This is a magic potty. It will make all your parenting potty training dreams come true. It's pink, it looks like a royal throne, it will even play music for you if you fill it. Lucy picked it out and promptly decided it will never work after we got home from the store.
To say I'm the world's worst potty trainer would be an understatement. I should also add that the potty training gods haven't exactly been kind to me. Here's my report card:
1. Josiah- trained at almost 4 years old, you read that right, 4. years. old. He showed no interest whatsoever. I played it cool until a hair past 3 and when I finally asked him if he was ready he said, "No mom, but I'll try." We did (after consuming about 20 dum dum lollipops) and he wasn't. Fast foward 8 months and he trained in one day.
2. Jack- Oh Jackie-boy...he trained around 3 years 8 months after many tears and much drama. He showed interest much earlier but I either "missed the window" because I wasn't ready for the hassle of potty training, or he wasn't as ready as I thought when we started trying.
Now I'm a pretty gentle parent but potty training brings out the absolute worst in me. Jack would act happy to sit on the potty to try and as soon as he got up he would run to another room and pee on the floor. My favorite was when he would hold it until we got to the park, climb to the top of the jungle gym and and look at me while he pooped.
I did everything horrible to try to get him to train and made every mistake in the book- I made him clean up his messes, I shamed him, I even punished him by sending him to his room. It was clearly about control. When I gave up, he trained in about 3 days. For the life of me, I still can't figure out how it became such a big deal.
3. Lucy- 3 years, 3 months- in process. I was determined to not repeat the Jack debacle (especially with this stronger personality) so I acted very cool and laidback. I brought up the idea 6 months ago and was met with resistance so I immediately back off. We had a baby shortly after so I decided I would try again in January. So here we are on day 5. The pullups had to disappear. She wasn't crazy about the idea and did a tiny bit of testing to see if it was really true and has done well since. She still will not #2 in the potty but other than that she's training very quickly. An ideas on solving this problem?
So when potty training was one of the top contenders on the question list, I was nervous. What can I possibly tell you? I'm hoping my other sisters will come to my rescue, especially the one who is currently successfully training her almost 2 year old boy.
This is what I know so far:
1. Our reader Becky was so wise (she's trained 3 boys)- get rid of the pullups, stay home and let them run around without clothes on. Pump them full of drinks and let the practice begin. Be willing to stay home for a few days until you can get into a good routine.
2. Training is easier in the summer. You can wait until then. Follow the "so what" advice of this smart lady with those around you who are giving you the Judgey Joanna eyes. The preschool teachers reminded me of this very thing last week when I was stressing about Lucy. There is no required time or age, it is just some crazy expectation we like to put on ourselves as parents.
3. Look for signs of readiness. No BM's at night. Routines are developing and shows signs of awareness (hiding, squatting, etc.). Longer periods of dry diapers. Can begin to dress him/herself. Shows interest in the toilet and can follow simple directions.
If your child isn't showing signs quite yet, wait. Emotional readiness is just as important as physical. I'm pretty sure no one will be heading to college in diapers so don't worry too much. You can always consult your pediatrician if the questions are multiplying in your parent mind.
4. Being consistent in a casual way is the key. No judgement or frustration can be looming in the air. Keep creating opportunities for success yet still leaving room for your child to guide.
5. Candy rewards are a toss up. They never seemed to work for us but it might be the particular personalities we are working with. I know other families where a Rolo went a longway so the jury is still out on this one.
General celebration, potty dances and high fives seemed to do the trick. Picking out special underwear and a bottle of kid's smelly handwashing soap also created some potty buzz.
5. Books, books, books. Buy books about the potty, read books to your kids while they try, save special books for kids to look at during potty times. It's a great time to promote some literature love.
So there are the lessons learned by a potty trainer still very much in training. Now we need you to weigh in, share with us your best potty training tips in the comments. Help a sister out, will ya?