23 December 2013, by Mandy Loh
It’s been a month since we started potty training again, and I’m happy to announce that we’re almost there! 🙂
As previously mentioned in a previous post, I was actually quite hesitant to try again, because the last time was fraught with failure, and caused so much unhappiness and tension. Thankfully, 2 1/2 years old seems to be THE magical age for Cristan to finally “get it”! There were still a few accidents along the way, but so much less frequently than the previous time.
In fact, interestingly, there have hardly been any accidents while Cristan is in playschool! I suppose this is because there is a fixed routine in school, where the teacher would take the entire class to the toilet at half-hourly intervals. In addition, about half of his class is in the midst of potty training as well, so peer pressure/ influence definitely played a big part in his current success.
If you asked me what we did differently this time round, I would honestly say, nothing! I suppose what made the big difference is just Cristan’s age/ maturity and ability to understand his own bodily functions. And unfortunately, there is no fixed age for this across the board, one can only just take the plunge into potty training, and hope for the best!
What I’ve learnt though, is that the cumulative efforts would pay off eventually. You’ll never know what would really stick in your child’s mind. For Cristan, it was a line from one of the potty training story books that went: “It’s ok if nothing happens. Sometimes, you just sit and wait, and sit and wait.” Cristan really liked it and would repeat the line “sit and wait” whenever I asked him to try to go to the toilet, even if he did not feel like doing so. It seemed to take away the power struggle element somehow, maybe because he felt comforted that he was not expected to “produce” something each time he went to the toilet.
Also, I think its perfectly fine to take it slow during the entire potty training process. There’s no need to go from zero to hero in one day! There are some books which claim that it is possible to potty train in 3 days, but my personal opinion is, what’s the rush? It’s probably better to take it easy and let your child gradually learn in his own time. In our case, when we first started potty training again, I would put Cristan in diapers when I felt the risks of accidents were too high, such as during parties (when he would probably be too distracted to realise he needed to pee) or for longer car rides or outings. Recently, however, we have been able to put him in underpants for the entire day, except during naps and night-time sleep. And he’s been doing terrific so far!
Lastly, if things just aren’t going well, it’s ok to take a break for a few weeks or even months, and go back to diapers for a while before trying again. Sometimes the child just needs to mature a little more before he’s ready for underpants! Oh, and ditch the pull-ups…kids just treat them as diapers anyway!
I’m so glad that I’m now finally able to reward Cristan for “Clean and Dry Days” – when he has no accidents for the entire day! (Something I previously thought was nearly impossible!) Here’s our Potty Star Chart as it stands today:
I’ve had to stop rewarding him for each successful pee and poo in the potty, because there’s just no more space on the chart, and I’m also running out of little rewards for him! (I give him a little present for every 5th and 10th success) By the way, here’s a little tip: Daiso is a wonderful place to stock up on cheap and simple reward presents for your potty training needs!
Well, I hope my reflections on our potty training journey, while slightly rambly, has been useful somewhat. All the best to fellow moms out there in the midst of potty training! There IS light at the end of the tunnel!