Many parents approach potty training their toddler with fear and dread. It is a daunting task. Yet every parent tackles it with eventual success. Children do master this skill even though there are often some challenging hurdles along the way.
I potty trained our first four children. When it was time to train our two year old bonus child, our other children were 19, 16, 14 and 12 years old. I was definitely out of practice. I decided that I had more than done my fair share of this training. Daddy was now working from home. I thought it should be his turn to do this training and clearly stated my expectations. Months passed. Nothing happened. I reread my faithful instruction book, Potty Training in Less Than a Day by Nathan Azrin, copyright 1974. I had used this method with the others. I could do it again. Couldn’t I?
This book is still available on Amazon. Did it ever work 100%? No. But it was a great method for the basics such as:
- Recognizing bodily urges
- Responding quickly to bodily urges
- Teaching the child to pull up and down their own pants
- Helping the child to desire dry pants
- Knowing others were proud of their new skill
We set aside a day to focus only on training without the distraction of anyone else being at home. We used loose fitting extra thick underpants and wore no other clothing that day. Extra drinking was encouraged with salty snacks so that there would be many opportunities for training. At naptime the same thick underpants plus plastic pants were worn. Today, a Pull-Up would be used. I am not sure plastic pants worn over cloth diapers are still available. The child typically never wore another diaper.
I prepared and picked a day when only child #5 and I would be home for multiple hours. When Daddy did come home later that day, he expectantly inquired how the training was progressing. I flatly stated, “I quit.” He tried to tell me I couldn’t quit. But, I had. A few months later we successfully tried again.
Many children are not ready for potty training until closer to age three. Some struggle with night wetting for years thereafter. Managing bowel movements is usually a second level of training. Training requires much encouragement, patience and practice. Often extra incentives are helpful. With every child we used a paper on the bathroom wall on which the toddler could place stickers for every successful potty visit. Other rewards could be considered. Clapping and cheering was frequent especially for bowel movements in the potty. It is amazing what will excite a mom.
If you make your hand into a fist and slip your thumb between the pointer and middle fingers, you are forming the letter t in sign language. Bend your elbow holding the letter t near your shoulder and gently shake it. You have just signed toilet. This little sign is easy to learn and very handy at silently communicating a need to children or children to you. Even my husband and I use this sign with each other in public places.
We have 11 grandchildren and 8 of them have been potty trained. My wonderful daughters-in-law have and are tackling potty training and succeeding. Wasn’t it just yesterday that I had my own babies in training pants?