Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Potty Training Tip From Parent on the “Front Line”

Anyone who’s been following this blog for awhile has heard me talk about how little Julia, the 16-month-old daughter of staff member Bonita Broughton, is already using the potty quite consistently thanks to our Baby Signs® Potty Training Program. In addition to regular “It’s potty time!” announcements from Bonita, Julia uses her potty sign to let mom know she needs to go. It’s really working; in fact, in one email this week, Bonita proudly announced Julia had gone in the potty 8 times in a single day. What’s more, the whole office witnessed it ourselves when she began insistently (and appropriately) signing “potty” during our staff meeting. (She actually now signs “potty” when she has to go pee and holds her nose when she has to go poop!)

For those of you not familiar with our Baby Signs® Potty Training Program, the idea is to help parents train their children before age 2. To that end we’ve designed a great potty training kit that includes, besides motivational items to get toddlers “on board the Potty Train,” also a simple, step-by-step guide for parents. I’m proud of the Parent Guide with the many tips for success it includes, but I recently realized that we left one out! Bonita has come up with a super tip for parents that I just have to pass along. So here it is:

Consider having the baby wear cloth panties INSIDE the diaper or pull-ups.

Why would you do this? Because, unlike superabsorbent disposable diapers, the cloth panties retain moisture thereby increasing the child’s discomfort and alerting him or her to the fact that an accident has happened. At the same time, there’s less of a mess to clean up than if the child was naked or using the panties alone. And yet it still takes advantage of the fact that many children are motivated to keep their new “big kids’ underwear” dry.

But won’t children be confused because a diaper is still part of the process. That’s where pull-ups can be helpful. Don’t be fooled; they are simply diapers in another form. However, this new form when used with the cloth underwear inside can symbolize the transition away from the “baby diapers” used up to now.

There’s no one magic formula for potty training because there’s no “one baby” out there. Every situation is different. So, just consider this tip another strategy to add to your tool box as you tackle this universal parenting challenge.

Happy Signing (and don’t forget to follow us on Facebook)!


Linda Acredolo, Ph.D.
Co-Founder, the Baby Signs® Program
Professor Emeritus, UC Davis
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