When it came time to potty training our sons, I’ll be honest…I was terrified.
-If you do it too soon, they’ll become frustrated (as will you) and the process will take longer.
-Too late, and you’re severely limited on which preschools you choose, as most expect your child to have the act semi-mastered.
When we first started researching the subject, there were 1000 articles covering potty-training on-line, and each had a different method.
There was even one article we read that offered a potty training class, which included the author flying into your respective city and personally training your children to use the bathroom.
The good news, is that we made it through pretty unscathed, and you can too, if you follow these simple Dos and Don’ts
Look for signs that your child is ready for potty training
- Do they have periods where they are dry for at least a couple hours?
- Do they dislike the feeling of wearing a wet or dirty diaper?
- Are they showing interest in others’ bathroom habits?
- Do they want to be labeled a “big kid” and wear underpants like Mommy and Daddy?
- Do they want to watch you or your wife go to the bathroom?
- Are they giving physical or verbal signs when they are having a bowel movement such as grunting, squatting, or telling you?
Make sure you’re prepared
A few things you’re going to want to make sure you get before you start are:
-Comfortable seat adapter for the “big potty.”
-A sturdy step stool if they are required to use the grown-up toilet.
-Books on going potty (there’s a great article about the 5 books you want to buy for Potty training right here).
Plan your schedule around your first week of potty training
There will be plenty of time for play dates later. Start them on the road to success by dedicating a week to the endeavor at home. It’ll pay off in the long run.
Make sure you know the physical signals that mean your child has to go and can get them to the bathroom as soon as possible when you see them. It takes just seconds for the urge to hit them. Make sure you’re paying attention. Even if they have an accident, get them to the bathroom as quickly as possible so that you get anything in the toilet. Then praise them heavily.
Load them up on water
Then put them on the toilet, or potty chair every 10-15 minutes until they go. It’s only a matter of time before they release…make sure that when they do, they go where they are supposed to go. Eventually it will click.
Give tons of praise
This is super important, even if it’s only a few drops. Anything in the toilet is a win, and should be celebrated as such. They need to realize that.
Consider buying one of these (if you have boys)
They are awesome, and help with the aiming process, making bathroom clean-up a lot easier.
Start if they are resistant
If they fight learning to use the toilet, or show a lack of interest, back off. You’re just spinning your wheels…leading a horse to water and trying to make them drink…teaching a pig to dance…well, you get the idea.
Show frustration if they have an accident
There’s no quicker way to go backwards then showing anger when they have an accident. It’s just that…and accident. Remember…Rome wasn’t built in a day. And Cesar didn’t learn how to go to the bathroom overnight. It takes time.
Hesitate to use a reward system
We used stickers – 10 stickers got them a chance to go with Dad to the store and pick out a special toy. We also used m&ms for #2.
Forget that they may not catch on at the same time
It’s really easy to assume that twins do the same things at the same time, but we all know this is not necessarily the case. They are 2 different children and will learn at their own rate.
Be afraid to say, “Hey, they’re not ready yet”
It’s o.k to put on the brakes when they aren’t ready and try again in 3 to 6 months. Our twins didn’t get it the first time around. We waited a few months, and gave it another shot. It made all the difference in the world.
Potty training is a major hurdle – A milestone to beat all others. I think that if you can get past this as a parent (especially with twins!) you can get past anything!
What questions about potty training do you have? Ask us!