Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Preparing your Child for Potty training (part 2)

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

                When potty training, your words and tone truly affect your child and the potty training outcome. Avoid using harsh or shaming words and tones when changing his diapers, but instead use positive words paired with a positive tone to set an encouraging atmosphere.  While it can be tempting to comment on how gross a diaper smells, doing so could translate to your child that he's done something wrong which could result in feelings of shame and embarrassment.  However, telling your child what you see in his diaper can be helpful.  “Oh, you went tinkle in your diaper” or “You went poop” can help facilitate the understanding of natural bodily functions.

                The next step in preparing your child for potty training involves effective communication.  As your child begins to be interested in your toileting experience, you can start telling him that someday he will go poop and tinkle on the potty too. Articulating these goals is an important step that will help mentally prepare your child to use the toilet.  Be sure to let your child know that he will use the toilet when he is ready.  Say it often and say it in many different ways.  

                Your child was born into this world able to do nothing for himself.  The way he learns to do anything is through observation and experience.  That is why the next part of your potty training journey is to encourage your child to sit on the toilet.  Sometime after his first birthday, invite him to sit on it with you. It is important that if he doesn't want to, you do not force him. While he may not want to sit on the toilet the first few times you ask, don’t stop extending the invitation. You may find that your child is really excited about it the first time you ask, and then is scared to do it few days later.  Don’t worry; this is normal.  Keep at it by being encouraging and staying positive. 
                Another consideration is that generally children love to flush the toilet, so much so that it can be a motivating factor in your child's decision to sit on it. It is a good idea to let your child experiment with flushing it.  However it can scare a child if you flush the toilet when he is on it. This can be particularly scary during the introductory period of potty training.  It could make your child not want to go near a toilet for weeks or more.  Be cautious of this when at a public restroom with an auto flush.  In addition to being loud, they often spray up water that can be frightening to young children.

                Strategically timing when you ask your child to sit on the toilet may be helpful. Children tend to urinate just after drinking a lot of liquid.  If your child has never had the sensation of urinating on the toilet, you could try giving him something to drink just before or while on the toilet.  It is important for your child to have this experience at some point before his transition to underpants.  

                One last training tip is to let your child experience using the toilet outside of your home.  This is important because your child will need to be comfortable going in many places.  If the only place he ever experiments with is home, the move to underwear will be more challenging and worrisome for both him and you.  

Please return next week (or subscribe to this blog) to hear the rest of the chapter on Potty Training without a Power Struggle

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