Being a Good Coach
5/30/2008 | by by Jan Faull M.Ed., Washington
Anyone who has ever played a sport—whether at school, a club or a game with friends— remembers that person who led them through the game with words of encouragement, advice on perfecting their technique, and a hand to help them up when they fell down.
These people are teachers of more than just sport but also life-long lessons; they are coaches. Former PULL-UPS® Potty Training Partner Jan Faull, M. Ed., author of “Mommy, I Have To Go Potty”, shared with us some ways for parents to coach their children through the potty training process.
“Good coach moms and dads embody several qualities that we generally identify with regular coaches,” says Jan. “They are cheery, motivating, empathetic and understanding.”
Of course, the child has to be ready to join the team (expresses readiness) and have the right uniform (training pants such as PULL-UPS®) before a parent can start coaching. Once there, any parent can be the prefect potty coach.
Coaching Tip #1: Survive your first practice and game
Don’t expect the child to hit a home run off the bat. Be patient and positive, some children take up to eight months to potty train. Jan suggests weaning your child into the process, so they have time to “warm-up” to the idea.
Coaching Tip #2: Make it fun and rewarding
“Parents as coaches really need to recognize even the smallest step toward success,” states Jan. Consider creating a rewards system like putting stickers on a progress chart or treating the child to ice cream each time they follow directions.
Coaching Tip #3: Be consistent and clear in giving directions
Jan recommends parents find two hours in the day when it’s convenient to focus on potty training and let the child wear training pants such as PULL-UPS® Training Pants. They should use that time to talk to them about the potty and show them how to pull the training pants on/off.
Coaching Tip #4: Again, practice makes perfect!
It can’t be stressed enough, but children will potty train at their own pace and no child is alike. If after three weeks, there are no signs of improvement, your child might not be ready. Take a few weeks off and try again. When in doubt, get support from other coaches and potty training parents.
“The most important thing,” concludes Jan, “is that parents realize when a child starts having successes that it is the child’s accomplishment, not the parent’s.” Part of being a good coach is commending children for their accomplishments and telling them you are proud.