I’m Heather Anderson, and this is Episode 11: Potty Party.
Hello everybody! Welcome to my podcast! I hope you get a lot out of this today; I have a lot of great things to share with you. We’re going to talk about potty training–everybody’s favorite, I know–but it’s a necessary skill for parents to have. I’ve realized that there are so many different potty training approaches out there. I am hoping that this is the method that works for you and the only one that you need to know. It has worked for me and thousands of other moms. I’m going to give you a lot of information so I hope you are somewhere where you can write some things down because this is stuff you’re going to want to know.
So just before we get started, there are so many different approaches to potty training. Some of them are parent-led where the parent is just ready: “My child is 1 1/2 and I am sick of changing diapers and so I’m just going to potty train them”, or anything where the parent is pushing the child to get potty trained. Those methods aren’t necessarily successful, and they can get frustrating for the parents and for the children. This could take months, even maybe years, and probably with the child having a lot of accidents along the way.
The best type of potty training methods are ones that are child-led (and we’ll talk about that in a little bit.) Traditional method potty training looks like the parents sits the child on the potty when they think they need to go potty, and the child stays there until they’re done. This could be an hour or more, and if the child does go the parent is happy and the child gets praised and rewarded; but while sitting there the parent begs and pleads and it just takes a lot of time and it can get very frustrating. And then sometimes as soon as the child gets up from the potty they have an accident and then the parent scolds and disciplines. This is just not a very fun way of doing potty training, and it’s not very efficient or effective.
So I’m going to teach you what I call the “Potty Party.” This is a potty training method that will help you train your child in three hours or even less. The objective of this new way of training, or the Potty Party, is to teach your child how to toilet themselves with independence and without the need for reminders from their parents or continued praise or assistance. So by the time they are done they are going to be so independent and can potty themselves, and you don’t ever have to really get involved again. It is a very quick and efficient method.
I have chosen to call this Potty Party because it is just so positive and it sounds so exciting. You want to get your child excited. You want to start talking about this Potty Party that’s coming up for a while before they’re really ready. Treat it like it is a privilege and it’s an exciting thing that is about to happen, like a rite of passage. For my children and they were pretty much begging to go potty in the big potty for weeks, even months, before I was ready to give them their unique individual Potty Party. So you really want to just build it up for a while.
So many moms ask me, “Well how do I know when my child is ready to start potty training?” This is really important. If your child is not ready it’s not going to take three hours or less. You want to make sure they’re really ready. Some of the ways that you can know if your child is ready is that they recognize the urge to go. They talk about, “oh I have to go potty” or “oh I just went potty in my diaper” and they really want you to change their diaper right away. They want to feel clean. They sometimes even bring you a diaper when they need to be changed. Basically, if your child is asking to be changed they are ready to be potty trained. They really want to use the potty, they’re asking to use the potty, and they have enough coordination and dexterity to be able to take their pants or at least their underwear off and on by themselves.
In terms of age, girls are ready to potty train a little bit sooner than boys. The age of readiness to be potty trained differs between girls and boys. Girls are ready a little bit sooner, about three years old, maybe even a few months before that; and boys are closer to four. With my kids, I waited till I knew they were ready, they were more than ready. Like I said, they were pretty much begging me to be potty trained. So it went really quick and easily with them.
There are a few things you’re going to need in order to do the Potty Party. You will need a potty chair that has a compartment that comes out that can easily come out and in, and that is the thing that’s going to get emptied into the big toilet. So you need that potty chair, and I actually have one that I really love and I put it on my website the–mommywhisperer.com under Mommy Resources, so if you want to go over to my website and check out mommy resources I put that link in there. You also want to stock up on tasty favorite drinks that your child loves, and some little candies or other favorite treats: M&M’s, skittles, anything like that that they like. And also, you might want to wrap this up like a present, but they need big kid underwear and these underwear need to be 1 to 2 sizes too big. These are just going to be their training underwear. So maybe one package of a little bit larger underwear. This is so that it is really easy for them to get off and on during training. If you want to go all out and get balloons, that’s fine too. It feels more like a party, but that’s not absolutely necessary.
It’s very important that on the day of the potty training, the Potty Party, you have no distractions. It’s just you and the child. So the parent who is not potty training, or a friend, can take the younger kids and even the older kids out of the house for the morning. You really want to try to make this all about the child who is potty training and concentrate all of your focus on them for the three hours.
It is best to train in the kitchen: that’s where the food is; that’s where you have a lot of space; and you won’t want to be stuck in the bathroom for most of the day because a lot of this takes place on the potty.
And the last thing I want to mention is: that day of the Potty Party, you want to come there being ready to be a Potty Party cheerleader. Bring your best attitude, bring your best praise, and your positivity, and don’t let yourself get too nervous. Just get ready to have a really fun time because it is actually really fun to have that one-on-one time with your child. And it really will go pretty well, better than you think it’s going to.
