Potty Training,those two words tend to conjure up visions of mess and nightmares for many moms and child carers alike. Admittedly tough and taking into account that each child learns at different speeds, there really is no need for fuss and it can actually a very rewarding process for both the child and you! A personal friend of mine was asking for advice on potty training, I had much to say on the matter, and decided I had to put together an article for everyone who is little stuck on it. So here are some tips and tricks to make the de-nappy process easier for all involved.
The first question is how do you know when a child is ready for potty training?
The first step is to ensure the child’s eating and sleeping patterns are regular. This means, an established healthy meal pattern and sleeping pattern (now that’s another 2 articles that will be coming out of the woodwork later this year)
Second thing, and as you go along you will understand why it is important, if a child can say yes and no and understand basic language, he or she is probably ready to start training. Children over the age of 1 ½ years old may start training already.
Another factor to watch for is that naturally a child will start to have a dry nappy for longer periods as they get older.
Tips for Training
- Start by ensuring the child knows where everybody else goes to the toilet. For 2 weeks this is all you will be doing in preparation of toilet training. Using positive reinforcement ask, “where does mommy go potty?” “Does daddy use the potty?”. Take them to the toilet with you so they understand you are never wearing a nappy. Make connection to everyone the child knows and cares for ie mommy, daddy, granny, uncles, aunts, brothers, sisters, etc. Give praise to the right answers and gently correct any wrong answers. Then ask where the child goes to the toilet. The point here is to subtlety coax the child to discover for him or herself that wearing a nappy is not the norm. The child will soon realise that the potty is something he/she is missing out on.
- A good trick to enlist is to purchase of a doll that can drink water, wears a nappy and can pee. Sounds strange, I know but this works. Play with the doll, make the doll the child’s baby to look after. Children love to role play and this is a great game. She/He must help the baby remember to go to the potty cause otherwise it will make the baby feel uncomfortable. The child needs to give the doll the bottle to drink and then get the nappy off and help the baby pee on the doll’s potty. This will assist the child to famaliarise him/herself with the routine of going to the potty.
- Take the child on a shopping trip to buy the child’s first sets of proper underwear and potty. It should be a big thing. Choose at least 20 ordinary pairs and then find a pack of 3 that has the child’s favorite characters on them. Tell the child that those pairs are for when he/ she can make it to the potty for 3 days in a row with out any mistakes to make this fair in the child’s mind, tell the child that you would like to help her make sure that these beautiful ones don’t get ruined. This will help motivate her positively to get to the potty as much as possible.
- The next thing to incorporate, is regular visits to the potty or a toilet with a child safety mechanism and step in place (visit www.4akid.co.za to see their product line). At least once, 10 minutes after every liquid consumption of 100ml or more and at least once every 30 minutes take a trip to the potty or child safe toilet and have the child sit on it even if he or she doesn’t feel the need to pee. At this age children don’t have a lot of muscle control over the bladder and you are teaching the child a skill and control over something new, which if pointed out in a subtle and careful way will encourage the child to want to go to the toilet and develop better muscle control .
- Do not use training nappies, except at bedtimes and nap times, let the child wear normal underwear as much as possible.
- Expect mistakes! This is part of the learning process, and that process may carry on for sometime. Even a long time after he or she has been trained, mistakes will happen.
- Always take a trip to the potty or child safe toilet before bedtimes and nap times this is imperative.
- Keep a potty close to the child’s bed so should she wake up and need to go she does not need to worry about going a distance to find the potty. This will give a sense of achievement if the child manages to wake up and reach the potty in time.
- When no mishaps have happened for three days the child will be day trained and when the sleeping nappy( training nappy) has been dry for three days the child can be considered sleep trained.
- Praise should be given when the child gets it right assisted or by herself. When he or she makes a mistake let them know it is ok, run a small bath wash her and distract the child with toys. Then a little later ask again “where do I go to the toilet?” “ Where does mom go?” etc. Positive reinforcement is key to get this right.
These routines should be continued until the potty is no longer an issue for the child and it appears as a natural pattern without too much encouragement.
For Other fun potty training tips visit www.babiesonline.co.za