There are so many milestones in a child’s life. Little rights of passage that our kids go through slowly gaining independence on their journey to adulthood. Potty training is one of the many but is a major milestone along the way. While I thought that while potty training might take a little time, teaching one tiny human to pee in the toilet can’t be that hard, right? Wrong. It’s been a long few months year, trying to help one little man see the light and appreciate the feeling of a clean pair of Underoos against his tiny bum.
While common sense dictates that everything will come when it’s meant to, preschool registration does not. Many of our local schools require that by this age (4), our little should be “potty independent.” We’ve had to rearrange many things over the potty training journey because he simply isn’t there yet.
We’ve tried nearly everything. Books, tiny potties around the house. Fun underpants. Ceremonially throwing away diapers (only to dig them back out mere hours later). Threatening to call Santa, Mickey, or whomever else may have a little more street cred than Mom. Three day-naked potty binges with a steady diet of apple juice. Eventually, we realized that just like everything else, our sweet boy would do this in his own time.
While I haven’t quite nailed down the foolproof potty process, I can share a few tips that I have learned along the way.
- Perfect the aim early on. To say that I have wiped pee off the floor, the walls, MY LEG… is an understatement. It’s often best if you have an older potty-trained male to help here (my husband almost has it down, ha!), to teach the fine art of peeing in a straight line.
- Don’t rush it. Seriously. I kept pushing, thinking that we had to be potty-trained for a trip, or an event or a class. When you push, they pull and you’re both left frustrated and spoiler alert- still not potty-trained.
- Poop is scary. I don’t get it, I can’t explain why. It just is. Give it time.
- Invest in bleach wipes. There’s SO MUCH PEE and it goes every which way.
- Rewards are king. Threats are not. As I said before, we’ve tried a lot of tactics including threatening to call Santa Claus. It doesn’t work. Praise the successes, embrace the accidents and support, support, support.
- Remember every kid is different. My gut tells me that my two-year-old is going to be potty trained any day now while my four-year-old will be trained by college. At the end of the day- it will.
Potty training can be a long road. Kids can control this one thing in a world where their every day is mapped out for them and Mom is boss. It’s important to love them through it and remember that like every stage, this too shall pass. I can pretty much guarantee that despite all the time we spend in the bathroom and all my frustrations that when I pack Will up for college it will be sans diapers.