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6 Potty-Training Dos

We started potty training today. Big Day!

So far we’ve had 2 fails and 0 successes. I’m at peace with it. I know we’ll get there. I’ve done this 6 times before. (10 times if you count the twins and two other little boys I helped potty train while I was still in high school.)

(Update: before finishing the last paragraph I had to stop to clean up fail #3!)

Here are 6 things to do when you start potty training:

#1 Know what you’re doing. Infants are born with control of their bladders and bowels. You’re not teaching bladder and bowel control. You’re teaching when and where it’s acceptable to empty them. You’re undoing a two- or three-year established “anytime, anyplace” habit. Changing bad habits takes patience and persistence.

#2 Be gentle with your trainee. Imagine you’ve been doing something one way your whole life and someone tells you one day that you have to do it differently. It’s going to take practice. You wouldn’t like it if you got scolded or punished for falling off a bike when you were still learning.

#3 Be gentle with the trainer, too. (That’s you.) It’s hard to be calm when cleaning poop out of someone else’s underwear. For the 3rd time. Today. If you lose it a little bit, apologize, hug and move on. You’ll soon be a pro and it won’t phase you.

#4 Offer rewards and lots of encouragement. Little candies when there’s success, lots of cheering and general merriment about the process keeps everyone feeling good even when it seems like dry days are a long way off. (Maybe give yourself a treat when you succeed at staying calm through the fails!)

#5 Use natural consequences. The consequence of peeing on the floor? You have to wipe up the mess (with Mom’s help, of course.) The consequence for peeing on the floor 5 times in a row with no successes in between? You have to sit on the potty until you go. Bring lots of books and drinks.

#6 Trust that you will succeed. No one left for college in diapers. You will get there.


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