20 July 2013, by Mandy Loh
It’s been 10 days since we’ve started potty training Cristan, and boy, has it been a journey so far!
According to experts, a child is ready for potty training when he:
- is able to follow simple instructions
- is able to stay dry for about 2 hours at a stretch
- is uncomfortable with dirty diapers and asks to be changed
- is able to pull his pants up and down on his own
- gives physical or verbal signs that he is having a bowel movement, such as grunting, squatting, or even telling you
- is not resistant to learning to use the toilet
Cristan showed all the above signs of readiness, which is why we took the plunge. However, 10 days on, we’re beginning to wonder if we’d started too early. After all, the average age to start potty training is about 3 years old.
In my last blog entry, I mentioned that we had a promising first day of potty training. However, things sort of went downhill from there, with multiple accidents every day. The poor teachers at Cristan’s playschool had to bear the brunt of it, changing his training underpants several times within the few hours he is there. The strange thing is, although they would bring Cristan to the toilet every 15 – 30 minutes, he would not pee in it. Then he would proceed to wet himself shortly after. It was most frustrating!
I experienced the same strange behaviour at home too. He would refuse to go to the potty, screaming and protesting if I carried him to the toilet. However, if I managed to distract him long enough (with a song or a storybook) while he was seated on the potty seat, he would sometimes actually pee, and would be quite surprised about it too!
So, after a week of potty training that was going nowhere, I decided to introduce a reward system to motivate Cristan to have more successes in the toilet. I did up my own “Potty Star Chart” for Cristan, and got some stickers ready. Here’s how it works:
Each time Cristan successfully poos or pees in the toilet, he gets a star on the Star Chart, as well as a reward sticker of his choice (from a selection of trucks, aeroplanes and cars – all his favourites!) After collecting 5 stars on the chart, he gets a little reward present.
He seems to be getting the idea, because right after he successfully pees in the toilet these days, he will tell me which sticker he wants to get. (It’s really quite funny!) And yesterday, we hit the first milestone – he collected 5 stars on the “Pee in Potty” category, and received his first reward present!
Overall, I think Cristan is progressing, slowly but surely. He is now able to tell us that he needs to pee – about a nanosecond before he actually does. So although we don’t reach the potty in time, I’m still happy that he can actually tell us, which means he is starting to recognise the sensations of a full bladder. I suppose it will take more practise, and lots more accidents, before he is able to give us slightly more advance notice.
I’m just hoping I wouldn’t have to wait too long for “Clean & Dry Days” to finally happen! *crossing fingers and toes*