Today we are here with our resident potty training expert, Tallina Long. She is also a Birth First Doula! So! Tallina, what makes you a “potty training expert”?
Well, once upon a time I was the lead teacher in a two’s classroom. All 20 kids were potty training all at the same time! Plus, I’ve started all of the kids I’ve nannied on the steps toward potty training, and my niece was potty trained before she was two.
What would you like parents to know about potty training?
First, please remember that we have to build these skills over time. There is no rush, your kids WILL learn how to go potty. Keep the pressure low, for both of you. It will make the overall transition much easier. If you feel yourself being overwhelmed, then it’s time for a break!
That’s good information for parents and caregivers. However, how do parents start? Just throw them into underwear?
<laughs> You can! If your kiddo is ready and that’s what you want. Remember, consistency is key, if you decide to jump into underwear, don’t go back to diapers.
A great time to start is when your child is able to stand on their own, if you can change them in your bathroom. Basically the goal is to introduce them to the sounds and workings of the toilet. You start by changing their diapers in the bathroom, sharing and showing what they did in their diaper and disposing of solid waste in the toilet and allowing them to wipe with toilet paper.
As they get more and more used to the toilet and checking in, you can begin to scaffold the skills. It’s time to start talking about underwear! Place some in with your child’s clothing, and talk about them. If you can find books about going on the potty, read them! If your child is curious about you going to the bathroom, let them in and answer their questions. This is a good time to add in a child’s potty or a potty seat to your toilet, whichever feels best to you and your child,
When you both are ready, it’s undies or naked time! This in-between time of diapers and full time underwear wearing allows your child to go back and forth as they like. You can do this over a weekend at home, or for a few hours a day. Try to spend these potentially messy times at home where you can clean up. The hardest part of potty training is that disposable diapers wick away wetness from skin, so kids are not often aware of when they’ve gone potty. You may have more than a few times where your child shouts for you in the middle of a mess. If they can safely play outside, let them! Hang in there, your child will get the hang of checking in on the potty and letting you know when they have to go.
Don’t dally in the back and forth time too long, it can be confusing for your child. When you are ready, and feel they are too, go for it! Pack extra changes of clothes in your bag and ensure their school is prepared! Plan for at least 5 accidents at any given day.
Toddlers are notorious for power struggles. Try not to butt heads with them; rewards can go a long way to creating peace. Rewards work best if they aren’t food, rewarding with food can lead to long term issues. Try small toys and gifts from the store and have a reward basket. Sticker charts can also be beneficial in stretching out your smaller rewards and keeping track of when your child checks in on the potty.
Remember, the first time your child pees or poops on the toilet, don’t throw a big party. We all LOVE to celebrate, but it puts pressure on your kiddo that is hard to overcome. Are my parents going to have a parade every time I poop on the toilet? Best way to handle it? Be cool. High five your kiddo, remind them that they did it and they are rad and go about your day. The lower energy response won’t add pressure to the situation and that will keep both of you feeling calm and safe.
Thank you Tallina, these are all awesome insights! Where can parents reach you if they have questions or would like to book you for some individual help?
You can find me at my website- www.moonstonefamilyservices.org where you can reach out to me. I am available for any parent at any stage of this process.