Potty training is hard. Let me rephrase that, potty training is REALLY hard! Especially when you’re dealing with a very stubborn child. In my case, When my son was four years old he flat out refused to do his #2 business in the potty, and trust me, I’ve tried…everything! Potty training may just be the number one cause of parents losing their..ever…lovin…minds! Blaahhh! Ok, I’m better now.. eh, hem.
Case in point: my youngest was in potty train mode for quite awhile. He was, in fact, the hardest of all my children to potty train. He also has special needs so that just added to the difficulty of the situation. In the beginning, he got the #1 business down fast. In fact, I can honestly say he would go months without a wet accident. He even stayed dry all night. I’m relieved my kids weren’t bedwetters; I know from my friend’s experiences with their children that it can be difficult, even traumatic. Here’s where the problem arose: he flat out would refuse to go poop in the potty. Even when it was obvious he needed too, he just would not do it. He would sit for as long as 15 minutes and still…nothing. He would just keep saying he can’t, or he would whine and want to get off the potty. He would hold it in until I give him underwear or a pull-up. After he does his ‘business’, then he’d sit on the toilet and pretend to try for a short while, he’d even get excited when what was on his bum fell into the toilet as though he did his business there in the first place! He wanted me to get excited, which is hard to do as I looked into his ‘skid marked’ underwear. *sigh* It’s a work in progress what can I say!
- First and foremost, no matter what all the so-called ‘experts’ say, you will know when your child is ready or not. If you are both in tears more often than not, take a break for awhile when it’s more obvious your child is ready.
- Take your child shopping for new underwear. Tell them how special their big boy/big girl underwear is and that they wouldn’t want their special underwear getting dirty. This tactic worked pretty well for my two older children.
- Be prepared to have no life for up to a week if you want to get down to the business of potty training. Read #4 to understand why.
- Keep your child in underwear only while at home. In fact, try not to make any plans at all for at least three days straight. Make sure the bathroom door is open and easily accessible. Also, consider keeping a portable potty training toilet in the area where the TV is and put a towel under it to catch any ‘dribble.’ This tactic is especially effective if they have a hard time relaxing as they can just sit and watch TV while doing their business. If you don’t mind them having a device such as a tablet with them, they can also take that into the bathroom. I recommend you have a waterproof case in this instance! Set a timer where you can both hear it as an audio reminder on the hour every hour. (or use a potty trainer timer watch like this one) Depending on the frequency your child usually needs to urinate. The idea is to teach them to know their own internal bodily function’s trigger and to pay attention to it and not just keep playing with their toys or electronic device. This instance can happen with older kids too as they become so engrossed with a video game or a favorite TV show that they put off going to the bathroom until they are about to burst. Maybe THIS is what kids these days need? Read the reviews they’re hilarious!
- Anybody who says potty training is a cinch most likely had a very low-maintenance child or one that was eager to be like his older sibling or peers. My middle child potty trained in less than a week mainly because he wanted to be just like his big sis. I thought I was the luckiest mom in the world! The point is, every child is different. I have three, and none of them trained the same. I believe it’s somehow linked to their unique personality traits as well. What works great for one kid may not work at all for another. Trust this seasoned mama!
- Instead of rewarding only your child, reward yourself and other members of the household every time someone does the ‘deed’. Peer pressure may ultimately play the upper card and get them on the road to being potty trained. Keep a bag of goodies handy at all times. For my youngest candy didn’t cut it. He’s obsessed with cars & trucks, so when he did his first voluntary #2 in the potty, I immediately took him to the store to pick out a new toy truck. Psssst! Use the good chocolate for yourself of course. You’ve earned it! (my personal fave chocolate are these here: DIVINE!)
- Last but not least, keep an endless supply of Flushable Wipes. These are quite possibly the handiest ‘tool’ to have around while potty training. Toilet paper alone just doesn’t cut it trust me. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve run out and ended up having to throw him in the tub to hose him down. When you need to get somewhere in a hurry, a quick bath isn’t always convenient. The best part is, they are sewer and septic safe. Totally flushable, unlike baby wipes. There are all kinds of brands that sell them in the toilet paper section. Personally, I just like this brand the best because they’re thicker (so you use less), and they don’t have the funky after smell other brands tend to have.
So what has potty training been like for you? What has been the biggest obstacle to overcome? Where do you feel you need the most help?
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