It may sound stupid, but to me potty training was a foreign term. I knew it involved a potty (obviously) and some training (again obvious), but when is the best time to start? How do I start? Needless to say I was confused.
When Minki turned 2 we went to the store, she picked out the most beautiful panties and a bright red potty. By the way I never knew that there’s such a wide variety of potties to choose from? One that plays you a song while you do your thing, real life mini toilet potties with a handle and flush sound, cute doggies and even a whale… But I’m getting sidetracked…
Despite my best efforts to make potty training a fun experience, she point blank refused.
She does not even want to get on the potty, let alone the toilet! For some reason she thinks she’s going to drown?
All of this made me wonder…
Will I ever stop buying diapers?
So, I visited the baby clinic at Mopani Pharmacy, where qualified midwives with a wealth of knowledge, patiently answered all my (stupid) questions, because potty training is no walk in the park!
Tips For Making Potty Training Easier
1. Relax Mom!
Very few grown ups walk around in diapers.
Remember, kids generally only start potty training at age 2.
Be patient and remember that every kid is different. Some get scared, some get mad and some will just point blankly refuse (like Minki). If they refuse, do not push it, but ask consistently. Consistency is key!
Some clues that kiddo is ready to ditch the diaper
- Kiddo is skill-ready – It basically means kiddo has mastered skills like pulling her pants/underwear up and down on her own.
- Shows interest in potty – Obvious, but yes, if kiddo is interested in the potty or Mom and Dad using the toilet it’s a good sign!
- Tells you when she is going – She looks you in the eye and says: “Mamma ek maak ‘n bollie.”
- Uncomfortable in wet diaper – pulling and tugging at her diaper and not wanting to wait for you to change it.
- Staying dry for long periods of time.
- Wanting privacy when she fills her diaper.
2. What (not) to wear
Most experts agree: Skip the pull up diapers, they are the same as a diaper and kiddo will think he can do the same thing in them. Go directly to underwear and make sure that kiddo picks out her first underwear.
Splurge on Frozen or Spiderman underwear – it can really motivate little hearts (and bladders)!
3. Sit down next to me
Convincing your toddler to sit is no walk in the park. Once again, every child is different.
The best advice is to never push kiddo and be patient!
Keep asking, but shift the focus to reading a book or colouring. It’s important that kiddo is not developing negative connotations with the bathroom and/or going to the potty.
If and when it happens, remember to reward her! a Sticker chart is a great motivator for every time she sits and try to go.
4. Take a break
Kiddo is going around the bicycle course on full speed and now has to stop to go and make a poo? It’s really hard for kids to leave what they are doing to take a bathroom break.
Give kiddo lots of reminders that it’s time for a bathroom break. Reassure her that her toys will still be there when she comes back.
Let her know in advance that potty time is coming up and playtime will continue afterwards.
5. Oops, I did it again!
Accidents will happen, it’s all part of the training process. This is a temporary phase and kiddo will get back to using the toilet or the potty.
It’s an accident, it’s not premediated and most importantly try not to get upset or punish her for backsliding.
The relapse may be the result of something going on – remember that moving house and or a new baby can cause backsliding. Talk to your child, figure out what is going on and try and solve the problem.
Potty training is a light at the end of the baby-stage tunnel and most parents (like me) are eager to get there. Not to mention save some money on diapers! But it’s a unique process for every kid and all you can do is be patient and be on the lookout for signs that your little munchkin is ready.
Until then we will just sing along with Jak de Priester:
“Tata Doeke, Hallo Broeke, Ek sien jul nooit weer nie!”
Until next time
Helene & Minki