Potty Training – always a new adventure!

Recently we potty trained our third child. Let me tell you our history with potty training… our first caught on with in about a day or two. He was so easy to potty train that I really thought I was brilliant and I probably wouldn’t have any problems with future children. Then came child number two. She was potty trained fairly quickly, it really only took her a few days to “know” what she needed to do. She did quite well for a couple weeks and then it was not so great after a couple weeks. She wasn’t night trained for 2 1/2 more years, and she wasn’t completely potty trained for about 6 months. Now on to child number 3… we tried to potty train her about the same age as we did the others, but it was a terribly disastrous fail for both me and her! I was discouraged, and she was pretty sure she did not want to do it anymore. I was trying so hard to stick with it, but one day as she stood in a puddle on a kitchen chair she looked at me with a sweet half smile and said, “Are you fwustwated with me mommy?” and I thought, “seriously, why am I doing this to myself and to her!” So we stopped trying and just let her wear diapers for several months longer, until she had matured a little more. Finally one day she hopped on the toilet and went potty with out anyone asking her and so we decided to try potty training again. She took to it with in a couple days and was completely accident free from that point on!

So in come my thoughts… with my first I prepared by getting some fun size candy bars and other little treats I knew he liked. At first we started by giving a little treat and praise every time he went on the potty. Then we started filling up a basic chart I made with stickers and he would get a treat at the end of filling up the chart. These rewards worked amazingly well for him.

So obviously, if it worked for one it would work for all, right? Well, in comes potty training for my second. I tried those tactics of course with praise with her and they worked fairly well at first, but she lost interest pretty quickly. So I tried the sticker potty charts and candy rewards again and that did even worse. I was getting a little worn out, but in the end I decided to get a couple cheap toys that I knew she would love and place them where she could see them until she reached a determined goal. She also knew that she would have to give them back if she had accidents (day time accidents).  It worked like a charm – she loves little knick knacks.

I thought for sure I knew how to pottty train by my third. I had been through it all right? Well, many, many candies later, sticker charts, and toys and prizes of all kinds, she was hardly potty trained. Some days were nearly perfect and gave me a glimpse of hope, and then the next couple would be clean up after clean up. And yes, I was “fwustwated” to say the least and nearly broke from all the little rewards!  J/K! I really do think she could have been successful the first time around if I had realized she didn’t really desire the candy and prizes. This one needed a little recognition for her accomplishment. Because she had decided on her own (the second time around) I hadn’t prepared myself with candy and prizes. So I said, “Yes!” and, ” Let’s do a SUPER high five!!!” and we did and it worked. That’s all she wanted from then on for her ‘prize’. Its not that I didn’t praise her before for doing a great job, but for some reason the actual act of  “Super high five” was exactly what she needed to feel good about herself.

So my thoughts…

* relax – this is not about you 🙂

*make sure your child is capable, usually age and other maturity indicate this

*make things comfortable for them and help them to get excited for the new adventure

*of course praise, praise, praise no matter what

*patience, its a big change for them (and this is just a small part of this awesome parenthood journey)

*if you’re doing rewards, figure out the way they like to have their accomplishments acknowledged and do it that way

All the sudden after my third time around I realized that each child really had a way they liked to be  rewarded and recognized. My first liked more of a physical/ instant gratification, the second liked to let excitement build with a little object or gift she was earning, and the third needed a little extra positive encouragement and emotional affirmation.  It is kinda like the 5 love languages, eh?  This information about each of them still serves me well outside of potty training. I can’t wait to see what the other children bring! What are your best tips for potty training?