The Potty… a surprising place to bond

Farrah hadn’t even thought about potty training when Bryanna, at 16 months, asked to go to the bathroom.

“Everybody says start at 2, so I considered whatever she did before then to be practice,” Farrah said. “I got a potty seat, and I asked her if she wanted to go every now and then if I saw her thinking about it or heading to one of her spots-she has corners where she goes to the bathroom. I thought it was really early for her to be potty training, so I kept it a no-pressure situation and tried to make it an enjoyable experience.”

It turned out to be a great time for some mother-daughter bonding.

Here are some of the things Farrah did early on to make the potty training process flow a little more freely.

  • Try to dispel fears.

Farrah knew a lot kids are afraid of flushing the toilet or sitting on it, so she tried to get rid of all the fear. Bryanna was really scared of the flushing at first, so Farrah said, “Let’s flush the toilet together.” Bryanna put her hand on Farrah’s, and they’d push down on it together.

“She seemed okay because we made a game out of it,” Farrah said. “We’d say, ‘Bye, bye water!’ I think that took attention off the actual sound of the flushing, and now she’s not afraid anymore.”

  • Create potty-time activities.

Having activities near the potty has certainly made using the bathroom more fun for Bryanna. Farrah kept a lot of books on hand for Bryanna to read on the potty, books that she only gets to use when she’s on the potty. She loves the Wiggles, so she has a Wiggles book that sings songs to her, and she just sits there. They also got a brand new flip-up book, too, just for the bathroom.

“She rarely sits down to read a book, unless we’re going to bed, so I feel like it’s a great time for me to teach her,” Farrah said.

Before the books, Farrah said it was all about the toilet paper.

“She loves the toilet paper,” she said. “The first thing we did was take the toilet paper and throw it in between our legs. That was the game, and it worked for her.”

  • Keep the potty accessible to the child.

Farrah keeps the potty in the bathroom where Bryanna can get it and put it on herself. Everything is really accessible to her, and because she can control the set up, she’s more comfortable with it.

  • Celebrate success.

If Bryanna pees in the potty, Farrah said, they get really excited. And if she poops, they make a huge deal out of it.

“We stand there and we clap,” Farrah said. “She sees that it’s really exciting and she wants to do it.”

  • Use accidents as a teaching tool.

Sometimes, Farrah said, Bryanna will go and pee on the floor and then say that she had an accident.

“She’s really forthcoming about it, which is really nice,” she said. “We’ll just clean it and she stands next to me, and interestingly, she gets upset a little bit that she’s had the accident. I tell her it’s okay that she had the accident and ask her, ‘Where do we go when we have to pee or poo? We go in the potty.'”

  • Don’t rush them.

They may say they have to do it, but it may take kids 10 minutes to get comfortable on the potty. Don’t give them a time limit. Ask them when you have time to sit. Sometimes it’s 20 or 30 minutes just sitting there. Farrah feels it’s like anything else — you just have to follow their lead. They know where they are and when they’re ready.

For more help with potty training, see what these resources have to offer:
Toddler Terror
About.com’s resident pediatrician teaches you the best ways to deal with your formerly-sweet bundle of joy.

Be A Pampers Parent
Get advice from Caroline and other parent experts at the Pampers Parenting Institute, where you can find information on your toddler, preschooler or infant.

The Potty Place
At Let’s Talk Potty Training, the experts at Pampers offer advice, videos from other potty training mommies and even printable toilet-time activities to share with your toddler.

Lessons from the Clinic
Get all you need to know about timing, technique and accidents from the Mayo Clinic.

Potty Training: Proof that every child is different!

Sheree knows a thing or two about potty training. She ought to… after all, she’s been through it five times.

Teaching her daughters (ages 7, 6, 5 and 3-year-old twins) to use the potty taught Sheree that when it comes to potty training, one thing’s for certain: “Every child is different.”

Each of her daughters, she said, has a different personality, and consequently, each had a different learning experience.

“My oldest child caught on pretty quickly,” Sheree said. “It just came pretty easily for her, and she wanted to go to the bathroom. I would give her directions, and she would follow them pretty well. My other girls took more time.”

Although each girl presented a different challenge, Sheree came up with a basic set of rules to help her daughters potty train.

  • Getting them comfortable on the potty is the first step.

To make their daughters comfortable, Sheree and her husband bought them a potty top. Now when they get ready to go to the bathroom, they put their potty top on and feel less afraid they’ll fall, she said.

  • Siblings can be great motivators.

“Potty training my twins was a little easier because their big sisters were helping them,” Sheree noted. “Their sisters were great when it came to celebrating.”

Sheree said they didn’t do anything too big because they wanted the girls to know that using the toilet was expected; still, she wanted them to know that she and her husband were proud of them. So, anytime they went, Sheree told all of the girls to go into the bathroom and clap.

“That seemed to be a good reinforcement for us, especially with all their sisters saying, ‘You’re a big girl.’ They liked that,” she said.

  • Staying dry through the night takes getting up during the night.

Sheree offered two tips if you’re having problems in the middle of the night with bedwetting: always wake up in the middle of the night and take them at least once, and don’t give them anything to drink late.

  • Accidents happen.

“We didn’t have too many accidents, but when we did, they would just come tell me,” Sheree said. After one night out resulted in her daughter sporting pee pants, she learned to always pack an extra pair of clothes. Even if you think they’ve got it down, they might forget about the potty when they’re not at home.

  • Be patient and consistent and you’ll be successful.

“Patience is key when you’re potty training,” said Sheree. “Your child will need to get used to using the potty, and you’re not going to know what to do when you first start training them, so it’s important to be patient. You also have to be consistent. Be consistent in taking them to the bathroom and in whatever your form of underwear or diapers that you put on them.”

Sheree suggests creating a routine to help them get the hang of it and help you stay consistent.

For advice from other potty training moms and even printable toilet-time activities to share with your toddler, the experts at Pampers offer advice at Let’s Talk Potty Training. Also, check out these other resources.

Toddler Terror
About.com’s resident pediatrician teaches you the best ways to deal with your formerly-sweet bundle of joy.

Productive Parenting
From infants to young adults and everything tween, Parenting.org offers tips and advice to help your child be all you wish you could have been and all she is capable of.

The Twos and Threes
Parenting Toddlers gives you useful tips on everything from maximizing your baby’s safety to avoiding mommy burnout.

Mothering Mayhem
See what Capessa blogger and mother of three Erin Monroe does in her spare time at Finding Yourself.