Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Potty Learning

This is an article I wrote and they passed on it. I thought I would share it for all the parents of toddlers. 

Before you have kids, potty training is something you never think about. Once you have a toddler, potty training is something you can’t stop thinking about.  With the aisles of gadgets and rows of thickly bound books, you would assume for every child, the solution would be simple. Well, it’s not and I wonder if  we have it all wrong. Maybe what we need to stop doing is trying to “train” our kids and just start teaching them.
After three kids and many youthful babysitting jobs, I should be an expert but if I have learned anything about kids, it’s that they are all different.  With some finding a new chair the ticket to diaper freedom and others turning their noses up to the idea. Even when they come from the same womb and grow up in the same home, each of our little humans seem to rewrite the ways of how to potty. 
The most popular form of potty training to date is reward. When a parent sees a glimmer of interest, the jar of brightly colored, sugar bombs get set up (out of reach, of course) to entice the littles. I have found that sugar free Jelly Beans are quite popular, but what happens when said baby doesn’t want to sit, for a sweet? 
Next up, comes the stacks and stacks of books about “going”, placed lovingly next to the shiny new, designer potty. You know the one that sings when you flush and lights up when you go. What if your baby says, “no”? Do you double down and add the sweets, to the books and the new potty?
If you haven’t been a part of the Infant Potty Training, like Laurie Boucke’s primeval methods, this potty training thing may turn into a “problem training”. It is certainly a nice thought to teach our wee ones, to wee as mere babies but starring down the unrolled TP running the length of the hall, I can assure you that nothing works for everyone. Finding what works for your little squirt might just take a little research, a dash of patience and a LOT of hand washing.
Potty learning is a lot like teaching a child to swim or ride a bike.  You can toss them in with water wings, you can run along side them with training wheels but at the end of the day (or summer) it is absolutely up to that individual child to decide to let it fly.
If you have a boy, I highly recommend “Potty Training Boys The Easy Way” written by Caroline Fertleman and Simone Cave. It is THE book that brings a fresh, simple perspective, on a sometimes dull and always messy job. Girls, they say, are “easier” to teach but I find that some of the same rules apply and I also believe that it is not a girl/boy thing.  Teaching your child to pee in the tub is genius… gross, but genius and when push comes to shove,we absolutely will try it all but now you don’t have to.
The Sesame Street potty is a great starter toilet for your Elmo lover but maybe not the best for boys, as there is little to no splash guard. For the girly girls, or princess loving boys The First Years Disney Potty System has a simple yet sweet design that will bring a smile to your little ones face. With it’s no nonsense potty ability and a detachable seat that fits most standard size toilets, your toddler is sure to love their very own throne. Your child, boy or girl, may find the sparkly, singsongy toilet just the ticket.  For a more basic toilet, with everything they need but a cup of coffee, the Summer Infant Step By Step potty is sure to please. It would also be a great addition for Grandma and Grandpa’s house or maybe a backyard or camping companion.

Although there are other kinds of kids… (ahem, my third) that find the portable cans more useful as a place to store toys or something to climb on, rather than have a place to go. I find that keeping him naked is the most helpful. Now past the point of  leaving puddles on the hardwood, he will show more immediate signals when he feels the urge. With the smaller potty’s not tickling his fancy and no amount of character driven themed toilet peaking his interest, I have started him on the simple design of the Bemis seat attachment. Something about it not being child like is what I imagine makes it interesting. 
I am not a Doctor and have no formal Number 1 or Number 2 training but my gut says, it’s the same with the potty. There are tricks, strategies and rewards a plenty but until your little guy or gal decides to take the proverbial plunge, we have to encourage, be patient and wait for them to wake up dry.

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