Miss A Columnist

Amber Stiles is currently a Stay-at-Home-Mother of two beautiful girls. She is a recovering mommy blogger who started her journey in 2009 when her first daughter was born and she needed a place to commiserate. She took some time off, and changed a few sites but is back at home on her original family blog, Backwards Life. Amber was born in the Deep South but considers herself a New Jersey native. Over the past few years she has learned to take it easy on herself and other parents. Amber believes it’s important to share your ideas, shortcomings, and successes with those around you. She’s grown into her own as a mother and is now ready to share her abilities with the masses.

Potty Training Using Positive Reinforcement

My daughter just turned three and we thought she’d be in diapers forever.  Not really, but sometimes it seemed that way. We had tried to potty train her at 18 months and she was all for it, but not mature enough to “hold it.”  We tried again around two-years-old and it was a NO GO. She screamed and cried and begged for her diaper back. It scared her! I even tried to lure her in with big girl (and boy) undies that had her favorite characters plastered all over them.  Nope.

Photo Credit: blogs.babble.com

When I got pregnant with our second child the fear set in. Two kids in diapers? I wanted so badly to train our first before the second arrive, but that didn’t work out. So, after the baby was born and big sister had accepted and warmed to the idea of little sister, we tried again, and it took!

To start on your own journey here are some tips:

Pick a potty training technique – there are many to choose from:

  • Infant Potty Training (also known as Elimination Communication) – Parents hold their babies over the toilet when they show signs that they need to go.  This starts as early as one week old.
  • Practice Until You Get It – Introduce the idea of potty training and schedule practice sessions until your child catches on.
  • 1 – 3 Day Method – The first day of training is an all out boot-camp of no diapers and lots of redirecting to the potty.  Some use a doll to show their child process and then the toddler starts practicing themselves.  A few days of follow up are needed to head off accidents.
  • They Will Train When Their Ready – The belief is that at some point a child will basically train themselves.  Sometimes it comes from peer pressure, sometimes they just no longer want to “go” in a diaper.

Photo Credit: www.parents.com

Most families end up using a combination of these techniques.  We started with “boot-camp” but ended up drifting into “practice” and then, FINALLY, she pretty much trained herself.

Positive reinforcement works a lot better than punishment.  You should always play the process UP, rather than mentioning any of the negative.  If your child has an accident, redirect him or her to the potty and then move on.  Charts and stickers and small prizes go a long way for some children.  Hugs and kisses and EXCITEMENT work for all!

Pick your tools – Here’s a list of helpful products that may make your training experience run smoother:

  • Toilet Seat Insert and/or Potty Chair – There are so many to choose from.  Let your child help pick it out so there is some ownership to the process.  Smaller children tend to do better on the potty chairs, while taller/older children are the right size for the inserts.
  • Travel Potty – You’ll want to leave the house at some point.  Many kids won’t be ready to balance on the edge of a unfamiliar toilet (even in another person’s home) right away.  My favorite was one from Kalencom that works as both an insert for public toilets and a stand alone potty when on-the-go.
  • Training Pants – The debate will be Cloth vs. Disposable–or none at all.  We had the cloth ones that feel WET but catch some dribbles.  Then we moved on to just undies during the day with disposable trainers for naps and bedtime.  Whatever works!

Photo Credit: www.lilsugar.com

We ended using ALL of the above.  Since this process has been such a long one, we’ve tested many products.  Kids are fickle and don’t always want to use the seat they were so excited about in the line at Target.  Be prepared to have a few unused tools laying around.  Maybe your second child will like the opposite of your first.

Celebrate!  A Potty Party can be a great way to show your child how exciting this milestone is for everyone.  Some people decide to have potty parties to start the process while some choose to have them to celebrate the end of their diapering life.  I think they’re cute and I welcome any reason to plan an event.

In the end, do what feels right for you.  What finally worked for us might not work for you because every child is different.  Remember, it will come!  They will NOT attend college in diapers.

Make sure to follow my Pinterest Potty Time Board for more inspiration!

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