Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Stupendous potty training method - no nagging, no arguments!

Mama of Four Explains Stupendous No-Nag Potty-Training Method:  clearly, and in very few steps!
 
A few years ago, I got sick of seeing other potty-training mamas asking their kid over and over and OVER, "Do you have to go?  Honey, do you have to go?" 
 
It annoyed me almost right up there with the mamas who say "we're LEAVING...we're leaving WITHOUT you...!" when clearly it would be negligent, not to mention illegal, for them to exit the park, the mall, the indoor playground, etc., without taking their offspring. 
 
My number-one rule:  don't lie to your kids, even about the small stuff, or they won't believe you about the big stuff either. 
(some lies and half-truths serve important functions, though)
 
Anyway - potty training.
 
My easy solution, which actually works some of the time, and eliminates almost all arguments, is simple:  WARN the child ahead that it will soon be potty time.
 
Potty time is a big transition!  A big part of the resistance to potty-training is the fact that toddlers are so bloody busy.  They have important things to do!  They are learning and picking up skills at an incredible pace... who'd want to put that down so they can go sit and wait for something that might or might not happen?
 
So if the baby wakes up dry or has been dry for a while, I ask him if he has to go - ONCE.
(I'm saying "him" because my baby is currently a boy - I have more experience doing this with Naomi, but that was a couple of years ago). 
 
If he says YES, he sits until he thinks he's done.  If he succeeds, great!  We rarely succeed on the first try at this point.
 
If nothing is in the potty, or if he says NO, he can go play for 20-30 minutes.  (At the moment - summertime! - this is bare-bottomed play.)
 
Then, I warn him that in five minutes, it's potty time.  (Towards the end, with Naomi Rivka, she'd just go do it right away.)
 
Important:  TRY TO USE A TIMER!
#1, because I get distracted, the phone rings, somebody calls me away, whatever... and then it wouldn't happen and the baby would make a mess.
#2, because I have a theory that if the timer "makes" something happen, the child blames the timer, not you!
 
When the timer beeps, announce that it's potty time.  Scoop him up, along with a couple of books or toys so the fun doesn't have to stop.  Set the toys on a steppy-stool next to the potty.  Set him on the potty.
 
If he succeeds, great!
Otherwise, continue from the 20-30 minutes play stage.  If you think he really has to go, allow him only 10-15 minutes before the warning; this is at your discretion, depending on your tolerance of messes.
 
Anyway, it's not revolutionary, and I can't guarantee that it will work, but at the VERY least, this strategy will give you some time off from potty-nagging, give him a working vocabulary of potty-related terms, and most importantly, keep a happy relationship between you and your kid at a time when things can sometimes get a bit ornery or adversarial.
 
Hope this helps!

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