So many of my friends are considering potty training a little guy this week or next! Per Briana’s request, I am trying to stretch my mind back a few years and remember this potentially daunting passage into big boy/girl underwear.
Here is how we do it at the Reyes house:
1. We do actually potty train. This may seem silly to state, but the truth is if you wait long enough (like when they’re 4ish), you don’t really have to train them – they just do it themselves and THAT IS FINE! Very few kiddos enter kindergarten in pampers, I assure you. That said, I had three boys in diapers and decided that we would actually take the time to potty train. For our family this means taking 5 days or so and hunkering down in the house with a major focus on potty training.
2. We build up to the big event. I start talking “potty talk” weeks before we actually begin. They watch how daddy does (or in Maggie’s case, mommy). I remember one of the boys talking about wanting to ride the potty train. Boy was he disappointed when he understand that this training had nothing to do with an actual train (we were huge Thomas fans).
3. We use potty candy. Our choice: Skittles. one skittle for, eh-hem, #1 two skittles for #2. Potty candy works especially well if your kids haven’t been accustomed to candy. So where the twins (who had no sugar at all until their first birthday cake) thought potty candy was the best thing worth working for, Maggie – my fourth – was less impressed having been eating candy from 6 months on . Also, I decided that with Izzy and Maggie, everyone received potty candy when the “trainee” was successful. This made for much sibling support, encouragement and sugar high all around.
4. We do not use pull ups. I really don’t know anybody who was successful in a short period of time with pull ups. I think they feel too much like a diaper to really help the little one connect the sensation of needing to go with the wetness of it.
5. My boys potty trained sans undies for the first few days. A friend of mine swore by potty training naked. After considering what a pair of little boys completely naked might attempt, I decided to ditch the underwear and use a long shirt to “cover” up a bit. This worked for us. It took one time peeing down the leg before they realized this stuff is best contained. They ran to the potty every time they had the urge. Okay, number 2 is trickier and riskier, but honestly, they knew when that was coming before we started to train, so it wasn’t an issue.
6. Maggie trained in panties because the panty was a powerful tool as a desireable clothing item. That said, she had no problem peeing in them on the floor, a chair or wherever else. I had to be more vigilent to keep sitting her on the potty.
7. We kept two potty chairs in the room where they were playing…at least with the twins. I would keep it accessible for them. We slowly transitioned by putting the potty in the bathroom and them teaching them to use the “big” potty. Both Izzy and Maggie used the big potty right away I think because the big brothers were using it. We used a fitted little ring so they wouldn’t fall in. I had one in my backpack as well for when we were out.
8. I kept a potty in the back of my car for trips longer than 1/2 an hour. Again, since I am anti-pull-up, I needed to be able to pull over anywhere. And between you and I, we mooned about a thousand people during rush hour one evening on I95 .
9. We used undies even when we were out. This is a sacrifice for the mother, but it does help with them not getting confused. My kids seemed to do better when they were out (maybe looking forward to a field trip to the bathroom at Target as opposed to getting distracted playing toys at home). I just brought a change of clothes and prepared myself that I might have to change them.
10. We didn’t go out until they seemed to be getting the hang of it. Except with Maggie because I had to pick up Izzy from kindergarten everyday.
11. We used diapers for nap time and bed time. We did this for too long. I think if I had just “bit the bullet” and spent a few nights changing sheets, we may have kicked this habit much sooner. But it was really important to get the diaper off as soon as possible in the morning and after nappy time…otherwise they could get confused. Also, many kids will wait until that diaper is on for nap time or bed time to do #2. We didn’t have this issue, but I’ve heard it can be really awful especially if you have an “artist”. If you have experience here, leave a comment.
*if you have boys, you may have to say “stop touching yourself” one million times a day. Well maybe not a million, but a lot!
*you may have to “assist” your little girl/guy with number 2 for a long time…longer than you may think.
*the flushable wet wipes are a good investment for begining wipers (You know you’re a mom when you type “wipers” with complete ease).
Potty training is not easy. In a lot of ways it makes mom’s life harder especially when you are at the far end of the mall and someone’s “gotta go”. Still, like everything else involved in parenting, there is grace for you and your little one to do it. However, if you are miserable, and they are miserable, you may want to take a break and try in a few months.
Oh, I’m sure this goes without saying, but my way is certainly not the “right way”. What advice do you other potty veterans have for the comment box?