Get some expert advice from Parenting Practice CO – Lindsey Burchfield and Paige Legault help us to the successful path for potty training. These two behavior specialists help us with tips and tricks to help parents make this transition with ease.
Welcome back. It’s Bev Garrison with first breaths to first steps. I am blessed today to be joined with Lindsay and Paige, both of them in the behavioral consulting arena of raising our kids. Lindsey is a sleep specialist that I have known and helped to coach with her personal family. She’s been formally trained through the sleep sense program and that is also where she met Paige her dynamic duo. Paige before she met Lindsey was teaching in the early childhood development field and decided to change over to support students and families and went into sleep training. Lindsay and Paige met in this arena and have since combined forces to become parenting practice of Colorado. I’d like to welcome both of you today.
Thanks Bev. We appreciate you having us on. Thank you. I’m excited to be here. Today we’ve decided to talk a little bit about potty training. I’d like to label our podcast to pee or not to pee and getting off on the right start with potty training. Both of you have young children. I think you bring a lot of information and insight into this arena. But both of you coaching a lot of behavioral issues with toddlers out in our community.
A couple of things that I’d like to discuss and touch upon today in this podcast is just, when is the optimal time to potty train? What are your thoughts on a reward system for potty training? And recognizing signs of readiness that maybe our toddler is ready to do this.
So let’s just jump right in. What do you guys think as far as when parents ask what is the most optimal time to be training my toddler ? The true question. When your child’s ready, I don’t think it really needs to be based upon age. I’ve personally gotten to work with kiddos 16 months old who were ready all the way up until four years old that were ready. Those signs that we look for, or that we teach parents about are number one, diapers dry for one to two hours during the day, they can sit on the potty on their own, whether it’s a teeny one that you’ve got or an actual toilet they can undress and dress themselves pretty easily.
The next one would be. Being uncomfortable when their diaper is wet and talking to you about it, polling, I’m using some of that language to ask for assistance. And then the last one is connecting that they’re actually going to the bathroom when it’s happening. So you’ll know that they’re doing that because they’ll probably tell you they’ll pat their diaper, or they’ll say whatever they say that they’re peeing and then you can talk to them about it.
That’s usually what I tell parents about readiness. What have you found in your experience with trying to train Riley? I would agree with that. I mean, there’s definitely an interest in wanting to use the bathroom and , this concept of wanting to be kind of a bigger girl and moving on from the diaper.
There was for her she, she is very communicative and so she just pretty much. Communicating to me that she was ready not to mention some of the signs of having the dry diapers for a few hours at a time. And also being able to obviously pull her pants up and down and things like that. But for her, it was really more or less just communicating that she was ready to move to that big girl potty.
Right. I do think that when parents at least have asked me in the past, I’ve always been like, we want to Uncomplicate our wardrobe right now. Easy, pull up, pull down sort of clothing, elastic, waistband, nothing too tight. It’s really a lot to ask a toddler to manipulate a button or a zipper and be successful in that moment, if that child’s telling you, Hey, I think I have this sensation to go, or I want to sit. If they can’t get their clothes off, that’s a really hard thing to achieve. I think you guys both bring up a really good point as far as even developmental stages of that child and, are they ready to do that? Yeah, the two part, the gross motor and the fine motor capabilities, but then also that cognitive capability to communicate and feel that sensation and understand what’s going on.
What do you both think about as far as, when we’ve gone to the bathroom successfully, not successfully and implementing a reward system in that environment? I want to hear what you say first Lindsey. I’ve had some success with the reward system, right? What I have found to be more helpful than rewards is to be honest, very positive praise around the process. In those moments where she was going on the bathroom, praising those, and actually staying away from any type of negative talk around an accident or not being able to kind of get through the process. I’ve found that the more that we can just praise the behavior of actually going was a lot more useful than using a rewards chart or a bribe, for example, to give her to. It’s more been around, the positive spin and positive talk and staying away from any negative connotations around accidents. And that’s where we’ve seen the most success.
Right. I do think that sometimes parents forget that sometimes that reward system can be your words of praise. Right? We’ve talked about that. And other behavioral realms, as far as things that are challenging. And I really do feel like they want to please, they want to be successful. And so when we are giving them those words of…. you’ve done a great job. You’ve completed that task. That’s awesome. Sometimes that is the reward system, right? It doesn’t necessarily have to be anything of monetary value or tangible in the sense that sometimes just our words and how we’re talking about that behavior can be reward enough.
Yeah, I would completely agree with you, Lindsay. I, I feel like reward charts only lasts for so long and there’s not that intrinsic motivation going on for them to go to the bathroom. They’re doing it to get the reward and not making the connection that, oh, when I have an accident, I’m uncomfortable. This doesn’t feel great. The cleanup process. Might literally be stinky. So we want to give them more intrinsic motivation to do that for themselves and make those connections instead of going to target every Friday.
