Potty Training: Focus on the Child not the Method

I used to potty train clinically. So, when it came time to training my own daughter, I thought I had it in the bag.

WRONG.

Don’t have time to read? No problem!
Click below to listen instead!

While the approach we used by Dr. Linda LeBlanc is amazing, I realized something important.

I needed to listen to my daughter above any kind of protocol.

This post is about dealing with toileting anxiety, and following your child’s cues when it comes to troubleshooting.

The Method Approach

The actual method we used is not mine to share, but we ended up adapting it slightly to meet our needs. Here are the tidbits I am able to share with all of you:

Wait for your CHILD to be ready.
-Here is a helpful readiness checklist for potty training!

Keep it FUN.
The bathroom needs to be a desired place to go. Spruce it up with some fun toys and activities. Make sure activities between toileting times are only moderately preferred. Keep screens off, and avoid anything that will distract your child from feeling their bladder.

PICTURED: Fun activities that can be done sitting down. Treats for going potty. Sheet for tracking toileting success and accidents. Bubbles to add to the POTTY PARTY we threw every time Lani went in the toilet!

Get ready!
-Here are the top 3 things I recommend using:

Introduce it outside of a stressful context.
The day you start potty training should NOT be the first time your child hears about this potty business. Act it out with toys during playtime, or watch fun videos to introduce the concepts.

We watched Signing Time Potty Training every night for a week leading up to and on the big day!

Increase fluids.
Use salty snacks, offer “treat drinks” like juice or popsicles.
NOTE: They may refuse fluids once they realize their diaper is no longer an option, so have multiple treat options available to entice them.

Making biscuits with Daddy as a dry treat to promote drinking!

Avoid shaming for accidents.
-Accidents are part of learning, and often the feeling of wetness is punishment enough.

The Potty Book for Girls was part of our routine. We read it every day (multiple times) and talked about accidents and successes. Lani loved giving the girl in the book gummies for going potty.

Pick something HIGHLY preferred and only allow access to it for toileting success.
-For Lani, we used gummy bears and 1 minute of Super Crazy Kids educational videos.

Troubleshooting

I was checking all the boxes for the method I used clinically, yet my daughter started HATING the process. I started to doubt myself.

Did I push her into this? I thought for sure she was ready.

Then it hit me. I need to read HER cues, not an instruction sheet. I stepped out of my own head and instantly noticed something.

How could I have missed this? It was SO obvious.

Lani wasn’t hating the process, she actually really wanted to get it. She was anxious. Peeing standing up in a diaper is VASTLY different than peeing sitting down.

Anxiety

I shut my screaming daughter and I in the bathroom and gave her a little barrier so she could have some privacy.

I got on my knees and applied pressure around my daughter’s waist, similar to the feedback a diaper provides.

She immediately calmed down and looked into my eyes. You are so brave baby, and you’ve got this.

The sound of a child peeing without any tears is simply beautiful. The smile on her face afterward is one I will never forget. Pure pride and delight.

From that moment forward, I followed Lani’s cues and it was an instant change. Everything clicked. Any time we tried adding something new, like a public toilet, we had a similar moment of working through and conquering anxiety.

The Takeaway

My daughter became independent with potty training in under a week, but that’s not what this post is really about. I didn’t consider our approach successful until I tailored it to my own child.

Like any other part of parenting, you will be inundated with advice about potty training once you start. It will mostly be helpful, but don’t forget to stop and watch your child for cues.

Ask yourself:
Are they anxious?
Are they not motivated?
Are they scared?

Teach to the way your CHILD learns, not the way everyone else is teaching.

Need help? Have any specific questions? Feel free to Contact Us!