How We Successfully Potty-Trained Skye at 20 Months
I do not know why a lot of people get surprise when they learn that we successfully transitioned our child, Skye, from diaper to toilet at the early age of 20 months. Well, I guess that’s not the right choice of words – “transitioned from diaper to toilet” – what I meant was, Skye was able to tell us when she has to pee or poop before she reached her second year on earth.
I got used to parents asking me how we did that, so I decided to come up with this article.
Potty training Skye was never a big deal for us. We approached it as a normal phase of life that everyone has to go through. There were no rituals, no ceremonies, no need for ornate equipment and gaudy kinesics. We just did what we feel like doing like normal adults – provide examples. We just showed to her how to pee/poop, where, and why.
We started Skye’s potty training when she was 18 months . There were several accidents, and that was fine, we expected that. When we decided to take her out of her diapers, we did not turn back. We were steady and consistent with what we did. She learned in two months. Not quick but worth the time.
I listed here some of the things that we did which might be of great help to you. We do not impose these practices as absolute ways in teaching your kids to proper potty, but who knows? They might also work to your advantage if you give them a try.
We did not make a big deal out of it.
We let Skye understood that peeing and pooping are normal things that we do every day – and like any other normal activities, there’s a specific place to do it. We told her bed is for sleeping, table is for eating, chairs for sitting, and so on and so forth. When it comes to peeing and pooping, we told her that toilet is where we must do it. We even used her favorite stuffed animal for potty demonstrations. She enjoyed it a lot.
So yeah, as young as 18 months, I talked to her and told her to tell me if she needs to pee or poop so I can bring her to the toilet. Of course she wasn’t talking then, but she can tell me through gestures and expressions. And being the very observant mother that I am (who never left my daughter’s side 24/7), I knew when she had to use the bathroom by mere looking at her expressions.
We let her watch and learn.
We all know that kids learn best by imitation. So I let Skye watch me use the bathroom. I told her what I do and how I do it. I explained to her why I have to pee or poop. I demonstrated.
Maybe Skye have seen her father, or one of her cousins stand tall at the toilet, so I once saw her peeing standing up. I let her. I had to clean her up afterwards and told her, “Boys pee standing up, while we, girls, we have to pee…” she finished my sentence for both of us, “sitting down”. You see? They learn pretty well even by themselves. Skye got the idea fairly quickly that she doesn’t have the “machinery” to manage peeing while standing. There’s no need to engage her in a power struggle.
We did not buy her a potty.
We brought her to the bathroom and let her sat at the toilet bowl from the very beginning of our training. We neither had an adapter seat. I had to hold her until she peed/pooped or until she decided to go down. It was pretty easy. Although now that she’s a bit older, but still cannot manage to go up the toilet bowl on her own, she decided to use one of our dippers. Yes, her potty is a simple white dipper with a broken handle, nothing fancy. It’s not even feel comfy sitting on it, which is somehow good because it doesn’t have to take forever when she has to poop.
Timing. Timing. And Timing.
When I decided that it’s time for Skye to be potty trained, we had regular bathroom trips. I bring her to the CR first thing in the morning, after each meal and snack, before getting in the car, and before going to bed. At night, I bring her to the CR every 2-3 hours. Yeah, quiet a sacrifice. But teaching always requires time and patience on our part as parents, and a reasonable degree of cooperation and motivation on our child’s. Neither of us complained, and we succeeded.
We kept her dry.
During our first days of training, we ditched diapers right away, and I made sure that Skye was always dry. If she accidentally wet or soiled her pants, I cleaned her right away and changed it to a new one.
We allowed her to experience the discomfort of being wet.
I do not makes sense anymore, don’t I? We kept her dry and yet we let her be wet. How the heck can that be possible? Let me explain.
After 4-8 days of doing my very best to keep Skye dry, and her getting used to it, I let her feel the discomfort of having a wet pants. Since she’s already used to being dry, when she accidentally wet herself, she requests to have her pants changed right away, which I happily obliged after explaining the importance of telling me when she has to pee or poop. That makes sense now, yeah?
For Other Parents – Do not fall in love with your child’s diapers.
Weird, yeah? But this one applies to those using cloth diapers. Fancy and expensive cloth diapers.
I know a lot of parents who delayed potty training because they cannot let go of their child’s cloth diapers. And I cannot blame them. Ghaad, those pieces of cloths are indeed colorful and pretty! But you see, before you can ask your child to ditch his/her diapers, you must be emotionally ready yourself. Do not get too attached to those cute stuff. When you do, your child also fall in love with them. And when you develop that attachment to these reusable fancy pants, it will be more difficult to let go of them.
I’ve heard all the tricks — bribing with candies and toys, special underpants, stickers, etcetera. We did not do that because we have to be consistent with our parenting style. We didn’t use rewards elsewhere, so there was no need to start bribing while potty training. Also, since we want to face the potty issue as a normal part of life, another phase that we all go through as part of growing up, we made sure we do not let her feel overwhelmed by process. We didn’t use any special stuff such as kiddie toilets, potty rings, or pull-ups. We just provided lots of love and undivided attention, positive reinforcement, and pride when we emerged successful.
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