Potty training will be easier and faster if you decide in advance what your child needs to learn and how you will teach it. No matter what method you use, the keys are kindness and consistency. To help ensure you remain kind, choose a time when you feel emotionally centered and can be patient. Otherwise, your child will react to your tension and have difficulty concentrating. To provide consistency, all caregivers need to participate, use the same approach, and work on potty training regularly. When training is sporadic, children become confused as to what is expected of them, and the habit of using the potty each and every time takes much longer to develop.
Daring to Differ
Perhaps Mom wants “her” child to experience the later, softer, gentler approach to potty training while Dad thinks that kind of coddling will ruin him for life. Or Mom is sick to death of laundry and wants to get this potty training show on the road and Dad is saying she'll break his spirit and turn him into a chronic people-pleaser by pushing too hard. How can a couple reconcile two such very different philosophies?
Arguing with your spouse about which potty training method to use will hurt your child more than using a method that is either stricter or less strict than she really needs. Read this book in its entirety and try for one last meeting of the minds, then seek couple's counseling to reconcile your differences if necessary.
The potty-practice method (Chapter 5) may be a program you can agree upon. Your child spends time relaxing in the bathroom for three to five minutes every hour or two, but can avoid that requirement if he goes to the potty on his own beforehand, and he can leave sooner if he uses the potty and washes his hands before his time is up. If that method isn't agreeable to both of you, consider letting the indulgent parent handle the laundry and use the potties-without-pressure method (Chapter 7) for six months, then have the stricter parent give the potty practice or fast-track method a whirl (Chapter 6). Agree to support one another no matter which one of you is in charge at the moment. You need to respect what each of your child-rearing approaches has to offer. Battling for control of your child's bowel and bladder accomplishes nothing.
Discussing intimate bodily functions makes some parents feel as if they're breaking a taboo. Their desire not to discuss this delicate subject can create real problems if children have worries, anxieties, or concerns about having bowel movements in the potty — and many do.
One way to make discussions easier is to begin by reading the children's storybook
As stated before, the two basic rules of potty training are kindness and consistency. Consistency can be especially hard to come by if your child spends a lot of time with other caregivers, and this situation is undoubtedly part of the reason that so many modern children are trained so late. Until children develop the habit of using the potty, a caregiver must be responsible for prompting them. Otherwise, youngsters have to remain conscious of their bladder at every moment, and that takes more energy and a better ability to concentrate than most little folks have.
It is best for all your child's caregivers to use the same program. What is desirable isn't always possible, but there are several things you can do to increase the likelihood that other adults will follow your program. Write out exactly what you're doing at home or buy more copies of this book, bookmark the chapters, and underline the relevant passages that day care center teachers, baby sitters, and the “other parent” need to know. Set aside some uninterrupted time with other caregivers to discuss potty training so you're both on the same page.
Make it easy for others to cooperate by supplying everything they need to be able to follow your rules. For instance, for the potty-practice method, provide an alarm clock they can set so they don't forget to put your child on the potty at certain times; give them a list of times, too. Provide a timer they can use to signal when your child can get off the potty a few minutes later, a calendar for keeping track of successes and accidents, a stock of rewards, a sticker chart, and extra changes of clothes in case of accidents.
Some children will use their potty at home but refuse to use strange ones. In that case, a portable potty may help. If your child can become accustomed to using it at home, he may be willing to use it other places, too.
A contentious ex-spouse may insist on doing things differently, but follow your program without telling you. If you cannot work together, see Mom's Method in Chapter 8 for suggestions about how to handle an older toddler to get him to follow the rules in your house when he can do as he pleases elsewhere.
Potty training is more than just eliminating into a potty. In a broader sense, it is about maintaining cleanliness in order to prevent illness and safeguard health, as well as maintaining basic standards of personal hygiene so as not to offend others. Parents and caregivers need to teach youngsters the procedures to follow for wiping, flushing, potty-bowl rinsing, and hand washing (Chapter 9). Remember that good personal hygiene is the result of consistent training.