Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Potty Training

Okay, so I got a request to share my thoughts on potty training. Since my extensive knowledge only includes my 2 boys, please take my thoughts and use your own good sense about your own child.

First of all, please read Toilet Training in Less Than a Day by Azrin COVER to COVER before attempting to train. Don't do any half-hearted attempts, the stops and starts and back and forth can be very confusing for little ones.

Second, be sure your child is ready. For my #1 boy, we waited until 3 months shy of his 3rd birthday. Many people would train much earlier, but we were unsure of his readiness and also had lots of transitions in our home which I knew would make it harder. For #2, he showed us he was ready because he started asking to use the potty like his older brother - he was about 2 1/2. Neither boy was ever dry through the night or nap in his diaper before we trained. That is listed as a readiness indicator, but was not one for us.

Next, my thoughts on the book. We followed the book very closely. We did indeed set aside a day just for this purpose. We had all the supplies, snacks, and very desirable big boys undies in the favorite characters. We DID NOT use a peeing doll. I didn't want the hassle. We used a teddy bear that we dubbed "Big Boy Bear" who had his own undies to use as a model. A note here on undies, buy them BIG. I did not do well guestimating sizes for either boy and ended up using my older son's undies with little Jack so he could easily get them up and down.

Preparations: Before the actual day, you can practice teaching your child how to lift and lower their own pants. This greatly helps the process. You can do this when dressing and undressing them- have them do it themselves. There are instructions in the book about the best way to teach them this. Once you determine your start day, you can start talking up "Potty Day!" with great excitement and build anticipating of the time your child will learn to use the big boy potty! Don't let them use it prior and keep it as a big reward.

Thoughts on nighttime: I really think that the back and forth between diapers and undies is very confusing for little bodies so we did not start potty training until we were prepared to deal with a few nights of wet sheets. Once we had "Potty Day!" we did not use diapers or pullups ever again. Not going backwards. That can really extend the process which is frustrating for everyone.

On Potty Day, I really did follow the dialogue given in the book. I even had the book open because I would forget what to say. "How in the heck can I talk about going potty all day?" but you can! :) The main difference is that we chose to pretend the stuffed bear was going pee instead of using a peeing doll. (If you have girls, the peeing doll might be a big thrill, not so much in this house of boys.)

Potty Chair? We used a little potty for Boy #1 and had him empty it when it was only pee. That lasted a couple weeks until we were going on vacation and weren't going to bring a little potty on the airplane. With Boy #2, we never used the little potty, never even showed it to him. Much easier to be familiar with a big potty right away. We taught him how to use his hands to balance to keep him from falling in.

Stand up or Sit for boys? We chose to teach the boys sitting down because sometimes they poop even when they didn't think they had to go poop. once they get the hang of it, then we moved to standing up.

This method was very successful for us. Boy #1 had a few accidents at night (he woke up crying because he didn't understand why he was wet and wasn't all the way awake) for about 2 weeks or so. Also a few day time accidents for the first week or so. Then we was done! Boy #2 was even more successful. He had daytime accidents for 1 week or so and NO nighttime accidents! That was such a surprise to us, but what a wonderful blessing.

The only thing that drives me a bit crazy still is that Boy #2, Jack, can't figure out how to go potty and leave his pants on so he needs help untangling them every time. We are working on it slowly and getting there everyday.

Hope this is helpful! Blessings to your potty training adventures!