Metro Mama & Metro Baby

By Tammy Gold

Potty training can be a source of stress for many parents but it doesn’t have to be. Check out these tips and strategies from parenting expert Tammy Gold of Gold Parent Coaching and find your way to a diaper-free household sooner than you think!

When can you start?

Look for the following in your child before beginning:
1. Muscle & Physiological development – Can child control bowel & bladder?
2. Fine & Gross Motor Skills – Can child undress him/herself to go to the bathroom?
3. Cognitive Skills – Can child really understand what you are saying? Can child grasp what is being asked of him or her?
4. Communication Skills – Can child verbalize when they have to go to the bathroom?
5. Emotional Awareness – Will child be able to understand cause & affect and parental
approval?
6. Social Connections – Will Child want to model behaviors of a big sibling, doll or friend?

**Bottom Line: It isn’t about age, but about mastering the above issues.**

Child – Oriented Approach

This method, created by Brazelton and Sparrow, is normally completed between the ages of around 34-38 months. To begin teaching, look for signs of child readiness and then begin training slowly and comfortably.

a. Introduce your child to the potty chair as being his/her “special chair.” Allow the child to play around it, sit on it to become comfortable with it. Show the child that the potty chair is the same as the adult toilet.
b. Place the potty chair in the bathroom and have the child sit on the potty chair (fully clothed) at the same time as you are sitting on the toilet. Do not make the child stay on the chair – allow him/her to walk away at any time. You can give treats/rewards if they stay on the chair as long as you.
c. After a couple of weeks of the behavior modeling, take the child’s diaper off before sitting him/her on the potty chair. Continue to have the child sit on the potty chair while you are on the toilet.
d. If the child goes while on the potty chair, praise him/her. If not, do not react negatively, just try another day.
e. This method says to not make potty training about discipline as this method is based on the child feeling as if they have a choice and learning when they are ready.

Bare-Bottom Method or Parent–Oriented Approach

This method includes children going without diapers for a several days as they get used to the potty. This requires a great deal of work by parents and being close to a bathroom at all times or ideally, outside on a warm day (because there will be
messes)!

a. Parent announces on the day the training will begin that the child will no longer wear diapers, instead using the potty from then on.
b. Remove the child’s diaper. (A child will feel less comfortable soiling him/herself without a diaper, as opposed to continuing on in the way they have in the past.)
c. Offer plenty of fluids to your child to raise the chances of him/her using the potty. d. Any time the child begins to go, quickly take him/her into the bathroom and him/her onto the toilet.
e. Follow up with lots of praise.

Potty Training Do’s

DO be supportive and encouraging.
DO use positive reinforcement of your child’s choice to use the potty such as candy or a sticker.
DO stay calm if an accident occurs. Just talk to the child after the accident about “using the potty like a big kid.”
DO have a stress-free attitude. The less stress you give off, the better the child will do. DO use loose clothing to allow for the child to be able to undress him/herself easier

Potty Training Don’ts

DON’T start potty training during a time of change or stress for the child or within the home.
DON’T outline a strict start and end date because it causes too much pressure for parents, which the child will pick up on.
DON’T force a child who is not ready.
DON’T make a big deal about accidents.
DON’T use hard clothing such as tights, or pants with lots of complicated buttons or clasps.

Potty Training Fears

Children can experience many fears during potty training. Please keep these in mind when working with your child.
Fear of accidents – Child is nervous that they will not be able to control themselves (Note: Children up to 8 years of age may still have problems with night training. Night training is the most difficult to master.)
Fear of the noise of the toilet flushing
Fear of falling in the toilet
Fear of parental disappointment
Fear of social embarrassments
Fear of public bathrooms

Like with any milestone, the range of time when potty training can take place is wide. Just remember to be patient and supportive with the process. And in the meantime, enjoy the convenience of diapers – especially on that next road trip!

To learn more about Tammy Gold and the services offered by Gold Parent Coaching, visit http://www.goldparentcoaching.com.

Originally published March 2013
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