Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Potty Training- The More Thoughtful Methods

I admit that my approach to potty training (The Ten Day+ Method) is a bit unorthodox, and very disorganized.  But, it works for me, so I firmly back it (and may even trademark it).

However, if you, like most moms, prefer a more carefully planned method, I have researched the varying approaches that have successfully trained many friend's and family's toddlers.

The 3-Day Method
Just like 5-Minute Abs is more attractive than 7-Minute Abs, I understand the draw of this method.  However, unlike my half-a$$ approach, this one requires much more commitment from both the parent and child.  It also requires staying at home for three days (that is 72 hours!!!).  For three full days you and your little one focus solely on peeing and pooping in the potty.  No park time, no play dates, no fun! 

Since we are all different and each family has its own needs, being housebound and bored for a long weekend may work for you.  If so, according to Potty Training in Three Days or Less, this is what you will need:
  • Potties for every major play area and each bathroom.  (This does seem like a plethora of plastic for one home.)
  • Salty snacks and an absurd amount of juice boxes to encourage peeing.
  • The ability to tolerate your child's bare butt for three months.  Julie Fellom, the San Francisco based potty training guru, is adamant that the child be pantless and underwear free in the house for these first few months.  (If you do this, please, please, please, wipe until its white.)
I've seen many toddlers be successfully potty trained using this method.  However, most were not completely trained in three days- it usually took weeks of follow up to declare victory.  That being the case, I fail to see why this strict stay-home, no-pants system is any better than my lazy approach.  I can say one thing for certain, my method is way more relaxing and fun!

The One-Day Method-

Forget about 5-Minute Abs, this is like 3-Minute Abs! 

The Potty Training in One Day method is based on the philosophy that people, children and adults, learn best by teaching.  So, during this intensive potty day, your child teaches a doll (preferably Potty Patty or Potty Scotty) to use the toilet.  While we don't own a Potty Patty, we do have a Baby Alive that urinates.  Elana affectionately named her Baby Pee Pee, and I have to agree with Elana that it is a lot more fun to lie the baby flat and watch the "urine" squirt across the floor, than to have her use the potty.  
Given that this system compacts many days of training into one, it requires a boat-load of supplies, in addition to the $40 doll.
  • Potty Training in One Day book and DVD ($17.95).
  • Potty Training Chart and Stickers ($9.95).  I have yet to meet the toddler that is enticed to use the potty by stickers.  Choose chocolate- it's cheaper and allows the parent to participate in the rewards.
  • Potty Time Watch ($34.95).  It can either vibrate or sound an alarm to alert your child to pee.  This may be helpful, but only for a week or two, and that is a lot of money to spend on 7-days worth of use.  
  • Books about using the potty (these can be borrowed from the library).
Along with the $103 worth of supplies, the method also requires up to two weeks of preparation, and like the 3-Day strategy, it can take nearly two weeks of follow-up.

A few years ago I was able to witness this One-Day method first-hand when our friends attempted to train their two-year-four-month old son at a beach house.  The day was not nearly stress-free and they ended up needing to spend much of the following days focused on potty training. 

With each new method I research, I become more convinced of three things:
  • the best strategy for potty training is the one that works for the parent, 
  • don't bother until the child is ready,
  • no matter what method you choose, there is always a few weeks of follow-up.

1 comment:

  1. Nooooooo! No chocolate! Or if you use chocolate, know your child and make sure you structure the incentive correctly.

    We once told my child she could have some candy if she pooped on the potty. This particular day she had already gone in the pull-up from the previous night, so the chances of her needing to go again were low. I asked her to get dressed for school. She insisted she was going to earn her treat, and sat on the potty. For the next 40 minutes I attempted to get her off the pot. Only when I agreed that she could have the candy anyway did we finally get her dressed and out the door. After that (until the box of candy ran out) the deal was that she would get the candy if she immediately sat on the potty after waking up, since that was usually when the poop would arrive. That strategy actually worked for us.