Online Parenting Classes: Birth – PreK
All aboard! Ready or not, it may be time for you and your little one to board the potty train! This is one of those milestones that you are either excited about tackling or you are dreading it, but we all have to deal with it. We can’t send them off to Kindergarten in diapers!
It seems that every child expert will give you their take on when is the best time to start potty training and the best way to achieve it. We aren’t claiming to be potty training
experts, but maybe we can help out with some tips and advice. Let’s be honest, when it comes to big parenting jobs, we all need some help sometimes!
Take some time and check out this month’s video on potty training. We will go over some guidelines and help you to make sure you are on the right track.
It seems like just yesterday that you brought your little one home and were buying those tiny newborn diapers. Suddenly your baby is now a toddler and you may be wondering if it is time to begin potty training. How do you know if your child is ready? How do you know if you are ready? This month we are going to help you work your way through potty training!
The first thing you need to decide is if your child is ready or not. It seems these days that parents are trying earlier and earlier to leave diapers behind. However, there is no magic age that children should be potty trained by. This milestone hinges on physical and emotional readiness, not a specific age. Some children are able and show signs of being
ready at 18-24 months and some are three or four before it finally clicks with them.
First, let’s make sure if they are ready or not. Does your child seem interested in the potty/toilet or in wearing underwear? Does a wet or dirty diaper upset them? Do they
tell you they have to go through their words, actions or facial expressions? Are they staying dry for two or more hours during the day? If you answered yes to most of these,
there is a good chance that your child is ready to begin potty training. If the answer is no, you probably need to wait a little while. It’s important to remember that your child cannot be rushed in this task. Every child is different and trying to get them to accomplish something that they aren’t ready for will only make this a negative experience for them and you.
If you have established that your child is ready to begin potty training, where do you begin? First of all, you may need to make sure you have the proper equipment for your
child. Buy a potty chair or seat that attaches to your toilet, or even better, let your child help to pick one out. This ownership can help them become excited about using it. If you don’t want to use a separate potty, make sure you have a stool so your child can easily reach the toilet.
Next, create a routine for your child. Pick a time (after breakfast, before bath or snack) and let them sit on the potty everyday. This helps them understand that this will be a normal part of their routine now. If your child cries or seems scared, you may want to wait a little longer to begin trying but keep the potty visible and talk positively about it. We don’t want this to be scary for them!
Sometimes, demonstration can be the best teaching tool. If you are comfortable with it, allow your child to see when you or an older sibling goes to the bathroom. This is a good
time to talk them through the process to help them understand what you are talking about. This process is a time to be very open and honest with your child so that there is no misunderstandings or confusion for them.
Choose a time that you are going to “begin” potty training. At first, this needs to be your main focus, your main task at that particular time. Encourage your child to sit on the
potty as much as they are willing to. Let them know that it is ok to ask for help with clothes. Don’t put your child in clothes that are hard to get on and off. Avoid zippers and
buttons, they will just be in the way! If you are able, let your child play around the house without a diaper on. It may mean more clean up for you, but it allows them to get to the
potty quickly and get used to the idea of no more diaper. Some parents like the idea of training pants or pull-ups while some would rather go right to underwear. Use whatever
works for you and your child and makes this experience easy and stress-free as possible! Watch your child closely. They will provide you with cues and signs that they are about
to go. You must be involved in this process as much as you can. They won’t do it by themselves! You must be devoted and make sure not to do it half-way. If you aren’t committed to this, they won’t be either.
If your child successfully uses the potty, praise them! This is a huge accomplishment for them! Let them know how proud you are. You may want to incorporate a reward system
for them to provide further incentive to keep up the good work. You can find free charts online or make one of your own. Use stickers or small treats to reward them for a good
job. Use something that is consistent with your parenting style. At the same time, handle accidents gracefully. This is a learning experience for them and you must be patient.
Temporary setbacks are normal. Most kids aren’t going to excel at this right away.
Now that we know what to do, what should we avoid? Don’t be in a hurry to start this process before your child is ready, it will just make it harder and longer. Be very aware
of what else is going on in your life. If you are about to welcome a new baby or move into a new home, you should wait until things calm down and become a little more consistent. Be careful not to add unneeded pressure on your child and be sure not to use punishment if they fail. Don’t scold or shame your child. This could only fuel their resistance or make them afraid to try.
Potty training is one of those milestones that parents dread or postpone. Remember that this is just another occasion that your child will complete as they grow up. It may seem
like it is taking forever and that you aren’t making any progress, but don’t give up! Your child won’t graduate from high school still in diapers! As hard as it can be, stay patient with your child and make this a positive experience for you all.
Either you’ve already experienced it, you’re in the middle of it, or it’s on the horizon. What is it? Separation Anxiety. Pediatricians help us understand that separation anxiety is so tough on kids because they don’t understand object permanence. A child realizes Mom is gone, and what they think is, “Oh my gosh, MY MOM IS GONE,” like forever gone.
