Sunday, October 9, 2011

Potty Training That Works For Us

When Zilla was little I tried infant potty training with him. For the most part it worked but I was more relaxed about it than I could have been. We should have moved him out of diapers before he turned two. I learned with him that it is much easier before kids become super active toddlers!
During the past few months some of the kids in my Baby Signing Time class have learned
to use the potty. They are just a few months older than Mega so it was a good reminder for me to get serious about having her use the potty too.

Today we reached a milestone! Mega, 14 months old, came tonight to tell us that she needed to go potty. She did the sign, pointed to the bathroom and then then went down the hall. I followed her, helped her get undressed and she pointed to the big toilet. After helping her up she went pee in the toilet! This is the first time she has told us she needed to do and actually gone. All she needs is 3 simple signs - potty, more, and all done!
I hope that this will soon mean the end of dirty diapers for us!

If you have yet to potty train a child you may be wondering about when to start and how to go about it. You can start from the day the baby is born with Elimination Communication or Infant Potty Training. Basically, you watch carefully for signals that the babe needs to go and then give the babe a chance to go on/over a potty of some kind. Over time the babe will learn his/her signals as well as yours. Some parents make a "psss" sound when the baby goes pee so that the babe will learn to go when he/she hears that sound.

I didn't have the energy to start so early. With both kids I waited until they could sit on their own. By that point I could pretty much tell when they were going to poop. They both would freeze and get an uncomfortable look on their faces. When the signs were noticed I sat them on the toilet as soon as I could.
We started out with a kiddie toilet in the living room and another in the kitchen. As the babe caught onto the idea of the toilet it was moved closer the bathroom. After a month or two they ended up near the big toilet.
Around 1 year old the kids were placed on the toilet a few times a day and asked to go. Good times for this include first thing in the morning, before and after meals, before and after going out, and last thing before bed at night. Mega has an older brother whom she loves to imitate so that has helped a lot. Any time he goes potty she sits on the potty near him. She has also started doing the same with us, the parents.

From the start we have always used signs (sign language - ASL) to communicate with Mega. Whenever we go to the bathroom we say and sign "potty". She has begun to do the same when she needs to go. Even if we don't make it to the toilet on time Mega still sits on the toilet and tries to go. At first there may be a lot of the toilet sitting after the fact but eventually kids catch on and try to get to the toilet before things start to come out. It also helps if they can see mom and dad or other kids using the toilet so they know what is supposed to happen.

Another helpful tip is to use cloth diapers. Disposable diapers have become too good at wicking away wetness. Feeling the uncomfortable wet diaper is helpful as babies and toddlers prefer to stay dry and therefore would prefer to go potty in a toilet rather than a diaper. Cloth diapers come in many easy to use forms, are economical and environmentally friendly as well as being a great option for babies with sensitive skin. I am not exclusively a cloth diaperer. I try to use cloth for at least the first 5-7 diapers of the day when we are home.

My one piece of advice to parents and students who haven't started potty training yet is to do it sooner rather than later. It is much easier with a 14 month old who will willingly try most anything than with a 24 month old who is too busy to care!

Something to think about...
Different cultures handle potty training in different ways but one recent trend is delaying it until kids are nearly preschoolers... This seems to be the trend in countries where disposable diapers are priced low enough for most families to afford them...

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