Disclaimer: As in all parenting advice I give, you should always do what you feel most comfortable with when it comes to anything with your child. Just because someone swears by one method, does not mean that will be the best, only way it will ever work for any child, anywhere. Take the information and tips given and adapt them if you need to what works best for you, your family and, of course, your child. I am a strong believer in mommy-sense!
On to the fun stuff!
Back in 1962, a pediatrician named T. Berry Brazleton developed a potty training method that caught on like wildfire that was perfect for the hippie time period in which it was publicized. This approach based strong emphasis on “child readiness.” In other words, when the child showed readiness and both he/she and the parent had interest in potty training, the process commenced. In his study, Brazleton addressed the fact that parents were feeling “pressured” or “unfit” to train their child. Anxiety that made the whole experience miserable, needless to say stressful, for both parent and child.
Enough with the boring research stuff that I, sadly, find very interesting. You are here for the tips!
If you choose to go the child oriented route, here’s the breakdown:
- When the child shows physical readiness and desire to go, a floor potty chair is introduced as the “child’s chair.”
- Routine “potty times” are scheduled
- during these routine visits, the child is taken to sit on the potty chair, fully clothed with the caregiver right there reading them stories or singing songs or whatever, for the first week or so. The child is in control as to how long he/she wants to sit on the potty.
- If the child was cool with the fully clothed sitting, they are then invited to sit with diaper off. No attempt to “catch the stool” (as Brazleton so eloquently phrases it) is made. Basically, the first couple weeks are used to get the babes comfortable sitting on the pot.
- Once comfortable with the diaper off sitting phase, the dropping-the-diaper-poo-in-the-toilet phase begins. After going in the diaper, the child is taken to sit on the potty and have the diaper changed, watching the poo go into the pot, thus demonstrating the function of the potty.
- Once interest is peaked on the child’s part to use the potty for its designed purpose, diaper is removed throughout the day(letting the kid run free willy-nilly or in underwear), the potty chair is placed wherever the child is and encouragement, but not pressure, to go on his/her own, begins. Praise and excitement are given when they “go.”
And, wah-lah! The theory is that the child is in control, thus less pressured to succeed, less fear of failure, more motivation to use the potty. He does point out that nap and night time training should not be stressed until daytime dryness has been achieved. At which point, the potty is just placed in the child’s room with scheduled late evening and early morning wakings with encouragement to try to go potty. He also stresses that if a child becomes frustrated or agitated about “failing” when accidents happen, to reassure them that they are not “bad” and that “Someday he will co-operate when he is ‘ready.'” Please use more informal wording than Dr. Brazleton to encourage your child when accidents happen.
There you have it. The child-oriented method of potty training as developed by Dr. Brazelton. Many have had much success with this approach and prefer it to others because it focuses on the child and making sure they feel confident and safe in this new venture.
Again, take what you like/think would work best, adjust to your family, child’s personality, environment, etc. and, as always, find the beauty in being an imperfect parent.