Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Transitioning your Child to Underpants (part 1)

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)

                You may be one of the fortunate parents that will go through all the steps listed above and be surprised to find your child has potty trained himself.  As I said before, every child is different.  And what works for your first child may not work for your second.  The technique that your friend used on her little girl may not be what your little boy needs.  You know your child better than anyone.  Use your instinct and do what feels right. 

                I do not claim that the steps I use to transition a child to underpants is the only way to potty train a child, I simply know that they have worked successfully with every child I have ever trained.  The steps I use are simple and straightforward, all while putting your child in control of his body.  With this process, there is no need to bribe your child with candy or a chart and there is absolutely NO power struggle. 

                You're ready to follow these steps once your child has been practicing using the toilet, and you have witnessed the physical and emotional signs that he is ready to transition.   Before you begin, you will want to find at least four days where you have no planned activities outside of the house. With your own work schedule and older siblings’ activities, this can be a challenge, but I assure you it is worth the interruption.  

                A few days before you plan to get rid of diapers, start talking to your child about what is going to happen.  Tell him that in the morning “Project Underpants” (or whatever you want to call it) will start and soon he is going to get up and put on his new underwear.  Remind him that he is growing up and that it's time to learn to put all of his “poop and tinkle into the toilet.” 

                The night before “Project Underpants” starts, take a shopping trip with your child and buy some underpants that your child really loves.  He should be the one to pick them out so he will be excited to wear them.  When my daughter picked out her underpants, she really wanted Diego underwear that only comes in boy’s briefs.  I wanted her to be excited about them so I did not worry about which gender they were intended for.

                I mentioned earlier that I don’t recommend using pull-ups instead of underpants.  What is going to most motivate your child to urinate and have a bowel movement in the toilet is the feeling he gets when he soils himself.  If he has a pull-up on instead of underpants, he will feel no different than if he were to soil a diaper.   Pull-ups can be great for the practice phase, but when you are ready to really potty train him, it is best to use underpants. 

                When the morning you are ready to transition to underpants comes, be excited with your child as you get him dressed and put his underwear on.  Get him fully dressed and start your day at home.  If you are worried about messes, a pair of plastic underpants can be purchased to put over the cotton pants or you can try restricting your child’s play to non-carpeted or rugged areas.  Having your child wear more absorbent pants might help too. 
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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