Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Thoughts on potty-training

Last week I realized that Ethan had gone a long time (like a week) without any accidents or wet diapers at night. He'd even told me before he needed to do poo-poo twice in a row and did it on the potty.  So I decided that he was officially potty-trained and that we were done with all that nonsense.

Of course, he immediately had an (#2) accident, but, given that my best friend is a kindergarten teacher and her students still have accidents on a fairly frequent basis, I stick by my diagnosis.

I know that every kid is 100% different and that I will look back on this post and laugh when I'm trying to train Vivian and none of these techniques work. That being said, for my sake and for yours (in case you care), I thought I better commit this all to writing.

First of all. Unless your child is showing lots and lots of signs of readiness, don't bother trying.  I tried to potty-train Ethan 6 months or so ago, thanks to family pressure and it was awful. AWFUL. He fought every step of the way. This time, he was showing more signs of being ready and was older and it was much, much less awful.

Not to say that it was great. He is a very, very stubborn kid and it took him a while to get the idea of going on the potty instead of in his diaper.  We spent most of a week reading books on the floor in the bathroom. Which was lots of fun with a 1-year-old trying to help out, let me tell you.

But he got it and then he figured out pooping and we were on our way. He still had (and has on occasion) accidents, especially when he gets busy playing and forgets. I still have to ask him every few hours if he needs to go and take him, but not as often.  And Daniel taught him the whole standing up to pee thing. I told Daniel that that was his area of expertise, not mine.

Another thing that worked well for us the first week of learning, which I found on the internet, was to have Ethan play with a small tub full of toys, floating in warm water. The water and the temperature actually did seem to help him pee, and even when it didn't, it kept him entertained and gave me a break from sitting and reading books.

As for rewards, Ethan is unbribable and doesn't eat, so candy and toys were out, but we learned pretty quickly that he is hugely influenced by positive comments. We gave him a big high-five after every successful attempt and he thrived on that.  Vivian is already giving him looks that I'm pretty sure mean "Dude, are you crazy? They would have given you a new car for pooping in the potty!"  She's going to be a whole different challenge...

But there's my story and there are the things that worked for me. Good luck!

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