The whole reason I am writing this post is because a toddler I love is being spanked for wetting the bed at night. You should NEVER punish or degrade your child for having "accidents." To do so is to set your toddler up for failure. When you punish a child for something they can't control, something they don't know how to control, what you're actually doing is inflicting some pretty serious damage on your child's self-esteem and sense of self worth. If you're a spanking potty trainer then hear me out before you dismiss this entirely--I have proof. Keep reading.
Pediatricians, clinical psychologists, and child psychiatrists all agree that punishing a toddler for peeing on themselves is the worst thing you could possibly do, and that punishing your kid for "accidents" may actually push their potty-training backwards and cause a delay in overall potty training success. Don't believe me? Ask your pediatrician, or check out The American Academy of Pediatrics Guide to Toilet Training. Both the book and your own doctor will tell you that positive reinforcement is the way to go (both will also tell you spanking is definitely a bad idea).
Here are some facts you should be aware of before you even begin potty training:
- Potty training with no accidents and all day daytime dryness usually takes 6 to 12 months to achieve, and can take significantly longer depending upon the child.
- Infants and toddlers become aware of bowel movements first and therefore usually learn not to poo poo on themselves well before they master not peeing on themselves.
- Potty training can't be rushed and you have to wait until your child is ready to begin. Here's a great website that helps you figure out if your kid is ready.
- Bed wetting, called enuresis by doctors, is perfectly normal. Many children wet the bed and according to the American Academy of Pediatrics it is normal for a child to wet the bed up until age 7. Children's sleep cycles differ slightly from adult sleep cycles. Infants, toddlers, and some young children sleep more deeply than adults. Their bodies are not physiologically designed to wake them up and make them aware they need to go potty.
- Positive reinforcement works better than scolding and punishing a child. Try a sticker chart. Every time your child goes pee pee in the potty let him put a sticker on the chart on the wall and praise him big time! If that doesn't work you can also try a treat chest--every time your child gets five stickers let him pick a toy (cheap dollar tree toys work well for this) out of the treat chest.
- Make the potty fun. Be silly and try to make sure your child sees the bathroom as a fun place to be. Don't sigh and show your child that potty training is a hassle or they won't want to go in the bathroom. Make up a potty song, let them see how you go potty, and talk to them while they're on the potty so they aren't bored.
- Try cheerios for little boys. Put a few cheerios in the toilet and tell your little boy to sink them. It helps him learn to aim and it makes a game out of going to potty.
- Try a potty training chart. Sometimes little ones need reminders on how to go potty by themselves. You can find helpful charts to put in your bathroom here.
- Brazelton, TB. "A Child-Oriented Approach to Toilet Training." Pediatrics 29: 121-128, 1962.
- Potty training facts
- Stadler AC, Gorski PA, and TB Brazelton. "Toilet Training Methods, Clinical Interventions, and Recommendations," Pediatrics 103: 1359-1361, 1991.
- The Mayo Clinic on Potty Training website
- Dr Sears' Toilet Training Tactics and Tips website
- American Academy of Pediatrics search results for "potty training" page (various links and resources)
- Dr. Sears on Bed Wetting website
- US Department of Health and Human Services Guide to Bed Wedding pdf