Friday, June 22, 2012

#36 (36 to 36)

I've started another task on my list today... Number 36:
Be more intentional with Little Spring's toilet training, without pushing her. Look into it a lot more (have already Facebook researched it amongst friends) for hints, tips etc.
Basically, using the feedback I received from my friends on Facebook, I decided to just go ahead and start a new method for Little Spring's toilet/potty training. There is SO much information on the web, that it can all get a bit confusing and overwhelming, so thought I'd go with what I sort of already thought, that was confirmed or enhanced further by the feedback. To condense what I wrote on Facebook in my response to everyone's feedback: I've heard it before, but they all confirmed it for me that basically it should be child-led, not parent-led and not to push until they are ready themselves. For quite awhile now, we've kept Little Spring in nappies, but encouraged her to sit on the potty and do wees. She then gets half a snake for her efforts. She's now refusing the potty more (I've heard kids can regress for a little while) and thought I might step up the effort, with a different tact. After reading all the experiences of my "Mum" friends, I liked the idea of a chart... Little Spring's at a better age to understand what that means now. I don't want to push Little Spring too much, especially after I've heard a number of mums comment about the heartache and wasted effort, when ultimately the child really decides they're ready, but think a change of tact and vamped up effort might work.

Firstly I purchased all the 'supplies' I would need - stickers, Freddo Frogs, and small & major achievement rewards. It was a little hard finding the smaller toys... I didn't want to buy anything too 'cheap and nasty' but I didn't want to spend lots of money either, so I found toys that had multiple elements in the packet that could be divided up into a number of rewards (playdoh sets, cooking sets etc) and found a couple bargains in the $1 bin in Big W. There was also a 'throw away' bin of some great toys that are normally quite expensive but they were getting rid of them really cheaply that I could use for the major achievement rewards (Snow White and 2 Dwarf figurines). Secondly, in true Nelle fashion, I went a little OCD on the details of the chart and printed something out and laminated it. I laminated it so that Little Spring could stick her stickers on it, but could reuse it as required and not have to print it off each time we restarted or filled it up. Laminating also protects the paper from getting tatty. Anyway, here's the plan...

Little Spring's reward chart and stickers. For every wee she does, she gets 1 sticker. For every poo she does, she gets 2 stickers. I bought 2 types of stickers for her to choose from - stars and flowers in a multitude of colours. Little Spring knows shapes and colours well, but for children that don't, this chart would also have a bonus learning element when choosing their sticker/s. It does, however, help Little Spring with her counting and she can actually see the value of counting in a 'real life' situation.

I know that there are some very conflicting views on how to teach a child to become toilet trained (like all child-rearing, everyone has their own view and there is never one way that everyone agrees on), so I understand that some readers may not agree with our method, and that's okay. I'd love to hear your own method (please leave a comment below), but please don't judge us for ours.

I included a picture of Jemima from Playschool on Little Spring's chart as I wanted something familiar on there. She received Jemima at the recent concert she went to and loves her. Jemima will help her count the stickers and I'm hoping I can use the actual doll as a way of connecting on a different level. Anyway, once Little Spring has achieved 5 stars in a day, she receives a Freddo Frog.

I was going to have a "small achievement reward" at the end of 7 days, but as I had so many things up my sleeve, and 7 days is a long time for Little Spring's age, we decided to change to every 2 days. I put all the rewards in a box and she can choose one thing out of the box each time.

At the end of 7 days, Little Spring can then choose her major reward of a Disney character. Once we have our first full successful week, I'll tweak the reward system accordingly. I have no idea how this will go and it could possibly be a complete flop! Big Spring and I are on the same page, however and don't want to push her in anyway. We are offering her the incentives and encouraging her to use the potty or toilet (her choice of which), but it will be up to her to say yes. If she says no, that's fine (disappointing, but fine!) and we'll ask again later. So, that's the plan... wish us luck and please let me know your thoughts on toilet training (how you toilet trained, how successful you were and your advice etc)...


Further reading: If you are interested in the information I collated from Facebook here it is:

I asked the question "Parents: I need some advice! Would love your feedback on how and when you toilet trained your child/ren... and whether you'd do the same again. Did they fight against it, or was it their choice/did it willingly?" and received these answers (with some very minor editing on my part):

Mum #1: I was 'told' that I should start toilet training Lachlan because he was 2 and leading into summer. So I started and I would not do that again as what followed for 2yrs of pain. Both girls though were wanting to wear undies before I was ready and despite me trying to hold off both basically toilet trained themselves by the time they were 2 and half. My recommendation they will let you know when they are a little interested. Encourage but don't stress if are are not showing any indication that they want to be toilet training at the 'right age". Each child will progress at their own pace.

