Sunday, February 12, 2017
5 Steps To Easier Potty Training
In fact, in most cases, it is done with rather intense urgency. Let's go so far as to say with slight desperation. If for some reason, either medical or otherwise, we were unable to make it in time to a bathroom when needed, this has often brought tears and embarrassment.
Why is that so? Because at a very early age, it was ingrained in us to go directly to the bathroom and relieve ourselves as soon as the need arose. It was painstakingly taught to us as a basic necessity of life.
At times if feels as if our very lives depended on making it to the toilet in time. We quickly learned that there were consequences if we didn't make it in time. For some it might have been as mild as we didn't get the usual praise if we didn't unload in the proper place as we would have had we done that with success. Also, there was the discomfort physically.
For others, failure might have been met with some type of punishment. Either way, our bodies became quickly accustomed to the feelings of "dry" and "comfortable". And that grew into a lifelong habit of going to the bathroom whenever the urge presented and the fear of discomfort was our body's temporary master. But now that you have children of your own, how do you teach that automatic and seemingly involuntary response to go to the toilet? When speaking about comfort, modern day diapers are so absorbant that many times children do not feel much discomfort.
So, although not listed as one of the steps, it might be advantageous to switch to a toddler panty or underwear when potty training so that the child can see what uncomfortable wetness feels like. Its also easier and quicker to pull down underwear to go to the bathroom rather than taking a diaper off and on.
If you are envisioning cleaning up accidents about now and decide to go with the diaper because its easier for you, don't expect the same quick results from the steps below. Maybe the steps should include a number 6: Don't Be Lazy! Potty training is work and you must be willing to do it...unless of course you expect the daycare center or a hired nanny to do it for you. What a great parent you are going to be.
Ok, so if you are still reading, then likely you wish to be a great parent. Here's the scoop. For newborns, expelling waste in their diapers does not naturally instill any fear. They have not yet met with any need to go anywhere or do anything when they need to go. They just go. Now they do often times feel uncomfortable afterwards and so the crying begins, but they do not comprehend that they can personally do anything different to prevent this discomfort. At this point in their lives, they rely on Mom or Dad to do something to fix their discomfort.
So, again the point is that potty training is a learned behavior that must be taught and there are several strategies that have been used throughout history and some work better than others. Here are 5 steps that have been helpful in making this chore less difficult so that the transition from diaperhood to potty trained is a little smoother. See if these steps work well for you and if so, feel free to leave a comment.
1. Wait. That may seem like a strange step in this process but it is actually very important. Some parents are too anxious to progress to the point of not having to buy diapers that they rush their little one into premature potty training. It has been proven that a child's bladder muscles are not developed enough to hold back urine until they are at least 2 years old in most cases. So trying to force a child to hold it until reaching the potty chair when he or she is only 15 months old may only cause anxiety and stress.
2. Be Observant. Pay attention to signals that your child is ready to begin potty training. One signal that has been observed is that the child's diaper may be dry when first waking up in the morning. If so, you might quickly encourage them to sit on the potty and empty there rather than into the diaper. Another signal that potty training time may be close is that the child will start hiding behind a recliner or in a closet to go number 2. This shows that they are becoming aware that going to the bathroom is something that you stop doing other things for and go someplace to do. It's good to take note of what time of day that was, because likely they will have to go number 2 the same time each day.
3. Fully Invest. When the time comes that you decide to start potty training, fully invest your time and energy to only this project. If done right, successful potty training can be accomplished in less than a week, maybe even 3 or 4 days. But you must be willing to devote your entire attention to only this project. This can not be stressed enough. If you start potty training and then decide to go shopping for the day, don't blame the child when they have an accident because you were too busy to take them to the bathroom.
4. Be Consistent. Start by putting your child on the potty every 30 minutes when they first wake up on the day you begin this task. Encourage them to pee, maybe by running water or something. Make it fun and enjoyable and offer praise when they pee'd in the right place. Never scold the child if nothing happens. Stay calm. Anything else can actually create the kind of stress in your child that can cause problems later like bed-wetting or bowel incontinence. This is a process that takes patience. You are not expecting them to pee every 30 minutes, but rather the idea is to get them used to the feeling of an empty bladder and the habit of emptying on the potty. Later that afternoon, you might be able to go for an hour between sittings if you are seeing success so far.
5. Stick With It. By the second day, the habit is beginning to form and your child may begin naturally going when feeling full, but this is no time to let them take over the job. Keep at it through the second day and the third day. You might be up to 2 hours by now or even 3 hour intervals between potty sitting. But by now the habit is definitely becoming ingrained and they are learning how to keep their bladder empty and comfortable so that they will want to do that on their own. Remember not to scold if an accident should happen because they likely will. But there is nothing wrong with letting them know in kind, but firm words that the place to go is on the potty.
If you notice that your child becomes a bed-wetter, you should consult a physician, because there might be a medical or emotional reason for this. Otherwise it is not unusual for a child to occasionally wet the bed until he or she is age 5. Never restrict fluid intake just to prevent bed wetting. Keeping little bodies fully hydrated throughout the day is necessary for good health. However, its not a bad idea to hold back enormous amounts of liquid late in the evening. If they are thirsty before going to bed, maybe offer a sip or two just to satisfy without the entire glass.
So if you wait for the right time, are careful to observe when they are ready, fully invest your time and energy to train them, teach them the comfort of an empty bladder and are consistent and patient, you will be able to successfully teach your child a skill that will stay with them for the rest of their lives.