I agree that different children progress/develope differently.
I started ‘psyching’ DS when he was 18 mths. Actually on hindsight, I should have started earlier, when he was able to sit ard 6 mths or so (as per advised by my mom as there would be less resistance encountered), but I didn’t want to rush into this. Then, when I felt he was ready, I would talk and show him how ‘big people’ went to the bathroom to pee pee. And from the time training started, he began to wear underwear. He was initially resistant when I brought him to the small potty, but I never pushed him. I left him alone for some time, then tried again at designated times like after he woke up, after breakfast etc ….
But somehow, the children’s potty never appealed to him. He was only able to pee once, thats it.
Then I switched to him pee-ing in the shower area. He seemed to be comfortable with that. Then gradually, he graduated to the big potty (with the child seat attached).
But he was still hesitant in poo-ing in the big potty. So again, I allowed him to do it in the shower and would clean up after him. And soon he moved on to the big potty eventually.
The biggest challenge then was to remind myself to ask him every 2 hrs or so whether he wanted to pee (can forget one). But he is able to articulate now even when we go out. Nowadays, it has progressed to reminding him of the importance of hygiene (esp in sch, where I cannot keep an eye on him).
We’ve had ‘accidents’ too, along this journey of self-control and self-awareness. He has pee-ed in the flat and the car seat a few times and I once had to stop mid-way while driving for him to "water the grass" (DS’s exact words).
As for night training, once he had mastered articulating that he needed ‘"to pee now now now" and settled down in pre-sch, I then psyched him again a few times b4 I did away with the pampers completely. In fact, one day, he just told me out of the blue that he was ready to sleep without the pampers.
During this period, I did not wake him up in the night cuz I wanted to do it the ‘cold turkey’ way as I was afraid that it might be yet another hard habit to break thereafter. So I just stopped giving him water 20 mins b4 bed-time, tell him a story, let him go have a last pee (even if he has "no pee pee in his kidneys", I still keep up with the routine) and tuck him to bed, reminding him to call out for me when he has to pee. I use incol sheets and a mattress protector. When the bedsheet gets wet, I remove them and air the mattress.
There have been ‘accidents’, but few and far between. I do not reprimand him, I just treat the incident lightly and remind him firmly that he must wake up and call out for me and makes sure he acknowledges. In the past, I noticed that he tend to wet the bed early in the morning, when he was half awake. But recently, I have noted that he is able to call out and we run to the bathroom together.
1. A potty book a day will hasten success in potty training
Borrow books on potty training from the library. Read them to him so that they ‘get a feel’ of what to expect during the training. Or you can invest in one like I did. The one I bought contains a step by step book, magnetic reward chart, parents’s guide and progress diary. Get your child involved so that every time he is successful in his task, give him the the honour of putting up a star on the reward chart. Here are some pictures:
2. Patience is a virtue, is it not
Don’t push your child if he not ready. Don’t set a DEAD-line for yourself or worse, for him as to when he has to be completely trained, but rather a START-line would be more ideal. It makes the both of you look forward to the ‘project.’ Make a big deal about it, when he is seated on his potty for the first time. Snap pix or film the episode and cheer encouragingly when he completes his task. Later, show him the pixs and reflect back upon his action and praise him for "doing a good job."
3. Accidents do happen so ‘let sleeping dogs lie’
Treat the ‘accidents’ as part and parcel of the training and explain the rationale for going to the bathroom. Assure them that after some time, when he becomes more self-aware, he will be able to articulate when he has the urge. Loads of hugs and encouragement would help at this point.
4. Repetitive reminders
Just recently, DS pee-ed in his pants during one of his enrichment class. He was clearly embarrassed and I felt for him. So I just held his hand gently and brought him to the bathroom to change and asked him nicely why did he do that. He replied that "teacher XXX was busy with another pupil so I control, but cannot control hard." I was actually pleasantly surprised at his reasoning, but I blamed myself for not reminding him that no matter what, he has to inform the teacher so that she can bring him to the bathroom.
5. Flexibility is the key to successful toilet training
If he doesn’t want to do it in the small potty, what about the shower area then? Yes, its inconvenient, but one got to do what one got to do if you want your child to be toilet trained. Then, gradually your child can progress to the potty.
6. Role model anyone?
Good if Daddy (for DS) can step in and take over once in a while to model similar behaviour. As my DS is close to him, he naturally wants to emulate what daddy does too.
7. Make a date to meet up in the morning and don’t miss it or be late
Make it a point to bring him to the bathroom at a designated time to poo. My DS does it in the morning without fail after his breakfast – it has become a habit.
I am aware that potty training is conducted in pre-schs or CCC, but please bear in mind that you still have to monitor them because of bad practices. Ultimately, you would want your child to imbibe your good habits too, no?? For instance, I have had to remind DS not to let his his ‘birdie’ touch the urinal when pee-ing in school because it is not hygienic. Also, teachers have to mind other kids too, so may not be able to be consistent (unintentionally, I believe) in reminding them about bathroom etiquette.
To sum up, repetition and consistency – 2 nouns – don’t forget them during this period
These are some of my observations and experiences and they may not be comprehensive. I am certainly not an expert as I believe that parenting is a learning journey and one becomes ‘seasoned’ through trial and error. But I do hope that some of the information provided will be of some help.