With three kids under five (and a fourth on the way!) I consider myself to be kind of a potty training guru.
I've gone through every weird diaper debacle you can possibly imagine, and I'm the first person my friends come to when they have any sort of progeny-potty-problem.
Yes, I should have an award to boast of this achievement.
Recently, though, I learned that there are actually a couple big points I was overlooking that could be a major help to parents. We were invited to attend an event at Disneyland Resort in Southern California with our sponsor Pull-Ups in order to learn more about a research-based whole new way to potty train with Pull-Ups. Being a former teacher, I'm always interested in the science behind learning. I know that every child learns differently, but I honestly hadn't thought much about applying this to potty training.
After chatting with their team of experts, I was surprised to walk away with two new toddler revelations:
- Potty training depends entirely on your child's personality.
- Night training is based on physiological development and cannot be taught.
The first point is simple. Some kids respond to demonstration, some to rewards, etc. We learned this quickly with the varying personalities of our oldest two. Our five-year-old, Some Boy is an intensely inquisitive kid who grills us on every single detail and relents to our guidance only when he understands a subject from top-to-bottom. Sidekick, our three-year-old, is like a little bear cub – happy-go-lucky and wanting to take things at his own pace. Through the program I've learned that he can be easily distracted, so it's important for me to engage him with books and place a potty where it's really convenient and accessible so he views the process as exciting and simple.
Pull-Ups, along with experts, has created the Pull-Ups® Potty Partnership with these traits in mind, helping parents answer questions about their kids and offering advice as well as charts and games to help each child based on their unique personality. Their five profile types are Puppy, Owl, Bear Cub, Turtle and Squirrel. You probably have a good idea where your child might fit in! At their event, Pull-Ups had some fun activities on-hand to get each personality type engaged. Sidekick especially had a blast being hands-on and expressing himself at a little puppet theater they had setup, while I got to chat with experts about the brand's research.
The idea that night training can't be forced? THAT was an eye-opener for me. I've been pushing and pushing our oldest to successfully have dry nights, trying everything from bribery to midnight wake-ups. No dice. Some nights are fine, some aren't…and our whole family has honestly been pulling our hair out over it.
So I've given myself permission to let this process be exactly that: a journey. We streamed Mater's Tall Tales on Netflix and took the kids on their favorite ride – Mater's Junkyard Jamboree – and then showed them the cool Mater-themed Pull-Ups they get to use when they sleep. We pick them up at Walmart, where we always find a great selection of Pull-Ups at a phenomenal price. We also grabbed some stickers and rewards to move the potty-training process along, and some more character picks for the boys. It's so nice being able to tie the kids' favorite characters into a learning experience like this! With the oldest, our “turtle” personality, little touches like this can go a long way in helping him feel like he's part of the decision-making process.
They're excited about their “nighttime undies,” and I'm no longer having to change sheets on an almost-daily basis. We'll continue minimizing drinks before bedtime and having them go potty before they sleep, and when they've woken up dry for a couple weeks in a row, I'll know that they're developmentally ready. Pull-Ups has specific information on nighttime training for each of the five potty personalities. The experts tell me some kids can take longer to be ready, and I'm reassured to know that the “overnight potty prodigy” kids I hear about are way more of an exception than a rule.
Next up, it'll be this guy's turn!
For more potty training help, check out our post dedicated to potty training without pleading, potty training with siblings, nighttime routines and bedwetting while traveling.
Have you had any potty training surprises in your household?