I started potty training lil O, a few months after she turned two. She understood the concept immediately and loved the potty - not the one I got her but the porcelain one.
The things I learnt potty training a willful little girl...
- Show and Tell - they understand best when they see it and you know how these kids are, they love imitating you. No amount of explained helped O. Show her once and she is all for being just like mommy.
- Take it slow. When little O saw that I wanted her to pick this skill up immediately, she simply refused. She wanted to pee in the other bathroom, she wanted the door shut, she wanted the whole paper roll... so I let her be or pee.
- Stock up on roll of toilet paper. Oh boy, do they love those. One time, she almost had the whole roll wrapped around her hand!
- Stock up on disinfectant and wipes, there's poop everywhere. I went cold turkey with her and put her in underwear right away. She peed everywhere and pooped everywhere too. It kind of worked because she didn't like the icky feeling of it running down her legs or pooling at her feet. (sorry for grossing you out - I had to clean all that up, so take a deep breath). She didn't like it began to want to use the bathroom when she needed to go. Win!
- Bite your tongue. There are times when they will go without an incident and then there are times when accidents happen, sometimes willfully. When O is busy playing, she will not pause to go use the potty, wipe, flush, wash her hands, dry them and return. To her, that's a lot of work. I try not to scold her for the mess. Sigh! What I make sure is that she has it easy - easy to remove clothes, reachable soap, step stool to reach the wash basin, toilet seat down.
- They forget. Keep reminding them that they need to use the bathroom. They forget, that's all. When I ask her sometimes, 'Do you want to pee'?, she will stand there as I ask and pee for me. Argh!
- Stayed tuned for the drama. You know what these kids will do? They will watch themselves pee, poop, what to touch the poop, want to watch the poop and not flush, will wipe and want to save the toilet paper, what to put their hands in the toilet, stick their head in the toilet... you name it, they will do it. Try to resist yelling at them for it. They haven't been to the bathroom much before so let them be. Take pictures of them do these stomach churning things and we'll show them when they are 16!
- It's really not a big deal. People say that you should reward successful potty moments. But what I do is, not make it such a big deal. I do say, 'Good Job and Great Going' but I do not go all out and dole out stickers or hugs or treats. Because these little people understand that if this is what happens when you are good, then something bad may happen when you are bad. They feel worse when an accident happens. Atleast O is sensitive that way. So I just remind her to use the potty when an accident happens (yes, sometimes I end up scolding her because accidents happen at the most inopportune moments!) and give her 'Hi-Fi' for a success. That's it, no big deal.
- Stay out of it. When your little one wants to go to the bathroom, let them and you stay out. Treat them like little people. Let them go and get out of their clothing(s), put up or down the toilet seat and climb on, go, flush, wash etc. Don't go over to enhance or critique their performance, assess how they did or give them step by step instructions. You already showed them how, now step back, let them take care of their business. When I treated her like a grown up, she was better than when I take her to the bathroom.
- Drink some wine. Your child is fine and you are doing fine. They will get their sh!t together. (Did you see what I just did here?!).