Toilet Training 101…
Toilet Training 101!
(For Cheryl & Finn!)
This can be a tough one, but after having participated in this with more kids than I can count, I have definitely perfected the “ins & outs” so to speak!! Here’s what I’ve learned!
First & foremost, every child will come to this in their own time. You will never see them attending their high school graduation in a diaper, so don’t despair if your first attempts don’t make it. The biggest key to toilet training is the child’s own preparedness. If you think it’s time, usually for our own sanity, go ahead & give it a shot. But don’t make yourself crazy if your child isn’t interested….you can persist, & succeed, if it’s necessary to your current situation, however, if you have the time to wait, it’s best to back off & try again another time, when your child is more interested in the process. Toilet training should not be a stressful or traumatic time, for either of you! That’s not to say you can’t be consistent with the “discussions” about using the toilet, & asking them to give it a try periodically. However, leave it at that & continue with the diapers if they are fighting you on it. Typically the easiest kids to train are the ones who are ready for it themselves!
Forget the training potties!! All you are doing is toilet training TWICE! These are completely unnecessary tools & simply serve to prolong the process. A small stool (with non-slip bottom for those tiled bathroom floors), so the child can reach the toilet, & a simple, inexpensive plastic child seat for your toilet will suffice. I have these items in both bathrooms, & the plastic seat travels easily with us. Pull-ups or training pants are also a waste of time & money, in my opinion, & again, only serve to prolong this process. They are also far more difficult to “change” than a diaper, & I have had to do many a shower hose down after trying to remove a poopy Pull-up!
The biggest key is patience & the willingness to focus on the task. You need to choose a time that is settled & quiet, & will be for a couple of weeks. This is why…the quickest way to toilet train is a naked bum….completely naked, no undies, no pants, just a naked bum. Anything on their bum in the beginning will make them forget they do not have a diaper on, & you will likely go through their entire wardrobe in a day. Because we need more laundry to do! Finding the time when you know you will simply be at home, or for me, even the summer & being able to run around outside in the yard half naked, for at least the first week, will get you pretty far, pretty fast! And though you will be cleaning up messes, it’s still a far cry easier than cleaning them up if they’ve done it in their pants.
Absolutely bribe them! Works like a charm. Take all that money you’ve saved on unnecessary training products & hit your local dollar store. A grab bag of small, inexpensive items can be a huge incentive, especially with “#2” since that seems to be the more difficult task for them. With my son, I had Hot Wheels, with another, I bought the tubes of Little People, & handed them out one at a time. One was a candy fanatic, so treat sized boxes of Smarties did it for her, & the with last, it was random dollar store items. I put them in to a fun grab bag, & they would get to reach in & pull something out. Even simple stickers can work. For the 2 or 3 weeks you’ll need to do this, it is TOTALLY worth it. Shopping together for “big kid” undies is also a great incentive! Keep the bigger bribes for #2, & the verbal praise going at all times! Slowly phase out the “bribes” as they become more consistent with their habits.
Tips & Tricks!
Don’t worry about your boys standing up. Teach them sitting first, otherwise you will be cleaning up messes both in & out of the bathroom! My trick? Send him in to watch Dad as he got older…& yes, the Cheerios in the toilet bowl to improve their aim! However, that came well after he was completely trained, & again, your son won’t be in high school attempting to sit on the urinals. The other benefit to waiting for him to be well established, was being able to teach him to hold the seat up with one hand & pee with the other…to this very day, that habit means he has never left the seat raised for any of the 4 girls in the house to encounter!
Do not focus on night training at all until your child is well established with daytime toilet use. Most kids will be close to four years old before they go all night. When you are ready to attempt this, limit fluids after dinner, ensure they use the toilet before bed, then before YOU go to bed, pick them up, & sit them on the toilet again. All of my kids have also whimpered & fussed in their sleep if they have to pee, & being tuned in to this & ready to go grab them & plop them on the toilet at 2 a.m. has saved me many a wet bed…worth it despite the interrupted sleep!
Be sure to take spare clothes (including socks, it runs right down in to there!), plastic bags for the soiled clothes, & wipes when you are ready to venture out with a training or newly trained child. Ensure you know where the public toilets are (I can peg all of them within 10 square miles of my house!), & be sure to ask them regularly….even if they say “no”, a periodic visit to the toilet can curb any accidents.
Remember…a NAKED BUM is the quickest way to accomplish training. From there, progress them to just undies, no pants….seeing their undies will be a constant reminder that they are NOT in a diaper, & will help instil the “big kid” thinking, especially if they are excited about the ones they have chosen! For some reason, having pants on seems to completely erase from their little brains the fact that they are not in a diaper…I’ve seen it a million times! I think it’s the feeling of being “wrapped up” or “enclosed” the way a diaper does, that having pants on seems to give them. Being children, they are easily distracted, & will need constant reminders to use the toilet, especially when fully dressed…& often, you need to simply pick them up & take them until they get used to reading their own urges, most of us are pretty in tune to our kid’s daily timing & facial/body expressions by now!
Get rid of the diapers! Hide them out of sight & just say no in the first few days, until you determine if your child is ready to succeed. Going back & forth between the two confuses & prolongs the process. I have pulled them out for longer car trips, but try to avoid using them for anything but bed time. My last was SO not ready on my first attempt that she actually learned how to put her own diaper on! I knew after that to keep them hidden, & fed her some nonsense about only having 1 left for bed time….every day….she was two, she bought it!
“Bottom” line?? “When the child is ready, the teacher will appear”…& this CAN be a fairly quick & painless process if you are willing to take a week or two at home with your naked baby & bagful of goodies…yes, it really can be that simple! Trust me, I’ve learned these lessons the hard way, & like most things with parenting, you just need to relax about it, & not put stress on either of you by having expectations…every child will get there eventually! Good luck & happy toileting!
Martha Stewart Mommy!