Saturday, September 28, 2013

Puddle Patrol

Nothing strikes fear into a mother's heart quite like potty training! Well, at least, this mother's heart.

Our littlest mister has been intrigued with going "potty" on the potty for a while now. But, I've been stubborn and unwilling to really invest any time into the training. We've all been fine and dandy with diapers, and I wasn't looking forward to living in a bathroom for any amount of time.

So. Here are my tips for Potty Training Like a Pro!

#1. Let your kids let you know when they're ready. I feel like I may have either pushed my girls a bit into potty training, and not really picked up on their clues. Or, I was delusional at how the whole potty training thing goes and wasn't all that patient with them. I knew Josiah was ready when he screamed like a wild banchee at me when I tried putting a diaper on him. (He also may or may not have told me on several occasions when he needed to "go.")

#2. Be prepared. Sure, big boy/girl undies are not disposable. But sometimes they are. It can take a while for a kid to learn to go #2 in the potty. And sometimes its not worth the pro-longed vomiting in cleaning the undies out! Also, the first couple of days are filled with either full-blown puddle style accidents or what I like to call half-accidents. (Half accidents occur when your child starts going in the undies, realizes whats happening and then finishes on the potty!) You can never have too many pairs of underwear for the first few days!

#2a. Be prepared. Make sure you keep not only plenty of undies nearby, but also paper towels and some kind of disinfecting wipes. (Our downstairs primarily consists of hard floor surfaces. If we had carpet, I would have also pictured a few towels and Resolve. If we did have carpet, I would try to spend as much time as possible in the kitchen or a dining area with lots of hard floors. Cleaning up tee-tee out of carpet can be a real pain. Plus there's all the germs and bacteria that can trapped in the carpet. And now we digress into my clean-a-phobia.) The first couple of days, no matter how ready your kid is, are filled with the inevitable accidents. If you've got several children in the household or animals, you don't want them traipsing through the mess. Have your towels and disinfecting wipes handy to clean up the mess speedily before it spreads!

#3. Become a hermit. Potty training requires LOTS of consistency and dedication. Seeing as how I've started a couch-to-5k program about 6 different times without completing any of them, you can see how much dedication and commitment I have to stuff. Potty training, however, is the perfect amount of time for me to be dedicated to something. Be prepared to spend a good 3-4 days at home, lounging in your pajamas looking half homeless. Get those crock-pot meals all on stand-by for that week, and make sure that your household expectations are low. Potty-training is time consuming and it REALLY is so much less stressful when you aren't worrying over the dishes, or laundry, or looking like you don't belong in a mental institution.

#4. Encourage your kiddo to go sit on the potty about every 30 minutes to a hour. You be the judge of how often they need to go. The first few days you will literally live in the bathroom! Make it comfy for you. Bring in a cushioned stool to sit on, a book or a phone to help occupy your time, anything to help you keep your patience. Our boy drinks A LOT! So, he needed to go A LOT! (*Sidenote: My genius of a mother in law encouraged me to have our boy sit backwards on the potty, facing the tank of the toilet. The natural instinct when facing this way is to lean forward. So, he wasn't drenching our bathroom with urine. It was a very practical, helpful tip! He's too little for me to trust standing up. But having him face backward I think will help him when he needs to stand, as he'll already be used to facing that way.) Praise your kiddo everytime they go, and don't be afraid to cheese it up a bit! The more excited you are, the more excited they get. By day 3-4 your kiddo will most likely start telling you when they need to go. This is also the time that I gently reprimand my kids for not going on the potty. I make sure not to be harsh, but to lovingly let them know that they need to go in the potty. I also milk the characters on the underwear for all their worth. "Spiderman is so sad that you went tee-tee on him! Yuck! Let's put tee-tee in the potty!! YAY!"

And there you have it. Go and potty-train like a Pro now! Or, if you're like me... let your toddler tell you when he's ready and be completely baffled when he breezes right through it. But also don't be too surprised when he has an epic accident when you're trying to type a blog post. 

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