Potty Talk: Potty Training Tips from the Trenches

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Potty Training

There are about a million and one things that I LOVE about being a mama. And then there are a select few things that I just dread. Potty training is one of them (“Pooh” on the potty anyone?  I know, I know…but it had to be said!)

So with my son’s third birthday approaching shortly, I knew it wouldn’t be long before potty training began with my little man.

So, after “watching for the signs” like so many books and blogs say to do to determine potty “readiness,” (and digging out the Elmo potty DVD from a storage box) my munchkin was (very sweetly) against it.

The Dreaded Perky Potty Talk

So I went into the perky potty talk mode, but no amount of positive potty talk and introducing him to the potty seemed to change his mind.

“Honey, let’s go pee pee in the potty!  You are such a big boy!  Let’s go check out the potty! Let’s go see what big boy under pants look like!  Let’s pick out a little potty together at Target! Look – little (insert his buddy’s name) can go pee pee on the potty!  (and on and on and on with whatever other perky potty talk I could muster).”

His response?  “No thank you mama.  I like my diapers. No potty please.”

Well, I’ll give him this.  At least he was polite about it.

Seeing that my potty enthusiasm wasn’t convincing him, my hubby and I had several “discussions” about this subject.  My feeling? Let’s keep waiting until he tells me he is ready.

Because guess what? I potty trained my first on MY timetable, not hers. And guess how successful we both were with THAT strategy? I’ll give you a hint…it took a long time for it to click.

My hubby’s take?

“He doesn’t like broccoli.  But, it is our job to keep introducing it to him and making him eat it…or other vegetables…to be a healthy, happy kid.  Just because he doesn’t like it, doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be encouraged to eat it.”  And he related this to potty training.

Well, humph. So we eyed each other down. And then decided to compromise as best as possible.

Operation Potty Time: Choosing Our Strategy

We came to the decision we would pick a potty training method together (not the easiest decision since everyone seems to have the answer…or an opinion on why a method does not work) and agreed on the following:

1. He would be an active participant (we picked a long weekend so work wasn’t much of an issue).
2. We would deal with the messes together (i.e. he had to clean up just as many stinkers as I did).
3. We would stop and take a break from training if our little man was terrified/traumatized/etc.

I was convinced that my little guy wasn’t ready.  I was convinced that this was going to be a disaster.  And, you know what?

He was ready.

To my delighted surprise (and to his daddy’s triumphant, but very sweet, “I told you so”), he actually was ready and responded to the training method we chose.

We also went through about four packages of M&Ms in the process (but hey, I didn’t say I was above positive praise…and flat out bribes.)

Potty Training

Four days – completely housebound.  Four packages of M&Ms (so much for broccoli!). Twenty-one new pairs of Cars and Thomas the Train underpants.  About 1,651 times of saying, ‘Tell mama when you need to go potty!”  Eight loads of laundry.  One special Thomas the Train toy set for the first time he was completely dry and clean for one full day (no accidents).

THEN NO MORE DIAPERS – well worth every second!  Not to mention a confident, happy, proud little boy who now loved the potty – again, well worth every second!

I would love to take credit for my fabulous potty training skills. Boast about how I developed this insanely wonderful, fabulous way to convince your child that pee pee in the potty is the best.thing.ever.

Nope, it wasn’t me.  I have to give major props to the woman, Lora Jensen, who wrote “Three Day Potty Training.” (for us, it took a solid four days).  Note:  we followed most of the method…but we still tailored it to my son’s specific needs.

Bottom (no pun intended) line: every kid is different. And every kid is motivated by different things. And every parent has to do what works for them.  When I mention this method, some people love it…others, not so much.  But for us, this method worked.  And, I am completely grateful.  Four days…and it’s DONE.  And, we have only had one daytime accident in three weeks!

My Potty Training Advice

So, my advice for deciding when to potty train your little one?  Do your research. Pick your method in advance. Prepare everything you will need in advance (undies, sheet savers, bribes, laundry detergent, snacks, sticker charts, DVDs, books – whatever you decide you want to use). Talk to your partner and make sure both of you are on the same page. Then, pick a time block that you can devote to your munchkin.

And remember – breathe!  Do your best to stay positive and encouraging and patient (and excited to your child!).  Your little one will mirror your behaviors.

That’s all for now on this stinky subject.  Next, I’m going to have to write a blog on taking your newly potty trained kiddo a to public restroom (because I am now remembering how difficult this actually is…my little guy accidentally peed on my shoes…while sitting on the potty in a Target bathroom yesterday…but that story is for another time).

What potty training secrets do you have?  Any “potty whisperers” out there?  Please share – we want to hear what worked for you and your kids!

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