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Monday, 15 April 2013

Getting on the Potty Train

We have started potty training my 19 month old daughter.  She was giving some of the signs that she was ready, and I am so ready for toilet trained bliss- at least I imagine it as bliss.
I know there are a million blogs and websites dedicated to how to train your child, and many of them claim that success is only three days away.

Personally, I feel very annoyed when I read these how-to guides.  That's how the author may have trained their child, but there is no method to anything that will work with every child. As my daughters parents I believe That Guy and I know her heart better than anyone else, and much better than an author who has never met her.

Some authors claim there are a long list of readiness indicators for potty training. For Audrey we needed only two: she had to be able to communicate the need for the potty, she had to have physical bladder control. At 19 months Audrey cannot pull her own pants up and down, nor did she display any burning desires to watch anyone else use the toilet.  Those might be some of the indicators for your child, but not for her.

We use the least expensive potty chair on the market- I hope I did not shock you there ;) The molded plastic potty from IKEA is great for us. They cost under $4. They are compact and stack able. Stack able is nice if you want to get three or four for your home (one for the child's bedroom, one for each bathroom, and one for whatever room you're in most often) but when guests come over you would prefer to minimize the visual potty  experience.
At under $4 I feel justified in simply getting rid of it after a certain time and moving on to a new one.
They are small enough to easily fit in your trunk for long car rides.
They come in a large variety of colours so they can stand out and be highly visible in the room. Or your child might be the type who will only pee on a green potty. Either way, colour choices win.

I know there are potty's with happy faces molded into them, or ones that play music when your child pees, or some with built in potty-side tables for your child to rest their cups and literature on. We use a super simple chair, and the praise and happy faces come from us.  LOTS of cheering, clapping and "good girl!"s are key for Audrey who is a very praise driven child. That being said, I could clap until my hands are raw and it doesn't compare in Audrey's eyes to a simple "whoo-hoo!" from big brother Walter. We have made potty training a family affair. Lots of praise but no negative re-enforcement. We clean up any accidents, but do not sigh, fuss or condemn.

About a week before we started training, I quietly took Audrey's two favorite toys out of the play room. I put them next to the potty.  Letting her explore her play cell phone or the Leap Pad keeps her sitting long enough to relax the required muscles. Sitting down- or not sitting to be more accurate- is Audrey's biggest act of defiance. Not just about the potty- in general.  She is resistant to sitting for dinner, in the car seat, while putting on shoes...

We do not use disposable training pants. I simply wont pay that price for a glorified diaper. I did get Walter some padded training underwear when he was learning to use the potty. Being padded they hold on to more wetness than regular underwear would.  This is a benefit at home because it allows to child to feel cold and wet and thereby encourage them to stay clean and dry.  The padding is also a benefit when we are out because it allows a tiny accident to happen without wetting right through the clothes right away.
These training underwear cost $6 for two at Wal-Mart. It feels expensive, but its less costly than the disposable option, works better toward the desired achievement and if you have more than one child they can be passed down.   Yup, that means Audrey is wearing underwear with trucks and cranes on them.  She either doesn't notice or she doesn't care.

Let me repeat that I do not use disposable training pants.  Not even when we are out. We put her on the potty before we go. We bring a change of clothes in case an accident happens. We keep trips short while she is training.  We arm ourselves with lots of patience.

Since I run a home day care, diaper free days are still many years away.  But I am so excited for diaper free weekends. I imagine these weekends to be sun- filled, have theme music and perhaps even happy montages... or maybe that is just my imagination running away with me. I guess we will find out soon enough!

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