I’m potty training again. I just wanted to write a few thoughts on it, some to encourage myself, some to encourage others in the same boat, some just as reminders.
I potty train at age 2. My purpose in that is two-fold. One, kids are more malleable then. Although, they are crazy town with the running around and getting into things, they are more curious than out and out disobedient. My kids seem to go through a phase around 3 or 4 where they really feel the need to test Mom’s no’s. I really don’t want to be potty training then. Two, I hate changing diapers. The sooner I can be done with that the better.
Potty training at earlier ages generally involves training. You probably will not potty train your new two-year-old or younger child fully in a weekend. If you do, awesome for you, but I have fairly average kids and it takes a while. They can understand the concepts, though, and over time, they understand what you want them to do. We’re in Week 2 here, and although we’re still working on getting poop in the potty, he’s pretty good at peeing in the potty when he’s not distracted.
Kids will have accidents. This is a learning process. Even once they’ve learned, they’re still going to forget. I do the same thing. I’ll learn how to do something, then get distracted and end up messing it up. These accidents and forgetting are more likely to happen when they are tired or distracted. Don’t expect your new potty trainer to let you know when they have to pee during their favorite movie or when they are playing with friends. Hey, sometimes your “I’ve been potty trained for a year” child will have an accident at the park or during a movie. It happens. You just need to try to remember to keep track of potty functions for them during those times as well as you can and bring extra clothes.
Pull ups are diapers to kids. While it’s true that my son does not really want to pee on his awesome “Speed” (or Cars themed) diapers, he still calls it a diaper, and he won’t hesitate to pee in it if he has to go. The best way to train is without underpants, but after the initial training, underwear is far superior to pull-ups. It’s going to be messy. You’d better just plan on shampooing the carpet soon or invest in a Little Green Machine or some solid surface floors. I don’t know a good way to train without incurring mess. They can’t learn without making mistakes.
Pay no attention to pamphlets and guides that urge you to call poop BMs and other politically correct hippie psychobabble. Unless you’ve been calling all their poop BMs the whole time you’ve been changing diapers (which I’m very curious about your family life if you have) go ahead and call it poop and pee. It’s also OK to tell your child that their poop and pee is dirty or yucky because it is. It’s not OK for my son to stick his hand in the toilet after he pees or to touch his own poop because it’s dirty and yucky. It doesn’t shame him to let him know that poop and pee are waste products that he shouldn’t touch or decorate the house with. Sure, they’re normal, and he doesn’t feel bad for making them because he knows that everyone in the house uses the potty, but they’re still gross and we don’t touch them. It’s a health issue, and little people sometimes need health issues explained with icky, gross, and germy because e coli doesn’t really have much meaning for them.
Give yourself and your child lots of grace. Life doesn’t stop like it used to when I had all littles. Then, there would be this magical time when everyone would be home for weeks and weeks besides a little run here or there. No more. The bigs have places to go and people to see. This will make potty training take longer. You’re looking for progress. If you have a dinner or a concert or a something to go to, slap a diaper or pull-up on that kid and don’t worry about it. They’ll get it eventually. Sure, run them to the potty if you can, but overall, life is too short to stress about it.
Keep going. Like I said, it’s about progress. Each day, I see a little something that let’s me know he’s getting things a little more. This morning, he asked to go to the potty right away in the morning, and he went. He’s asking to have that diaper off. He’s keeping his underwear drier for longer. He’s at least noticing something is going on when he starts pooping. Today, he even realized part way through that the potty was the place to be with it. In the end, we’re gonna make it after all, so don’t give up.
Finally, in regard to the title, when I take Micah potty, I tell him he’s getting on the potty train. He loves it. Parenting makes me silly.
What potty training encouragement or tips do you have to add?