...here comes Potty Training!
After a good month of
intensive potty training us trying anything and everything potty training related, I dare say that our firstborn knows how to use the potty....ALL BY HIMSELF. It happened one day last week....one beautiful day when the clouds suddenly parted, my is-he-going-to-wet-his-pants-today? paranoia subsided, and I wildly and triumphantly exclaimed: BY GOLLY, I THINK HE'S GOT IT!
Beware though, once children learn how to use the potty, they're pretty much set for life. Might as well buy them a car and get ready for them to move into their own place because THIS type of independence is HUGE and it will change things.
It will mean...
1. You'll no longer have to buy him/her diapers (which we now consider one of the most convenient inventions ever).
2. You'll now have to scout out public restrooms to use (which I'm usually not a fan of).
3. YOU'LL NO LONGER HAVE TO THINK ABOUT WHEN TO START POTTY TRAINING.
Obviously the third reason was of big importance (hence the caps) to us. With our son just turning 37 months, we had been thinking about it for awhile...like a year. That's a long time to be thinking about something. But I realized that one of the reasons we spent so much time thinking about it is because it's ambiguous. And surprisingly complex. Man, it's nice to have
figured it out been there done that.
If you're interested to know what we now know, read on. But, as I stated in the first sentence we really had no idea what we doing. Thankfully, we all came out alright.
Like with other parenting topics, once I realized we were coming up with more questions than answers, I seeked out some information/advice. By far, the #1
tip annoying thing we kept hearing was to wait to until they're ready. I even started spouting out this advice myself! I guess I likened a child being able to use the potty to the variety of other childhood milestones that they just one day miraculously achieve, you know like crawling, walking, or talking. We've never been in too big of a rush for them to do anything beyond when they were ready, so we too thought the advice of "just wait until they're ready" sounded like a good plan until....we learned that this milestone wasn't exactly at the top of our son's priority list. According to him, he had simply had better things to do.
Could you blame him?
So during one of our playgroup sessions, I finally asked point blank to a couple of my mommy friends with potty trained children what exactly "just wait until they're ready" really means...and learned that it means: wait until your child is fully aware of the fact that they have gone to the bathroom in their pants.
So, we waited until he started to tell us things like "I need to have my diaper changed" and when he noticed that his potty/poo poo was the reason his training pants (these are my fave btw) got wet. While at first the toilet seemed like novel fun, he quickly picked up that going to use it repeatedly throughout the day was a bit of an inconvenience. I mean stopping to do everything I'm doing to go and use the bathroom isn't exactly the funnest part of my day either, but eventually you just get used to it and you do it.
Well those toddlers are smart. Very smart. And once ours learned that when he resisted we retracted (we didn't want to force it!), we were stuck.
Around that time (early May) he was showing readiness for preschool, so we signed him up and whatdya know, after the first couple weeks of attending we began hearing reports of him going all the time there. Guess peer pressure isn't always a bad thing! But, for some reason the interest wasn't the same at home. While we considered installing mini-porcelain potty's and inviting over slews of little kids, I instead hopped online to research some effective
methods incentives used by other parents. We tried quite a few...like a sticker chart, candy, active role playing, signage on the doors, one really big super duper prize!...none of which really sparked any interest.
So, we got creative (it was either that or permanently include pull-up pants into our budget)....
1. I took some time to really think about one of the things our son LOVES. One of the things we only let him play with on special occasions (ie when his little brother is sleeping), something sparkly, something that jingles....you guessed it: MONEY! Ever since we can remember Benjamin has had a fascination with money. Like I said before, toddlers are smart. Since I go crazy over little choking hazards like real coins around our house I asked my mom to go to a party store to pick us up some of these large plastic coins....
Now we were getting somewhere.
We put all of the coins in a big clear jar and placed it high up. We showed him where it was and told him that he would get one coin every time he hopped on the potty whether he actually went or not. We also gave him a special money box and money bag to carry around all of his earnings. He still enjoys counting all his coins and proudly carries them around. ;) My mom even got him a crown to wear upon his thrown (ie potty). All in all, best $6 ever spent, plus we didn't have to worry about the unhealthy aspect of all that candy.
2. I also came up with a song. Feel free to use mine, I must admit it's pretty catchy. ;)
"Pee pee in the potty, not in our pants!
Since I am a big boy, we do the potty dance!"
"Poo poo in the potty, not on the floor!
Since I am a big boy, diapers no more!"
Whatever your incentive, get comfortable with repeating bathroom related words over and over....this is the one time when having a potty mouth is okay (ha ha, I had to include that) and hanging out in the bathroom like 10-15x per day. And know that you'll get used to the yuck factor....just think about all of the other yucky things you've gotten surprisingly comfortable with as a parent and consider this another badge of honor. As for the night time situation, we
plan hope to only use pull-ups for a little longer and have already prepped his bed with a couple of these (which we stagger for double coverage). Love that it's removable without having to un-make the entire bed.
For more potty training tips you could also check out this book....I'm okay with admitting that I never actually read the whole thing. What, the topic of teaching a child how to use the potty isn't exactly riveting to you either? Good thing for this post then and other royally entertaining potty humor. ;)