No Sweat Potty Training Tips
Potty training, where a child is taught at an early age to urinate and defecate in a small toilet bowl-shaped potty, is an ordeal for too many parents.
I've asked that question myself. It is not because I have that problem. On the contrary, I never did with any of my three kids who are now past their potty training years.
I just cannot contain my wonder: "How can training a child to perform the normal bodily function of elimination cause parents so much stress (and misery)?"
The bottom line though is, potty training is a real concern that needs to be addressed.
Here are four practical potty training tips culled from my experience that may guide parents who are at the end of their rope:
First, model the way. Treat the elimination process as something normal and natural. Do not give your kids the wrong signal by fussing about it or treating it as a big event where you party when your child "makes it" and reprimand or coerce when your child fails. Doing this only adds to the pressure on your child and stress on you.
How did my spouse and I teach our kids this concept? How were we able to successfully imbibe toilet training without the hassle that many parents have?
We allowed them at a young age to see us sitting on the toilet. We showed them that toileting is as normal as breathing and sleeping.
"Gross" or "yuck!" you may say but that was how we did it. And it worked not just for our first child but to our third and last one.
They knew and understood what we were doing and because they saw their own potty (that we strategically placed) beside ours, they sat as well and did their thing. When they felt like it, they just went to the toilet.
The method we did was simple, easy and relaxed. There was no prodding, no coercing, no rewards, no praises, no punishment, no stress, and no sweat. We taught them the easy way, which was simply showing them.
Second, be sensitive to your child's potty training readiness. When can you say that your child is ready for potty training?
With reference to the child going to the potty, either voluntarily or with someone`s help, readiness is when he or she can already walk, talk and or communicate his her need to pee or poo. At this stage, which is usually the toddler years, you may hold the child by hand or lead or carry him/her to the potty.
You may think of this as scheduling an exact time to take your child to the toilet. It is not this kind of training.
In reality, potty training starts much much earlier when the child is a few (say, three) months old. This is the preparatory stage to potty training. Here too, sensitivity plays a major part.
In some cultures, parents look out for cues and signals like facial expressions, flushed face, holding the breath, vocal sounds or bodily gestures (like a potty dance, perhaps) and positions, for them to know that the child needs to go. Parents would then carry the child or baby to the sink, toilet, or designated place and hold him/her in a particular way that helps him/her urinate or defecate.
How did we do it? We put our baby on bed with a disposable sheet or paper towel under the buttocks, held up his/her two legs up and made some rhythmic sounds that calmed and encouraged bowel movement.
Clear Signals of Potty Training Readiness
Third, provide your child with the right environment. The potty should be as comfortable, attractive (i.e. colorful) and clean as possible. If the potty and its environment are unclean and smelly, your child would most probably refuse to go.
Fourth, prevent constipation with proper hydration and fibrous food. Bowel movement will come naturally and easily for your child when he/she is properly hydrated with water, not flavored drinks, and given healthy fibrous foods like fruits and vegetables. When bowel movement comes easily, potty training becomes easy.
Oh, well... perhaps it should be: When potty training is easy, bowel movement comes easily.