My son's third birthday came and went and the end of diapers was nowhere in sight. It had been a full year of introductions, yet my son was showing signs of non commitment. He liked the idea of a potty...when it suited him. Toddlers are just too busy with Thomas and Toy Story to take five minutes for a potty break.
It wasn't entirely his fault. There was always something that took precedence. And the birth of our daughter at the time we should have been actively engaged in the process set us back several months. What was once an exciting step towards becoming a "big boy" had lost its appeal. Along with wanting to sleep in mommy and daddy's bed and drink from a bottle, my son no longer wanted anything to do with the potty. He wanted his character-themed diapers...just like his baby sister.
Knowing I was fighting a losing battle, I let my son dictate his readiness. For several months the potty sat in his bathroom, untouched. While I had great aspirations of holding a potty training boot camp, we packed our weekends with activities and outings. It wasn't until my son's preschool teacher gently asked me how the potty training was going that I fully committed to ditching the diapers for good.
While we are still in the midst of potty training my son, the finish line is in sight. I've been assured that my son won't go to college in diapers, but nonetheless, here are some tried and true tips for toilet training your tot.
Ready, set, go! It's just as important for parents to be ready as it is for the child. Think about any upcoming life events that may interfere with the process of potty training. Starting school, moving, and gaining a sibling are significant life events to a toddler who is building self-esteem and working towards autonomy. It may be beneficial to wait until things have settled as a toddler very often can only handle one life change at a time. Parents should also plan to set aside some time to focus on the task at hand.
Build Them Up! Once my son got past his regression, all he wanted was to be a "big boy." We bought him big boy underwear and praised him every time he was successful or went a day without accidents. We also made a big deal out of each success with hugs, high-fives, and praises.
Ditch the diapers...and the pull-ups! Pull-ups today are simply modified diapers. It's difficult for a child to feel wet in pull-ups because they're typically made to pull moisture away from the body. My son needed the feedback of feeling wet in order to learn when it was time to use the potty.
Get them involved! From the type of potty to the character on their underwear, it's important for toddlers to be a part of the entire process. I once told my son that if we were going to buy him underwear, he couldn't pee on Buzz (Lighyear that is).
When in Doubt, Bribe! I have been known to use Gummy Bears as an incentive to use the potty. I also let my son pick out a sticker or treat when he's successful. Every single time. They call that positive reinforcement!
Expect and learn from accidents! I remember one particular day when my son was struggling and had 3 messy accidents within the period of an hour. Instead of fussing at him, I thought about the happenings of the day and realized I was not doing my part to remind him. While accidents are a pain, they will decrease in number if you're both committed to the process.
By guest blogger, Caryn Bailey RockinMama