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 steps should parents take, when the child is ready?
Rene Hackney: When you are ready to potty train and you want to know what to do next, the first thing -- the first couple of things that you can do, in a month leading up to potty training, start changing your child s diapers or pull-ups, either in the bathroom or just outside the bathroom door. It is letting them know that this is place; this is where we expect you to go. Parents can also then take the wet diaper or the poopy diaper and either hold it, over that potty before they throw it away and show the child this is where the pee-pee goes or actually dump the poop in, this is where the poop goes, so that the child can make that connection.
Many children do not know that already, so it is taking them down that path. Another thing parents can do is we have heard a lots of families give full naked days where they bring the little Graco potty into the kitchen and they put rubber covering on the couch, and they allow the child to just be naked from the waist down, so that, if they had not made the connection that is where the pee-pee comes from. They will make it that day.
It is like the child who stands up in the bathtub and starts peeing and they go, oh, look I am peeing and they did not realize .
That is the downside of the diapers today as they just whisk all that wetness away and kids do not quite make the connection at that part of their body and their body is doing that. Other things you can do is, go to the store and let the child pick out the new potty. If you are going to use little Graco sear or the ring on the toilet, let them be a part of that process so it is a fun thing to do.
If you have got a younger sibling, you are potty training a younger sibling, likely that potties are even out for a while, for the older sibling. Parents of younger sibling can still make it their potty that day by letting them decorate the top or decorate a poster behind the potty, something to make it more of celebration. Another thing they can do is pull from the potty practice method .
If -- pick a time or two during the day when you know, you are going to catch success.
In our house, I would not describe which child, but one of our children always had a poop after lunch and so that would be a really good time to say, hey, let us go sit on the potty and read a story and see if you can catch some success that way and so its is building in a regular time. Some children aren t real comfortable sitting on the potty at first, so, you can allow them just fully dressed to sit on the potty through a day and them maybe when they are getting undressed for bath, encourage it at a regular time rather than having to go in there and pull their pants down it in at a more awkward time, just to make them comfortable.
So, hopefully either between the naked days or between the sitting on the potty and relaxing at regular times and encouraging them to try often, you will catch some success in those early days. When the child does have success, try not to go overboard. A lot of parents bring out the big gun and they -- we have heard of family buying a tricycle for the child because they went potty, that is a lot of pressure and it tends to backfire on parents, you tend to get kids who feel so much pressure that they do not want to take part anymore and so they back away from potty training. One family, we knew who had bought a tricycle was with the understanding that if there were a lot of accidents, they would take the potty away -- the bike away and so it just -- it was too much and so by all means calling grandma on the phone or calling daddy on the phone and saying what happened and giving an high five and lots of hugs but just not going way overboard.