Us parents long for the day we change our last diaper and quite frankly, diapers are expensive! It was quite the convenience when you first become a mom but you then later realize how much of your monthly expenses go towards those nifty, but costly, poop-catchers. So I decided, I wanted to get them started on how to use the potty right away.
Just like how every child is different, there's not one way of approaching toilet-training and I experienced that firsthand with my 2 boys. So this is what I learned...
"Show and Tell"
I capitalized on their prime interest at that age which was - the desire to imitate. I would let my babies watch me go to the restroom. It helped. And there's nothing to be ashamed of something that we all do naturally, just explain to your baby, step by step, what you are doing as you go to the toilet.
When I felt that my child was ready for the potty, I read books to him about the subject. There are a number of clever books that show pictures of characters using the bathrooms all by themselves. Once they see these toilet-trained models, they'll get the idea that if they can do it, so can I.
"Make Sure Baby is Ready"
A sign for me that my kids were ready for potty training was when they would hide underneath the dining table or behind the sofa to do #2. These signs of squatting, grunting or retreating shows me that they are now mentally mature to understand of what's going on inside their bodies.
"Make Sure You're Ready"
Potty training requires a lot of patience. Don't expect your baby to be potty trained in only one training session, it takes a lot of time and practice. So when we're both ready for the training to start, I would let them roam around the house without diapers. The moment I see that my child is about to go, I would quickly, but gently, carry him to the toilet. Be ready for accidents! Accidents do happen and I was peed on several times before reaching the potty! Which is where the next step comes in...
I would praise my child every time he makes it to the potty, and still praise him for a fairly successful deed. There is no room for punishment in toilet training, the same way you wouldn't scold your child for tripping while learning how to walk.... They don't know any better so let it go when they poop on the carpet.
"Know and Accept That All Children Are Different"
Once you have 2 kids like me, you'll know that no child is alike. Every kid is different in his own way so you have to approach them uniquely, even when it comes to toilet training.
Tomas was completely potty trained by the age of 2 and a half. During training he only wet his bed a handful of times before he was weaned from the diaper. And take note that his personality type is clingy. I believe he was easier to train due to his eagerness to please mommy.
Lucas is 5 years old and the last time he wet the bed was just last week. He is a much more independent child and because of that personality trait, he has a more carefree attitude compared to his brother.
One thing they did have in common was that the boys didnt like using the potty. I guess its because plastic potties look more like a toy rather than a place to do the deed. I didn't force them to use it, instead I got one of those little potty seats with handles on the side. It prevented the kids from slipping into the toilet and the handle on the sides was something to hang on to instead of the yucky toilet seat.
So I hope my tips will help you during this exciting phase of your child's life. Just remember to relax, gone are the days when toilet training was equated to good mothering. Thanks to the internet, we are now more educated mothers who can take parenting in stride.