Key Take aways:
- This method is for parents who have a set deadline where their child needs to be potty trained (like preschool).
- You can use different approaches (like the slow and steady method or the 3-day method) depending on how soon your deadline is approaching.
- One of the benefits of this method is that it is a timely, measurable goal
- A drawback to this method is that it can place too much pressure on your child, causing stress and eventual regression.
- If you're worried about a school or daycare, know that most don't require perfection... just that you're leading the effort from home.
article summary: A looming deadline can be the kick in the pants that many of us need to get this potty show on the road with our child. We often see parents with deadlines tap into both the slow and steady method and the 3-day method. For example, children who need to learn by a deadline get to learn about the potty slowly until the date begins to draw nearer and then the parents opt for a 3-day or intensive schedule to jumpstart the process.
Compared to other potty training methods, the deadline method is where you are focused on an end date such as the first day of school, or the birth of a new baby.
When it comes to preparing for this method, it is quite similar to other methods, but you do have to be a little more mindful of your calendar. You also need to be realistic about the amount of time it will take for your child to master the potty. Bear in mind that it usually takes much longer than you anticipate, so start early.
Parents who use a deadline method may run into a few challenges at first with their child if their past attempts with the potty have been sporadic. The child may rebel or resist at first if you all of a sudden start pushing it on them. Additionally, they may also struggle more if they are forced to train before they are ready or if they feel stressed or pressured. Keeping things light but firm can help your child overcome any frustrations or setbacks that arise.
Finally, if your child is excited about the deadline, that can make it easier to encourage them to keep working on the potty. However, concepts like being potty trained in order to go to school or being trained before little sister arrives may be too far off or abstract for them to comprehend depending on their age.
The things you need for deadline potty training are much the same for any other method. You will need:
- A potty chair or toilet insert
- Step stool
- Flushable wipes
- Fun undies
- A few potty books
Depending on your child's interest in meeting the deadline, you may both enjoy having a calendar to help count down to the big day (like the first day of school or the baby's due date). Just remember, time is an abstract concept for children, so they may not be able to relate to this. However, putting a sticker on each day they use the potty or crossing each day off may be a fun activity for them.
If you need to ramp up your potty training, you may need to have some fun drinks on hand for your child to fill their bladder quickly so they can practice the potty more regularly. Juices and water with fruit slices can encourage your child to drink.
- Gives you an end goal that you and your child can work towards
- You can choose how best to meet your goal (either going slow and steady or being a little more purposeful and focused)
- Helps you stay on trackIf the deadline is well in advance, you can teach your child slowly overtime without creating conflict or frustration
- Many experts are opposed to deadlines because it forces your child to potty train even if they are not developmentally ready
- Parents often fall back on bribery to get their children to learn more quickly
- It is a lot of pressure on a child and parent to meet a deadline
- There is usually an assumption the child better not have accidents after a set date, which can make them stressed, especially if they are doing something new like daycare or school
- The child may regress, especially if there is a new baby or their school environment is stressful
If school is your deadline
What many parents don't know is that in most schools your child does not need to be fully potty trained or perfectly clear of accidents. Indeed, many programs know that this is part of their role in helping your child learn and grow. School and daycare programs just prefer to not be the primary teachers and drivers behind your child's potty training experience. As we all know, it is best that the parents are the main teachers and motivators of this phase, whereas school teachers and daycare staff play a supporting role.
In A Time Crunch? Redefine Your Goal Of Potty Training
Deadlines have a way of creeping upon us. This is especially true for parents who start out the summer knowing they need to potty train their soon-to-be preschooler and all of a sudden August 1st has arrived. If your deadline has approached quickly and you haven't made a lot of progress, redefine your goal of what your child actually needs to be able to do. Being completely diaper-free 24-hours a day can take months and for some children years. But, if your goal is for them to be able to go to school for a morning or afternoon, try to aim to where they can stay dry for at least a few hours and can use the potty if prompted.
On that note, don't worry about nighttime training if your child is struggling or resisting. If your goal is no accidents at school, focus on giving them confidence that they can stay dry during the day and use the potty at school.
Don't be alarmed if your child regresses slightly or has more frequent accidents once the deadline has passed. Of course, it may mean nothing to them if the deadline was that you would be starting a new role at work and needed to put most of your focus there. But, if the deadline was a sibling being born, that may lead to some behavioral responses to this major change that may include accidents or even a desire to be back in diapers.
Keep your tone light but remain firm as you have throughout the process, and try to find ways to ensure your child is still secure in their role.