Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Potty Training Challenge - Signs of Readiness

     Potty training wasn't something that I looked forward to with my daughter. Unlike feeding my baby solids for the first time, potty training didn't excite me much. Well, I can't imagine it exciting any hands on parent anyway haha!  
    You see, it's been quite challenging. We really started potty training Audrey a few months before she turned two, hoping that by the time her new sibling arrived, we would have been done. It was more or less a smooth transition from diaper to potty. She willingly sat on it while 'reading' her books. Most of the time, we would sit beside her and read with her. We thought it was easy peasy. And when the first poop made it inside the potty, we rejoiced! We only had one poopy accident so far (eew hehe) and ever since one made it inside the potty, a couple more followed suit. I thought this was simple enough.
      Until baby Natalie arrived.
     Oh yes. Articles I've read on potty training have warned me about this moment. Things such as moving house, traveling, and the arrival of a new sibling are among those that you need to watch out for. These events can definitely affect the outcome or progression of potty training.
     And indeed it did. When Audrey saw us changing Natalie's diapers, she also wanted to have her diapers changed. She said she wanted to be a 'baby' again and have her nappies changed 'just like baby Natalie'. And so we had to say goodbye to the potty for a while because trying to convince her to use it again was hopeless. She stopped telling us "poopoo's coming" and instead told us when the poop was out already. She shut off using the potty and forgot about it just like that and wanted to be like the baby.
     I read that it is not wise to force the potty on your toddler. If she isn't willing at all, then she's just not ready. Unfortunately for us, all the hard potty training work was put on hold. It simply wasn't time yet. Having same gender siblings with just exactly a two year age gap proved to be quite a challenge. We figured it's easier to train a two year old who doesn't see another sibling in diapers. And although some toddlers aren't ready for the potty until they are 3 or 4, it is a good idea to try and start training at 2, IF your child shows any signs of readiness. At the time, Audrey could already tell us "oops, poops!" or "making poopoo" when it was about to come out. So we saw that as a sign. She was able to tell when it was time to 'go'.
     Fast forward to 3 years old. So that was quite an awful lot of time to be on hold for potty training. But as I said (and I've read), it is pointless to force potty training on a toddler who isn't ready. And between then and a few weeks back, she didn't show any signs of willingness to use the potty so we didn't force the issue. We waited until we got back from our family trip to Australia before trying once again. So we watched out for signs... Yes, she still wanted to be in diapers, but we've noticed that she is now able to hold her pee for at least 2-3 hours in between. Sometimes, her overnight diaper has nothing in it come morning, but once she pees it gets really full. So yeah, she can definitely hold her pee long enough and get rid of it all in one go.
     Another challenge was the poop. Since she's still very much into avoiding the potty, she refused to tell us before the poop came - unlike before. She will only announce that "I need to wash" once it was already out. Tsk tsk. So now we watch out for the "stressed look on her face". We notice her turning red or making a face when poop is about to come out. It's unmistakable haha! You probably won't miss the look on your child's face too :P
      Audrey also already knew how to dress herself up and pull down her pants so that was another sign of readiness for potty training. It was just a matter of convincing her that 'big girls' use the potty. She has been showing signs of wanting to be more independent so it was another step to becoming a 'big girl' and therefore using the potty already.
    There are probably parents out there who found potty training pretty easy, and finished training pretty fast - but I'm sure there are a lot out there who find it difficult too. Kids undergoing potty training aren't always cooperative and they can think of many excuses. Reactions when told to use the potty can range from grumpy to wild. There are ways to deal with this so don't lose hope hehe.

   For more info and tips on potty training readiness, you may want to check out this article from Baby Center which I also found very helpful:  Potty Training Readiness Checklist 
    More tips for hands on parents and potty 'trainers' in my next post :) 


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