Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Helpful Tools for Potty Training you Child

I had the privilege of writing for the e-book Parenting Responsively along with 11 other ACPI parent and family coaches.  Over the next few weeks I will be reprinting my chapter.  I hope you will enjoy it.  If you would like to order the entire book you may do so on my website for $9.99 - Strong Roots Family Coaching.  Enjoy

(View the previous post on Potty Training without the Power Struggle)

                Like with any new challenge, having the right tools can aid in your success. The same is true for your child.  If you want to make your child a more comfortable, consider getting a toilet insert rather than a mini toilet chair (they even make adult toilet seats that have a child's seat that is stored in the cover when not in use). There are a few reasons doing so can be helpful.  The first is that your child is observing you on the toilet and with an insert he can sit in the same place as you.  The second is that you are going to eventually want him to sit on the big toilet, so adding an additional transition to the potty training process doesn't seem to make sense.   Third, you can’t carry a mini toilet chair around with you wherever you go (well you could but who would want to?), but portable toilet inserts can be discreetly folded up and transported anywhere.  Finally, who really wants to have to empty their child’s waste from a mini toilet to the big toilet then clean the thing by hand?  Mini toilets seem to make more work for the grownups and add confusion for most children.  

                While inserts can make the toileting experience more comfortable, if you would rather not have the expense and trouble of your child using a toilet insert, there is absolutely nothing wrong with having him sit directly on the big toilet.  If you choose to do this, be sure to offer support and spot him so he doesn't fall in. Most children who sit on the big potty from the beginning get used to doing so quickly and do just fine with it.  Ultimately, you need to do what works best for your family and your child.  

                Using a footstool can help your child gain independence during the toilet training process.  With a step stool, he can climb up on the toilet on his own. Having a place to rest his feet may even make having a bowel movement more comfortable for him.  A footstool can also be used for stepping up to the sink so that he can wash his hands independently. 

                Books and videos are great tools for helping your child understand things he has not yet experienced.  There are dozens of helpful books and videos about potty training. One of my favorite videos is Elmo’s Potty Time. A few of my favorite books include A Potty for Me, Lift Flap book and The Potty Train.  I encourage you to take a trip to the library and bring home several different books and videos.  Every child likes different characters and stories, so look for books and videos that feature familiar characters to provide additional motivation.   

                A lot of parents opt to use pull-ups or other disposable underpants while training their child.  These can be good tools for your child when he is in the practice phase of toilet training.  Sometimes it is just easier to pull down his pull-up than take off his diaper and clothes.  Though it is possible to use a regular diaper in this way, sometimes the fun characters on pull-ups can add excitement to your child’s potty training experience.  If you do choose to use pull-ups, it is important to remember that they are a tool for training and not a replacement for underpants. 

                Children who wear cloth diapers tend to be potty trained earlier than children who wear disposables.  This is most likely due to the fact that the child feels the wetness more in a cloth diaper than in a disposable.  Disposable diapers are made to take the wetness away from the surface so the child doesn't really have a chance to feel uncomfortable.  Children who wear cloth diapers feel wet when they urinate and have more motivation to stay dry.  During the initial phase of training, if you child wears disposable diapers moving to cloth diapers might be something to consider.  They are so much easier to use than they used to be and even have fun patterns and colors.   

Please click HERE (or subscribe to this blog) to hear the next part of this chapter on Potty Training without a Power Struggle

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