Yup, you read that right, teaching the art of pottying.
Potty training conjures up images of parents in fatigues, barking orders at their tiny one below, sweating, panting, ug. Of course that’s NOT how they are doing it, but TRAINING? YUCK.
Let’s start to learn about the art of pottying. Just imagine it. You are grasping on with all of your might, as you are suspended over a vat of water that swirls and then is sucked down into an infinite abyss. This is what a toilet looks like to your kids. Sure you may have a potty but some day, someday, they will have to move on to the giant vortex of doom. Kids are also creators of habit, not big fans of change. Great right? Just keep in mind, none of us went to high school in diapers. It WILL happen. BUT HOW????
Your first task is to be sure that your child is even ready. Are they dry for a few hours? Do they know when they have gone in their diaper? Does it bother them? Are they interested in the potty? Can they pull up and down most pants? This is pretty important if you think about it. Can they follow multi-step directions? There are A LOT of steps to going potty. No, really, check it out:
1. Go to the potty
2. Pull pants down
3. Pull underwear down
4. Get on the potty
5. Wait until done
8. Pull up underwear & pants
9. Wash hands
Mind blowing, huh?
OK, your kid is ready, NOW WHAT??? First you want to get your child interested in using the potty. Buy some books, watch some shows, let them pick out a potty (they come in a variety of colors and designs). Kids like information and the more that you can give them the better and the more involved that they can be in the process, well, also the better. Time for some TMI, but when you are a parent you have to throw inhibitions to the wind. Here ya go, let your kids see you potty. Yup. There ARE moments when potty time DOES need to be private but take ‘em along when you go pee. When they see you go they will want to go and they will discover that it is a part of everyday life. It is just what we all do.
Once you have the potty, make sitting on it part of the diaper changing routine. When you change your child, have them sit on the potty. If they are resistant, they can sit on it with a diaper or even fully clothed. Be careful not to ask. When we ask kids to do things, we are opening the door to, “NO”. If we tell them there is more of a chance that they will follow the direction, “OK, hop on that potty for a moment. Let’s see if anything comes out. What song should we sing?” You want your child to get comfortable with the experience not to master it in record time. So sitting fully clothed in fine and a step in the right direction.
Remember, we are teaching the art of pottying and mastering the art of something takes time. As you move forward, have your child sit on the potty and “try” after each diaper change. If they sit for a moment, that is fine. Again, this is a process.
When your child seems really ready to take the next step have NAKED DAY!!! Ok, not EVERYONE needs to be naked but have your kid be, at least on the bottom and take that potty with you everywhere so making it to the potty is easy. This is best to do over a weekend so you have a lot of time together and you can all just be home. You are trying to connect the feeling of needing to pee to the actual potty so when they feel the need they think POTTY.
Time to get real here for a sec, I like to be honest. You will “START” a few times before it takes. Kids are into it then not so into it. You may go on vacation and long car or plane ride may seem like something that your child is no where near ready for, and you are not willing to risk the mess that may appear, so back in the diapers they go. Your child may get sick and can’t focus on the potty. Lot’s of things that can throw a wrench in the potty plan. Keep in mind we ALL ended up learning the art of pottying and your kids will too.
I do not often tell families to use charts and bribes (which I call thank you’s or congrats for a job well done) but learning the art of pottying is a different situation. There is an end. Once a child has mastered going to the potty they are not really going to stop just because you stop charting and gifting. A congrats can be a new pair of undies, choosing the movie for family movie night, a new (inexpensive) toy. You want have an end date and when you will begin weaning off of the charts and gifts. For example:
• Use stickers for every time your child goes on the potty
• Then for every pee
• Then for every dry day
• Then for a poo
• Lastly have a big END prize
Big is NOT expensive. For example, your kid loves dress up? The dollar store has wings for $1 or masks. It is just something big to your child. It can also be an experience. They can pick dinner or weekend activity. Having a big end prize makes a real statement. They have done it. They have reached the finish-line.
They have mastered the art!!!! Teaching the art of pottying is a right of passage for parents as well as kids. It is a little stressful, emotional, and if you have a good sense of humor, a hilarious time in your life. Take deep breaths and stay strong and you will find in a few weeks that your child will be going on the potty like a pro. Sure, your child might not be pottying in 24 hours, BUT by taking the path described above the experience will be done without tears, yelling, tantrums, and TOO much stress (on the part of BOTH parties). Alright parents, you are now ready! Go forth and mentor the art of pottying!!!!
Want to talk more about pottying or any other parenting adventure? Stop by my site, www.childanfamilycoaching.com to sign up for your FREE 30 minute strategy session and when you mention this blog you will receive 35% off of one month of parent coaching.
Brandi Davis, ACC, is a professional Parenting Coach, Parent Educator, Speaker, Blogger, and Author of “O.K. I’m A Parent Now What?” She can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and be sure to catch her parenting podcasts on iTunes. The goal of Brandi’s practice is to bring respect, calm communication, teamwork, and FUN into the home or classroom. To discover all that Child and Family Coaching can bring to your family stop by www.childandfamilycoaching.com.