Mum #2: With my children summer Autumn was the best time to toilet train them. Good QLD weather is the best for that. Mine were easy to train. I never stressed about it and I encouraged them. I had 2 summer babies and 2 winter ones. While I say it was easy, I know some parents do have their struggles.

Mum #3: Josh my first was so easy, summer times a great time and he was 2. Tyler started well at 2 but then decided he didn't want to do it anymore so back to nappies, then I was worrying cause he was coming up 3 and had no interest, but some slight encouragement and he decided he was right, and Hayley did the same started at 2 was doing really well then just decided she didn't want to, gave her a month or two and we tried again and she's doing excellent even out of night nappies now and she's 3 next month, but I don't think it should be forced; encouraged but they know when they are ready.

Mum #4: Cloth nappies, if you have them are a great way to introduce the sensation of wet to your little one. I basically start when then can pull on and take off their pants. I don't use pull ups, particularly in the early training as they are too much like undies and seems to confuse things. I also time wees, and have recently seen an expert article suggest that this is better than teaching them to hold on. To begin with, on the hour, and then tweak it up or down to give the child easy success. Noting that a big drink can be followed sooner than you think by the wee. And becoming a broken record of "poos go in the toilet" or "wees go in the toilet"...but not a frustrated record. And don't ask me about poo training, I've just finished with no4 and still don't have a clear plan as timing has never worked for me. I always get the wees first. If they are young, 1-2.5 years, its important for the adults to be responsible for reminding when to go, as they are a bit young to take on the responsibility by themselves.

Mum #5: We're just mucking around with toilet training - had first accident today and not sure I can be bothered pursuing this. But we're home this afternoon so we'll go nappy free again and see how that goes! Pity it's the beginning of winter - agree summer would be a better time

Mum #6: Have you ever seen a 21 year old in nappies? No I had trouble with my youngest, he has a lot of tummy and bottom issues; at first I was stressed as I wanted him trained to go to 3 year old kinder when he was about to turn 4. First he had no idea there was no hold gesture or anything. Then I placed Undies inside the pullup... they feel the wet but your flooring does not! I became really stressed as birthday 4 came and he did not go! One day I kid you not I put him in undies to teach him, he wet them, I slipped on the wee not knowing it was there fell on my back and hurt myself! he saw it all happen, and went to the toilet after that. Cyndi was 3 and so was Josh. It is in normal range! ask but do not stress, she will when she wants, my story proves it. Josh started just after 3 cos he was scared of the toilet and hated the potty, he went toilet because they changed the pull up design from mickey mouse to buzz light year, he was not happy and decided toilet was better. Its not just about the feeling the need to go its all about confidence. Some are good and some are unsure. Keep yourself happy and it will happen. Do not listen to braggers. Last year in prep there were two mums who bragged their children were trained at 18 months.... but those very same children pooed in their pants on a regular basis! Cyndi decided to go to toilet when she saw what was in Joshua's nappy and disliked the dirty look! they are all different. it will happen

Mum #7: When I pushed the issue nothing happened. I just took my cues from him!

Mum #8: Too long ago to remember!  Pull-ups were great for night.

Mum #9: Someone once told me that if the parents use the toilet, the children will eventually use it too! I had two in nappies at one time, but I don't remember toilet training to be a big issue. What I would have given for pull-ups!!!!

Mum #10: I reckon later is better than too early - the earlier ones seem to be having more accidents for longer. I had two aborted attempts due to F screaming about having to do poos. I did the naughty thing and actually pushed her on this on the 3rd attempt as I knew she was pretty much okay for wees - took a day of lots of tears but from them on was pretty much trained (27 months or so). We had a box of treats and a chart (with rows of 10 dots) and she got one sticker for a wee and two for a poo and she would stick them on her chart - once she had 10 she could pick something out of the box. Worked a treat. For a few days she was focused on the stickers but soon forgot asking for them and although we kept them for the odd big treat, that was it. First few weeks out and about are a bit touchy ... dreading that bit!! But good luck!

Mum #11: I toilet trained Tom at about 3, and Maddy toilet trained herself at 2.5, I made her wait until I was on annual leave, she was ready earlier. Both only took about a week, it's just waiting for their cues. If you do it too early it's pain for everyone involved. Don't feel pressured from anyone.

Mum #12: There was some resistance from both boys for about a week, but with toilet training charts etc. they slowly got the hang of it. Girls are meant to get it quicker and drier! No 2 is still having accidents before he knows to go and it's been nearly 9 months of undies now! None of us mind. My fault - I forget to do the hourly reminder to go. Easily by 2 1/2 y.o.

