I’ve never had problems dealing with Kyle when it comes to training and discipline. But potty training was the most challenging experience I’ve had so far.
When I enrolled Kyle in a new school in May of 2017, the teacher asked if we can start potty training Kyle because some of his classmates can already go to the toilet on their own. The school actually has a toilet that is very appropriate for children of Kyle’s age – it’s the right size and height. I was happy to start potty training, since I figured it’s about the right time, and the school has the facilities and the staff to support this training. Actually, just a few weeks earlier, we tried to potty train Kyle. We tried for a week and had a hard time because Kyle would just pee anywhere at home. We realized that potty training requires a lot of patience and all the adults dealing with Kyle had to be consistent. I thought Kyle wasn’t ready yet, so I put potty training on hold.
The teacher asked us to bring a lot of briefs to school to help with the potty training, and I obliged. Kyle would change about two or three times a day at school, which the teacher said is normal. The challenge, really, is the consistency of potty training once he’s outside school. At home, when we put Kyle to bed, we would have him wear diapers. When we go out, we also have him wear diapers. So the actual time that he’s at home and using briefs is very little, and there are few opportunities for him to be potty trained.
After a few months of doing this, I started to feel concerned that we’re not making a lot of progress. So at our next doctor’s checkup, I raised the subject of potty training, and how we have been struggling. The doctor advised me that we had it the wrong way around – potty training should start at home, and the school only supports the training routine. The doctor gave me helpful tips that really worked, and I’m so glad I consulted with her.
The first tip she gave is for us to start potty training on a weekend, with two full days at home. It’s important that the training is uninterrupted. If necessary, we could skip school for a day to continue the training. She suggested that we schedule the training on a daily basis, based on Kyle’s routine. For example, if Kyle wakes up at 8am, we bring him to the toilet immediately or wait until his first pee. Then we set the next time we take him to the toilet, say, two hours later at 10am. We take him to the toilet whether he needs to go or not – it’s part of the training, and it doesn’t have to happen only when Kyle feels like peeing. If it happens that he pees before the scheduled toilet break, say 9.30am, then we need to adjust our intervals to one and a half hours. So the next toilet break will be at 11am. We just need to monitor how often Kyle needs to pee, and use that interval as the basis for when we bring him to the toilet. We keep bringing him to the toilet at regular intervals, until he understands that when he pees, he needs to be on the toilet.
This system was actually successful for us. I asked our yaya to take note of the times that Kyle would pee, and we realized that he needed to go every 45 minutes to an hour. So that’s the interval we used for training. By the second day, he already knows that he needs to go to the toilet if he wants to pee. By the third day, even before he went to bed, he told us that he wants to go to the toilet. I’m grateful to discover this system, because it made potty training easier for us.
The doctor also gave us other tips for potty training that I wouldn’t have thought of or discovered myself. She gave advice on how to make kids pee when we bring them to the toilet. It’s kind of funny, because she told us things like turn on the faucet because the sound of running water really stimulates the desire to pee. We also need to wet the elbows and the knees. The first time we did it to Kyle, it really worked! Once the elbows and knees were wet and the water was running, Kyle just peed. We were laughing about it, but it’s also an encouraging experience because there are ways to make potty training easier. We only needed to do the running water and wetting elbows for a few days, and Kyle already knew how to look for the toilet when he needs to pee.
Now, whenever we are out, Kyle already knows that he needs to tell us if he needs to pee. We rarely use diapers now, only during those times when we anticipate we will be stuck in traffic for a while.
I don’t believe there is a magic formula for potty training – it’s really a matter of seeing what works with your child and what doesn’t. I remember researching online and watching different YouTube videos on potty training. None of those worked for me. I even bought a potty training urinal for Kyle. He ended up just playing with it, because he thought it was a toy. Around the time I was potty training Kyle, my friend was also potty training her daughter who is just a few months older than Kyle. For her, all she needed to do was tell her daughter to inform mommy when she needs to pee. It was great that it worked for her, because it seems easier. For us, though, the tips from our doctor helped Kyle become potty trained in a matter of days. But we had to go through a few months of failed attempts before we found the right method for Kyle. So mommies, don’t fret. Just keep trying, and you’ll find one method that will work with your child.
Do you have stories or experiences with potty training? Do share them and help other mommies tackle this milestone in their children’s lives!