By Colleen Brunetti, M.Ed., C.H.C.
The Instructors at the Signing Time Academy come from many walks of life, love to sign, love kids, and just happen to have some pretty great advice on potty training. I’ve compiled some of their best tips for you here. (Tip: Enter your zip or postal code, then click on each Instructor’s name to find out if they have classes near you, or use the search feature to find a local Instructor!)
I think that with potty training there are “windows of opportunity” and if you aren’t in one training will be overly difficult. I used a method of training where we went full force. I don’t really go for pull-ups during the daytime (I think they are expensive diapers). The child makes a decision to use the potty and off we go. I don’t force them to sit on the potty (unless we are leaving the house) but will ask if they are listening to their body. My daughter was trained at 19-months-old, my son was much later at 34 months. Each child had different needs and I needed to be aware of that.
There is no point in pushing if they aren’t ready. Wait until they are interested and motivated. Try to stay away from external rewards (like candy for every poo). A sticker for random dry checks works so much better- it rewards the behavior you want, dry underwear not the poo. (Kelly Hosna)
I spent a fortune with the rewards I used with my son. I would never do that again. It worked, but it came with a big price tag. So that is one piece of advice, do not select a pricey reward. Kids love stickers and they are cheap. I would use them instead of an actual item. (Monica Blouin)
Let your child take the lead, and watch for signs that they are ready! Also, watch to see what motivates your child! We used the Potty Time chart and I made magnetic stickers that my son stuck on each time he went, and at the end of each row, he chose if we went swimming, to the zoo, park (places that were free for us to go)! Along with the Potty Chart, we used the Potty Time video on a daily basis. I recommend skipping the pull-ups and going straight to the thicker underwear. My son didn’t like the feeling of being wet, so it was another motivation to stay dry and use the potty!
We’ve had regressions at major life events such as a new sibling or death in the family, or even just a switch in your daily schedule. One thing that has helped in the regression stage is to ask our son why he had an accident? And then work with him to solve the why! Sometimes it was an attempt to get more attention, so we made sure we set aside more time with just him. (Amanda Perry)
Make the biggest fuss about the sound of PEE PEE hitting the water or pot and clap like it is a party, but continue to sit on your own potty both of you, especially if the baby does not particularly want to be on the potty anyway. I found practicing the ABCs in sign language was a distraction until the water hit the pot, and then the verbal YEAs were all over the place, along with lots of clapping. (Vanessa McCorker)
Be careful around holidays (or a big event like) moving. These are high-stress life moments and its a time of different schedules…new faces…different foods. It can upset anyone’s schedule…especially little ones!! (Amy McKnight)
We’re using the Potty Time app – search on Google Play or iTunes–the “Rachel Call” is enough of a reward for my daughter. (You can “call” Rachel when there has been an accident or a Yea!) We’ve cleared out the week with lots of diaper-free time so we can both learn her cues. (Melissa Droegemueller)
There is no one right way to potty train. You need to do what is right for you and your family. Regression is part of the learning process. Unless there are medical/developmental issues, it will happen. (Annie Young)
So there you have it! Some of our Instructors’ best tips. What are YOUR best tips for potty training? Sound off on our Facebook page!