When Your Wee One Goes Wee Wee Well
After reading several books about potty training (my son was a little tyke pre-Internet) and having little success, I found some helpful information tucked way in the back of a woman's magazine's classified section.
"Anatomically correct dolls - order yours today" it said. The ad explained that this was a great way to teach potty training to your young 'un. With the doll came a little pamphlet on how to potty train.
Here is what I did, and did it work!
I ordered my son an anatomically correct boy doll. It arrived with a baby bottle as well. I explained to my going-on-two child that he had to feed his baby its bottle but that his baby would need to go potty soon afterwards. I showed him how to put the potty chair in the toilet bowl for dolly to pee, and how to empty it in the toilet bowl and flush afterwards.
The first few baby doll feeding times resulted in wet surroundings as the doll urinated before my son made his way, doll in hand, to the toilet bowl. But then he got wise. I'd hear him talking to his baby. "Let's go wee wee," he'd say, and scurry to the toilet, prop the doll in front of the potty, watch him urinate, empty the potty and then flush.
One week later there was my very own toddler, standing in front of the toilet bowl and urinating.
Success! And I'd hardly had to do anything at all.
Now I hear that this is the method recommended by Dr. Phil. He suggests as well that when the dolly goes potty successfully the very first time you and your child should throw dolly a "potty party" with boisterous noise makers and anything else fun and rambunctious you can think of. Of course, when the doll's potty success is followed by your child's potty success your little one would get a potty party too.
A few key pointers are in order here, too.
Potty training must be attempted at the right time. Don't expect your child to be ready prior to 18 months old, and it could take until she or he is 2 1/2 years old. Don't rush it. Your child must be walking, and probably running, well, and able to communicate that he or she needs to go - now! Whether the message is pee or poop or wee wee or whatever - your young 'un just needs to be able to get the message across. Some of the ready-to-start-potty training signs are dry diapers, a child distressed by a messy diaper, and consistently firm stools.
You're going to need to help your child at first, so you don't want to miss the signals that it's time to "go." The message may come in the form of dancing around with hands on genitals, or frantic tugs at his clothing.
A potty chair or potty seat is almost crucial. A little tyke may be afraid of that big noisy, "what if I fall in?" bowl. If so the potty chair is the way to go. It's a miniaturized toilet that's entirely separate from your own bowl. A potty seat, in contrast, fits right inside your own toilet but accommodates the child's smaller body.
Potty training dolls today, $20-$40 each, come equipped with baby bottles and their very own potty seat. Two manufacturers are Gotz Aquini and Corolle. The Corolle dolls have their own diapers and are designed to hold water and wet on demand.