Potty Training: Bringing in Backup

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As you know we have started to potty train our three year old on Saturday, this involved me spending 14 hours non-stop glued to being near the side of my three year old and helping him go back and forth to the toilet every ten minutes. By Sunday he was starting to recognize “when he has the urge” and heads toward the toilet by himself, but he is easily distracted and can forget or ignore it if he is busy playing or engaged in another activity. So he still needs constant reminders.

My wife called in Grandma as backup for the whole week since I am back to work today, and she is busy with her business as well. Grandma will help ensure our son can continue to keep the same pattern of using the toilet and help us potty train him. Thank goodness Grandma only lives three miles from the house and is able to come over on such short notice.

Meanwhile, Potty training is messy business people and everyone who thinks about having kids needs to realize that kids are not for the squeamish. You will be covered in urine, poop, filth and muck for many years before they can take care of those things by themselves without assistance.

In review, here are the fool proof tactics that helped us potty train our two kids:
#1 Know if your child is ready (this usually is when they declare that they go to bathroom right after or before, and if they show interest in the toilet. It’s a judgement call I know some people who potty trained their kids at 2, and others at 3 1/2) ours weren’t ready until after 3.

#2 set aside a “start date” and stick to it, throw away all diapers and know that there is no “fail back” This way you have no choice but to succeed. Plan for this to take about 2 weeks and make sure you or your partner have the time to devote. You may have to take off of work, start on a weekend day so you have two days extra.

#3 every 10 minutes like clockwork take your child to the toilet and make him/her sit there until they have gone to the bathroom, after about 5-10 times of them recognizing that they go potty in toilet, you can start doing constant asking and reminders, and give them a chance to let you know before they go. If they have accidents repeat until they start to catch on.

Above all know that this will be very frustrating for both the parents and the child, the child will cry, fuss, fight and be frustrated that they have to sit on the toilet for so long. The parent will get frustrated and upset when accidents occur, naturally the key is to relieve stress and not be upset. Keep the child in a room without carpets for the potty training duration to minimize the cleanup, and don’t get angry, but instead reassure and just say “uh oh, did you listen to your body?”. Remember not to scare you child and instead do your best to encourage them.

Good luck fellow parents, this is one of the toughest jobs of parenting.

-Justin Germino

Updated: January 10, 2010 — 4:19 pm