Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Two Week Potty Training Plan

We potty trained Elsie about a month ago and although it was hell for a week, this potty training method worked beautifully in two weeks. I am by no means a child development expert, but by working with frustrated parents for the last 9 years in my preschool, I have learned the do's and don'ts of potty training. It takes patience, the acceptance that it will get messy and a STRONG will.

My sitter, Sara, is a baby guru. She has the patience of a saint and has the magical powers to get my strong-willed Elsie to be obedient. She gave me this potty training plan, which was basically the same thing I did with my step-son Logan, but the difference here was that I didn't just have my little potty trainer for the was me working with her every night. With Sara's help, my little girl became a big girl in less than two weeks.

The most important thing to remember is that your child has to be ready to potty train.  I see parents start training too early all the time. I even succumbed to the peer pressure of my friends and bought a princess potty right after Elsie turned 2 when I knew she wasn't ready yet. If your child isn't ready and you start slowly getting them used to the potty, it's not a new activity for them to learn once you're ready to get them out of diapers. They've been sitting on it for months and if they've been going in their diapers that entire time, they don't understand why now they have to stop and start using the potty. You need to have clear objectives and set goals, even if they have no concept that what a week is when you tell them in "one week we'll use big-girl underwear." They know that it's coming and they have to be ready. If you start the training and by the end of the two weeks they're still not having it, they might not be ready. Put away the potty and try again a month or two later.

Here is the two week plan:

Set goals and rewards.

Elsie had a sticker chart that she put a princess sticker on if she went potty. She also got one M&M if she went pee and two if she pooped. As candy is a rarity in our house, this was a strong motivator.
Week 1: Pull-ups & Potty Chair Introduction

Put your child in pull-ups and take them to the bathroom about every hour, when they wake up and before they go to bed. Even if they don't do anything, have them sit on the toilet for a few minutes to get used to the routine. Elsie did not go in the potty once this week, but she learned to pull up and down her pants and to sit patiently. I had a basket of books by the potty so she could read as she sat.
Week 2: Big Girl/Boy Underwear

Say goodbye to those Pull-ups, even at night. I found that on the third night of putting the pull-ups on Elsie at night that she was holding herself until she got in the pull-ups. She's a smart one, but I catch on quick. 
This will get messy. They will have accidents. They need to learn what happens when they don't go to the potty in time. Elsie was very stubborn. She had lots of accidents and I found myself coming home from work and spending the entire night in the bathroom with her because I knew she had to go, but she was refusing. She would yell and cry while I made her sit there. On Thursday, I told my husband that this wasn't good for my relationship with Elsie and I was ready to give up. But I forged on...
Finally on Saturday (Day 6 of week 2), it clicked. She started telling us she had to go and would go as soon as she sat on the potty. From then on, she was potty trained. She still had an accident now and then, but one month down and she is a happy little girl.

I'm Potty Trained!

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