They will say something like, “Determine readiness, buy a potty, buy a doll that wets, buy your child underwear, let your child teach the doll to use the potty, cheer wildly when the doll uses the potty, give your child a lot of liquids to drink, encourage them to use the potty, when they do give them a “potty party”.
And that is where nearly every article I've seen leaves you. Assuming you have achieved the chain of events described and your child has actually used the potty, you are still far from having a potty-trained child.
And so I wonder where is the next course, Potty-Training 102?
I cannot even begin to describe the amount of material that could be covered in such a class! There is so much craziness that goes on between a child's first use of the potty and being deemed "potty-trained"!
I love the preschool form you have to fill out at the beginning of the year with the question, “Is your child potty-trained?” and there is a check box for “yes” or “no”. Preschool administrators ought to know better, we don't need a check box. Moms need an entire paragraph to be able to answer the question of if their preschool child is potty-trained.
There are all sorts of variations I've seen in my own kids, friends' kids, and the kids I've taught in preschool at church.
“He'll go pee in the potty, but not poop.” “She still wears a pull-up but will occasionally use the potty.” “You have to bribe him to sit on the potty, but once there he may go.” “She is potty-trained, but needs reminders to go.” “He's potty-trained during the day, but still wears a pull-up at night.” or “You must sing a song, while running the sink faucet, and bribing him with matchbox cars before he'll go.”
From my experience potty-training 2 children and in process with the 3rd, Potty Training 102 has 3 phases (all involving M&M rewards):
- 1st phase - Get child very used to going in the potty by having them spend a lot of time there; read books while they sit on the potty, sing songs, even let them watch a TV show while sitting on the potty. With all the time on the potty (and increased fluid intake helps, too) they will become more relaxed about using the potty.
- 2nd phase - You take the child to the potty at fairly regular intervals, like every 30 min. or every hour. They don't sit there very long, but just try. Accidents become less frequent during this phase.
- 3rd phase - You stop reminding your child about the potty and he begins telling you he has to go.
When you stop reminding them about the potty even though you know they need to go, it is hard, you are letting your child fail, but they have to learn just how long they can hold it before they need to get to the potty. They need to learn to initiate getting to the potty by themselves.
I'll never forget the hilarious email my 1st son's 3 year old preschool teacher sent out to all the parents after some of the parents complained that their kids were having accidents at school when they rarely did at home.
She said, "If you are regularly taking your child to the potty or reminding them to go, you are the one who is trained, not them."
I am grateful my little guy is actually telling me when he has to go now and that we may actually enjoy some diaper-free days (he'll still wear a diaper at night for a while) here around the Chaos House before child #4 gets here, anyway!
This post is part of the Moms' 30-Minute Blog Challenge.
Find more Gratituesday and Tackle it Tuesday.