Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Transitioning your Child to Underpants (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

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

During day one of “Project Underpants” don’t remind your child to use the toilet or ask him if he has to go.   Just let him experience what life is like when wearing underwear.   If he tells you he needs to go, take him but don’t remind him in any way.  He will probably have many accidents on day one.  This is a beneficial experience for him.  He may have never felt what it is like to soil he and he’ll quickly realize that soiling is underwear does not feel the same as when he soils his diaper.  He needs to have the experience of being uncomfortable, so try to take your time changing his clothes and wait until he asks to be changed.  However, don’t let him stay in wet or dirty clothes for more than 10 min.  

                When an accident happens, be positive and non-judgmental.  You can respond, “Oh, you went tinkle, how does it feel to be wet?”  Have him help you clean up, put his dirty clothes in the hamper and choose new, dry clothes.  Go back to what you were doing and give a gentle reminder that when he has to go again, he can tell you and you will take him to put it in the toilet. 

                Allowing your child to go without pants for a few hours on day one can speed up his discovery process.  If he sees himself having an accident he will be able to connect that with the feeling he had immediately before going. 

                During naptime and at nighttime I highly recommend using diapers or pull-ups.  Sleep training occurs long after daytime training in most children.  Even if your child consistently has a dry diaper when he wakes from a nap and in the morning, keep him in a diaper a little longer.  To him learning to use the toilet feels like his whole world is changing. Regression in this area is common during the transition to underpants.   

                During the potty training process, children are bound to have accidents. The added stress and frustration of having to change bedclothes is something you don’t need and your child doesn't need to witness. When a child wets the bed, it can cause him emotional stress. Avoiding added stress during the potty training process can promote success.  If you explain to your child ahead of time that he will still wear diapers when he sleeps, it won’t be confusing to him. 

                Day two of “Project Underpants” starts off the same way as day one.  Put underpants on your child and let him go about his day at home. The difference today will be that instead of keeping silent, you are going to remind your child every 45 minutes to tell you when he has to go tinkle so you can put it in the toilet.  Don’t ask him if he wants to go or tell him it’s time to go, just ask him to listen to his body and tell you when it’s time.  Using this method, I have witnessed several children potty train by the end of day two. 

                Day three of “Project Underpants” starts off the same as day two, with a little added encouragement.   On this day, watch for the signs your child is about to urinate or defecate and remind him to sit on the toilet, especially when he is distracted by what he is doing and is less likely to be listening to his body.  By the end of day three you will know for sure if your child is really physically and emotionally ready to wear underpants full time.

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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