And another thing that is great for praise is to bring or have ready a “Friends Who Care” list. So on this list, you want to write down everybody who is important in your child’s life: grandparents, maybe your favorite aunt, cousins, friends, siblings, Santa, a cartoon character, Elmo (does anyone watch Elmo anymore? I don’t even know if that’s on anymore), bubble guppies, Princess Sophia, any of those. Because you will tell your child how proud you are constantly and what a rockstar they are, but also you can say things like “oh I can’t wait to call grandma and tell her about this” and “oh I’m going to write a letter to Santa and tell him all about what you can do now, you’re such a big kid”, and they just love to hear things like that.
So now let’s get down to it. The idea behind this whole potty training method is to concentrate on your child staying dry. You want your child to feel what it feels like to stay dry. So every five minutes you’re going to ask them “check your underwear, let’s do a dry check.” I would just say the words “dry check” and they touch their underwear and say “I’m dry!” And then you want to reward them with juice–always juice, if possible. If they’re sick of having juice, give them something salty to eat so that they want more juice. The reason you want to keep them hydrated is so that they have plenty of opportunity to practice going potty while you’re concentrating on this with them for the three hours. So make sure they are drinking a lot. You can also give him one piece of candy for staying dry. And then every five minutes you are doing these dry checks, but then about every 15 to 20 minutes (make sure you set a timer for this part because this is important) you want to make sure to sit them on the potty and say “Okay, let’s try to go potty.” You can read a book, you can sing a song, but you don’t want to keep them there more than 10 minutes, even if they haven’t gone because you really don’t want them to get frustrated or have negative feelings. The whole thing about the Potty Party is that it’s supposed to be really positive and fun.
So this every five minutes dry check and this every 20 minutes trying to go potty, that is your soul focus for three hours. Don’t let your child get distracted with TV. If they get a little bit antsy you can bring a toy into the kitchen and let them play while you talk, but your soul focus is this for 2 to 3 hours.
Now, if they do go potty this is when the big praise happens. You’re going to praise them, give them rewards: more juice, a few more extra pieces of candy, etc. And have them put their underwear back on themselves, even if it takes a little while, they really need to practice that themselves so that they can be more independent. And then have them take the little compartment out of the potty and go dump it in the toilet. Have them flush, bring it back, put it in. It will take them a little bit longer than maybe you have patience for, but it’s very important that they start building up the confidence that they’re able to do this part themselves. So they’re going to dump that out, empty it, and bring it back, put it back in the potty. More praise, more hugs, more telling them who you’re going to call and tell them that they just went potty for the first time, and then five minutes later you’re right back on it: Dry Check, juice, Dry Check, juice and treat, whatever you decide to do for your praise. And they will just feel like a rockstar.
When accidents happen, and they most likely will that first day, when the three hours are over and you’re not so on top of it because you’re going to go back to real life and they’re just going to wear their underwear around the house. You’re going to do dry text every so often, and for sure have them come and go potty every 20 minutes, but life is going to go back to normal and they’re going to get distracted and they’re going to have an accident. This is actually good. It usually only takes one accident and they really feel what it feels like to be wet, and it’s not comfortable. They’re not used to that feeling because when they were in diapers they’re made to take that wetness away from their skin, and now they’re in big kid underwear just hanging out around the house and they just forgot and it’s habit and they let themselves go and they realize that they don’t like that feeling. And they’re going to be more aware that they do not want to feel that way. So when these accidents do happen, and hopefully it will just be one or two, that’s all that usually happens because they just really start to get it pretty quick, then you just have them change out of their wet clothes themselves and then have them come help you clean up the mess. And then start back with the toilet training all over again, “Remember now that you’re a big kid you come to the toilet” and have them go through the motions. Even though they probably don’t have anything left in them to go potty anymore, you have them go through the motions. Take off their pants, sit down, sing a song, try to go, and talk about this is what we do now big kids don’t go in their underwear, but no kind of scolding or nagging or shaming. Especially no physical discipline. Just keep reminding and every single time they have an accident that’s what you do, “No big kids don’t go in their underwear; big kids go in the potty.” Have them change, have them help you clean it up, and then go do the training one more time.
The objective for this new type of potty training is to make this toilet training phase of your child’s life the most pleasant experience they’ve had. We want them to come out of the training filled with pride and a sense of accomplishment, with lots of smiles and laughs and hugs along the way. And the feeling that they have taken his giant step toward feeling independence and in control of their own lives.
Although potty training is not an easy job, try to keep it as positive as possible and I’ll talk to you next week.
If you would like to learn more about The Mommy Whisperer or would like to sign up for a free mini coaching call with me, please head on over to my website at heatherandersonlifecoach.com