Potty training! The horror! The horror!
With images of pee-stained carpet, poopy underwear, and a wailing child perched on a potty flooding our minds, why would any parent be excited to embark upon the journey of potty training? And sadly, parents are not the only ones who fear this task. Potty training is just as foreign and scary for children who often struggle to change deeply-engrained habits. In fact, if you ask your average three-year-old if they want to be potty-trained, you are bound to get the same response over and over: "No, no, no!"
That’s where the Poo Poo Fairy comes in! The Poo Poo Fairy transforms potty training from a dreaded chore into a fun and imaginative adventure for your child. Impossible? Well, just consider how for decades, children have been genuinely thrilled to lose a tooth. There were few days growing up as exciting as when you had a loose tooth - even though it was sometimes painful and a bit scary. Where did this excitement come from? It was all thanks to the Tooth Fairy and the magic she brought with her.
Just as the Tooth Fairy turns losing a tooth into something kids get excited about, the goal of the Poo Poo Fairy is to instill fun and joy into the potty training process. With the help of a little bit of magic, the Poo Poo Fairy engages your child and their imagination, so they are eager and happy to get started.
So, here's how the "Poo Poo Fairy" method works.
As with the development of any new . . . let's call it a "talent," a child needs to be ready to start the journey. So, how do you know your child is ready for potty training?
There is a huge amount of information out there regarding signs of readiness for potty training. The American Academy of Pediatrics has great information on its website (www.aap.org), and your child's pediatrician is also an important resource about this milestone. Experts say to look for indicators of readiness like: your child is staying dry for longer periods of time, has regular bowel movements, is able to listen and be engaged in simple activities, and shows interest in the bathroom or having their diaper changed.
While this information is useful, experts also stress to parents that every child is different and will embrace potty training on their own timetable. With no "right" age for potty training, it is often tough for parents to know when is the best time to start. And if you are waiting for your stubborn toddler to agree to the idea, you may be changing diapers for a lot longer than you wanted. While no parent wants to start too early, parents often face other pressures and deadlines by which they need to have their child potty-trained -- such as the requirements of your child's preschool or the birth of another baby.
Here is where the Poo Poo Fairy can help. With the Poo Poo Fairy, you can begin to prepare your child even if they are showing no interest in being potty-trained (which sometimes happens). You start simply by reading your child the story of Paulina, the Poo Poo Fairy, who helps another little boy learn to use the big-kid potty and start talking to them about their turn. Explain how the Poo Poo Fairy will be coming to help them when they are ready. As you read the book and talk about the process, gauge their reaction and interest, and start to get them excited about it!
Remember: Few things are as difficult as potty training a reluctant toddler. The most important sign of readiness is a child being excited and willing to try, and the Poo Poo Fairy will help!
Once you believe your child is ready, the next step is to build the excitement. Continue to read the story of the Poo Poo Fairy to your child and explain that the big day is coming for the Poo Poo Fairy's visit. You can circle the date on the calendar and count down the days with them. Remind them that like in the story, the Poo Poo Fairy will be bringing prizes and fun things to cheer them on.
During the time you are waiting for the Poo Poo Fairy's "arrival," get your child involved in the preparations as much as possible. Make a special visit with your child to the store and let them pick out their very own "big-kid" underwear or maybe a training seat for the toilet. Allow them to try sitting on the potty several times to get the feel for it. Explain to them how going potty works and what will be expected of them. If they have older siblings, allow them to watch how easily their brother or sister accomplishes going to the bathroom. You want your child to feel enthusiastic and confident in what is going to happen before you begin.
Before the big day, be sure to stock up on your child’s favorite prizes. Be creative here! You know your child better than anyone. Get whatever you think would excite your child the most – whether it be small toys, stickers, new books or art projects, or a special treat. Simple activities and games are especially great because they help pass the time in between potty attempts.
And now you are ready to take the plunge!!! Find a good day for you and your child to start. Look for a span of a couple days when you will be able to devote the bulk of your attention and time to helping your child master this new talent.
Set your Poo Poo Fairy doll out the night before in a place where she can be seen easily while still being out of reach. And obviously, the Poo Poo Fairy should not be in the bathroom; she has been working hard at being sneaky, but she still needs to be outside so she can work her magic.
The Poo Poo Fairy is there to offer encouragement and to help cheer for your child. After a success has been achieved, your child can run out of the bathroom to tell the Poo Poo Fairy about their grand achievement and magically find the prize she has waiting for them!
A couple of tips:
Try moving your Poo Poo Fairy doll to new locations during some of the attempts in the bathroom. It adds to her magic, and you can make a game out of finding where she has moved and where she might leave her next prize.
While we've seen successes through a variety of ways, we've found that it makes the process quicker and easier if you stop using diapers and pull-ups. Focus your child on their wonderful new underwear and keeping it clean and dry.
Children tend to catch on to peeing in the potty more quickly than pooping. So, start with smaller prizes, like stickers or coloring pages, for successes at peeing and leave the bigger prizes for when they have had a successful poop.
Of course, you're going to be spending more time in and out of the bathroom for a couple of days in the beginning. Just embrace it and remember that the strength of the Poo Poo Fairy and her method is the fun she brings to the potty training process. All of the excitement you built in Step Two should pay off here. Nothing speeds up potty training (and the trips to the bathroom) faster than an excited and motivated child. Keep it fun.
Once you feel the time is right, you and your child will say goodbye to the Poo Poo Fairy. You are the best judge, but look for several days where your child stayed (reasonably) clean and dry. Explain that the Poo Poo Fairy has other little boys and girls to help with potty training and how proud she is of them. The Poo Fairy likes to leave a special present before she goes to show what a fabulous job her trainee has done.
Of course, it is not unusual to encounter snags during this journey, and accidents can and will happen. Do not despair! Check out our tips and answers to common questions (FAQs) and more stories and ideas over at Mary's Corner. We are here to help you get over these road bumps! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more help.