My itsy bitsy princess is growing up well. “Potty training” was almost like a 1-day hit success.
I hear of people “potty training” their child with different methods. Some force, some have regular timings to sit them on the potty, some believe that they should just start using the potty the moment they can walk about, some just do not provide diapers thinking that the discomfort would cause the child to want to go to the toilet. Results from these parents? Many wrestling matches and meltdowns later… not much success. The little fellas continued to pee, poop anytime and anywhere.
It seemed unnatural to me but I tried nonetheless… for just one day … when she was close to 2. I kept her diaper-free and in just 2 hours, I had to clean her, clean the place and changed her clothes a few times. Then I gave up.
I actually believe that it is largely about biology. Just like how their body develops the necessary structure and strength to roll, then sit up, then crawl, then walk, then run, etc over time. It is the same with toileting. There will come a time when her muscles for the bladder and bowels would be sufficiently developed and also signal paths that help her control them would be in place.
The emotional and psychological part would be how parents treat the kids. Would all the training make them hate or be stressed with toileting and hence it delays that aspect of them? The opposite could also be true. Could the lack of coaxing cause the child to be so comfortable with diapers that she takes a long time to wean off them?
Anyway, I decided to experiment my own brand of potty training on my kid.
Step 1: Observe for signs of development.
Since my kid could already hold an intelligible conversation at 2, we started “potty training” by telling her that whenever she wanted to pee or poo, she should tell us so that we could bring her to the toilet. This was a daily one-time instruction.
At first… nothing. Then within a week or so, started telling us. But it was post-poop or post-pee.
Step 2: forget about giving instructions for the next few weeks. you live free. the kid lives free (no disturbances/stresses from traditional potty training).
Step 3: Observe for signs of devt again.
After a few weeks’ break… we started giving the instructions again. There were a few attempts. We brought her to the toilet but either little came out or nothing.
And because she had become conscious about her pee-ing… outings became a tad bit embarrassing. E.g. we were walking in a busy shopping centre and she suddenly stops and squats. I ask her what she was doing. She said “I need to pee” (diapers were on).
Step 4: I knew it was about time. But I gave it another few weeks’ break. cos we did not get the same signs for pooping. If I wanna potty train, I wanna settle 2 processes (pee and poo) in 1 session. Saves so much time, stress and inconveniences.
Step 5: After a few weeks, start observing for signs again.
This time, there was a pattern for pooping. She had to hide in a quiet corner, kept really still and quiet to do her most important business. It started to get very regular too (e.g. 10am every morning).
Step 6: Once signs of readiness become stable and regular, choose a week which we (parents) are the most energetic and have the most time with her in person. And go cold turkey.
That was the school term break for us. We took a few days’ leave, there were a couple of public holidays, she had no school and we had lots of time with her.
We picked one fine day and said… you will now go without diapers. And wahlah!!! Instant success!!!! She was clean and dry on the first day and the rest of the week!!! No diapers!!! No forcing, coaxing. no stress. no fights. no meltdowns. no frustrations. Success!!!
(sounds like some tv ad script)
Step 7: Inform the other caregivers.
We informed her other caregivers to do the same and it has so far been really good! She did hilarious things like hunt for spare diapers (cos the main packs were hidden) to put on by herself but that has stopped after 2 attempts or so.
However, as a precaution, her first week back at school was still with diapers. Wanted her to adjust back to school routine before trying without diapers. Next week will be another milestone for her… going to school without diapers.
Step 8: Wean her off diapers during sleep.
This would probably be the last step. She still wears diapers to sleep simply because we do not want to risk tiring ourselves (and her) when her mattress gets dirty.
I think I’ll try this probably 2 years down the road… probably when she is abt 5.
There is no shame in wearing diapers to sleep till 5 really. It keeps mummy and daddy sane.