parenting

Potty Training: Potty Time Product Review

parentingages and stages

There is a truth about potty training that I'm sure is obvious to seasoned parents, but which I've only recently realized. It isn't that it only works when your child is ready; that's in every parenting manual I've ever read. It's that it really works when you figure out what best motivates your child. This has been borne out amply over the past couple of weeks as we've potty-trained our youngest. We got a Potty Time DVD, book, and reminder watch from Signing Time, and they've really helped motivate him.

For months, we tried motivating our three-year-old son Evan by letting him pick out a big, expensive toy, placing it on a shelf in his bathroom, and telling him he'd get it as soon as he went pee-pee or poo-poo in his little potty. Though he'd been excited about the toy in the store, he suddenly became "scared" of it at home when confronted with the connection of what he needed to do to get it. We finally removed all toys from the bathroom, and just concentrated on having him sit on the potty without a diaper once or twice a day. He got a little smartie every time he did so, regardless of whether or not he tried to pee or poo.

Soon, he realized that if he wanted a treat, which he often did, all he had to do was sit on the potty. Then, I stepped it up by offering a Hot Wheels car if he peed, but hid it. Eventually, he did pee and get the car. As soon as he realized that every time he peed in the little potty, he'd consistently get a car, he was eager to do it. It's been about two weeks, and he has well over 100 cars. He's almost completely potty-trained on #1, but we have yet to figure out what will motivate him to do #2.

During this, we received the Potty Time DVD, board book, and reminder watch from Signing Time. I was excited to review it, having featured the author, Rachel Coleman, before. The products are designed to motivate your child to use the potty, to take away possible fears, and make it fun.The watch helps remind a child to go sit on the potty; it's shaped like a little one, with the "bowl" as the face of the digital watch that plays a little potty song at certain intervals. It's up to the parent to make sure the child associates the song with sitting on the potty. Evan, like most other kids, loved the idea of wearing his own watch, and would do a little jig every time it went off. I have yet to get him to consistently sit on the potty when the song plays though.

The board book is a cute rhyming 18-page story about how Hopkins the frog learns to recognize and act upon his body's signals. The DVD is a 30-minute episode featuring Rachel singing and teaching simple sign language related to the potty. It's somewhat reminiscent of Blue's Clues in its animation. There are nine songs featured in both the DVD and accompanying music CD. Rachel's background as a folk rock band member comes in handy as she sings these fun, lively songs.

If you're expecting her to share specific potty-training techniques, you'll be disappointed. It's not designed for you, the parent; it's designed for your child, to help them enjoy using the potty more. The DVD, CD, board book, and watch together cost $39.95. This may be too steep for some. Personally, I would rather pay that than continue to dish out $40+ a month on diapers. No matter how much I do or do not spend, though, I know that ultimately it's all about finding what best motivates my son.

 What potty training techniques have been most successful for your kids?

Featured image courtesy of Flickr.

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