Parenting with Kindness

Your Positive Change Mentor
for Parents, Families and Youth Athletes

Positive Parenting FAQs

Q. How do we make potty training easier for everyone?

Posted on May 8, 2009 at 1:38 AM

A. With potty training, being consistent is 100% the key to faster success. When a baby is strongly resistant to wearing diapers (around 18 - 24 months typically), switch to training pants during the day (not night time, that comes later) and DO NOT go back to diapers during the day - no matter what your plans for the day are.  If you go back and forth between diapers and training pants, you'll delay the success by perhaps a year or even more.  Be observant and know how long it takes for your child's bladder to fill and set a timer for 5 minutes less. Use a timer religiously, even when out running errands, etc. When the timer goes off, head for the potty together, and soon your child will begin to understand the relationship of the feeling of a full bladder and having to go potty. Accidents will still occasionally happen. Keep a smile on your face and give positive reassurance.


Also, while potty training, give them the choice: would they like walk themselves to the potty or be carried to the potty when it's time to head to the bathroom. The choice is never: to go to the potty or not to go to the potty.


Even after they have shown you they get it, little ones are so busy that they will wait and wait before they head to the bathroom, then it can be too late. So, keep that timer going, and when it goes off, if they are too busy to stop playing - give them the choice of walking or being carried.


Night-time potty training happens after day-time training is successful. When the time comes for that, switch to training pants and DO NOT go back to diapers - no matter what. Put a waterproof mattress pad on the bed. You can even use a large Chux underpad on top of the sheets - tucked into the edges of the bed, over the area of the bed that may get wet. You may again have to be observant to determine when a child is emptying his/her bladder and you may have to use a alarm clock to wake both you and the child to use the bathroom before that inner-clock releases the bladder.


Biological obstacles to potty training can be a small bladder (limiting drinks before bedtime can help) or a low-placed bladder (massaging the bladder area in an upward motion before bed can help).


Physical obstacles can be dislike of the potty chair (uncomfortable, makes noises, etc), child is not big enough to reach the ground (a stool under the feet helps tremendously), etc.


Emotional obstacles can be a fear of falling in the toilet, being flushed down the toilet, that "poopoo" is a part of the child and therefore a part of the child is being "flushed away", etc. Emotional obstacles are sometimes hard to overcome, and behavior modification and rewards can help. Sometimes professional help is needed.

All FAQs answers are copyrighted by Sharon O'Sullivan. Contact me for reprint rights.


Categories: Infants through Kindy-aged

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