Friday, June 21, 2013

Potty Training Made Easier: Specific FAPTQ

You have asked such great questions!  To end our "Potty Training Made Easier" series, I am going to share my thoughts on specific questions that have been asked on Facebook and on the comments from this blog.

#1 - I've been trying and trying with my daughter.  She gets all excited when we start with stickers, treats, and reward charts then when the time comes to start she won''s like she doesn't want to or she will purposely just look at me an then pee...she's 3 1/2 and I've gotten to the point of she will do it on her own when she's ready and tired of wearing pull-ups. Any suggestions?

You are not alone!  This is a struggle that many parents face.  The first point that I see is the word "I."  You state in your question "I've been trying."   I think you have fallen into a trap that I struggle with all of the time.  I own my children's problems instead of them dealing with the consequences. 

I would encourage you to take away all incentives.  As stated on Day 1 of this post, the incentives are to help the child get started in the potty training process, not to continue using the potty.  Secondly, I suggest getting rid of all pull-ups.  This is make the situation easy on her and she is not feeling the full discomfort of her situation.  Christian child psychologist Dr. Kevin Leman would help her own this problem by making her clean up the mess.  Might be something to that in your situation.

#2 - My son is only 2 1/2, which I've heard is too young. But he tells me when he needs to have his diaper changed and has asked for the potty several times. He has even "held it" on multiple occasions until I could get him to a potty when we were out. Problem is that he will do that great 2 or 3 times 1 day then none the next. And he seems to do better at public pottys, YUCK!! He grabs the toilet seat and everything else he can reach much more than at home. How do I transition him to asking all the time and how do I teach him to sit still and NOT TOUCH when going potty at a public place?

Three out of our four kiddos potty trained before 2 1/2 so I don't think that he it not too young at all.  The fact that he tells you he needs to be changes and asked to go potty is a big sign that he is ready.  Honestly, I think that is about perfect!  
Transition to the child taking ownership in the process takes time.  I cover this more on Day 3 of this series.    

As far as public potties, I would train him at home like you want him to do in public.  Also talk about germs and what you will see in a public bathroom.  

But remember he is 2 1/2.  At this age, he has no concept of gross and he is curious about everything.  Secondly, toddlers learn through touch.  Third, he is a boy.  Period.  Makes for a bad combination in bathrooms!  I would encourage you to carry Germ-x, teach him to wash his hands really well, and enjoy life as a mom of a boy!

#3 - I have a 18 month old boy, who wants to sit on the potty all the time. I'm torn between potty training now and being 90% trained for a long time or just waiting.

From experience and the fact that he is a boy, I would encourage you to stay in Step #1 for a few more months.  Use the potty when he wants to but I would not dive in head first.  From what I have experienced with my boys, this is a phase and it leaves as quickly as it comes.  And, if I am wrong, he will be potty trained in Step #1 and you will bypass all other issues!

#4 - Any advice for training two at once?

I have not had experience training two at once so I am going to strictly go off my experience with one at a time.  In your case, I would suggest getting two floor potties so that you can take them at the same time using the timer method.  Secondly, follow your twins' lead.  One child may be ready while the other one may not be.  That is okay!

#5 - My daughter, age 3, was potty trained from Nov-April and then she just stopped going on the potty altogether. After a whole week of that I put her back in diapers.

Backsliding sometimes occurs.  When this happens, I take a few moments to dissect our situation.  Am I being consistent?  Is there a big change in our lives?  Is my child dealing with other issues (discipline, sleep, etc)?

After analyzing this, I almost always realized that there was a reason for the backsliding.  Honestly, most of the issue came as my fault.  Usually it was because I got lax in reminding my child to use the potty or helping him go.  

Since you have gone back to diapers, I would encourage you to stay in Step #1 for a few weeks to remove all anxiety and pressure for success.  But, it is very important that when you begin Step #2 this time that you not revert back to diapers.  Unless there is a developmental or medical problem, it is very important that you stick to underwear due to her age.  To help you know when the child is ready see Day 3.  

#6 -  My 3 year old boy has been on and off for over a year. He will be doing great but then there will be a change and he stops - long car rides, Daddy gone over a month for work, and moving.

That is tough.  Changes are hard on the kiddos.  So much of potty training is control and when the child feels out of control, pottying is one thing that he attempts to control.  

For long car rides, help the child feel comfortable using different potties.  If the child is a boy, that can mean training the child pee standing up.  Or it could mean taking a portable potty with you so that child can sit down.  The key is to practice at home what you will do away from home.  

Last, I encourage you to be encouraging of him through these changes.  When he sees that you are relaxed, it will help him relax.  It may mean at times that you move back to Step #2 for a while.  This will bring rewards and focused time back to the process.  

You have probably done all of these things but I hope something of my thoughts is helpful!

 #7 - My daughter uses the potty at home but I'm not sure how to get her off the diapers when we are out. I'm too afraid she'll pee in the bus or train (we don't own a car), and what happens if we are out and she insists on using her potty? I can't imagine bringing a potty everywhere we go.

This is a great question and the fear of every mom.  When the child is not completely potty trained, I put underwear on the child as normal but then place a diaper over the underwear.  The child still feels the wetness if an accident occurs but you don't have to deal with the mess. 

As far as using "her" potty, I would wean her away from this at home.  At this point, use at home what she will use when you are out and about.  It may mean that you give her a small reward (M&M) each time she uses the big girl potty.  

#8 - I have two girls with SPD (2.5 &3, 7 months apart) and potty training might be the death of me. The fears of the potty being too loud and the seat being awkward and uncomfortable.

Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) adds a whole never level to potty training.  As a preschooler Bubs would flip his lid over the sound of a toilet flushing; especially those toilets that automatically flush.  I am talking hold the ears, sheer terror on his face, scream in fear over the anticipated flushing of the toilet.  

The addition of these fears mean even more patience and relaxation on a mommy's part.  Easier said than done.  We helped Bubs by working on these fears separate from potty training.  We started with him standing in the room with his hands covering his ears while someone flushed the toilet.  We moved to him just standing there.  Then he flushed the potty for other people or just because.  All integration without the added pressure of bladder control.  Basically, break down the process into smaller steps.  

Secondly, I encourage you to involve your child's Occupational Therapist (assuming that they are in therapy).  The therapist are trained to help children in potty training fears.  They can also help you know how to handle their fears.  

#9 - I've read all the "you can do it in one day, you can do it in 2 days."  I just want her to be potty trained and be successful in it!

In my opinion, the one day potty training only works with certain personalities. Those who it works for love it. Others hate it. What I have shared with you has worked for all personalities in our house. And boy do we have the range!   

#10 - How long do you make them sit and try at each potty visit?

Once my children realized how much fun it was to sit on the potty at each timer beep, they wanted to sit for a very long time.  With other children in the family, this isn't realistic.  I suggest sitting for 10 minutes max.  If the child hasn't done anything in this amount of time, it probably isn't going to happen.  After a while you will learn to read the child's clues on whether she is really going to go or is just enjoying the company!

What do you think? 

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