Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Potty Training Tuesday #8

Dealing With Accidents

With potty training, comes accidents, there is just no way around it, you are going to be cleaning up pee and washing poopey pants.  But how you react to  your child's accidents really depends on how your child reacts.

Children react in many different.  Some continue to play, completely unaware that anything is out of place. Some get very upset and cry.  Some get angry.  Some tell you what they've done.  Some even hide from you.  

Regardless of how your child reacts, the most important thing for you to remember when dealing with accidents is to remain calm and positive.  No matter how upset or frustrated you are about your child's accident, you have to be very careful to keep positive so as not to discourage your child from using the potty.

Never be angry with your child for having an accident.

Do not yell at or punish your child for having an accident.

Remember that potty training is something that your child needs to learn.  And much like learning any new skill at any point in life, mistakes will be made.  Accidents are the mistakes of potty training.

If you child is in the initial stages of potty training, you may find that they are completely unaware that they have had an accident.  Personally, I don't understand how they can continue to play as though nothing has happened with soaking wet pants, but they do!  In this case, you need to focus on labelling what they have done, what needs to be done and what they should be doing.

"Oh-oh, you peed in your pants.  Let's clean that up and get you out of those wet clothes.  And then you can try to pee on the potty again."

Talk to you child as much as you can about peeing in the potty versus peeing in their pants.  I really like to emphasize the "yucky" feeling of wet pants and explain that if they pee in the potty their pants will stay dry and comfortable.

If your child is consistently unaware of accidents AND not having success on the potty, that might be a sign that he or she isn't really ready for potty training.  The best thing to do in this situation, is to take a break.  Continue to encourage your child to sit on the potty when getting a diaper change, but take a break from full time potty training.

If your child gets upset or angry, you need to reassure them that there is no need to be upset.

"It's OK, it was just an accident.  We'll change you into clean, dry clothes and then you can go play again."

Give lots of hugs and reassurance that you are not angry and try to find out what it is about accidents that upset or anger your child so much.

"Why are you crying about this?  Can you tell me?"

I have seen kids who get upset because they don't like the way it feels, others because they don't want to get in trouble, others because they don't want to change their clothes.  Once you know why they are so upset, you can address the specific issue.

If your child tells you when they have had an accident, you should give them some praise for telling you, especially if they are in the initial stages of training.  At this point, your child may not yet be able to associate the felling of having to pee with actually peeing.  Or they may not be able to control the urge long enough to get to the potty.

"Thank you for telling me that you did a pee but next time, try to tell me a little sooner so that I can help you use the potty.  Let's get you changed into some dry clothes."

If your child hides from you, there is a good chance that they are afraid that they are in trouble or they are embarrassed that they have had an accident.  This is more common with older potty trainers (3 years or old).  Be extra careful in these situations to keep any frustration you have hidden.

"Oh well, maybe next time we'll make it to the potty."

If you think your child is hiding because they are embarrassed, approach them quietly so as not to draw attention to anyone else who might be around.  Reassure them that accidents happen and that although it is uncomfortable, it's not really a big deal.

"Don't worry about it, we'll change your clothes and put these ones in the laundry."

You should always encourage your child to sit on the potty after having an accident.  Sometimes there is more to come but the child may not be able to communicate that to you.

Remember, accidents happen in life and in potty training.  Do what you can to make the best of it!

Stay tuned for more tips, tricks and advice every Tuesday!  And please do share your own experiences!  I am always looking for ways to make potty training easier for myself, not only at work, but also at home as I will soon be jumping in head first to potty train Liam!

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