A friend of mine recently asked me for any tips that could help him potty train his twins, and it struck me that this is a topic that would benefit a lot of people. By the way, if you are also reading this and there is any particular area of parenting you would like us to highlight, if I have any experience on the matter and/or suggestions that would help, barring medical issues, I would be more than glad to do so.
Now back to the issue at hand. Potty Training! In the business world we are taught to focus on our core competence and outsource the rest as a way to be effective and efficient. I am sure that most parents would be willing to outsource this task of potty training if they could, in a flash. But we cannot, so let us deal with it. My twins will be turning 2 next month on Valentine’s Day and I know that I have put off this dreaded task for too long. My original aim was to start the potty training early January, but I had my own health challenges to deal with and every other thing was shelved. But now I am much better, I know I have to kick off soon.
For my older kids, my target was always by the time a child turns 2, they are potty trained, at least 100% during the day. So how did this start? I had my first born and then I was going to have my second. Now remember that this was in 2007, back in the days when diapers cost an arm and a leg, and none was made in Nigeria. If you saw someone travelling abroad, you did not ask for chocolate, you asked for diapers as a mum. So I told myself, no way 2 kids in this same house will be wearing diapers when they are not twins. So that gingered me to potty train fast.
Now back to you. I will share a few tips that may help you. If you decide that it is time to potty train, first of all, let me congratulate you that your baby is now a toddler and growing fast. Well done Mummy and/or Daddy. Secondly you need to buy a potty, and there are various fancy types now even in the market, that makes the child more comfortable while going about their business. Thirdly, this decision to potty train will task you and your child. You both will grow in patience by the time the exercise is over. You will learn to be more patient with your child, you just have to be. The need for patience is two-fold, because sometime you take them to the potty and they are not ready to release anything. So you will have to wait or cajole them, or even make a return trip in 5 minutes time, as they are just not ready then. The other need for patience is because sometimes accidents may occur, even after you think that by now the child should know to go to the potty corner. Remember, these are toddlers.
Also, please place your potty in a place that is easily accessible for your child with safety considerations in mind. Some start off leaving it in a corner of the sitting room, where the kids play so that it is fast for the child to access, others prefer leaving it in the bathroom/toilet area so that the child can learn to make the connection once, about where it is they do their business. The decision is yours. I started in the sitting room corner and then told my kids the potty had to travel to the bathroom, because it needed to be with its other friends (big toilet, sink and bath tub), so we had to start going inside. Whatever works for you dear reader, implement!
Also do remember, that when kids are playing that they somehow forget body functions and the gradual pressure to pee or poo. So when you see your child playing and you know it is about time, gently extricate your child and send them off to the potty/bathroom, or be ready to do a clean-up and some laundry. But please permit me to emphasise, that kids should not be shamed when they do have accidents by either parents or nannies or care givers. It is just not right to ridicule a toddler because they had an accident. I am not referring to what we do when our kids poo in their diapers and we turn it into a joke about Mr. Stinky coming to visit, that elicits laughs from the kids.
I will not forget to add that some kids right from when they are babies have constipation issues, while others go very easily after almost every other meal. For kids that are constipated, extra doses of patience is required from both parents and children. The toddlers cannot go with us hanging over their heads and asking a million times “Are you not done yet?” They need space, time and a diet that includes lots of water and vegetables. Personally I find that squeezed orange juice helps my kids go when constipated, and I add fiber to their diet as babies to help in dealing with constipation. A novel will help for older ones to read while sitting down, but remember to teach hygiene issues so that the book does not become a conduit for germs transfer in your home. It is also important to teach them to shut the lid of the toilet before flushing for older kids.
Stay tuned as we will be concluding this topic in a subsequent post.
picture credits: the internet