Welcome back to our 2-Part Series on “Potty Training”. Yesterday, we looked at what it takes to fully prepare for our discussion today, which we will affectionately refer to as “Operation Potty Week”. Enjoy!
Wake up! – On the morning of the Big Day, get outta bed like a pop-tart out of a toaster at the first sign of your little one stirring. After a good morning smooch and hug, make the announcement that it’s Potty Week! and it’s time to be a Big Kid & wear underpants…enter Cloth Training Pants. Make a dash to the potty and introduce all of the new and exciting thing you have and go over the rules.
Explain that sitting on the potty = 1 potty treat (M&M, Skittle, Gummy), Pee Pee in the potty = 2 potty treats, and Poop in the potty = 3 potty treats (I’ll admit I broke the rules on this one because by the time he finally pooped, I let him take as many as he could hold, I was so happy!) And always make sure hands are washed and dried before reaching into the treat jar. Once you’ve covered the ground rules, and the first attempt has been made, walk away and let him go about his day.
Set the timer for 15 minutes and give him something to drink. You’ll want to give your kiddo lots of fluids and keep him well hydrated over the course of the next few days. Note – from this point on, it’s undies only. DON’T look back, just keep your eye on the prize (no diapers = instant raise $$$ + freedom from baggage!) When the timer goes off, put your “Pee Pee Party” face on and make a dash for the potty! Repeat attempt, wash hands, potty treat, sticker on chart, etc. Continue this process throughout the day. Every 15 minutes may seem like a lot at first, but it will typically ensure your child will stay dry. The key is building confidence. Once your child stays dry after several attempts, you can begin increasing the time in between by 5 minute increments. If an accident happens, decrease time by 5 minutes.
Pre-napime – Cut off drink supply at least an hour before hand and make one last attempt before lying him down for nap. You may choose to put a Pull Up on your child before naps for the first few days, but after they get used to holding it and stay dry through naps, you can skip this step.
Post naptime – I’ll admit, this time was always the hardest to keep up with. The day is winding down, dinner needs fixin’, kids are at their craziest, and I’m just about spent. However, it’s important to be mindful of PT at all times, so this might be a great time to put Daddy on the potty clock. This will give you a break and a chance to recharge.
Bathtime – Before bath, always make an extra effort to go #2. This is essential for several reasons. 1) Baths are like laxatives for kids, the warm water tends to relax those muscles they’ve been working to strengthen all day, and they just let go. So rather than having to clean poop out of the tub, try to get it out beforehand. Read extra books if you have to. Get your camera out and say things like “Show me your poop face!” You’ll be surprised how well this works in getting them to strain subconsciously. 2) As soon as bath time is over, we diaper up for bedtime. And kids are smart. Most of them don’t want to poop on themselves and will hold it in if they can. However, the minute you put a diaper on them, they let go and you’ll find yourself changing a dirty diaper before bedtime. Make a poop attempt pre-bathtime for several days in a row, and your kid will catch on and begin to regulate themselves to going every day at that time.
Nighttime – Just like naptime, until you’ve noticed your child staying dry several nights in a row, keep them in a diaper or nighttime Pull Up. I would hold off on nighttime training until your child is completely potty trained throughout the day. Baby steps.
Reward yourself! – You did it! You made it through Day 1, now sit back, relax, eat some M&Ms, and get ready for Day 2! What?! You mean I gotta do this all over again? Yes, but each day gets easier and you’ll soon see that your child is learning and gaining the ability to hold it more and more each day. And before long, he or she will be letting you know when they have to go and you can lose the potty clock altogether. And oh, what a glorious day that will be!