Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Potty Training Secret

There are a lot of "sure-fire" procedures you can use to potty train your kid. Here are a few of my favorites:

"Feed your child lots of salty foods like pretzels and chips so they will be extra thirsty and drink a lot, and then make them sit on the toilet every 30 minutes. They will experience success and like it, and VOILA."

"Don't let your child wear a diaper, just let them run around au naturale in the house. S/He won't want to make a mess on the floor, they'll just automatically want to go use the toilet. VOILA."

"Don't leave the house for one whole weekend and spend the entire time doing intensive potty training with sticker charts, potty training books and movies, and positive reinforcement. By Monday: VOILA."

Yes, they all make it sound that easy. Like you just have to follow a simple plan for a very short period of time and "TA-DA," you will have leaped the hurdle of potty training in a single bound.

I'm going to let you in on two secrets now.

1 - It's almost never that easy. There will be puddles. There will be pee running down legs into shoes. There will be such horrible, terrible things I am not even going to tell you, but even your imaginations cannot dream up the depths of the grossness.

2 -

Before I get to this second one I want to make sure I have your attention. NO ONE is going to tell you this but me and it will change your whole life for the better. Pay close attention now...

2 - Wait to potty train. Yes, I just said it. WAIT. Stop trying to train your 1.5-year-old. I know you want to brag about your potty-training prodigy, but seriously, just wait.

No one tells you what things are like post-training, so I'm going to share a few of our horror stories:

- Pulling over on the 4-lane freeway to use the portable car potty on the side of the road. The wind from the passing cars sprays the pee all over mom's legs, the car and the child.

- Standing in line at an event bathroom, no one will let us go ahead, while toddler has an accident on the floor.

- Every single dinner being interrupted with, "I have to go potty!" and then assisting on wiping as needed while dinner sits on the table. (And yes, I try to make her go before-hand but, "I don't need to right now!"

- Laundering the carseat over a dozen times thanks to accidents where we're stuck in traffic or no where near a bathroom when she announces (for the first time), "It's about to come out!!!"

- Having to use public restrooms all over the country, pretty much every time we go shopping or out to eat. I have been in so many gross bathrooms.

So now you know the secret. I know when you've got a kid in diapers you just want to reach that holy grail of potty-trainedness. And I know sometimes diapers are gross and inconvenient to change. However, you'll still be wiping that bum for years after you've potty trained the kid. Don't be in such a rush to make yourself a victim of your 2-year-old's every potty whim.

Diapers are tiny little miracles. Appreciate them while you can.


Anna said...

Yes! Such a truthful post. We waited until 3 years old, sticking to what our kid thought she could do, ignoring pointed questions from family members and daycare. Result: I can count the number of accidents she's had on one hand. Thanks for more good reading material.

PsychMamma said...

We started potty training two days ago with our two and a half year-old. It hasn't gone as well as I had hoped. She was giving all the "signs" of being ready, but now I'm not so sure. After a huge poop "incident" today (poop all over her legs, her pants, my clothes, my hands, the bathroom rug, the toilet, and the vanity), I'm rethinking the whole thing and am totally seeing the wisdom in your words. Sigh.

Lahdeedah said...


Rainy, you remember my stories.

Or lack of.

I think I tried once every now and again, and in the end, waited til they were ready, which was, SHOCKING, FOUR...

But I hold up my pediatrician's advice like the Holy Grail of Potty Training Fact Over Myth:

My uber pediatrician whom I adore said something to this extent:

"Having a child potty trained means nothing. It's a basic act of nature. It doesn't mean a child is smarter, more capable or more advanced. Some parents really focus on the potty training and push it very hard, and if you want to, that's fine, but my recommendation is you don't bother, because the majority of kids will get it on their own when their ready, and it's easier to just wait. It's not a problem until five."


My whole 'do nothing because I don't like cleaning up ppop' plan worked. And when I DID train them, you know what? None of Rainy's horror stories :).

But Rainy knows this. I whined to her for about a year about it.

Sanya said...

*bows in adoration*