Here in the northeast, the buds on the trees are reminding parents that it will be time to sign up for summer camps and preschool. And therefore toilet training season is upon us. Most schools for typically-developing kids over 3 don’t accept children that aren’t trained. If they do, they may demand a surcharge, have only a few classrooms for older kids in diapers, or limit activities such as the use of swimming pools.
If you are thinking that now is the time to train, you are probably wondering if you are going to use the “Boot Camp” approach, or the “Gradual Training” approach. Going all in is the “Boot Camp” method. Your child’s life, and yours, is focused on learning the mechanics of using the toilet and perceiving when to run to the potty. “Gradual Training” is slowly developing awareness and skills in young children. You might start from a very early age, describing your actions during a diaper change and demonstrating what potties are for, and that it is both something grown-ups do and not anything to be afraid of.
Either way can be totally successful, and your choice rests on their temperament and yours, your timeline, and your available support. If your child doesn’t handle failure well, or would find it difficult to spend a whole weekend in or near the potty, then you might consider Gradual Training. If your child learns best by frequent repetition and rewards, then Boot Camp has appeal. If you have no one else to watch other kids or you know your patience will be strained by a day of (your child) drinking and peeing, then you may want to go Gradual. I want to emphasize that choosing the approach you take by looking at your own abilities and limitations is important. So often, parents discount their feelings and end up displaying their frustration or boredom to their child. Here is the bad news: children think that negative parental moods are THEIR FAULT! Choose wisely, and both of you feel good about yourselves and the experience. Choose poorly, and you both get more aggravation than you expected.
So now that the season for training is upon us, choose your plan and get ready to give your child all the support and encouragement that you can!
Want more help? My new e-book, The Practical Guide to Toilet Training Your Child With Low Muscle Tone, is available on my website, tranquil babies . Just look for the ribbon at the top and click on “e-book”. I go into all the details on whether your child is really ready for training, provide you with checklists for readiness, and give you an in-depth explanation of the Boot Camp and Gradual Training methods. Halfway there and experiencing some resistance? The chapter “Bumps In The Road” is for you!
To get a sense of how I view true readiness, check out my post Low Tone and Toilet Training: The 4 Types of Training Readiness. While not as complete as the chapter in the book, this will start you thinking about readiness in a different way.