While my last few posts have been about nursing, post partum recovery and your health (and I have much more to say on that yet), this one forays right into the depths of toddlerhood and deals with the least flush able topic of all : toilet training.
While it's a topic that can bring great stress it need not, because the downside is diapers for longer, which is really not all that stressful if you think about it - trying to find a bathroom when your little one can't hold it in and you are in the middle of a movie, or worse - in the middle of a public park, is much more nerve racking. Below are some tips to make your little one's diaper independence a little easier on you.
Note: There are several pages and videos that claim they will get your child toilet trained in three days or less - just leave them naked around the house and keep putting them on the pot or rush them there when you see they are about to start. I did this - for each of my puppies. For my human babies though I am not so comfortable leaving them naked around the house, they can pick up infections and rashes if they are sitting bottomless in the kitchen or on the floor (not that my house is a pig stye, but shoes come in and I have three puppies who run both outside and inside and ofcourse, just like my kids they roam freely on all surfaces). So I am not claiming to help you get your child toilet trained in 3 minutes or less, just to help you get this done successfully and without breaking your head over it (or making your child sit at home bottomless).
12 tips on stress-less toilet training:1. What's the rush? when there's no bathroom to search for. Wait till they are old enough to understand their cues and communicate their needs. In some countries, they do not start the process until 3 years old or until the child can dress themselves. I am not saying you need to wait that long, you do not even need to wait till they can dress themselves. Just wait long enough for them to understand that they will get rewards if they go in the pot, or that big boys/ girls (and who doesn't like to be called a big boy/ girl? while they are little), go in the pot. Once they can understand simple instructions, and have words (you can set these) that they associate with poo and pee, you should be good to go.
3. Talk to your child: Tell them why we use the pot (it's cleaner, less diaper rash), and that grown ups wear underwear. Explain to them that you want them to use the pot and they need to tell you when they feel they want to go. That it's okay if they are not entirely sure and that you will keep making them sit on regular intervals.
4. Regular toilet time: When you feel they are straining or ready to go, and ofcourse first thing in the morning, and last thing at night put them on the pot. Also if there is a regular bathroom time (you know they always go post lunch/ dinner), then that's the right time too. Through the rest of the day, on the hour or every 2 hours depending on how often you know your child's diaper fills up, put them on the pot.
5. Start at home: Don't stress if you're not home or in the car, it's okay. But when you are home or leaving a restaurant or a relative's house, put them on the pot when you get there and when you are leaving, but you can keep them in diapers outside.
6. Use rewards: When they do go on the pot make it fun! Give them a small candy (if it's really infrequent) or use a sticker chart, even draw stars or tattoos for them if they like that. It may take a few weeks or longer for them to start telling you when they have to go, but when they do reward them, even more!
7. Fun undies: Once you find that they are a little drier at home, take them shopping for some fun undies, Minions/ Frozen, whatever they like. And let them where them at home, now limiting the diaper for going out and for the night.
10. The order of things: They will likely be potty trained long before they are pee trained as that's just an easier instinct to catch on to. Till date, we have never had a potty accident but have had many pee ones, use rewards and constructive feedback.
11. Expect accidents: They happen, a lot at first and less frequently later. If it is public, your child will be embarrassed themselves and not want to repeat it. Not all kids are embarrassed and that's okay too. Regardless of the venue - do not over react, try instead to under react. Clean them up and then explain to them very calmly why they should remember to tell you when they need to go - you can tell them they are spoiling their cute undies, that they will have to wear diapers again like a baby and not a big child ( this usually works unless your child like mine wants to be little again to emulate the new baby). When there are changes in the house or in their life, there are likely to be more accidents, and during the rainy season for some reason! Please avoid words like "bad boy/girl", or any stressful words, label the incident but not your child.
13. Don't be too quick to donate the diapers you have left: it's handy to keep some in your child's bag for long drives and situations where you do not have (clean or any) bathroom access.
More to come
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