Potty Training Fun

The most recent milestone reached by my nearly three year old son was potty training.  It’s a biggie.  Until your little one can go almost all by himself, it’s a HUGE pain in the ass.  It doesn’t happen overnight.  There are people who claim they potty trained their kid in a day. A day?  You know what I call those people?  Full of shit.  It took my son a day just to grasp the concept that his pants need to be at least partially off in order to start the whole process.  And he’s really no slow learner.

There are a few things I learned during potty training.

Rewards are a big waste of time.  M&M’s, stickers, lollipops, none of it is helping at all.  I tried that stuff at first with Little M and he started asking for Hershey Kisses every ten minutes, a request that was consequently followed by a tantrum when he was told heck no.  Ok, I gave in a few times.  I couldn’t deal with the tantrums!  But after I ran out of Hershey Kisses I stuck to hugs and applause.  It really worked much better because he understood that the applause was for doing a good job on the bowl.  The chocolate?  Just spoiled the heck out of him.  If it works with your kid, then great.  But my way is free! And if it’s free it’s for me.

Pull-ups are just glorified diapers.  It took my husband a week to learn the difference between a diaper and a pull-up, so how on earth can I expect my toddler to know?  I can practically hear the song in my head.  “I’m a big kid, look what I can do.  I can go pee-pee in my pull-ups too!”  Seriously, invest in some undies for your kid.  Until they know how gross it feels to waddle around in urine-soaked clothing, they will just use the pull-up like a regular old diaper.  Unless they are like my son, who hates his undies and goes commando.  Whatever works, I say!

If they’re not ready, screw it.  You can’t force these things.  I know a girl who had to have her kid potty trained before she went back to work, so she used a timer and threw the kid on the potty EVERY HALF HOUR. ALL DAY LONG.  I mean, maybe it worked eventually, but that just sounds traumatizing for everyone involved.  I’m definitely no expert, but I wouldn’t recommend this method.  Unless your kid is old enough to literally read books on her own but is missing out on the whole bathroom-reading experience because she still poops in a diaper, wait until she’s ready.

If your kid IS ready, don’t be afraid to go for it.  Honestly, I was.  I had fears of going out in public and being dragged to the bathroom every 15 minutes, of being woken up several times a night to take him to the potty, or worse, he had an accident and I’m changing sheets at 2am.  All of these things do happen.  But it doesn’t matter because if you know they are ready, you need to face the music.  I knew Little M was ready because I could no longer peacefully use the bathroom on my own.  Every time I tried, he would burst through the door to ask me if I was “doing the peepees?”  After about a week of this, following the realization that I’d soon run out of diapers (which were costing me $40 an effing box), I decided it was time to get over my fears.  And the rest is pee-pee and poopy history.

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