It was supposed to be a typical afternoon of running errands with the tots in tow, and Target was my next and final stop. I grabbed laundry detergent as well as a few other odds and ends and, before leaving, remembered to get pull-ups for my younger daughter, who will be three in January. I headed over to the check-out line, not realizing that I was stepping into a mommy land mine.
The cashier, whether out of curiosity, boredom, or true sincerity, enthusiastically asked my daughter directly if she “pees in the potty.” My daughter's proud response? "No, I like to pee on the floor!"
Clearly, it goes without saying that I turned a bright, bubble-gum pink – an experience most moms can relate to as a combination of shock, shame, and horror. What had become a simple weekly pit stop now felt like a full-on declaration – with flashing lights and the manager on the loudspeaker yelling, “This mom is failing at potty training her second child!”
With kid number one – also a girl, so I can’t even use gender difference as an excuse – potty training was so easy. By two and a half, the diapers during the day were gone. With number two, however, it’s completely different, with the little one digging in and me quickly throwing in the towel. I keep asking myself, and all my parent peers, why, why, why?
Everyone says that there’s no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to potty training, and all I have to do is observe the other guilty-looking parents in the diaper aisle at Target to know I’m not alone. But starting today, I’m on a mission to get the job done. I want to potty train my daughter before her third birthday arrives this winter.
Luckily. I know the right person to help: Janeen Hayward, the founder of an incredible parent resource called Swellbeing. Known to tons of families in Chicago and NYC as a combination of the “sleep whisperer” and the “potty trainer extraordinaire," Janeen has some surefire tips to overcome toilet training trickiness. With her skills and a little perseverance on our end, I’m confident that kid number two will be waving goodbye to the pull-ups in no time at all.
Question: What is the best age to start the potty training process?
Janeen's Response: Generally speaking, there isn't an exact age that is better to start, though toddlers are usually more cooperative the closer they are to two years old. As toddlers get older, they become more entrenched in their diaper habits and more interested in doing things their own way, which can lead to power struggles around using the potty.
Question; I have heard a lot of moms talking about a boot camp approach to potty training. Do you recommend this?
Janeen's Response: I am a believer that children learn best when they are diaper-free. Boot camp training is simply a jump-in-with-both-feet version of this. This approach can be very effective and is a good solution for kids who are older (more than two and a half) and are resisting the potty training process. As a rule, however, I prefer that parents start early and take a more gradual, child-driven approach. I like to reserve a boot camp approach for situations where it's clear that children are not progressing or are getting a mixed message by using pull-ups or diapers.
Question: My daughter is three and pees in the potty. However, she refuses to have a bowel movement there and specifically asks me for a diaper so she can go in it. I have tried every reward and punishment, but nothing is working. Help!
Janeen's Response: This is a very common scenario. One important thing to note about potty training (like eating and sleep) is that children are very aware of our agenda to have them use the potty. As a result, this can become an area rife with power struggles between tots and their parents. Parents often respond by employing all sorts of incentives and punishments, hoping something will work. Often, if one of these incentives or punishments works, it is only temporary. The best, longest-lasting results come when children feel empowered and proud of their own accomplishments. As parents. we really want to tap into that "I did it!" exuberance that children get when they master something on their own. This is what drives continued success.
One way to create a win-win scenario is by giving your daughter the power of choice – let her choose how many diapers or pull-ups she wants to use before she commits to giving them up. When she makes a choice like this, she will be more willing to cooperate because she will feel like she chose to say goodbye to diapers, which is quite different from having them taken away. And when that moment happens when she uses the potty for bowel movements, hold back on celebrating and instead say something like, "You pooped on the potty – you must be so proud of yourself! I knew you could do it."
Question: My daughter pees in the potty at school, but refuses to at home. Is this normal, and how can I encourage her?
Janeen's Response: Your daughter is likely peeing in the potty at school because she is conforming with her peers. This is a great example of positive peer pressure. If you're talking to her a lot about using the potty at home, this may well be the reason she's not. My advice is to stop talking about it and casually mention that you are confident that she'll pee in the potty when she's ready. As I mentioned earlier, you can also make a plan to eliminate daytime diapers, a common crutch and barrier to potty training, and she will begin peeing in the potty – I'm sure of it!
To learn more about Janeen Hayward and Swellbeing, you can find her here!
Love the pic we got from this site...
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