Originally a full-time preschool teacher, Dr. Rene Hackney now holds a Master?s in school psychology and a PhD. in developmental psychology from George Mason University. She trained at the Developmental Clinic at Children?s National Medical Center and for the public schools, teaching in parenting programs at each. She has also acted as a consultant to several area preschools.
For the last four years, Dr. Hackney has owned and lectured for Parenting Playgroups, Inc, a parenting resource center and preschool classroom in Alexandria Virginia. She has offered workshops to a wide
range of parent, teacher and social work groups during this time.
Workshop topics include eight hours on positive discipline techniques, five hours on early academic issues and common issues such as sibling rivalry and potty training. All workshops provide well researched lecture, in-class practice and open discussion time. Additionally she hosts a monthly parenting focused book club and fun play programs to introduce the preschool setting to young families.
Dr. Hackney is married and has two young children of her own.
Host: What are some signs that the child is ready to begin potty training?
Rene Hackney: The readiness signs are that the child can follow two and three step directions. Two step directions are go to the kitchen and find your shoes. The three step would be go to the kitchen, find your shoes and bring them to me. If children can not follow two and three step directions, they are likely not ready to potty train. That is like a seven step direction you will feel the need in your tummy, get yourself to the bathroom, get your pants down, climb upon the potty, there is a lot of sequencing involved.
If your children aren t there yet, something you can do is practice silly directions where you say go find the cat, kiss his nose and do a summersault and see if they can keep those things in order and practice it in a more fun way than go to the kitchen and get your shoes. Another readiness sign is that they do the potty talk, the child says, I pee-peed or I poop or I need to poop even better, they are saying and you know that they are thinking about it if they have that language down.
Another readiness sign is that they can dressed and undressed by themselves. So that they can pull up and down their own pants. The idea is they are going to have ownership in this process, so you want them to be able to manage that. If they are not able to you might want to think about easier pants like sweat pants for a while, while you are potty training and pull-ups rather than diapers because diapers, it is really hard for kids to get those on and off, but pull-ups go up and down really easily. So you might want to think about that in a month or two before. Another readiness sign is that they can sit for a longer period of time and play that they are relaxed to sit and look at books, that they are relaxed to sit and do puzzles. If your child is one of those kids who still is always on the go and always wanting to move and never wanting to sit, still can be really little battle to get them to sit on the potty for terribly long. Also increase imitation in play that their play is taking on more sequencing rather than going in and just fixing you a sandwich, they fix you a sandwich and they take your order and they make you a dessert and they bring you menus that they have got more sequencing in their play, meaning that they can keep things in order.