Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Adventures in Potty Training!

Some people dread potty training. I actually look forward to it. I know it sounds strange, but I do! With all that is going on in my life, I worried about when to work it in with Paxton. He's been warming up to the idea for a while now, using the potty before baths and randomly when he wants to be a big kid. A few weeks ago, even though life is crazy, we bought some cute little boy unders: a package of Thomas the Tank Engine and a package of Disney themes. I gotta say there is just something about teeny little hineys in underwear that just makes you want to pinch them! The funniest thing is that my little guy wanted to wear all 12 pair at the same time! He still occasionally wants to wear more than one pair and I've caught him actually hugging his clean underwear when we're taking them out of the dryer! What a boy!

Let me just say there is more than one right way to potty train children. My method takes longer than many others... I start my kiddos YOUNG- Paxton is just barely 2 years old! But it works well for us and has them trained long before many kids their age are getting started. I give them lots of opportunities to use the potty and I cheer for them when they do what I want them to there. I view accidents as part of the process and don't let them bother me.

{{{{{{ WHOA!- Let me insert here that I have definitely done things WRONG in the past when it comes to potty training. I'm on child #5 of my OWN children and have potty trained 5 or more daycare children as well. I've learned a lot along the way, and while every kid is different, the #1 best thing you can do to help your kid succeed is to decide right now NOT to let accidents bother you. Negative attention is still attention and will increase the behavior it is associated with. The #1 way to have your child NOT be as successful is to get upset over any accident. Decide right now that accidents are part of the process and help your child learn. Let the natural consequence be the ONLY consequence! }}}}}

Now back to what I was saying... I don't believe in using pull-ups or even padded underwear because these actually inhibit the learning process- they prevent natural consequences! Just regular "tidy-whitie" type of underwear. If I'm in a situation where it's okay for my child to not wear pants over top of the underwear that's even better. I still use diapers for nap-time and bed-time until we're well into it and my child is waking up dry.

Initially I'm the one who is potty trained. When starting with such a young child, that's how it is. But slowly and surely the kiddo takes over to where they are doing it with less and less assistance.

My little guy has accidents often- at least one a day which is good! He's learning what happens when he needs the bathroom and doesn't do it in the toilet. Usually he wets a little, stops himself from wetting more and takes his unders off. He's learning to control when he goes and he's indicating to me what's going on. We run to the bathroom and he finishes in the toilet! He's never had a #2 accident- only ever taken me by the hand to the bathroom and done it there. He's doing great!

Last night my 12 year old daughter Boston babysat younger sibs while Dave took Kamden to an appointment and I was at class. She asked Paxton often if he needed to go and he said no each time she asked. Then suddenly he had no unders on and she asked him where they were. He took her by the hand to the laundry room and opened the front-loading washer for her. There they were! Funny kid! She cheered for him and encouraged him to try more often. He stayed clean and dry the rest of the night.

Many believe that potty training, especially with boys, is something to be saved until age 3 or until the child is "ready." Every kid is different and what works well with one would backfire big time with another. My method sometimes takes longer than others, but works best for my family and kiddos.

So why do I look forward to it and start it so young? Because potty training is one way to spend more quality time with my son. It's when his language begins to explode, like it is now with Paxton. It's an excuse to see the wheels turning in his brain and learn even more about his personality and what he likes, dislikes, and what drives him. Not paying for diapers is just a fringe benefit to seeing my baby turn into a little boy. And crazy as my life is right now, I'm not going to put HIS life on hold.

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