Mum #13: A wise person once told me, "If the parents are toilet trained, then the children will be too!" [Guess which 2 sisters responded to my question on Facebook, with the same answers?!]

Mum #14: My advice would be look for cues eg- sometimes she might actually stop what she's doing and realize she is weeing then use that to talk about going to toilet etc... Everyone has their own way of doing it and some start early some later, with kiara I followed "the book" and it was more stressful than anything and I took her to doctors thinking something was wrong with her he gave me best advice wait for her and I've done that with other 2 and been much more successful you can always encourage to by taking Little Spring to choose her own knickers. Do what works for you two and follow your mother instinct; better to be patient and get it right then rush it because somebody tells you it's time.

Mum #15: Caleb has a star chart and if he did a wee he got a star. If he got 5 stars in a day he got a Chocky Frog. If he got 5 stars a day for 7 days he got a match box car. Poo's was a whole different story.I asked him about every 45 minutes to start with and made sure I was home most of the day. He was not quite 3 and after two weeks we had no wet pants - again poo's a whole other story!

Mum #16: We are only just approaching this milestone with Micah. I found this article helpful: As a result, I purchased a couple of the books she recommended and Micah LOVES them. He wants to read them at bed time every night!! He hasn't used the potty yet but he is doing LOTS of potty role playing and conversation. I know he will get there and will just follow his cues while providing an environment that encourages the use of the potty.

Mum #17: I agree with the others who say to wait until they are ready. Just after Ruby turned two she was ready, but we were so busy with end of year stuff and Christmas that we missed our opportunity. Also as her big disabled brother is still in nappies we didn't push the issue. She asked to go a couple times during the year but it wasn't until the week before her third birthday when she said "mum, I want to wear knickers now", got some Dora ones for her birthday and never looked back. Well, I exaggerate, it wasn't that easy.. Lots of accidents, especially when over-tired or distracted, but a couple of months later I thought 'wow I haven't had an accident in a while'. The same thing happened with night nappies a few months later.

Mum #18: We let H pick a potty and some undies a while back and talked to him about big boys wearing undies. We'd ask him occasionally if he wanted to use the potty or wear undies and he'd say "soon". My folks were over at Easter and he decided to go into undies then. I then just kept reminding him to keep his undies dry and use the potty if he needed to go. I had a packet of these Cadbury tiny egg-shaped M&M things and gave him one when he produced something in potty in addition to lavish praise. Took about a week and a half -set back a bit as he wouldn't use potty at child care. So we're lucky in that when he decided he was ready, he just got it.

Mum #19: After telling me for a few weeks when he had a dirty nappy, a week before master 3's birthday I started sitting him on the potty in front of the tv for 10 mins immediately after breakfast (a treat for him!), just to get him used it. After a week he actually used it, and he was rewarded with a mini M&M from a tube I had bought. I told him he could get more if he used the potty more, and he was successful a few more times that day, but the next day he used it something like 20 times to get a choc! I ended alternating between the chocs and a bottle of bubbles that he could blow after using the potty. Only had a few accidents, but with constant reminding about needing to wee (you need to wee before we do such-and-such) he very easily made the transition to the toilet.   I think that was the main thing - we had him in jocks from when he started using the potty, then I made it that he had to pee before we did anything (before morning tea, before we went outside, before we went in the car etc), and made it clear that we weren't going anywhere until he had been.
He chose his own jocks at the shop. He had been waiting until night time for a nappy for number 2s for the first 3 nights, so we set up a reward chart to encourage number 2's, and he was able to pick a small car at the shop after 10 stars.  We flew to Sydney for a weekend on day 3 of training (not ideal timing, but he was ready and we didn't want to stop him), and rewarded him with a bigger chocolate when he was successful with number 2's for the first time on the toilet. Only one accident that weekend and that was when we didn't ask him to wee before he fell asleep in the pram.   We restricted drinks after tea and he has only wet a handful of times overnight since training. We didn't want him to be dependent on pull-ups so we only used them for a couple of weeks, cos I know too many 5 year-olds who still need to wear them. For a while, if he refused to go to the toilet before bed we'd tell him that he needed to wear a pull-up, and he decided before long that he was a big boy and wanted to wear jocks. Definitely helped that he was ready. The right incentive helps too (helps with all manner of 'training'), but it doesn't have to be expensive or too excessive (I never thought a bottle of bubbles and mini M&M's would work for toilet training, but it did!!).

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