Whether you call it potty training, toilet training, or toilet learning, teaching a child to use the toilet instead of diapers is a big task for both the parents and one that can cause a lot of frustration if you aren’t prepared ahead of time. MomRN recently shared several tips for potty training success on Great Day Green Country (Fox 23, Tulsa).
First, you should have plenty of patience and time! Some kids learn quickly, others need a long time to learn, so don’t rush it! They will learn eventually, trust me!
When to start potty training
Most kids are developmentally ready to start training somewhere between 22 and 30 months of age. Every child is different though so look for these signs that your child is ready to start the process:
- Your child is interested in using the potty or in wearing underwear
- Your child is able to tell you when she’s about to pee or poop, or shows signs that she is going
- Your child wants to be changed right after going in his diaper
- Your child is able to stay dry for at least 2 hours at a time
- Your child is able to walk to the bathroom on her own, pull her pants down and sit on a potty chair or climb up on a toilet
Even before a child is developmentally ready to start, you can do some pre-training by talking about using the potty as you are changing a diaper. Kids learn best by example, so your toddler can watch you or the other parent or an older sibling use the potty. Pretending to have a doll go potty is also a great way to introduce the concept.
A potty chair that sits on the floor is ideal, so your child can easily sit on it without assistance. If you prefer to use a potty seat that fits on top of a regular toilet seat, make sure you have a step stool to help them climb up and down and to rest their feet on, as it will help your child feel more secure and comfortable. There are some great potty training books and DVDs you can share with your child to help him learn. I used Toilet Training in Less Than a Day by Drs. Nathan Azrin and Richard M. Foxx and found it very helpful when my oldest child was a toddler. I did not follow it exactly and chose to spread out the process longer than a day, but I used many of their suggestions and the process went pretty smoothly, so I used it again for my youngest child. We also had a potty training video called It’s Potty Time by Learning Through Entertainment, Inc and Duke University Medical Center. It had fun songs and skits about potty training and my kids and the children in my daycare loved it. It is available on DVD now and I highly recommend it.
“Big Boy” or “Big Girl” underwear with your child’s favorite cartoon characters or other fun designs can make potty training more appealing. Cheerios can be used as “targets” for little boys to help them learn to aim and to make potty training fun. There are also flushable targets you can buy in bright colors and fun shapes. Stickers or other small rewards can be used to encourage your child to go to the potty. A doll that drinks a bottle and “wets” can also help teach your child.
When to wait or stop the training process
If you and/or your child are getting too frustrated or upset over the potty training process, you may need to put it on hold and wait a few weeks, then try again. Otherwise it could become a big control issue or battle of wills and may take much longer for your child to become potty trained. It’s also not a good idea to start potty training during a stressful time in your child’s life, such as a move, divorce, or the birth of a sibling. It’s better to wait until things are more stable. And setbacks and regression are common if stressful events occur after a child has been potty trained. Be patient and understanding if that occurs. If you are concerned about your child’s potty training problems, consult with your pediatrician or family doctor.Pin It
The bond between mother and child gets a lot of attention, but what about the ties between fathers and their children? Research out of Pennsylvania State University and the University of California has shown that father-child interactions are central to everything from a child’s ability to regulate emotionally to the capacity to maintain strong, fulfilling social relationships later in life. Here, simple ways for dads to get closer to their sons and daughters.
Show Your Love
Mothers and fathers provide different kinds of physical stimulation and comfort, and those differences help kids stretch their capacities both emotionally and physically. But physical connection isn’t just about wrestling on the floor or playing catch; it’s about showing your child how much you care. Hugs and kisses for younger kids, arm around the shoulder or pat on the back for older ones — physical contact make kids feel loved. “Saying I love you is not enough,” says child psychologist Steven Richfield, author of The Parent Coach: A New Approach to Parenting in Today’s Society. “Demonstrating that in heartfelt ways — with tangible physical displays of affection — is very important.”
Engaging in a ritualized activity with your child day after day, month after month, lets your child feel loved and special. Ethan Barker of Farmington, Mich., plays a pretend game he calls “Let’s Go” with his daughter most nights before he puts her to bed. “She became interested in the globe in her room, and so we made up a game where we spin it and pretend we are going to go wherever our finger points when the globe stops spinning,” he says. “We have a make-believe suitcase, and talk about what we’d like to bring and what we might do when we get there. She really gets excited about it each night, and so do I.”
Find Your Inner Child
“Fathers can have closer relationships with their kids if they’re willing to regress in the service of the relationship,” says Dr. Richfield. “They need to have a real capacity to enter the child’s world.” With younger kids that may mean playing make-believe or singing silly songs; with older ones it might be playing video games or watching music videos. It’s not enough to stand back and watch; you need to get involved in whatever’s capturing your child’s attention and imagination.
