Archive for the 'Potty Training' Category

The Royal Flush of Potty Training

We have mastered potty training, finally. Three-feet-of-fun is three and a half years old and is now a champion underoo wearer. He didn’t have much of a choice, he’d outgrown public changing tables and I was tired of changing diapers. It had nothing to do with the baleful stares I used to get from the parents of potty trained angels. You know, the perfect little darlings that have been potty trained since birth with no trouble whatsoever. Okay, so I’m being sarcastic, they were more like 3 months old. Nonetheless, it was really tiring to have, “He’s how old?” asked of me again and again when I would need to change his diaper like I was some horrible mother that was too lazy to teach him the ins and outs of the joys of using the toilet.

When Three-feet was 18 months old, my husband and I couldn’t go to the bathroom without him following us in and wanting to flush the toilet. So being the avid baby advice reader, and having read when a child shows interest in bathroom pastimes, go out and get a potty chair to start acclimating them to the idea, I ran out and got him a potty chair. I’d done my homework and had made sure it had a splash guard (you mom’s of boys out there know what I’m talking about) and that it had a comfy seat.

Three-feet was overjoyed at the prospect of having his own big boy potty. He would sit on it for hours, fully dressed of course, and read books, sing songs, and keep us company while we were using the facilities. I thought well he’s going to be a dream. I’d read that boys were harder to train and I thought well obviously not my little overachiever. Then, when I was going to start trying to get him to use it, he suddenly hated it. Looking at the seat, made him cry, let alone trying to sit him on it. I didn’t even bother. He wasn’t even two yet and I figured it was a phase.

That phase lasted a year and a half. When he passed two I tried every trick in the book to convince him to do it. I’d try to bribe him with: stickers, M&M’s, inexpensive dollar store toys — nothing worked. I didn’t want potty training to be a battle and everything I read said it was better to wait for the child to be ready. If some expert said it, then following it doesn’t make me a bad parent, just saying.

When he turned three, was too long for the changing tables, and still refused to go in anything but a diaper, I was at my wits end. I tried switching to pull-ups because then he could actually feel that he was wet, more so than in diapers anyway. He still didn’t care. Then one day, we were at the library for story time, I was complaining to a friend whose daughter is five months younger than Three-feet who had been potty trained forever about how Three-feet refuses to even participate. She told me how she did it. The answer was so wickedly simple that I can’t even believe it’s not written in any expert book I’ve ever read.

So now, in the spirit of a Pay It Forward, I’m going to share this knowledge with you for no charge whatsoever. Isn’t that nice of me?

It’s mind blowing. Are you ready for it?

Just put your child in regular underwear and let them go potty in it.
Yes, that’s it. It’s as simple as that and it totally works.

Obviously, you have to be prepared for messes and all the laundry that’ll entail. You’ll also need to buy several pairs of “big boy or girl” underwear because in the beginning you’re going to go through them. I recommend letting the child pick out which kind they want so they’ll have more reason to want to wear them.

Here’s why I think it works. Diapers and Pull-ups are designed to pull the moisture away from the child’s skin to help avoid diaper rash and other uncomfortable ailments. Even the so-called training pants that turn cold or the ones that the pictures disappear when they’ve gone still doesn’t let the kid “enjoy” the full pleasure of being soaked through when they’ve gone to the bathroom. Three-feet absolutely hated being wet. Hated it.

The first day I put him in underwear, I didn’t bug him about going at all. He picked out which pair of “big boy” underwear he wanted to wear. I explained to him that he was a big boy now and that he wasn’t going to wear diapers anymore. I told him he needed to tell Mommy when he had to go potty and we’d go. Three-feet is a strong-willed child and I knew the more I harassed him about going the more he was going to dig in his feet about not going. I didn’t want the war. I figured he’d learn soon enough. When he did potty in his underwear I would calmly explain to him that he should tell me he has to go, this method can’t use yelling — you’re basically setting them up to learn by error and it isn’t fair to punish for that.

In less than a week, he’d figured out he didn’t like to go potty in his underwear. Being the precocious kid he is, he begged and cried for his diapers back. So that’s when I instituted the potty awards system. We went out and bought a bunch of stickers. I let him pick out all sorts of different kinds and then every time we had a successful potty trip he’d get to pick out a sticker and put it on his shirt. He’d be so proud of everyone he’d received that he’d count them and tell anyone who would listen why he had them. (Just remember to peel them off the clothes before you wash and dry. I learned that the hard way.)

I’m not saying we don’t have an occasional accident, he’s three and a half so, naturally, he gets so involved in playing he tries to hold it as long as possible and sometimes he doesn’t make it to the toilet but all in all the whole process worked like a dream.

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Potty Perfect

It’s happening!  The littlest person in our family is finally making her way to the toilet - on her own.  After months of my inconsistant wanting to try, kind of trying and trying and forgetting to maintain the trying - she has finally decided that if she is ever going to crap somwhere besides her pants that she has to take matters into her own hands.  Thank god.  I had no idea, otherwise, how it was going to happen.

So, for the last three days she has been thoroughly dedicated to making every pee and poo in the potty.  This morning she actually got mad and a screamed at me because I was so distracted talking to my mother in law on the phone that I didn’t notice her telling me she had to poop - and, much to her dismay, did it in her pants.  She yelled at me.  For a long time.  Sometimes I don’t feel like the parent.

But, it brings me around to how I used to feel about the whole potty training thing a long time ago.  I had some weird notion back then that I actually had control over this thing - this bizarre potty training thing.  Ha!  What I have come to realize is that, not only do I not have control over it - I have, actually, very little control over anything.  Sure, I’d like to write this blog as if I had spent these last few months intently and compassionately helping my daughter learn her first lesson of independence.  I would love to take full credit for having two children that were both potty trained by the age of two (my son around 15months and my daughter, at 2, well on her way) but, hell, I really had nothing to do with it.  Honestly, the only thing I can take credit for is making them sit in the bathroom with me while I do my own thing and even that was only because I didn’t want to be interrupted.  My point is this:  kids will do it when they’re ready.  I know that most of you know this but, I guess, I didn’t.  I have just been lucky to have two kids who have taken to it like it was a game.  Some people don’t.  I have no clues to give.  I have no suggestions to make.  I just let them walk around naked a lot and that seems to work.  So, for those of you embarking on the potty training journey - good luck and may all the forces of nature be with you.

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