Friday, August 5, 2011

Mrs. X on potty training

Dear Mrs. X,

It's almost time to potty train. I've been reading a lot of how-to material and still haven't come across the answer to my second biggest fear (the first one is that I'll still be diapering a 5 year old if this doesn't take).

How do I train without ending up with puddles or worse all over the carpet? Do regular undies really keep the leaks under wraps? I had envisioned a marathon of going baby commando in the great outdoors, but it's not possible with apt. style living. Please help!

Crying Over Spilt Nappies

Dear Spilt Nappies;
Oh the fun we all undertake when we attempt to potty train!  I’ll be happy to ease your first fear- unless they have an underlying condition that prevents them from it, all children potty train.  How often do you see a five year old in diapers?

On to your main concerns!  It is difficult to avoid accidents, as a popular potty training video sings “accidents happen!”.  This is, sadly, simply a part of a child learning to know their bodily functions, the cues to them, and what to do about them.  I have myself dealt with puddles and the occasional pile on various surfaces (including my foot, but we won’t get into that).  There are many remarkable products on the market designed to clean up all those messes.  You can invest in a small carpet spot cleaner or you can do what I have heard of some intrepid parents doing; covering the floors in disposable pads, carpet remnants or even plastic drop cloths!  If you have a particular furniture item you do not want “baptized” in that way then do not allow the child to sit on it when not in something absorbent. 

Regular undies do not really contain leaks, unless they are the trainer variety which just absorb a bit more of the leak.  Think of your own undies for a moment, would you trust them to contain leaks?  What if they had an added layer or two?  You can still have your vision of commando in the great outdoors with some ingenuity.  Do you have a deck or small porch?  What about a friend who is willing to have you over for extended visits?  If you have a kitchen or bath area that are uncarpeted you can certainly bring some washable toys in, barricade it and allow your little one to go bottomless.

The main advice I would like to leave you with is to watch your child for being ready and to learn their cues.  If you get resistance to potty training then your child isn’t ready yet.  Start slow, present the potty for the darling to explore without any expectations.  Read books to them and allow a video or two. But most of all, be patient.  It will happen eventually.

 Have a question or issue you'd like help with?  Write to Mrs. X to get answers! 


heatheramyprice said...

My twins are special needs and are almost 5, and neither is ready to train. "resistance" is the least of my troubles. Up until recently, EVERYTIME I asked my son to sit on the potty, he'd bite himself. I'm way past the end of my rope, and I'm 100% positive I WILL have 5 year olds in diapers. Still waiting for those readiness signs on the one hand. On the other hand, I'm trying to be a little pushy. Putting one twin on the potty every hour on the hour even though he refuses to MAKE in the potty. Getting him used to the idea, like neurotypical 2 year olds do.

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