The mission

The purpose of this blog is to report on my experiences with various parenting-related issues. Reviews of advice, crafts, and whatever else comes my way. (Originally this was meant to be a Glass Explorer project, but I was unable to procure funding... in case you're wondering about the title. Pending retail release..................)

Sunday, August 11, 2013

What they don't tell you about potty training

Ok, you'll see lots of books on the subject, and blogs, and articles... but they don't really answer the question of what potty training is really like. I'm going to reveal this terrible secret.

It's like training a dog (or parrot, rat or whatever pet you had and trained as a kid). You know, positive reinforcement or clicker style type training? It's like that, and honestly for many of the potty training books and advice out there you'd probably find better value for your money and cut out the fluffernutter. Of course, using a library's resources or borrow a friend's is even better. No need to own a potty training book.

Step one: make sure your child is actually capable of pottying in the toilet. That they can hold their pee and poo, that defecation doesn't scare them, and that they know the words that refer to these things, and aren't scared to death of the toilet or think you're murdering them by putting them on it. You can help them along with some of this, like letting them play on the toilet, to get comfy with it. But some stuff like being able to pull down their pants or being able to tell you they need to go may just simply take time.

Step two: find a reward system you both like.

Step three: don't give a shit about accidents. You must be calm and patient, because if you get mad your kid is not going to cooperate. And kids are not stupid, they can tell when you're pissed.

Step four: find a period of several days to a couple weeks when you and all the babysitters and relatives are ready to get going on this. Get books, videos, apps, etc for the kid to prepare. Remove toy distractions and stock fun activities around the toilet. Make you sure have a baby seat for the toilet or a potty chair, and decide if you'll need more than one for a second floor or for travel, buy underwear etc... you'll also be hyping up "big kids use the potty", the difference between wet and dry pants, etc.

Step five: in the first few days in particular, you gotta just keep putting that kid on the toilet every 15 minutes, keep the kid naked or only in undies and load them up with lots of drinks and food that induces them to drink a lot of their own volition. Have him or her check underwear for wet or dry regularly. Do not distract yourself with television or anything that would prevent you from hearing the plops or tinkles. Keep towels handy for cleanup, particularly boys will spray around the toilet.

*of their own volition is important. The minute they feel pressured it's going to be awful and not work.

Step six: get happy and goofy excited when they go in the potty, reward immediately with praise and whatever reward you've arranged and talk in simple terms about what he or she did to help your kid's vocabulary on the matter. I've heard that you shouldn't interrupt and accident on the floor. You just explain it is bad and have the kid practice on the toilet with no reward after. This might be more effective than having him or her finish on the toilet and giving a reward, probably sends a mixed signal.

Step seven: enjoy if your child "gets it" right away, and have unending patience if it takes days or weeks for your kid to understand the connection between the reward and the action. Or discover your kid isn't ready, save yourself the trouble and try again later.

*onlyy having just started potty training for my son, let me tell you it is imperative that you are consistent in your method and that you understand that method.