Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Potty Training Challenge - Tips for Parents & Trainers

      Potty training doesn't just require the child to be ready, but the parents (or trainer) as well. So unless you are both up for it, finding potty training success may take some time. And believe me, potty training can really test your patience.
      In the beginning you need to establish a routine or take note of the time when your little one needs to be sitting on the pottyA good tip is to have them sit on the potty first thing after waking up in the morning. Having a potty schedule means you have to be devoted enough to make sure that your toddler gets to the potty before anything comes out. This also means you need to be extra attentive - you need to be on the lookout for any signs that the pee or poop is coming or it'll show itself on your toddler's undies or your floor! Being able to tell when the pee is coming is very very tricky. At first, even your toddler will have a hard time figuring this out, but don't fret - he or she will figure it out soon enough.
      By the way, don't forget to stock up on cotton underwear before officially training your child. Pull up diapers are ok but if you want your child to quickly get the idea of discomfort caused by not using the potty, then the icky feeling he or she'll get when there's been an 'accident' will help push her to want to use the potty more. And believe me, there will be 'accidents'. It's just part of the whole potty training process.
       I've also read that it is good to show your child where the poop and pee belong - as you throw it into the toilet either from the diaper (if it's a poop!) or from the potty after a successful session so she can grasp the concept that it no longer belongs in the diaper of a big girl or boy.
      Another idea and tip from friends of mine that helps is telling your child that her older cousin or sibling uses the potty already, so she also has to learn. You can also ask them to demonstrate so as to encourage your child and make her feel that she is not alone.
      Be prepared to deal with emotional and heart issues as well while potty training. It is easy to train a child that always obeys, but children are not always cooperative so remember to teach them the importance of obedience first so that making them use the potty will become easy. 
       Establish their trust in you and explain that potty training is for their own good. Expecting kids to just follow you on cue and on demand is not going to work if you don't nurture a relationship with them. They need to be able to trust you when you are trying to introduce and teach them something new. After all, it does feel quite awkward to suddenly get rid of your diapers and sit in a donut shaped seat with a bowl!
       Entertainment while on the potty is a good come on as well. We gave Audrey books, limited time on the tablet (I don't really like having her play games too much so she can continue to develop a love for books and more interactive activities, but this was a special exception hehe!), we placed a small table so she can do simple arts and crafts while sitting, and even had to let her eat snacks while on the potty too! (yipes! hehe). But we didn't have to keep her entertained all the time. This was necessary in the beginning but as she finally enjoyed and actually wanted to use the potty, these props became less and less necessary.
      Rewards were effective for a friend's daughter so we would try it also from time to time. It gives them motivation to use the potty and Audrey would always be happy to announce that she 'peed on the potty' and then say, "I can have my reward!" happily. 
      We also had a 'potty dance' to celebrate successful sessions and a 'potty high five' and 'potty high ten'. It makes her enjoy and actually have fun while potty training. So do come up with your own thing and always acknowledge every time your goal is achieved :)
      What not to do though is compare your training with others. It is great to get tips and know what works (or what not works), but every child (and parent combination) is different. What might work for one might not work for the other. Don't be pressured by the advice and successes of others especially if their training style is not suitable for you and your child. You know your child best so you should go ahead and do what will work for the both of you. Also surround yourself with positive people. Potty training is as hard a task for your child as it is for you. Negative comments aren't going to help.
       If you're potty training your child or about to, don't worry - hard times do come, crying and opposition happens. But once your child gets used to the idea of using the potty, it gets easier. You'll be surprised as one day they will be the one to ask you to make them sit on the potty, or better yet, voluntarily do so. I've seen this happen with Audrey and it just takes time after all. Now I don't know about those 3-day potty training videos that you see online, but in my experience, it takes way more days than that. After all, habits are built by doing the same thing 21 days in a row so I'm not surprised potty training my child took time too.
      Potty training success is not a contest. It's just something that needs to be done so our children can learn and develop good hygiene and habits. So whether it takes you 3 or 30 days or more, as long as you achieve your goal then it's all good. ;)

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