POTTY LEARNING vs. POTTY TRAINING
I’ve noticed that most parents care a lot about their children learning how to use a potty and they want them to do it quickly. I suppose part of the reason is financial – diapers cost a lot over time. Changing dirty diapers is also not something fun for adults, so they want to do everything possible to make their lives simpler. And one day, when they run out of patience, they decide when they want their kids to learn how to use a potty – that’s called potty learning. As you have probably noticed, potty training is parent-centered. If you are a parent who does it this way and it works for you, YOU HAVE MY FULL SUPPORT because we all parent differently and do what works best for our families.
For example, in our household we have no routines and no schedules for using a potty. Adèle chooses when and where she wants to go. If she wants to go in her diaper, we support and encourage her. If she wants to try the potty, same thing. We’ve had many ups and downs in supporting her through learning how to listen to her body. This is called Potty Learning. It is child-centered.
If you are not sure which method to choose, here is a good Montessori link to check your child’s signs of mental, physical and emotional readiness.
HOW TO FIND THE PERFECT POTTY
I spent hours and hours searching for the perfect potty, read all the possible reviews and talked to other moms. If you are looking for a potty as well, here is what to consider:
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- The potty must be comfortable. (A friend’s child refused to use a potty for a long time only because it was not the right size and uncomfortable. Once they changed the potty, the child learned to use it that same day and never looked back!)
- It should have a back – for comfort.
- For your sanity, it must be easy to clean.
- Something cute on the potty would be a plus to attract your child’s attention. (Sometimes Adèle and I make small drawings and tape them to her BABYBJORN Potty Chair).
- It should be sturdy but light enough for the child to carry so that s/he can empty it.
- For correct posture, your child’s knees must be above their hips when seated.
- For boys, make sure the splash guard and the hole are large enough.
Here are a few potties for you to consider:
- BABYBJORN Potty Chair – This is Adèle’s favorite chair. It usually stays next to the toilet but sometimes she puts it in different parts of the house and then carries the detachable part to the bathroom to wash it in the bidet. Sometimes she likes to sit on it and read books. Her current favorite is Peek-a-Poo What’s in Your Diaper? It is really encouraging her to sit on the the potty and she says that she wants to be like the mouse in the book. Very cute. 🙂
- Summer Infant Lil’ Loo Potty – As you can see, this one is very similar to Babybjorn but at a fraction of the price. It is a bit wider so might even be more comfortable for some children.
- Fisher-Price Custom Comfort Potty Training Seat – This potty is height adjustable and comes with armrests. The pictured above is designed girls but you can also get it with a splash guard for boys (or girls). Like the first two potties, this one also comes with a removable bowl for easy cleanup.
- Summer Infant My Size Potty – Looks like a real toilet, acts almost like a real toilet.
- Primo 4-In-1 Soft Seat Toilet Trainer and Step Stool – Primo is great if you also need a step stool in the bathroom so that your child can access the sink easily. And it can be used by older kids to put their feet on while sitting on the toilet. This way their knees will stay higher than their hips, insuring proper toilet sitting position (hence, easier bowel movements).
- OxGord Toilet Potty Step Trainer – Even though it is advertised for toddlers, it is more for taller kids who can actually climb onto it. It should only be used for pooing IF your child’s knees are higher than their hips in the seated position. Otherwise, they will not be in the proper squat-like position for emptying their bowels. It is, however, a great addition to a potty as it allows the child to get onto the adult toilet independently and start getting used to it. This is why we got it and it serves its purpose well.
For going out, OXO Tot 2-in-1 Go Potty for Travel is amazing. It folds flat and comes with its own carry bag which can be taken everywhere – to the playground, on airplanes, while camping, when visiting people, etc. It’s very light and fits into a diaper backpack. It is extremely easy and quick to use and any small trash bag can be used with it, which is a huge plus. We usually buy 15 litre / 4 gallon size (or smaller) recyclable trash bags. This potty can even be placed on toilet seat which is not only convenient, but is also perfect as your child gets older. I prefer objects which grow with the child, and this one can be used for a long time.
FAVOURITE BOOKS TO ENCOURAGE POTTY LEARNING
- Peek-a-Poo What’s in Your Diaper? by Guido van Genechten – Adorable illustrations about a mouse who learned how to use a potty and shows other animals how to do it. Very warm and funny and easy for a child to relate to.
- Everybody Poos by Taro Gomi – This book is great because it shows that all living creatures poo, taking the “shame” out of potty learning.
- The Story of the Little Mole Who Went in Search of Who unit by Werner Holzwarth & Wolf Erlbruch – A funny book about a mole who wants to know who pooled on its head, teaching your child about different types of animal poos in the process.
Does your child have a favorite potty? If so, I’d love to know what it is and why. And if you know of a great potty that is not on my list, please let me know so that I can add it!