Saturday, July 28, 2007

Ride the Potty Train

We are attempting potty training. Eli is 2 1/2 and likes to use the potty, but just doesn't get the point yet that he's not suppose to pee in his diaper. I need to get him some big boy underwear, but I'm just afraid that they'll be too big for him like all of his 2T pants and shorts. Anybody have any tips? I should just buy him underwear (if they fit) and let him run around the house in them, but we are renting and we have LOTS of carpet (ick). But them again, he usually doesn't pee very much before I sit him on the potty so maybe that would be alright and give him more of a realization when he's wet. We use cloth diapers and have a few cloth training pants (which he seems to go though all 5 the morning after I wash them). I've always been told that using cloth makes it easier. I can't imagine using Pull-ups brand. I was actually totally appalled when I saw "cool alert" Pull-ups at the store. They have some kind of CHEMICAL in them that when the child pees it causes a chemical reaction and feels cold. WHO WOULD WANT THAT! I don't want any kind of unnatural chemical reaction near my child's bottom! Is there any parent that does? Please, I would love any advice or suggestions on this whole "riding of the potty train".


karen said...

Advice from a dink (double income, no kids) may seem odd, but I spent about 2 years working with toddlers. Rough estimate, I've been involved with the potty training of about 20+ kids. So there's my credentials.

1. Remember that Eli probably feels as frustrated, tired, and discouraged as you sometimes do when it comes to potty training. Just add in a lot of confusion - it might help you stay patient even when you're about to tear your hair out.

2. Usually if a child (in underwear, not diapers) wets themselves, it won't make big puddles everywhere. I mention that because some people find it helpful to, well...put the kid in underwear and let them figure out how unpleasant it feels to pee in your pants and have your underwear and clothes sticking to you. Eli is old enough to know what he's done and probably would find it very uncomfortable. That's actually pretty good incentive! Like I said, it has worked for some people, but no One Thing works for everyone.

3. Except for this One Thing. You MUST MUST MUST (I cannot stress this enough) get into a fixed routine. Every two hours (every hour if you possibly can), ask Eli if he wants to go potty. Regardless of his answer, say "Well, let's go try" and take him to the toilet. I wouldn't wait any longer than 5 minutes - if he doesn't pee in that time, it's seriously not going to happen. If he, in fact, says he WANTS to try, smile real big and tell him you think that's a good idea, a good choice. Positive reinforcement does not need to be treats or stickers or whatever - you're his parents. What he believes you think of him really does make a big difference. Just get into the habit of 'going' every 1-2 hours, whether he's in a diaper or underwear.

4. I really hope that this one is utterly unnecessary, but I'm amazed at how many people get it backwards. I do know parents that think it makes sense to punish a toddler for having an accident, yell at them for refusing to try, or mock them. It makes my head hurt. Turning toileting into a negative, embarassing, I-can't-do-anything-right experience is just going to give you a whole lot of power struggles and a miserable kid who hates using the potty. It's frustrating, it's aggravating, it can feel like your kid just isn't WORKING with you, but please, for the love of God, let him know it's okay to screw it up. This is a really difficult training period for parents, but think of how hard it is for Eli to learn something so utterly different from what he's been doing for the last 2 years...which for him is his whole life.

Okay, that last part was my rant. I've seen waaaaay too many people screw it up, and it's a sore spot for me (I hate to see loving people do things that inadvertently harm their children's hearts).

Anyway. Toilet training is rough. Ignore the people who brag that their kid was trained by 1 year or that it only took a weekend - they're either full of crap or they're not, but it doesn't matter either way. Their kid is not your kid. Your kid is a marvelous, God-touched work of art and eventually he will be toilet trained, so there's no sense making yourself (too) crazy over it.

Melissa said...

I can't believe we'll have to start potty training with Hannah at this time next year. Don't know if you've heard, but our baby is due October 13. I've had an easy pregnancy this pregnancy, I've been more active/exercising regularly everyday. I haven't gained too much weight either, 3-4 pounds every 4 weeks is what I've been gaining. Well good luck with potty training. Talk to you later!