Potty Training For Dummies
If there is a book by this title, I would not buy it. I hadn’t read up on any literature for potty training when my daughter decided it was time. In fact, the extent of the books I’ve read since are entitled “Potty Time” and “I Can Go Potty”, Grover and Kermit telling my child how to use the potty. Throughout my many years of babysitting, leading a toddler day care room and nanny hood, I had a hand in training several little ones. I did take several child psychology courses in the (eh hem) one-too-many years of college I attended & learned (and retained) a bit about the mind of a toddler. When it came to our child, I just listened to my instincts and followed the lead of my brilliant daughter. Most of it is pure maternal instinct.
When she was around 14 months old, my daughter took an interest in the potty. She would sit on her little potty and go. It was that easy. Ok, it wasn’t THAT easy, but it was fairly simple compared to disaster tales of other Moms I‘ve heard. We really jumped into it at around 20 months. We would often recite “Peepee goes on the _____” (she would fill in the blank). She would say it by herself once she learned to speak in full sentences. This was months after her brother was born and after the pacifier was taken away. Nothing to get in her way, until she broke her leg. She regressed, and we lost patience (but we never let her know, it certainly wasn‘t her fault), but she picked right back up where she left off when that cast came off 4 weeks later. From the time she turned two, she has been in underwear all day! Yes, of course she has accidents. My favorite was at the Museum. I was nursing my son & she just stood there in a puddle on the bridge through fairytale land. Oops! Thank goodness it was at a children’s museum!! This only happens now once in a great while. My husband and I vowed to never make a big deal of it, just be matter-of-fact. Keep in mind I will be writing this over entirely when my son is potty training, when all hell breaks loose and everything I have said here goes flying out the window!
There is an excellent lesson to be learned during this feat: patience. If there’s one thing I think works, it’s to wait until they are ready. And when they are ready, wait until they learn. You can’t force the issue, no matter the age of your diapered toddler. Listen to their cues, go with their flow – literally and figuratively! Sure, invest in a decent pint-sized potty (or take the hand-me-down like we did!), look for some appropriate books you can read together while on or off the potty, and always, always, ALWAYS carry several spare pants, underwear, socks and even shoes in the diaper bag. Most of all, never get frustrated, at least on the outside. You can scream bloody murder on the inside, but don’t let your little one see the frustration. We’re not pre-programmed to learn to dispose of our waste in a receptacle that flushes into the ground for good. There is a lot of psychology behind teaching that to a child. So, my friends, tread lightly. Be cautious as to what kind of pressure you’re putting on your children. Let them lead the way.