Sunday, July 29, 2012

Potty Training 101: What Do You Do?

A little over a month ago I wrote this post in regards to Maddie's potty time. It seems she was doing a fantastic job at school with it, yet was still having a hard time at home staying dry. So, I went out and picked up this really cute watch so that she'd know when to go potty {with an alarm}. The watch lasted a day. I still haven't seen it. I wouldn't be surprised if she flushed it. I mean, come on, if you just love something you're certainly not gonna lose it in a day, are ya? We'll maybe if you're three....

When it came to my girl, I think the number one step that made the most difference were the rewards. She was given a little piece of candy Every. Time. She. Peed. {or even sat on the potty}. And she must have a crazy sweet tooth because within a day {with scheduled hourly pee breaks and rewards} she was independently going to the bathroom. Within the first week we had one accident. Within the last month we've had enough accidents to count on one hand, and it was mainly when she was simply distracted.

Now, let's take a step back, along with the rewards, moving out of pull-ups and into panties was also a major step for success. It seems when Maddie was in pull-ups she just wasn't motivated to keep them dry, but with cotton undies on, it was a new game. And when I mean no pull-ups I mean not even at bedtime. One night, within our first week of potty training, Maddie fell asleep before we got a pull-up on and stayed dried all night. I gave it a go the next night and realized this was exactly what she wanted.

And speaking of what a kid wants, I think it's important to wait until a child is ready for potty training. I know Maddie was older than what most people feel comfortable with {she was an early 3} but by waiting, I think it saved us a great deal of frustration. She was able to tell me when she needed to go potty as well as pull up and down her own pants, and I think this really helped with the independence side of using the bathroom.

Also in regards to accidents, I kept it all in the bathroom. I no longer changed Maddie on the changing table but instead put her BM's into the potty, even out of her underwear. I never shamed her but reminded her that we put "pee-pee" and "brown" in the potty. We even sang songs about feeding Mr. Potty. It was always fun and games.

So, to recap:
1. I waited til I felt Maddie was really capable of using the potty.
2. I switched her out of pull-ups and straight into underwear.
3. I found her motivation...sweets. 

And if you wonder how hard it is to break a kid from constant rewards, simply move from reinforcing a behavior every time to every other time and so forth. You are the adult and in control of the candy, if you say, "next time you get blah, blah, blah," then so be it, it's just what will be. Will your kid regress if it's a control issue? Yes, so encourage independence and pick your battles wisely!

What about You? What strategies did You use to succeed with the potty?

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