I’m very happy to share with you a guest post from our friends . Potty training is an important developmental phase, and the suggestions you’ll find here below are not only fun, but also.. not your average, already heard of 100 times kind of advice. Enjoy!
The first few years of parenthood come with many different challenges. You start with a baby who is basically a blank canvas, adrift in this new world with only you to guide them towards their own future.
They rely on you for knowledge, development and of course the most important thing you can give them, love. Seriously, it is the most important one. It’s also probably the easiest one to give, but it will help to push your forward through the struggles.
And I’m hesitant to use the word ‘struggle’, but I don’t want to give the wrong impression here, the early years of raising a child are difficult. Most of the development you will see even in the first year comes with a lot of effort, and when you eventually get to potty training, that will be no exception.
The thing that it’s always important to keep in mind about children is that in those early years, they will respond to difficult challenges with much more enthusiasm if they are having fun while doing them.
The more ways you can find to help your child develop in a way that’s fun, the more receptive they will be to different changes and challenges. ‘Fun’ is probably not a word you find it easy to associate with potty training, but there are ways to ensure your child enjoys the process.
Let’s have a look at a few:
Singing songs is a great way to help children learn. Reacting to music is basically instinctual for humans and it aids us in focus, it accelerates brain development and is beneficial in terms of reading and language too.
Plus, music is just fun. Think about the ways in which we already use music to teach our kids? The most obvious example is of course The Alphabet Song. Ask any child from the age of about five upwards and they almost certainly know it off by heart.
In fact ask any adult and they’ll be able to sing it for you too. It’s imperative in helping a child get the basics of reading and the same principle applies to potty training. You can make up a song of your own.
It could be a song about how it all starts with them eating and drinking and then about how food gets digested and finally ends up in the potty. It can help your child to understand the process in addition to enjoying the experience through song.
Make a Race of it
One big obstacle that babies have to overcome when potty training is the fact that going to the bathroom is an interruption of time that they would rather spend playing and most will be reluctant to do that.
The fact that they can be wearing a diaper and continue to play during and after filling said diaper is going to be a deterrent from the alternative option of putting down their toys so they can go into the bathroom and sit down for a minute or two.
But if the act of getting to the bathroom is a game in itself, then they’ll be more likely to jump at the opportunity. Teach them to recognize the sensations consistent with needing to use the bathroom and tell them that when they feel that, it’s the start of a race.
They have to try and get to the bathroom as quickly as possible. You could also have a specific time every day where you announce that it’s ‘potty time’ and that can be the start of the race. This will turn it into an exciting game.
Use a Sticker Chart
Sticker charts are great for kids right from early development and up through their elementary school years. Post the chart up somewhere, or just use a standard calendar, and then give your child a sticker every day they successfully use the potty.
That will then be theirs to place on the calendar on the specific day. Use stickers that are associated with something fun for your kids so that they will be excited to have them every time they go.
Once this is established, your child will want to have a new sticker every single day to put on the chart and so it will be a huge incentive for them. Remember though, using sticker charts can have some disadvantages.
There’s a line between teaching your kids about necessary obligations and human behaviours and teaching them that they will get rewarded every time they do something right. You don’t want them to think that for the rest of their lives they will get rewarded for using the bathroom.
What you should do is make it clear that this is over a specific time period. Just have the sticker chart for the course of a couple of months and once it’s full it’s full. By that time though, your child will be used to using the bathroom instead of going in their diaper and will understand the importance of it.
Getting your child to be excited about developmental processes such as going to the bathroom is the real key to success. Babies are more receptive to fun, well adults are too actually, but utilizing fun is the most effective way to teach those who are in the earliest stages of learning.
While potty training seems like one of the most difficult and arduous processes involved in raising a toddler, it doesn’t have to be if you approach it with playfulness in mind.