Consistent Potty Training
5/30/2008 | by By Sue Marquette Poremba
Lindsey Taucher of Austin, Texas, spent her spring break working on potty training with her daughter.
“We talked about it a lot beforehand,” says Taucher of preparing her daughter for the big event. “And I had been offering her the opportunity to use the potty intermittently.”
So, during her week’s vacation, Taucher took her daughter shopping for underwear and PULL-UPS® Training Pants, and they packed up the regular diapers. Taucher’s goal was to have her daughter be as close to potty trained as possible within that week. Flip-flopping between underwear and diapers, she felt, would only slow down the overall process.
Taucher had the right idea.
Dr. Ed Christophersen, a clinical psychologist and toilet training expert at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Mo., has no problem with parents making the transition from diapers to underwear as long as that transition is made gradually.
Using absorbent pants, such as PULL-UPS® Training Pants, can be a nice transition between diapers and underwear. Children have the security of the diaper but the control of underwear – if children feel the urge to go, they can try to use the potty themselves but not worry if they have an accident.
When you’re just starting out working on potty training with your child, keep in mind these ideas for maintaining consistency.
Learn the Child’s Body Schedule
Bowel movements may be one reason parents feel the need to resort back to diapers. That’s because many children have a more difficult time learning when they need to poop in the potty versus when they feel the sensation to pee. Rather than risk the mess, parents will use a diaper on the child until they’ve made a bowel movement. However, if the diaper is put on too early in the day, it can prevent the child from using the potty on his own.
Dr. Christophersen strongly advises parents to try and get the child on a regular schedule. When the child is eating and sleeping at the same time, other bodily functions will also occur at regular, more predictable times. If the time of the bowel movement is predictable, parents can make sure the child is near a toilet at that time.
Parents can try regulating the child’s body schedule by doing the following:
- Waking the child at the same time each morning.
- Keeping a consistent nap schedule, including the amount of time the child sleeps.
- Serving breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks at the same time each day, if possible.
- Keeping a journal for a week or two noting the times the child pees or has a bowel movement.
Another element to learning a child’s body schedule is letting him take the lead on potty training, according to pediatrician Dr. Ari Brown.
“Potty training is a developmental milestone, and it has to be on the child’s guidelines,” says Dr. Brown. “The child has to want to be clean and has to understand the urge to use the toilet.”
If the child shows that she is ready, moving from diapers to underwear will be easier.
Keeping Consistent Away from Home
Parents are also likely to put a child who wears underwear at home into diapers when they go on an outing. Besides not wanting to risk an accident in public, parents can’t always anticipate having a public restroom available if necessary.
Rather than taking a step backward in the child’s potty training, it is better to run errands and schedule outings around the child’s body schedule, if at all possible. For example, try going to the grocery store after the child has gone potty. If the errand can’t be avoided, using absorbent pants such as PULL-UPS® Training Pants is a good idea. Also, to keep a consistent potty training routine and to continue to encourage the child to wear underwear, shop in stores or visit parks that have easily accessible rest rooms.
Parents who send their child to daycare should make sure their caregiver is on board with whatever potty training routine they are working on with their child.
Another issue to consider is nighttime. Experts agree that parents should not focus on nighttime training or bedwetting while they are working on daytime potty training. Parents can consider using an absorbent training pant designed for nighttime use, such as PULL-UPS® NIGHT*TIME Training Pants.
And remember that accidents shouldn’t have you running for the diapers. Parents need to be patient and give the child a chance to learn. Carmen Staicer, a Virginia Beach, Va., mother of six, says parents need to remember there will always be some kind of regression, no matter what method you use.