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.

3 Easy Ways I Beat the Terrible Twos

Virginia learned all about the “terrible twos” after living through them with her daughter Mika.

“Since she started walking, everything has to be out of her reach,” she said. “She’s broken my laptop and my cell phone. Everything has to be really cinched up and baby-proofed and out of her grasp.”

As Virginia’s honed her mommy reflexes to save her toddler from ultimate destruction, she’s been amazed at how something so young can be so fearless.

“The terrible twos are not a myth; they’re complete reality,” she said. “As they get older and start to walk and talk, they also learn to start running and back-talking.”

Here are some words of wisdom from Virginia to get you through the terrible twos:

1. Don’t overreact.

“I try not to squash her behavior too much. I know that it’s part of development. I keep telling myself that it’s a natural phase and kind of let her do what she wants to do, to some extent. If she wants to sit and bang on a pot, that’s fine. I can’t get hung up on that.”

2. Think outside the “blocks.”

“We had had all these wooden blocks for her. And she throws blocks, so it’s painful. Then I found foam blocks at the store, and it was like somebody had turned on the light. These things are the best. She can throw ’em all she wants, and they don’t hurt and break things.”

3. Keep your eyes open every day.

“You can read about the terrible twos in a book, but it’s not the same as going through it and living it. I mean, as a mother, as you go through it, it’s a learning experience every day. And I think that more than anything, just being there and being part of it is the way to experience it.”

Virginia was 34 when she entered motherhood, and she readily admits that even after waiting she still felt apprehensive and nervous. But now, living every day trying to keep curiosity from raining destruction upon her home, she feels settled in being a mom.

“Even the terrible twos certainly aren’t terrible. They’re just different,” she said. “It’s an awesome thing to be a parent. It’s just amazing. It’s different every day.”

Need a place where parents can exercise their minds and get together to discuss and debate the topics that affect our lives? Check out The Imperfect Parent. The Internet is teeming with parent resouces, you just need to know where to look. Start with these links:

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.

Dishing it Out
Taking parenting too seriously is not something Heather Armstrong does. Experience the adventures of a Stay-at-Home-Mom whose honesty and human error is as hilarious as motherhood ought to be.