they want to be like a big kid. You can use anything from cheerios (for the little boys for target practice - do they ever outgrow that?), to a sticker chart to colored water (watch it change from blue to green little Jonnie!). You may have to use all these ideas and more, all kids are different and respond to different things.
Get excited when they achieve their goal (heck, bring in the family, friends and neighbors). Give a gentle reminder every hour or two and don't get angry at accidents. Just tell them to try again next time. Occasional accidents are normal until around age 5 so relax! And remember love and consistency goes a long way in this endeavor.
In the end it is a process of practice makes perfect and patience (and a little bit of fabric refresher doesn't hurt either)!
Back to the main page of Adventures in Motherhood
© 2001 All rights reserved