Every parent/child relationship is unique, so this won't be the best method for everyone, but it's worked really well for me twice. I haven't read about it anywhere, it's just what we decided to try and it worked both times. I lovingly call it,
The Bare Buns Technique!
Here's what we do.
- Talk long in advance about going to the potty, wearing underwear, how the child is growing so big (too big for diapers), etc.
- Buy a potty. You probably already have one. We had a fancy-pants potty chair with a soft seat, but it started smelling really bad, and no amount of strong chemicals (I hate to use) would get the smell out of that soft seat. So, we reverted back to a simple $5 IKEA potty
I know people who keep one in the house and one in the car. Not a bad idea. And don't worry, cleaning out a potty like this is not as nasty as changing a dirty diaper. Really.
- Pick a day--several days when you know you're going to be home with few distractions.
- Explain that now your wonderful little child is now big! And it's time to not wear diapers anymore, but go on the potty!
- Go on a special outing to buy underwear that they choose.
- If you want, you can watch this cute movie I remember from my early childhood.
- Take off your child's diaper and pants (here's where the bare buns comes in). For sanitation purposes, you can put your child in an extra long shirt for a boy, or a skirt for a girl. I found that both of my boys felt "safe" with underwear on, so they'd still have accidents. With their buns blowin' in the breeze, I could simply explain that if they had a "wet" or "BM" (pardon the lingo) and they forgot to sit on their toilet, it would go on their foot. And that would be yucky.
- Note: you might not have to go this far if you have children who are really excited to always go to the potty. My boys knew how, but they didn't want to. But more than they didn't want to sit on the potty, they didn't want to go on their feet!
- Through out the day, ask if your child wants to go to the bathroom. Don't make them; you want them to learn to listen to their bodies. You don't know how they are feeling, my boys can both go all day without going to the bathroom sometimes!
- Take the potty into every room with your child, and don't go too far! If it's warm, take the potty outside and do potty training outside all day!
- If there's an accident, just say, "Oh I'm sorry, I'll bet that's yucky for you. Let's clean that up." (If your child didn't mind getting it on him/herself, maybe they can help clean it up and that would change his/her mind :)
- When they do go in the potty, give them a good hug. Don't make too huge a deal about it, though, whether they do or don't make it. You don't want to put too much pressure on them. Think about it: it doesn't make it easier or more fun for you if someone is standing at the bathroom door when you're going, telling you to hurry up!
- Depending on the personality, you might want to use a chart system.
|Abraham with his filled out chart and new toy|
- Wear diapers for naps and night for a while.
- I know a lot of people do potty-training all at once. I prefer to wait until they're waking up dry (which usually happens right after they learn to be dry during the day).
- After they're great bare buns, try the underwear. Remember to stay close to them, and train them well how to remove it. Make sure they're in pants that are really easy to pull down.
- When they're doing great at home, take it on the road!
- Do a small outing first: to a park, on a walk, or to an understanding friend's house. Bring the potty along!
- As they get better and better, you can do longer and longer outings.
- Celebrate! Buy them a "big kid toy," throw them a party, or take them on a date! (Think of all the time/money/headache they're saving you!)
This looks like a ton of information, but it's easier than you think!!! and soooo worth it...
There are many ways to potty train. What have you tried? What works for you?