Ah, the thing that mothers want but dread the most. This week's topic for Toddler Talk is Potty Training. If you have any advice and want to join in on the fun, go here:
I have gone through the potty training stage twice, once with a boy and once with a girl. I am in no way an expert but I think I can give some lessons that I learned.
#1 The very best piece of advice I can give to anyone considering potty training is do NOT push too hard. There are only a couple of things that the littles have control over: eating and using the potty. If you push and push, potty training will definitely turn into a control issue and your little one will win.
I remember when we were trying to potty train Kanin we tried everything in the book: rewards, punishments, pep talks, potty books, Cheerios, big potties, little potties, potties that sing, etc. The bottom line was that he was going to do it when HE wanted to do it. As soon as we all shut up and did not say another word about it, he started using the potty.
#2 Really pay attention to if your child is ready or not. I know that sometimes we want to rush this thing along because we are tired of the diapers and the poop but I've seen people try to start potty training way, way, way too early and then the parent gets frustrated. I don't think that there is a certain age where they are ready. Every kid is different in maturity level and that is really what you have to pay attention to.
#3 Kanin has always "pee'd" standing up. I know that a lot of people train little boys by sitting down on the little potties but he always saw Gaga going and Gaga stood up so that's what he wanted to do. Yes, it was messy at times but if that's how he wanted to pee well who am I to stop him? He also never used a little potty chair. We just got the potty ring that sits right on top of the big toilet, put a stool in the bathroom, and that's where he went.
#4 I'm not a big fan of giving M&M's or candy for going to the potty but that's just me. If it works for you, go for it.
#5 Take all advice with a grain of salt. Only you know your child and only you know their maturity level. Don't feel like you are doing something wrong if your child isn't potty trained by age X. I'm quite sure your child will not go to kindergarten still wearing a diaper.
#6 Gracie was easy to actually potty train but had trouble with accidents. We sometimes went through 3 or 4 pairs of panties a day. Like all kids she would get busy playing and wait too long but I think because she was a girl and had to unbutton her pants, pull her panties all of the way down, get up on the potty, etc. she just couldn't hold it that long. I did get frustrated and so tired of little puddles in the bathroom floor but she finally got it.
#7 If you are using a potty chair, keep it in the same spot (preferrably the bathroom) so they know where to go each and everytime to do their thing. Gracie was potty trained in our downstairs bathroom. To this day she will still walk down the stairs to use that bathroom even though there are 2 upstairs. I try to tell her she can use all of them, and she will in an emergency, but for the most part, she always comes downstairs. LOL
Hope this helps!