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October 25, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
WOW MAGAZINE| 11
By Suzette Camacho
WE HAVE REACHED that dreaded
stage: potty training. Yes it's wonderful
that our toddler is growing up and be-
coming independent, but must it involve
wet puddles on our floors and the con-
stant back and forth to the bathroom?
I'm afraid so. Potty training entails pa-
tience and endurance. There's one thing
we must always remember: if your child
is not ready mentally, do not force him,
To a child, using the toilet is a big chal-
lenge. It's no fun. Bowel movements are
an involuntary action that the little
minds must be disciplined to handle and
manage. They need to learn to:
• Stop wearing diapers
• Connect their bowel movements with
telling mom or dad and walking to the
• Pull down their underwear
• Sit on the toilet
• Flush the toilet
• Wash their hands
Take these stages step by step, and use
motivation every second of the way. Try
rewards for each step. Stickers and
favourite treats should be kept handy.
Create a large potty reward chart and
stick at a level on your wall where your
child can see and touch. You can find
these ready-to-print charts online or you
can design one on your own.
It's a great idea to incorporate your
child's favourite TV or book character in
Once your chart is set up, communicate
with your child about the purpose of the
chart. Get down to eye level, show your
child the sticker slots, explain, each step,
and let them know that every time they
fill a sticker, they get a treat for a job
well done! Demonstrate each step to
them and have them practice, then for
each practice run, reward them for being
such good listeners and trying so hard.
Books and videos
Purchase a potty training book with the
child's favourite character. Try videos on
YouTube such as Potty Training with
Have a child-friendly toilet
Purchase a potty that will allow your
child to get a feel for the real toilet. I am
not an advocate of the toy miniature
potties, as I trained my kids on the
grown up seat with a step stool and an
attachable child toilet seat. The transi-
tion to a regular toilet was much easier.
If you leave the house, you can have a
spare miniature potty in the car.
Get into a daily routine of potty training.
If your child is in pre-school, ensure that
the school is working with you to assist.
Most schools do this, and it's a great
help to follow through at home and rein-
force. The child is motivated as he will
see other children using the toilet as
well. Once school is over and you're at
home, remove the diaper, and put on
normal underwear for your child, explain-
ing that it's time to be a big boy or girl
and say, "Let's tell Mom or Dad when we
are ready to "wee wee" or "poo poo".
Take your child to the toilet every 15
minutes for an hour. Have potty training
sessions around napping during the day.
You can space these sessions, not put-
ting too much pressure for too long of a
stretch. Each time you do it, reinforce
the steps on the chart and reward them
for making efforts. Once a session is fin-
ished, pull-ups can go back on until you
see more independence being developed.
Increase the number of sessions as the
days go by and try to have a full
day/after-school session once a week.
Naked time is fun time!
Instead of wearing underwear, another
option is to let your child peruse your
home...naked, or in just a t-shirt. Because
he's not wearing a diaper or underwear
he'll have no place to put his pee or poop;
he needs to put it somewhere---in the
toilet would be a good idea! Make flush-
ing a huge deal by pointing at the
swirling water and acknowledging the
cool whooshing sound.
For moms, teaching a little boy how to
stand and pee can be an obvious chal-
lenge. Sure, you can pop him on a stool
and tell him to go for it, but trust me, a
visual is much better. Have Dad show
him how it's done! Make it more fun by
giving him things to aim at like bright
Fruit Loops. In no time, your son will be
standing and peeing on his own.
Limit bedtime drinks
Lay off milk and juice at least an hour
before bedtime to help your child stay
dry at night. That might mean you serve
a later dinner so your child's full and
doesn't need more food and drinks right
before bed. Remember, night-time train-
ing often comes later than daytime
training; you might want to focus on one
at a time so you don't overwhelm your
child. It's fine for him to start off sleeping
and napping in a pull-up. He'll likely wake
up dry if you reel in the drinks, and soon
he'll be ready to sleep in underwear.
Suzette Camacho is the founder of
Trini Moms, the first parenting net-
work in Trinidad and Tobago. Check
their Facebook page for upcoming
events for kids and the entire family.
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