Potty Training the Reluctant Child
Have you tried potty training with no success? Here are 5 unconventional tips that will save your sanity whether potty training girls or boys!
I felt like I had this potty training thing pretty under control. By child number 5, you should have everything figured out, right? WRONG! What do you do when you have a child shows all the “readiness” signs, but still won’t ditch the diapers? Here’s what finally worked for us.
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What Didn’t Work
The foolproof regimen that didn’t work this time around is easy to remember: 0, 1, 2, 3.
-cold turkey, no more diapers
-1 potty break per hour
– start near age 2
-takes 3 days
Why didn’t this work for us? Besides having some interesting tummy issues that made #2 difficult, an iron will was standing in our way. If it was my idea for them to use the potty, it was not happening. It took a year from the first attempt to change our thinking in order for it to be a positive experience for both of us.
What Did Work
We realized that this child just needed something different. Something tailored to fit their own specific needs. It turns out that the things we discovered are about as no-frills as it gets when it comes to potty training.
Set a Date
There are a few factors to consider when deciding to potty train. Potty training is not for the faint of heart. I needed a time where my husband would be the most available for moral support and extra help. Also, because I don’t love having accidents in public, I chose a window of time where my schedule was relatively free. Finally, because I don’t love worrying about the carpet being ruined, a season with warm weather is an added bonus! Plus, shorts are much easier to learn to pull up and down than pants.
We chose a date and wrote it on the calendar. I showed my potty trainee and we counted the days. Whenever we were near the calendar, we talked about it. We talked about all the details that would go into this go around.
It turns out that incentives really are not necessary to potty training. With our other kids we would have them put a sticker on a piece of paper they colored every time they sat on the toilet whether successful or not. If they went #1, they got a small treat. We’re talking like 1 M&M here. If they went #2, they got two of those treats.
I had finished off all the potty training treats and was not about to go restock, so I thought this time we would just cheer and give knuckle bumps after each success. You know what? It worked just as well as the treats, if not better. When my older kids tried to bribe me to give them treats whenever they went to the bathroom…knuckle bumps were great!
Window of Time
In the past we would give our kids all sorts of special drinks or drinks in special cups the first day of potty training. We wanted to give them as many chances as possible for success. When you have a child who wants to choose when to go and when not to go, this is NOT a good idea!
Instead, we started with 30 minutes. After 30 minutes we would ask “do you want to go potty?” By talking about what it feels like to need to go potty, and helping them pay attention to how they were feeling, the power was all theirs to choose. We would slowly increase the time by 5-15 minutes each day depending on their level of success. No actual timer was set wherein they HAD to sit on the toilet. It was just a reminder starting in that time frame. If they chose to not sit on the toilet, we would help them find an activity on hard floor and ask them at more frequent intervals until they either sat on the toilet or had an accident.
No More Diapers
We did completely ditch the diapers cold turkey. I LOVE doing it that way! I feel like diapers at night are too confusing and they seem to hold everything until they have a diaper on anyway. Before putting kids down for nap or bedtime, I have them sit on the toilet first. When they are in bed, we have a fitted waterproof mattress cover under the sheet, and a potty pad or two for them to sleep right on top of. There aren’t usually too many accidents, but all the mattress protectors keep clean-up fairly simple.
Before I go to bed for the night, we put the kiddo on the toilet while they are still asleep and they usually go quite a bit. As soon as they wake up from nap or bedtime, we have them run in and sit right on the toilet.
First off, not all potty chairs are created equal. We have found that out the hard way. The perfect potty chair does not have a plush seat (which will soak up pee), and has a high front shield to keep pee in the potty chair, not all over the bathroom. Second, we rarely use potty chairs at home. It is nice right at first to know how much they are actually going, but for the most part, it is one more thing to have to clean up and becomes a hassle.
As soon as our kids are able to balance on the actual toilet, that is where they go. So what do we use the potty chair for? In the car. Yep, that’s right. In order to still be out and about, we keep a potty chair in the car so that we don’t have any accidents. When we just had one or two kids, it was mildly inconvenient to use a public restroom. But, when you have to drag all 6 kids which includes trying to hold the baby and balance the newly potty trained child on an oversized toilet with a cut out in the middle. All of a sudden, toting a potty chair in the trunk doesn’t seem so bad, does it? (Just be courteous and lawful about how you dispose of the contents please!)
Potty Training Success For Everyone
When the battle of wills and high expectations are removed from potty training, there is bound to be more success. In the future I will definitely try again to potty train around age 2. Simply because I don’t love changing diapers. In fact, if I give a negative reaction to an older, unpotty trained child, it is merely because I hate changing diapers, not because I judge you or your potty training values. I have been changing diapers every day for the past 10 years, so I’m sure you can understand…
Listen and be patient with your child. Breathe, and be patient with yourself. Children are all eventually potty trained, it just takes time to get there!
What are your potty training tips?