Oh, potty training.
To all you parents about to embark on this interesting, funny, frustrating and bittersweet journey — good luck.
My son, Sam, is now fully potty trained. Of course, he has the occasional accident, but for the most part, he understands that going to the bathroom in his pants is bad news bears.
Especially pooping in your pants at the gym when mom and dad forgot to grab an extra pair of underwear.
When Sam turned 2, we started talking about potty training. Daycare thought he might be close to ready. But we waited. I was newly pregnant and fraught with morning sickness, so I’ll be totally honest with you when I say I didn’t care about it at all. I simply wanted to stop throwing up.
That summer, we bought a potty chair — and not just any potty chair. We bought this awesome “Paw Patrol” seat that is also a stool. And it has this little fake flusher thing that makes noise. It also cost us about $40.
When we got it home and took it out of the box, Sam was so excited. So I thought it was worth it.
He was so ecstatic that he sat on it right there in the living room while watching “Paw Patrol.” He sat there for nearly a half hour. I kept telling him he didn’t have to sit there, but he didn’t budge.
When he did finally get up, he had a red ring around his little butt cheeks. But, lo and behold, there was liquid in the bottom of it.
He went pee! I was ecstatic. We jumped up and down in the living room. My husband and I high-fived each other for our awesome parenting skills, especially our talent in picking out kid toilet seats.
But then, after a week with the new potty, he was bored. So he decided he didn’t want anything to do with it. He’d kick and scream when we’d set him on it.
Needless to say, we didn’t have anymore “hey-we-rock-at-this-potty-training-thing” moments. Soon, the seat was gathering dust in the bathroom. Potty training went by the wayside as we prepared for the birth of our second baby.
After Elliott was born, I started noticing something. There were a lot of diapers in our house. I’m not sure if you’re aware of this, but babies and un-potty-trained toddlers poop a lot.
And I mean a ton!
We were spending a lot of money on diapers. And we didn’t like it. So we wiped the dust off the old potty chair and got back to it.
And still he fought.
Do you know what finally worked for us?
Yep, stickers. We printed off a “Paw Patrol” potty chart. When he filled a line (it took six stickers to fill a line), he got a “potty prize.” The prizes came from the dollar bin at Target or the sale rack of Hot Wheels cars, but he didn’t have to know that.
When he started understanding that he got toys for going potty, he started going a lot. Sometimes he’d just stand at the toilet — even though, five minutes before, he had just gone — probably praying he’d have to go again.
One time, he found the stickers and proceeded to fill the entire chart, “I all done!”
No dice, kid.
Anyway, we found what worked.
I recommend everyone try a potty chart. Make the (dollar) prizes good. Wean them away from receiving prizes for going potty by turning them into “poop prizes.” I know, that sounds awful, but Sam was scared to death to go number two on the toilet. I have no idea why.
But those poop prizes helped.
Now, instead of dealing with diapers from two kids, I’m dealing with one kid in diapers and wiping up pee all over the toilet seat and floor. (It doesn’t sound like it, but it’s still better than diapers.)
We have some work to do on that, but that’s an entirely different post.
As an aside, I should probably just get used all this cleaning, as I think I’m destined to be a boy mom.
Ashlee Coffey is the editor of momaha.com. She is married with two sons — Sam and Elliott. Follow her on Twitter @AshleeCoffeyOWH.
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