Thursday, September 8, 2011
Pee and Poop should not make me angry
I seem to be sharing my experience with potty training a lot through email, facebook, and in conversations, so here's a post for you all to read and me to look back on as my younger kids come up to this big step. Pee and poop should not make me angry, but I feared they would. Which is why I waited until Jimmy was almost 3, and then we committed to potty training him. Life is far easier without diapers, so you may want to start sooner. I waited because an easy training experience mattered more to me than months without dirty diapers.
My biggest issue in potty training was me. I prayed that I'd be calm and just enjoy seeing him take this big step in his life (since really we can guide, but it's his/her step to take). And as I sought God, I saw that it was important for me not to take it too seriously, but to enjoy even the trials of it all without pressure on him. This was hard for me and took a LOT of prayer. I hate how much I want him to perform. Ouch!
I think you know your child enough to know what to try and not to even bother with, so take what I say as things to think about, but maybe not right for you. What I did:
1) We started talking about the potty and how big boys go pee pee and poopy on it (and pointing out how his friends at church go on the big potty) We played the elmo potty game on sesame street.com and watched an elmo potty dvd weeks before we ever tried using the potty in any way.
2) We set a date and shared with him a week before that next week would be the week. Then 3 days b/f we started our countdown on the calendar and 2 days before we went and sat on the toilet (with pants on) to get used to the feel of the potty.
3) I made a chart of daytimes that hung on the wall and told him that every time he went pee pee on the potty we'd give a check mark- and poopy we would draw a smiley face.
4) On "potty day" we stayed home and I pumped him full of water/juice. Every half an hour we'd go sit on the potty (we used the big potty with an insert seat and a step stool to climb up into it) and read from a pile of books that were in there.
5) Every pee got praise and a small sticker (like the stars/smiley face stickers that teachers give in school) and any poop got a big sticker-we chose Cars themed and Mickey because he loves them so much. He did not poop until day three in the potty. He would wait until night at first, but over time he began pooping in the potty as well.
6) We pulled back the times in between potty visits each day from every half an hour to an hour to every 2 hours and gradually he learned when he had to go (but we still watched for signs and encouraged every few hours to try).
Underwear Preference: we used pull ups the first week- some of my friends swear not to. Again, you know your kid. I wanted jimmy to have wins and me to not get angry. Pull ups made sense for that.
We eased him into underwear once he already understood the potty routine-which was only 5 days after we started- we still did pull ups at church for the first month or so and on long car trips, but other than that he adjusted pretty well
-We still used pull ups at night for a season after that and trained him over time to go during the night by limiting drinks in the evening (none after dinner) and going right before bed to help with quick wins.
Potty training was like any other big thing you teach your kids, you commit time and energy to it (make potty training the priority for a bit) and try to make it a fun experience where he gets your time and attention (Jimmy loved reading on the potty so much that we did our morning family devotions while he was on the potty until he was 4 1/2- ha ha!) I had to expect him to fail at times, but still remember he'll do fine in the long run.
Bottom line- don't miss the joy of this HUGE step of independence with the stress that can come!!!! Enjoy it (as much as possible) and look for things that can become fun traditions or teaching moments.