Hit the Books
While mothers purchase upwards of 90 percent of the parenting literature, fathers could benefit from some book learning as well. “You have to do a little reading. I think fathers are in the dark, especially during the first six or so years,” says Dr. Richfield. “You have to become educated to develop a bond with your child. Learning what boys and girls need at any given age — and these needs are pretty much the same for both sexes when they’re young — helps fathers become closer to their kids. To be able to give them what they desire, you really have to know about their world.”
This topic is one of my favorite opportunities for laughing at myself. My first mistake was asking my older two children to meet our new baby at the hospital. Not only did they not want to go, they begged their father either to send back the baby or to leave us both at the hospital. Right away, I learned the value of letting the older siblings have their own feelings rather than forcing mine upon them. It was either that or knowing that they would act out in ways I’d rather not imagine. After all, what was in it for them? They now had to share a room, as well as the time and attention of their tired and cranky parents.
My challenge was to convince them that while having a new sister was non-negotiable, they could have some adventure along the way. They arranged and decorated their new room in an outlandish manner, complete with “BABY KEEP OUT” signs and booby traps, since baby couldn’t read. Their father logged in overtime on surprise excursions that Mom would never have approved of and that Baby would never enjoy. They acquired extra paid jobs around the house. They got special individual time with both of us, and we still managed to keep up with their busy lives. Luckily, their sister was irresistible and won them over in no time.
Nothing cures the common cold, so the best you can do is relieve the cough, sore throat and stuffy nose that come with it. But you don’t need to buy over-the-counter products — and shouldn’t in the case of children, who may have serious, even life-threatening reactions. The jury is still out on zinc and Vitamin C, but many of the homemade cold remedies your grandmother used to push really do help relieve cold symptoms. Here are a few to try the next time you get stuffed up:
A nice cup of tea is more than just soothing when you’ve got a nasty cold. It can provide immediate and lasting relief from all of the major cold symptoms — runny nose, cough, sneezing, sore throat, chills and fatigue — according to a 2008 study from Cardiff University’s Common Cold Centre.
Drinking fluids won’t flush the cold virus out of your system, but it will help loosen congestion and prevent dehydration, according to the Mayo Clinic. Water, juice, clear broth, and warm lemon water with honey are good options.
Research has shown that honey has properties that fight bacteria, but it works wonders on viral cough symptoms, too. A 2007 study by Pennsylvania State University’s department of pediatrics found that children with coughs due to colds experienced less coughing and better sleep when they ate small amounts of honey before bedtime. (Note: Honey is not safe for children under 2.)
Gargling three times a day with warm salt water can temporarily reduce sore-throat pain, according to a study in The American Journal of Preventive Medicine. (It also cuts your chance of getting a bacterial infection by 40%.) Dissolve 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt in an 8-ounce glass of warm water.
Spicy Food and Antacids
Dishes that contain hot peppers or horseradish may help clear sinuses, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. And if they should happen to give you indigestion, a teaspoon of liquid antacid can do double-duty as another of our homemade cold remedies. In addition to soothing your heartburn, it can help soothe sore throats due to post-nasal drip by coating the throat and neutralizing the acids in mucous.
Yup, it works … and science has discovered why. Chicken soup has anti-inflammatory properties that stop the movement of white blood cells called neutrophils. Neutrophilic activity causes the release of mucous, according to research by University of Nebraska Medical Center. So it’s no wives’ tale that Grandma’s favorite recipe really does soothe sore throats and other cold-related ailments — at least as well as anything from the store would.
Bringing home a new baby fills a house with joy and wonder. It can also bring worry and stress to older siblings who feel their world has just been turned upside down. A sense of jealousy, resentment, and even a little anger is normal. Siblings fear there won’t be enough love, or time to go around.
As parents, there are things we can say and do to help ease the transition.
Talk about what WON’T change once the new baby arrives and emphasis all the things that will be the same. This includes:
- Keeping a similar routine – Talk to your kids about their favorite parts of the day, and make sure you keep those consistent.
- Avoiding making big changes like toilet training, graduating from the crib, or changing rooms. Work through these transitions a few months before baby arrives, or a few months after.
- Keeping life predictable - Remember, predictability brings a sense of security that is really important to children, so keep things predictable and consistent.
Talk about the new “big sibling role”. Be sure your conversations are realistic. Getting your kids excited about the things the baby can’t do until he/she is four will create false hopes.
Involve older siblings in making meaningful decisions, before and after the baby arrives and let them help with the new baby. Make sure that one-on-one time is still spent with each child. Make it a point to have individual conversations and experiences with each of your children. This will help them feel special and loved and let them know that the new baby has not taken their spot in the family.
A fun way to help older siblings make the new baby transition: we give each of our children a disposable camera and ask them to be the photographers. They feel important and have fun taking pictures at the hospital and once we get home. It is so fun to get the pictures developed. Some of our very best photos have come from our kids.
What’s worked the best for your family??