Potty Training and American Sign Language

Our younger daughter is 34 months old today*! As she nears the exciting age of three, we’ve been crossing major milestones off the list. We recently turned her carseat forward, and she’s been asking for a “big girl” bed for about a month.

When we returned from our family vacation at the end of June, I knew it was time to begin our BIG potty training adventure!

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We offered K several opportunities to use the toilet over the past six months, but she would happily sit there for several minutes at a time…with no results. We watched our Potty Time DVD multiple times and downloaded the Potty Time app (FREE!)–the perfect fit for our Signing Time/Rachel Coleman fan!

About Potty Time from Signing Time on Vimeo.

I wanted potty-training to be a positive experience for both of us, so I picked up necessary supplies and cleared our calendar for a week. I knew that K needed to learn her body’s cues, and that meant a lot of time near the potty chair.

Our potty training supplies:

Potty Training Essentials

Our potty training strategy:

Week 1–we stayed home and K spent her days in underwear. I quickly realized that she could stay dry for hours at a time, so setting the timer for every 30 minutes was incredibly frustrating for both of us. I lightened up considerably by Wednesday afternoon, handling accidents with a smile and reassurance. By Friday, she had figured out the feeling and was making it to the potty chair with plenty of time to spare!

Our trick? Cumulative Smarties! The first success of the day earned her ONE piece of candy, the second earned her TWO, and so on! One roll of candy lasted all day long.

Week 2–we had some setbacks over the weekend, so we both had to relax and re-learn the routine. It was clear that the Potty Time app was great incentive for K. She LOVED putting a digital Hopkins sticker on her chart and “calling” Rachel when she had a success. (Note: she did NOT like calling Rachel for the accidents. I think it embarrassed her, so we focused on the positive.)

Week 3–we were able to leave the house IN UNDERWEAR for errands! She successfully used the public restroom on three different occasions and no longer had accidents during the day at home. She found her routine–stopping during play, pulling shorts up and down, and washing her hands in the bathroom with the step-stool!

We’ve promised our sweet girl her own “big girl bed” as her potty training reward–and I am thrilled with fewer laundry loads after three years of cloth diapers. I know that we still have a few more milestones to go when it comes to toilet training, but I am very proud of her quick progress over these past few weeks!

I’m so thankful for the role that Rachel Coleman and Potty Time played in K’s potty training success. Using ASL signs allowed K to communicate her needs quietly and gave us the opportunity to celebrate with her every success!

Have you used ASL with potty training? Any other helpful tips that worked for your little ones?

* Note: This post was originally written and published on our previous blog (lonestarsigners.com) in July 2014. 

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