Patience...The Secret to Potty Training

Posted by  | Monday, August 25, 2008  at 12:00 AM  

Potty training has mainly to do with physical and emotional readiness of each child. There is not a magic age. Many kids show interest at age 2 and others are still training past age 3! I will tell you if you start early and your child is not ready it will just take longer and could be highly frustrating. Believe me…this is what I did with our first! I mean, she was soooo smart (the smartest 2 year old EVER :) so I thought she could surely get this potty stuff! Nope….not the case! She was not completely potty trained until a week after her THIRD birthday! . Madison came in second at age 2 ½ and little Matthew Ray was potty trained a month after his 2nd birthday…his story a little later…

These may be helpful questions to ask before beginning to potty train to see if your child MAY be ready:

Does your child stay dry for long periods of time?
Does your child tell you he/she is wet or poopy?
Is your child interested in big girl panties or underwear?
Is your child beginning to follow basic instructions?

What to do when your child is ready…

**Get mentally prepared for lots of accidents

**Training in warm weather is a great time (not that you have control of this) but the less clothes, the better for your sanity when it comes to your wash load!

**Start slow…try panties/underwear for a half day at first…don’t rush yourself or your child.

**If a half day works well, continue. If your child is showing some progress, get rid of those diapers! Only use them for nighttime sleeping if he/she is a heavy sleeper.

**Have the potty chair available at all times…(you may even move it with you around the house as you are in different rooms.)

**Take MANY potty breaks…keep asking…demonstrate for your child…even have them remain really quiet and listen to your tee-tee go into the potty! :)

**Use rewards…stickers, popsicles, or allow them to flush the potty by themselves but don’t allow the flushing without a successful outcome. You can even make each success a celebration with a special Potty Dance that is fun to do with your child! (we are dancers in our house about a lot of things!)

**Don’t ditch the diaper bag just yet! Take plastic sacks and several underwear and pant changes with you until YOU KNOW they are completely trained….TRUST ME…again, for your sanity!

**Get ready to RUN. Watch your child as he/she may wiggle or stand differently when they need to potty and then RUN!

Stay Calm…

**Your child is not out to “get you” by having accidents or by not being ready when you think they should be ready.

**Don’t scold your child for accidents.

**Continue to remind them to go often even when you think they have mastered potty training. Accidents will still happen especially when they are involved in something fun!

Matthew Ray’s Story…

Matthew Ray had terrible bowel problems from the moment he was born. He could not poop on his own for anything! We constantly had to help him with suppositories and prescription baby laxatives. It was absolutely miserable for him and so pitiful for us to watch….BUT by the time he was 1 ½ he knew when he was going to poo-poo. He had so much pain beforehand that his body became aware at a very early age. So, by 2 he was ready! He was so easy…it only took a couple of days with only a few accidents. He stayed this way for 6 months and then we moved…not the best scenario for a recently potty trained kid! When we moved, he began to wet the bed at night. I was so frustrated because he had been completely accident free for SIX MONTHS!!! I later learned that a major life change can really cause children to digress in areas such as potty training. We went back to pull-ups for nighttime and just waited. Finally, after we had lived in our new city for 6 months he stopped having nighttime accidents. We still have a few now and then(he is 4) but that is usually when he has had too much to drink after 7 pm.
I share this final story to encourage you….it takes time, patience, and a lot of laundry soap BUT I promise your child will not be in diapers forever!!! This too shall pass….


The McCurdy Family said...

I really like your advice, I am in the middle of potty training number three. Patience is the complete key to it all. Also, do not compare your child to another friends child. Some kids are going to potty train in a day and some 6 months before going without a accident. As you go through just remember no one goes to college without being potty trained and your child with not be the exception.
I have found that carrying a potty seat in the car works wonderfully. You can have them try every time you get them in and out of the car. It also helps with germs in public bathrooms. The great part is the other children are not climbing or touching everything while you are holding one up over the toilet.

amy said...

Stacey, thanks for posting! I'm a faithful POH reader, but have yet to comment! ;) however, we are now in the midst of training our almost 3 year old and it is driving me INSANE! She was 95% trained in June, but then with multiple trips to various places (my husband is a assoc pastor and we have to go on all the youth & mission trips), she is totally regressing. I have resorted to using Pull-Ups, because we also have a 9 month old whom I'm nursing, and cleaning the carpet/sofa/etc multiple times a day is just not feasible. She still has great days where she stays dry all day and uses the potty and then the next we go through 4 pull-ups a day! Did you go straight to regular underwear with your 3, or did you use pull-ups?! It's so nice to know that we won't be potty training forever, but this is DEFINITELY my LEAST favorite stage of potty training so far! Thanks for your encouraging post!!!! (and for any of you pregnant with #2, I would HIGHLY recommend potty training BEFORE the new baby comes!!!!)

Matt and Stacey said...

Amy..first let me say a big thanks for being a POH means a lot!

and now...girl, I feel your insanity!!! I REALLY thought those potty training days would never end! As for, we didn't use them all of the time mainly because they are SO much like the feel of diapers and also the expense (we were in the pastorate at the time and you know how much money that brings in:). I did like using them when they were making big progress and we were going to the store or even for the time in the church nursery. I decided to buy actual training pants (you know those really thick panties/underwear?). It helped to keep the house a little cleaner but I am afraid that during potty training time there is just going to be LOTS of accidents. If you keep going back and forth from diapers to panties it is going to get confusing.

I am sure that most of what your little one is going through is from all of the traveling. Is this traveling time going to slow down soon? If so, take hope! BTW...when will she be three? My first was not trained until after age 3 and there was no "traveling reason" was just her!

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