This isn’t the easiest topic, but it is a common question people have – so, I’ll give it my best shot.
Often, children learn to control the bladder, but the bowels are another story. (An unpleasant story, I might add. )
The advice I am going to give you is taken from a book call Home Built Discipline by Raymond and Dorthy Moore. If you are as old as I am, it may be familiar to you, on the other hand, as a young mom – you might remember it from your parent’s library. Home Built Discipline is one of many books that the Moore’s published in the 1980’s. They are excellent and cover a wide variety of practical helps on parenting.
Children need regularity in their lives. Regular meals, schedule, and bedtimes all play a part in building a healthy foundation for a growing child. One routine that is important for all of us, but especially the child that is toilet training, is water. Give your child a glass of warm or tepid water first thing in the morning, preferably a half hour before breakfast. This simple step gets the digestive system moving and working. For breakfast, be sure to include whole grains combined with fresh fruits or vegetables. An hour after breakfast, follow up with another glass of water. The desired outcome is for the child to move his bowels every morning. Encourage the child to sit and relax on the toilet while developing the habit. Be patient!
In addition, it is important to eliminate the white flour and sugar. Keep the diet high in fiber.
If your child is not used to drinking water, it will take some effort to learn to like it. IT IS WORTH THE EFFORT!
The benefits of these simple habits reach far beyond the toilet training years. They will enhance their health for life.
Sometimes potty training just doesn’t go as planned. Maybe you’ve put in the effort, 3 solid days of training and your little one just isn’t getting it.
Each child is unique. Resist the temptation to compare your child to an older sibling or the neighbor’s child that was trained at a year. Some children simply need more time. If the child is not showing signs of control after walking through this plan, don’t push it. Wait three to six months and try again.
Occasionally there will be the child that does great during the day, but is unable to stay dry at night. This can literally last for years. We limited the amount of liquid before bed, got the child up in the middle of the night, gave big incentives… all not making much of a difference. The best advice I received was from my wise mother-in-law. She told me to simply embrace it. Don’t make a big deal over it. Don’t embarrass the child. In fact, make as little an issue as possible, knowing the child would naturally be embarrassed about it, sensing your frustration.
So, that is exactly what we did. Every day the sheets were washed and hung to dry and life went on. Before I knew it, this stage was done.
The next post will be on one more potty training subject: Training the Bowels
Potty Training had a way of involving the whole family in our home. I said, “Had,” because we are done. I speak from my experience of training 14 little toddlers.
According to our Grandma Lois (and others), on the average, two year old’s bladders are developed and the child mature enough to begin potty training. Since I admired and respected Grandma Lois, I followed her rule of thumb. When our children were around two years of age and/or stayed dry occasionally through the night, we began the process.
Here is the plan…
- Set aside 3 days. Drop every other responsibility and distraction as much as possible. Be prepared to focus on your little one.
- Stock up on a special drink that would be a treat. (ex. fruit juice or herbal tea with honey – stay a way from sugary drinks)
- Be prepared with a little basket of books, finger games, songs to sing, or stories to tell – while spending time in the bathroom.
- On the first morning, as soon as you are ready, begin the cycle by giving your little one a full cup of juice to drink freely.
- Set the timer for 15 minutes. When it goes off, have the child sit on the toilet. The first try might be a little scary for him, but by the end of the day, he will be used to it. Take a few minutes (shoot for 3 – 5) to read a story. Take the time to develop a routine that will last a life time. Help to wash the little hands with soap and dry with a towel. Don’t expect results the first day.
- Continue the cycle all day long: drink juice, set timer, go potty, read story, wash hands. Go ahead and diaper for nap time, but begin the process right away again, after the nap.
- When the child has his first success (at this point it will likely be by accident) be sure to praise them. This is an exciting time! (In our home older siblings came running and dad received a phone call.)
- Do not put diapers or pull ups on the child when awake! If he is simply wearing underwear, the feel of wet cotton and moisture dripping down the legs is unpleasant!
- One more hint: Try to keep his playtime in an area that is not carpeted, preferably close to the bathroom, or outside.
That’s it! The first day is the hardest. By the second day the child should have had a few successes. If you have been very consistent, by the third day, the pattern should be set. You no longer need to push the liquids, simply help the little one to continue the routine. Life should be able to return to normal, reserving the diapers bedtime, if needed.
You might also be interested in:
When Potty Training Doesn’t go as Planned
Potty Training: The Dirty Details