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Sunday, October 01, 2006

Thoughts on potty training

Angel over at 1smartmom has a great list to help parents deal with toilet training. I’ve come across it too late, as Keira’s pretty much trained now (a process a long time coming, but as she’s not two and a half yet, I must say I’m pretty pleased with her efforts!). I have a few points to add of my own though:

Underpants (undies) or Pull Ups?

Look, people will tell you different things. It depends on your mindset and it depends on the child. I think it also depends on the climate, actually. We live in the colder weather, so I think Pull Ups offer a bit more warmth (whether that matters and I’m being a total wus is another story). If you live in the tropics, then I’m sure it’s easier to frolic in undies and a singlet than down here, where you wear layers at a time. In undies, sometime you just can’t strip them down quickly enough! That’s not the child’s fault.
But, to state the bloody obvious, undies are undoubtedly better for the environment.

Positive reinforcement (or ‘stock up on the lollies’)

Angel gives m&m’s; we give smarties. It works. If you want to detour the chocolate (and part of me wishes we did) then other little treats would be fine. Perhaps more expensive…

Make it a big deal

If I had a dollar for every time I jumped up and down in glee at a wee (I’m a poet!) then, well…hey, I don’t need that gym membership!

Most important of all: DON’T STRESS! Your child will feed off you, as they do, and then you’ll be heading downhill the rest of the way.


Comments on "Thoughts on potty training"


Blogger crazytrace said ... (11:20 am) : 

Had three kids, and the toilet training was all different. Depends on the kid, depends on the circumstances (climate etc). Exactly how old they are when the younger sibling baby arrives on the scene. What works for one kid won't necessarily work for another.

You can't ever compare to other kids. And don't listen to people like grandparents saying 'I would have thought he/she'd be toilet trained by now'.

My easiest to train, surprise, surprise, was my last, when I just didn't stress or worry about it at all, and she pretty much did it herself. Might have been a few months later than some, but by god it was calmer on all of us.

The one thing I totally totally disagree on (ie. I couldn't be more appalled, in fact!!) is giving lollies for rewards, particularly for toilet training. From a 'healthy eating' and dentistry perpective, it's just asking for trouble down the track.

Another thing I learnt down the track was when one of mine had bed wetting problems. We ended up going through the alarm thing through the incontinence clinic. And you know that most of we parents do the wrong thing with making our kids go to the toilet before we go out. By doing that we are inadvertently training their bladder that it's ok to empty when it's not full. Most kids you'll get away with it, but the ones who sleep heavily end up with bedwetting issues. If anyone wants to know more about that, let me know, I"ll be more than happy to pass on what I learnt.. (crazytrace@gmail.com)


Blogger Miscellaneous-Mum said ... (12:07 pm) : 

Quite a timely article here:


Like I said, I kind of wish we didn't do the chocolate treats, but now she hardly eats them.

I agree totally, T. Every kid is different.


Blogger crazytrace said ... (2:41 pm) : 

Parenthood is full of the 'hindsight' factor... and there are many things I'd do differently if I had my time over again!

While I'm a bit of a meanie on the 'lolly' thing (my kids usually only get lollies at birthday parties), I am by no means a perfect parent in the health stakes. I have a 13 year old who won't clean her teeth properly; she is the bane of my life.

And, not having fluoride in our water in a regional town, the debates about bottled water are ridiculous to me. (Rather they drink bottled water than bottled fizzy, etc.)

Even more so than the health thing is that I have an issue with our society going so overboard with treats and rewards (to the point where we are training our children in the same way that we might train a dog!).. and we are losing sight of a kid doing something for its own intrinsic reward. It's a BIG bugbear of mine.. probably worthy of one long and ranting blog topic some day!

They go to a dance lesson, a tennis lesson.. and they get a lolly or a sticker or a stamp at the end of it.

What about doing the activity (and doing their best) because they get a kick out of doing it! Just coming away and thinking 'hey, that was fun, I enjoyed that.'

I have more examples of the 'reward' thing they are bombarded with through school, to the point that I get quite irate about it. We are losing the ability to feel chuffed from some praise and positive comments. It's all about something material to the point that certificates, trophies etc are becoming worthless... and kids are losing sight of the 'feel good' motive. (For example.. if they help a teacher, they should just feel good about it; the teacher's appreciation should be enough. But these days, they get a bloody lolly out of it!)

So I suppose I think the same of toilet training. My ultimate aim is that the kid goes to the toilet because they WANT to.. because that's what you do when you're big, and you have crossed the line between 'nappy convenience' and 'nappy is uncomfortable and for babies'.

Praise is good.. of course. Talk up how clever they were to get it under control... and allow them to be proud of their achievements.

But do we need a lolly or chocolate for every little thing?


Blogger Angel said ... (2:47 am) : 

Hey, first of all, Thanks for jolting me, I appreciate it.
In response to some of the comments made...Treats are an option of course. I chose to do a sticker chart with Emily. A Pediatrician friend of mine used the m'n'm's. Her thought was she didn't give them to her daughter that often and 2 or 3 at the time would not kill her temporarily,to reach a goal.

I totally agree with the whole giving them a treat for everything. But there does have to be a payoff for them at first, otherwise they have no need to respond. For some kids just moms approval that they did it is good enough. For others they couldn't care less if you jumped up and down or not. So you are right it is different for each child. Plus I think younger siblings catch on quicker because they do see their older sibling going.

And as far as making them go before they leave. Well, this was a recommendation from my Pediatrician. I used it, and my daughter has not been in pull ups or diapers since 2 and a half and has never had bedwetting issues. There are alot of different opinions out there and even so called "experts" that contradict each other. I have heard from certain "experts" that waiting until your bladder is FULL can actually cause incontinence, yet here one mom says that emptying it before it is full will cause incontinence.

So as I stated there are alot of opinions. And mine is only one from working wih an array of many children over the years.
And even childcare professionals can disagree. i.e. I love the Supernanny, but don't agree with everything she says. And hello, her story may change if she ever has her own.


Blogger Miscellaneous-Mum said ... (7:23 am) : 

Hey angel
Thanks for coming by and adding your input. Sorry if in any way I mis-quoted you in the original piece.
This is an interesting subject


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