ctv logo

Coming Up

Thu 27 Andrew Pike reveals how to transform your blank living room
Thu 04 Tommy Smythe tours architectural historic preservation projects
Fri 28 Peter Papapetrou reveals how to incorporate stripes into your wardrobe

Potty Training 101

General Comments: 
  • Potty training is a misnomer; we don’t really “train” per se.  Natural to want to control our bodies and to fit into cultural norms, be like everyone else.  Babies all learn to talk, to walk and yes, to control their body functions, but somehow we get bent out of shape over toileting as if it’s a reflection of our parenting.
  • Remind ourselves that just like stumbling to walk, and sometimes preferring to crawl, we just go with the erratic pace of training.  No pressure, no wanting it more than they do.
General Science to Know: 
  • There is physiological readiness and psychological readiness. They don’t always line up together and they don’t proceed linearly. 
  • Nerve tracts and sphincters need to get stronger
  • Hormones regulate kidney production appear later in development
  • Stats helps normalize parents experience
  • The early you start training, the later you will finish
  • Average age of potty training completed is between the end of the 2nd year and the middle of the third year. 
  • Day dryness precedes night dryness
  • While bowel control is achieved before bladder control, children will usually be willing to use the toilet for urination first and defecation second.
  • Girls train earlier than boys
When to Start:   18 – 24 mo (early prep)  
(AKA “I Peed “ STAGE) 
Between 18 months and 24 months, can begin the associated skills training 
  • Learning to dress one’s self ( pull pants up and down)
  • Learn to lift lid, pull toilet paper, throw in bowl and flush the toilet
  • Watch others use the toilet
  • Learn the names of their body parts and the name for pee and poo
  • Learn to pull up their sleeves and turn on the taps, pump soap and wash hands.

  • Buy a potty
  • Read potty training story books
  • Play with dolls on potty.  Let them sit on the potty w. pants on or off.
  • When they say they peed, say “ you really know your body”
(AKA “I am peeing” STAGE)  
  • child can say “ no”
  • child can say “pee” and “poo”
  • child stays dry for hours at a time
  • child has regular times they go in their diaper
  • child shows physical / facial recognition that they are going
  • child shows uncomfortable in being in soiled clothes
Active Training  
(moving your child from “ I peed” to “ I am pee” to “ I have to pee”! ) 
  • Move potty out of play room and into bathroom ( unless bathroom too far away)
  • Buy new underwear your child is proud of
  • Change child’s attire to only clothes that they can get quickly up and down (track pants, leggings – no belts or buckets or buttons) 
  • When they say “I’m peeing” ask them “ would you like to try to pee on the potty next time?  If they say “yes”, you can wait till the usual time they pee, or invite them to sit and try when you use the big toilet.
  • Sit and read a story (helps them relax, takes some time to pass urine).
  • When they go – give them a high five!  “ You really know how to run your body!” (emphasis on their control, their body – not the parents control)
  • Show them how to wipe ( you should be the checker – but they go first, wiping is a big dexterous skill that will take time, but give them opportunity to participate // practice while you ensure hygiene.  Diaper wipes help little untrained hands.
  • Show them how to wash hands immediately and celebrate their success!
  • Invite them to let you know when they need to pee and you can come with them again!  
Setbacks and Accidents
  • Accidents are inevitable, treat them as such. Never shame, humiliate or show frustration
  • Teaching child how to respond to an accident IS part of the potty training process
  • Take time to train them on how to pull off wet clothes (harder than dry clothes!) how to wash up (diaper wipes help) and where to put their wet clothes ( have a hamper just for this, or a bucket in the bathtub) 
  • The hassle of pulling off wet clothes alone can be enough to motivate them to pay more attention to body signals, AND it eliminates the possibility of the child getting special service and attention from a parent unduly.
  • If the child is having accidents every day and not even attempting to run to the toilet, they are not interested in potty training and should be returned to diapers for a few weeks / months and offered to try again in the future.
  • This is not punishment, or treating them like a baby or regression. It simply is a case of tying freedoms w/ responsibilities:  if you are taking the responsibility to try to use the toilet, you get the freedom of where undies.  If you are not taking that responsibility, then you loose the privilege/ freedom of undies and were diapers again.
  • Children often take an initial interest only to decide later its not so interesting anymore.  If they CAN use the potty but they WON’T – just ride it out until their interest is piqued again.  Don’t force mattes, or the process will slow further as a power struggle develops.
  • Don’t force them to sit / try when they don’t want to.
  • Don’t put them on the potty at set times hoping they’ll pee.  Wait for them to notice a bodily sensation and ask to go (then run like hell!)
  • Try different styles if the child is having difficulties. Some like the “adult” look of using the big toilet w/ an insert , others like the security of the feeling of the potty chair that doesn’t wiggle or pitch.   NB – if you use an insert – be sure to have a footstool for the child to plant their feet so they can better control the muscles of the pelvic floor to aid in moving the bladder / bowels.
  • No need for stickers to encourage.  If they want to celebrate their pee and put a sticker on a chart for themselves that is fine – but don’t reward.  (Need a whole show on how rewards backfire! Humorous side note: kids learn if they get a Smartie for making a pee in the potty, they’ll break their pee into TWO toilet trips to get extra Smartie.  
Fun Tricks:
  • Boys like aiming at cheerios in the toilet bowl.
  • Squish the toilet paper roll into an oval so they don’t spin ½ a roll of tissue off the roll onto the floor.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


Tackle Your Inbox

Coming Up

Thu 27 Andrew Pike reveals how to transform your blank living room
Thu 04 Tommy Smythe tours architectural historic preservation projects
Fri 28 Peter Papapetrou reveals how to incorporate stripes into your wardrobe