It’s why we play hide and seek or peekaboo with little ones. We want to reinforce the idea that even though you can’t see an object doesn’t mean it’s gone. The fear produced over this misunderstanding is what we call separation anxiety. It creates an anxiety in our children, and much of the time, an anxiety in us as parents.
Take some time to check out this month’s video to see how we can deal with anxiety. Later in the month you’ll receive some practical tools for how to help your child conquer separation anxiety.
Clinginess and tears are actually a healthy reaction to separation. It shows our child is bonded to us. As a child grows older separation anxiety should lessen. In the meantime how do we deal with it as a parent?
We can’t always be WITH our child, but there is One who is ALWAYS with them. And not only is Jesus always with them, His affection for them is always present. Romans 8:35-39 says,
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
So as we REST in the fact that God is always present with our child, and has a constant love for them what can we DO as parents to help a child move past separation anxiety?
Develop a goody-bye ritual. Don’t sneak away when you’re child isn’t looking. This actually leads to more anxiety. Give a kiss on the forehead, say, “I love you. Bye Bye sweetie.”
Be consistent. Your child will become more comfortable with drop off at daycare and/or church as they become more consistent with the environment.
Leave with confidence. If you walk out of the room then turn back around and return to retrieve your child, you are reinforcing the thought that something is wrong. Give the teacher your cell phone # and have them shoot you a quick text in 5 minutes to give you a status update.
Come up with a comfort object. Sometimes sending in a special object from home helps a child transition better.
Separation anxiety is lessened when we as the parent exude confidence and calmness at drop off. Leaving your child will actually help your child in the end, so fight the urge to feel guilty about leaving them. Your job as a parent is to help them become independent, and they can’t do that while clinging to your leg!
Being a parent is hard work and sometimes we wonder if we are doing a good job? We hear about other families, other people’s kids and it can be easy for doubt to creep in. Comparing ourselves to others is natural and depending on the situation can either make you feel like parent of the year or a total failure. The last thing you want to hear about when you were up all night with your ten month old is how someone else’s two month old is sleeping through the night! Or how about running into that mom who is always perfectly put together when you can’t remember the last time you got a shower?
Comparisons can be harmful to our self esteem and our outlook on how we are managing. It’s easy to fall into this trap. Before we close the blinds and shut ourselves off from all human contact, we have to realize that we all have good and bad days. No one has completely mastered being a parent!
Take some time and check out this month’s video to see how we can deal with those moments we feel like we don’t measure up.
Have you ever had one of those days when you just barely make it out the door? House is a wreck, you haven’t had a shower today and the kids are already fighting. Your parenting self esteem has already taken a hit when you run into that family. You know the one: they look like they just stepped out of the pages of a magazine, kids are behaving perfectly and mom has brought homemade goodies for the kids to share. How do they do it? Why can’t we do that? Why can’t our child excel like theirs? Sometimes you feel like a parenting what-not-to-do.
It is completely normal to compare ourselves and our kids to others. Unfortunately, we often can pick out our own faults and flaws and they seem to be amplified next to those “perfect people”. The truth is that no parent and no child is perfect. Even those seemingly perfect families have their own problems, too. So what can we do when we catch ourself falling into the comparison trap?
Remember that milestone development is relative. Of course you want to make sure that your child’s development is on track, but obsessing over it is not helpful. Don’t let others set the standard for where your child should be. Talk with your child’s pediatrician. If they are comfortable with how your child is growing, you should be too. If you don’t trust your pediatrician, you need to find a new doctor.
Don’t turn parenting into a competition. Being a parent is hard, even on a good day. Why make it even harder by setting unrealistic expectations on yourself and especially on your child? Every family has their own set of issues that they struggle with every day, some just hide it better than others! You never know what someone else may be dealing with behind closed doors.
Realize that comparisons can steal your joy. Why purposely invite any sort of conflict into your life? We should be striving to be joyful and to find joy everyday. Comparisons can lead to envy and jealousy. Proverbs 14:30 states “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.” Find parent friends who are supportive rather than competitive and be that friend to others.
Be able to admit and own weaknesses, and at the same time recognize and utilize strengths. What is your child good at? Celebrate that and let them know that you are proud of them. Help them to find activities and projects that interest them and that they enjoy. Your child is a unique individual who has things they are good at…do you know what they are or are you too focused on what they cannot do? Apply this to yourself as a parent as well. You may not be the best goodie-baker, but you tell the best stories.
Take a good look at your child. Are they happy, healthy, safe and loved? Congratulations, you are a good parent. Ultimately, these are the things that are important. Enjoy your children for who God created them to be and appreciate the job you have been blessed with as their parent.