Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Potty Training Demystified

Had a co-worker ask, and Kelly asked how long this whole thing is supposed to go on for, so I thought I'd elaborate the master scheme behind potty training little Blue starting at the wee age of 2. All builds off 2 rules:

1) It's an all or nothing offensive. When you decide to start, there's no going back, not for vacations, not for holidays, not for anything. All or nothing.

2) No punshing whatsoever. Not a spanking, not a threat to spank, or even an attempt to put the little one in time out. Firm tones may be used, but going to the bathroom is NOT a time for punishment of any sort.

First thing before beginning is to talk to the daycare provider and discuss when and where. If your stay at home folk, it's your decision, but if you've got a daycare provide, it's usually their decision, but it's usually negotiable. Pink and I knew even before LB was born that our DCP would be the one to tell us when the time was right (typically between 20 months - 3 years old).

Once you've got that planned, invite the tyke to take a look at the bathroom more closely, have them practice washing hands (or wash hands with them) and let them get used to the sound of a flushing toilet. Going through it with LB, I only reccomend potty training toilets for the little ladies due to the boys tendancy to let the firehose go everywhere. Sure, the little toilets come with splash guards, but since the big toilet doesn't have them, I don't reccomend it.

We also got some books for LB to look at or listen to in the toilet, complete with a button to press with the toilet. We read the book and identified the toilet, sink, stepstool, etc.

Make sure that you tell the little one that it's okay to go potty and to tell the parental units when it needs to happen. Be prepared to wash the carpet at least once through the entire process, so be prepped for hax mat duty.

When the little one says they need to go, or they start doing the "dance" or the "stance" (trust me, you'll know...you want to make them when you have to go potty!) then without question drop everything and go. Doesn't matter if your in the middle of a wedding, your favorite show, or a dinner, when they say or dance, then you GO! (and I mean go...record for one day, whether LB had to go or not, was 15 times at home. Record in a 20 minute period is 5 times).

For little boys and little girls, the process is the same, take them into the bathroom and strip them on the waist down in the handicapped stall. They provide more room to move AND typically have cleaner floor space. Take a knee, put the tot on your leg, take the shoes off, then slip them down to the floor (socks on, no sandals, please), and take off the pants and underwear.

Place the tot so their bum is resting against the back of the toilet so that #2 has room to flow down and, especially with boys, they have to lean forward and place their hands on the front of the toilet to keep from falling in. This allows the fire hose to lean forward and prevent any "mis-fires."

(However, LB has managed on occasion to perfect his aim between the seat and the toilet itself...remember, NO punishment, just tell him to try better next time)

In the beginning, read a book or tell a story. Spend no more than 5 minutes at any one time...us throne readers might be able to spend an hour up there, but their little bods can't handle it.

If the tot goes number 2, odds are they can't use the TP without sharing the peanut butter all over the bathroom and of course, you. Pull them down when they're done, being careful to actually lift and not slide. Ask them to touch their toes, wipe, and you'll be surprised how little "remainder" you'll find. Toss the TP in the toilet, and let them flush the toilet and watch the potty go down the hole.

Next, time to dress, and odds are you'll have to either bend over them and have them hold your arms or get down on a knee for assistance.

Then, without fail (*cough* gentlemen *cough*) wash their hands. Oddly enough, in public places, this is the MOST difficult part. Most places don't have sturdy counter do do this on, so if you can use wipes, or any type of gel, make a game of it, but be sure to always wash hands afterwards. Just hop the tot up on the stepstool, and wash away. Once the little bub is tall enough to get the hose over the edge of the toilet, then I'll teach him to stand up.

There are varients to this of course. If the tot hasn't gone #2 in 3+ days (yes...that happens), sit the little tyke down and go about your morning routine in the bathroom (LB calls it funny face time because of the faces I make while shaving). Odds are they'll be entertained while at the same time being totally oblivious to what his body is doing.

When is it all done? Not for a LONG time. This routine goes on at least 3 times a day without fail: in the morning, after coming home from daycare, and right before bed. We've been going at it for about 4 months now, and we're slowly mastering the take down and pull up of the pants and underwear. Putting them on is a bit of a trick yet, but Little Blue and I are ironing it out. :)


Jenn said...

My step-mom said she knew it was time to potty train my brother when he would take off his own dirty diaper and get out a clean one. He would then unfold it and lay down on it and wait to be strapped in.

The Pink Pamphlet said...

We knew it was time for Little Blue when he could tell he had to go potty before it started coming out and asked for permission to potty in his diaper, something he clearly was becoming more and more uncomfortable about. As for how long it takes, my boss's two boys were each 4 years old before they stopped having night-time accidents, but the majority of the tough work is done months before that usually. :)