Right. I know I’ve talked to Lindsay in the respect of talking with her about her kids and whatnot, and you know, frankly, I had children that were not necessarily super motivated by, oh, you can have the cookie, the candy, the M and M they were like, whatever. I’m not really interested in that. So that for me, as a parent on a personal note was never really an enticing. Feature or bribe per se to get them to do those things. But I think when they felt that sense of I’ve been successful in this situation in the moment that that was reward enough hearing either myself or Steve praise them for what they had done. On their own and achieved that, that tended to work better for us. I have been known to say in the years, like we’re not above bribery in this situation, but I think that sometimes, I mean that in the sense of coaching parents to really make sure you’re using your words of praise and verbalizing, how successful they’ve been or what they’ve achieved and really make a big celebration about it.
Sometimes the victory is just an I’ll sit on the potty. Not necessarily that I’ve urinated or I’ve had a bowel movement, but that I’ve been agreeable to sit. And that to me, deserves praise for them. Yeah, I agree with you. It’s a slow process and I think parents are mostly shocked when they don’t get it done in a three day naked weekend.
I don’t know many things that you can master in three days. Especially if you’re not ready. Giving parents the proper expectations. And then again, putting that observation hat on for who their child is, and, and maybe they are extrinsically motivated and a sticker is going to go a long way and maybe they’re not, and they could care less. So find what works for them, but make sure that mostly they’re ready to do it. That makes sense for Riley, really? It was going to school. And then she loves when I do the poopy dance. So I’m pretty sure those are the two things. They get her. Yeah. Hey mom, do the dance. Exactly. Well, and it’s all about the celebration, right?
Parenting is a long drawn out process of cheerleading and encouraging our kids. But I think, definitely it’s, interesting. Every child is somewhat different, what works with one child may not work with the next. But I definitely feel like those words of praise and things that we’re saying over and over and that they’re hearing as well, focuses on all their senses. You’re dancing. You’re moving. Maybe you’re dancing together. That’s touch. You’re saying those words that are, wow, you’re doing a great job and confirming their action. That’s, they’re hearing, they’re seeing you with excitement and your response. That’s a visual sensory input on that situation, which I think trying to hit all of those areas of senses will help to bring them around in a positive manner.
Absolutely. And I also think too, that being genuine with what you’re saying to your child, that dance probably happened organically because you were thrilled. She did it right. And now she’s really latched on to that because it was a genuine organic moment between the two of you hitting all those senses instead of the job.
Good job, a hundred times a day that doesn’t resonate.
Lindsay, what have you found as signs that you’ve seen either with Riley or clients that you’ve worked with that maybe this child is ready to go ready to train, maybe interested. What sort of things have you noticed there? I think going a little bit back onto what we were saying before.
I think. Communicating that they’re ready to do it. I think too, as Paige had mentioned, you know, being able to. Stay dry for awhile. And once again, just notifying the parent when they’re uncomfortable, if they are wet or they do have a dirty diaper. And I think once again, I think the biggest thing is just them being bought into wanting to do the process. With anything, when you have ownership, even when you’re a little person, the process will be a lot. Smoother right for you. That’s one of the things I did in my old life was help people through change specifically with software products, but nonetheless, one of the things that we were trying to achieve through that process was ownership of that.
And once we got there, the process and the change usually went in a smoother fashion. I found with toddlers that same concept actually does work as well. The more that they can kind of verbalize to you that they’re ready and that they’re bought in the easier, it will be for you. Right. Paige, I remember you kind of offering up, being able to be dry for a couple hours, sometimes being able to verbalize discomfort or saying I’m wet, I’m uncomfortable, I’m dirty, , things like that, that those are signs of readiness as well. Yeah, absolutely. I think we’ve all seen a little one pull at their wet diaper, and, or bring you a diaper offering if they can’t verbalize it. And even taking that a little bit further, going with you and asking you questions, or when you’re out in public wanting to see where’s the toilet in the library. I don’t know. Let’s go find it. And just being curious about how all of it works is also a big one. That curiosity. I think keeping everything positive as both of you have mentioned is a super important point. I always like to say to people, there’s two things that kids can control. What goes in their mouth and what comes out the other end. And you don’t want to be in a battle about that. You want to definitely keep it as positive as possible. In a majority of instances, if possible, that, the last thing you want to experiences a child, not peeing, not pooping. Now we’re constipated. Now we’re having leaking problems of urine and bowel movement accidents. So much of that can be avoided when we relinquish a little bit of control, help them to be in actively in the process of becoming trained. You hit the nail on the head with one!
I would really like to thank both of you for your time this evening, Paige and Lindsey with great tips on behavior modification and, as far as getting successful in the bathroom and in the potty definitely wish you all the best with your parenting practice of Colorado and helping to give our parents some choices and tools and tips and tricks to get things moving in the right direction.
If you found the information in this podcast, helpful, you can reach out for a quick, easy PDF to get notes on all the topics that Paige Lindsay and I have discussed. Also, if you’re interested in working with me with your baby from first breaths, first steps, you can also contact me on the link down below until next time. Be well.