Thursday, November 3, 2011

Potty Training: Dealing with Accidents

Any mom to a toddler knows that potty training doesn't come without a few accidents here and there. Some days it seems like everywhere! As parents we have to be really careful with how we react to a toddler who just had an accident. We could ruin everything we've worked for with the wrong word or tone. Just the fact of the accident itself is enough for the toddler to realize that he or she should have gone on the potty. No need to raise your voice or punish for it. Here are some tips to get past the accident stage and on to dry clothes, carpets, and couches!
  • Speak softly: For me personally, it isn't easy not to raise my voice at my toddler when she pees in her undies yet again. I really have to make an effort to control my frustration. Raising your voice is not advised as it can backtrack your progress.
  • Use reassuring words: Encourage with phrases such as "Next time you'll ask to go on the potty, right?" or "It's okay, you were busy playing, but please remember to pee on the potty next time." The idea is to encourage, not put down or belittle.
  • Ask questions: Have a conversation with the toddler. Ask them where he/she was supposed to pee. Ask why they didn't ask to go on the potty or didn't go on their own. Ask where do big boys and girls go on the potty.
  • Prevent: I'm often just too busy to put my toddler on the potty myself. But when I remember, accidents are few and far between. They just need to be reminded. Make it a priority. Put them on the potty when you wake up, after breakfast, after lunch, before and after dinner, before bed, etc...
  • Repeat the basics: Sometimes the problem may be as simple as the potty being out of view or the toddler having trouble with taking off the pants/undies. My toddler is almost accident free if she is wearing simple pull down pants - can't say the same for jeans. She is also a lot more likely to use the potty if it's in the room where she is playing. 
  • Invest in some good cloth training pants: It's one thing when an accident happen at home, but when you're out and about it's a different ballgame. To save your sanity, good cloth training pants are simply a must. While you can deal with clean up from regular undies at home (if you don't mind cleaning a rug), I don't advise it for when you are outdoors or in public places! It will at least contain some of the accident, but still have the toddler feel the wetness. These have saved us on several occasions. Another great item to have out of the house? The biodegradable disposable potty!
It's a great feeling when your toddler finally is free of cloth diapers and you have less laundry. For us it is coinciding with the birth of our second baby, so it is a huge relief. For some it's an overnight process, for some it takes months. But it happens eventually, just be persistent and gentle - it will happen!

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