Thursday, 9 April 2009

Adventures in potty training...

So... being "seasoned" now, I have decided to share my potty training technique!

And yes, I do know that "potty training" is a loaded, non-PC term these days... my kids are not dogs, they do not need "training", rather "learning". But for the sake of nostalgia, I'm going with the term that every uses, so forgive me for not saying "toilet-learning", that just sounds so not charming, as all things toddler should be.

Alex was potty-trained at 2.5 years old. Not bad at all, since everything I've read online suggests that this is the average for boys. I'll admit, we started way earlier than that with him, thinking our firstborn brilliantly advanced. It never really sunk in, so we quit trying about 2 months before Connor was born. I knew, from my online research, that the worst time to potty train a toddler is when there is a new baby in the house (I also read that online). So, at 2.5, with a three week old baby, Alex suddenly was ready to use the potty, I fought it, telling him "No, we have a new baby, you are not supposed to want to do big boy things right now..." but since he doesn't google, he was determined to go against the grain, so I gave in. 3 days later, the kid was a peeing and pooping pro!

Fast forward 2 years, and Connor is now in potty-training full swing. I will admit, I have dragged my heels, since we're not yet at the magic 2.5 years old mark so I really am not ready to kiss his diapers good-bye. This kid, however; obviously has no concept of averages, and insists on not waiting to reach his, so I gave in and hauled up the potty seat from the basement a couple of weeks ago.

So... for the uninitiated, or those who just want a good laugh... here's our version of the "Potty Train your child in a day" technique (although it's taken longer than a day, so really, I flunk that part of the training!). I call our version, simply, "Nekkid Potty Training!"

Step 1: Watch your child for signs of readiness.

For Connor, this was pretty obvious. He pulled off his pants and diaper and left them scattered throughout the house. He began putting copious amounts of toilet paper in the toilet and flushing it several times per day. He climbed up on the toilet and wiped his nose on the toilet paper, then washed his hands for upwards of 10 minutes (a little OCD with the hand-washing). When we still didn't get the hint, he let us know he was ready by pulling off his pants and poopy diaper in the McDonald's play area (on his father's watch, might I add).

Step 2: Decide whether or not you want your child to use a toilet insert (I think it's called a potty seat, but around here, apparently, it's a "lid") or to use a potty chair (free-standing, no water involved which is a bonus).

We have both, and use whatever is more conveniently located. The potty chair is in the living room so Connor doesn't have to run as far if he's not near the bathroom or someone is hogging it. Encourage your child to try out the insert to see how comfortable he is with it. Some kids find big toilets scary and prefer a potty seat. I suggest both so that you have a child that will know how to use big toilets out in public. That's always handy!

Here's Connor demonstrating his technique with the potty seat:
It's actually a pretty good fit. He's quite happy with it.

Step 3: Strip your child from the waist down and let him run around the house.
This is the Nekkid Potty Training part. Watch him carefully because if he's somewhere inconvenient, you might end up with a clean up job. Keep some old cloths handy for wiping up spills. I promise, there won't be that many if you're vigilant. Listen for your child's clues like "Connor pee on top bunk!" so you know where to wipe.
Step 4: Determine an appropriate reward for success (alrighty, bribe him).
With Alex, I sat him on the potty seat and read him stories until he accidentally peed in it. Then I rewarded him with smarties for pees and glow in the dark wall stars for poops. Long after Alex was potty trained he would try to con my Mom into giving him candy for using her bathroom. So... with your second kid... skip the junk and do something different instead. We grab Connor's hands, jump up and down, kick are legs and sing "Connor peed in the potty" several times. Let's see Grandma get conned into that! :) He loves it. So does Alex, who joins in.
Step 5: Buy your child some special underwear that he will not want to pee or poop in.
We use Tigger underwear. We put it on in the morning and say "No peeing on Tigger". Connor heartily agrees, and then proceeds to say "Connor pee on Tigger" as the pee is running down his leg. The other thing you will read online is that in underwear, children can tell when they're wet... but if your children are raised in cloth diapers, like mine have been, then really, what's the difference between diapers and underwear. Cloth is cloth... pee away! And so we go back into naked mode for the rest of the day, so as not to make Connor feel like a failure. (Seriously, he bursts into tears when he has number 2 accidents in his pants).
Which brings us to the final step in my tutorial...
Step 6: Transitioning from Nekkid, to clothed.
I have no idea! Go google potty training somewhere else, cause my technique is complete crap (pun intended).
I spent 2 years teaching Connor to pee in diapers. I spent 2 minutes teaching Connor to pee in the potty whenever he was naked. Now I've spent the last 2 weeks trying to teach him to pee in the potty while wearing underwear. He has taken to stripping off his clothes whenever and wherever he wants to. I think we have a whole nother set of issues to work around...

Thankfully the weather is getting warmer...

Fun to watch...

Just some video of Kirstin and what she's been up to lately. She'll be 11 months on Saturday.