Seeking professional potty training tips I went to speak with Alona, an experienced parenting consultant, to get an expert point of view.
In this part of our conversation Alona shares tips on preparing kids for toilet training.
Alona's potty training tips are based on the Adler approach, as well as on her own professional view.
(I’ve edited the conversation to appear in a structured manner ordered by topics.)
Family Consultant certified by "Maagalim" Psychology Institute and the Ministry of Education (Israel) * Parenting Facilitator certified by Adler Institute and the Ministry of Education (Israel)
Alona bases her work widely on the Adlerian psychology school (see Adlerian psychology--Wikipedia), and combines other approaches such as behavioral - cognitive psychology and Imago Relationship Therapy.
The information presented in this page is based on a two-hours 'interview' I conducted with Alona on January 2012.
Alona begins: It's important to talk about potty training before actually starting to potty train.
A preparation talk includes when and what:
We want to tune the preparation and the conversation to fit our child’s personality, and if possible - leverage his strong traits for the advantage of potty training:
What do I know about my child that can help me prepare him better?
Post a pre-potty-training chart above the bed and let them circle the start date. Then have a daily/nightly ritual where you cross-out the passing day, and remind them that you’re about to start potty training soon.
There are things we can say and do before potty training, to encourage maturation and help our child become ready.
Talking and encouraging:
Practicing “start and stop”:
We can practice self-control with our kids, by playing simple games that teach them how to stop in the middle of something, and start-over again.
This can help kids understand that they have control on their actions and on their body.
Earlier in our child's development, long before potty training - we can let kids watch us when we use the toilet. (Only if we're comfortable with it.)
When parents notice “signs of independence” in the child’s behavior; when we see that they want to do things like grownups, this would be the right time to demonstrate our own toilet-habits.
How to approach the subject:
Say stuff like “I’m going to use the toilet now. Would you like to come with me and watch mommy/daddy make pee in the toilet, like all grownups do?"
Or take it a step forward: “Would you like to try it yourself?”
This can help to develop awareness to hygiene and toilet habits.
Parents can start the “toileting awareness” dialog even earlier, with young babies, by talking over the diaper-changing act.
Most of us do it intuitively: “Did you make poo-poo in your diaper? Yes you did!” … “Let’s change the dirty diaper now and put on a clean one” … “It feels good to be clean and dry, doesn’t it” … and so on.
Kids may become interested in potty training before parents have mentioned it.
It can come from watching other kids in Daycare using the toilet or from seeing it elsewhere. They’ll come to us with this “new idea” that they have, and it's up to us if we choose to do something about it.
If we do choose to act on it, it’s important to:
Interested in more potty training tips from a pro?
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