Have you seen the new Nick Jr. Nugget for Pull-ups training pants? It’s a short informational video showing a little girl and her mom doing fun activities to encourage potty training. They play dress up like a supper hero and make potty training fun!
Oh HELLLLLLL no! There are tons of upbeat, positive and useful advice out there for parents who are potty training their children. You will NOT find those posts here.
Potty training sucks! It’s horrible, messy, disgusting, frustrating, and makes you want to bang your head into the wall. REALLY HARD! I’m sure there are some parents whose experience was not as bad as mine…so they may tell you different…but I’m more of a plan for the worse case scenario kind of person…but there is no way to plan for this.
My posts may make me sound otherwise, but overall, I’m a pretty patient person. And I always try to do things the right way, the less stressful way for both me and my kids and try to keep harmony in the home. I don’t usually yell at my kids or loose my cool…but if there was ever a time for it…it is during potty training.
I’ve comprised a list of the “useful” advice I found on the internet just in case you want to think twice before trying them. But if you do…I wish you success with my utmost sincerity…since no one should have to go through what we went though.
- Wait until your child is ready: I do agree with this statement, it makes it easier than trying to do it when they are not ready, but it doesn’t mean it will be EASY. We tried briefly for one week to potty train when Mason was 2.5 but I almost became a run-away-mom, so I gave up. We waited until Mason was 3 and he asked for “big boy pants”. You can wait until they turn 20 and with some kids, it’s never going to be easy.
- Pull-ups: We tried pull-up training pants and they didn’t work for us at all. He just went in them like he would a diaper (and they are more expensive than diapers). I even tried one woman’s suggestion of putting on his underwear with a diaper over them (so as not to get ALL his clothes wet but would still make him uncomfortable if he wet in his pants). I thought this was a great idea at the time, but it didn’t work at all. He just kept going in his pants like it didn’t matter.
- Potty poster chart with stickers: I made a potty chart using a pattern from some website with Mason’s favorite characters on it. Mason got a sticker for each part of the potty process. He just learned to be happy enough to get stickers for all the steps of the process except going in the potty.
- Read books about potty training to them: We found a simple children’s book about potty training…the problem was the book had one line about “I tried to go potty but I’m just not ready yet” and then when the child tried again later, he went in the potty. I can’t tell you how many times Mason quoted the line from the book as an excuse not to have to go in the potty. He used it as an avoidance tool against me.
- Make them try at timed intervals: I started by taking Mason to try potty every 30 min until he sort of figured out the process. Then expanded to every hour and then every two. I had to keep widening the process because Mason would throw huge fits every time he had to stop what he was doing and go to try the potty. I offered him games or books while he tried, NO! So, he started regressing at several points just because he would refuse to go when I asked him and then have an accident immediately after. So I had to start relying on him to tell me (somewhat) and of course he didn’t want to tell me because he didn’t want to stop what he was doing.
- Make them clean it up: Boy did this backfire on me! I saw several blog posts about women who were so frustrated with cleaning up dirty pants so they had their child clean it up themselves and the child magically started going potty in the toilet. (Because the child didn’t want to have to clean it up either.) Oh yeah, Mason was all about cleaning it up himself. He had an accident while I was putting my daughter to nap and went to the bathroom on his own to “clean up”. It was on the carpet, the floor mat, the toilet, the tub, the wall, the sink and on the couch in the living room where he had originally taken his clothes off before going to the bathroom. Oh, and it was all over him too, his bottom, his legs, his feet, in his hair (WTF?). It took me 2 hours to fix “his help”.
- Candy: Yes we even did bribes. Mason would get 3 M&Ms every time he went in the potty. It worked pretty well on peeing so after he was good with peeing then we cut off the treats for peeing and only gave them for pooping. It worked somewhat but the drawbacks were he wanted to “try” just to get the candy at random points during the day not because he needed to potty just because he wanted candy, and he still went in his pants anyway. So he got extra sugar and no result.
It took us over three months of daily poopy pants clean up before Mason was trained enough to avoid accidents for long periods of time. Even to this day he still has occasional accidents (which is to be understood) but three months or pretty much daily clean up was about to put me in the insane ward. Some tricks I resorted to which did offer some success were:
- Don’t cater to them: After the 2 month mark on training, I imposed a new rule. If mommy is busy, and you have an accident because you did not want to stop what you were doing to go potty, then you have to wait until mommy stops what she is doing to get cleaned up and changed. Yeah, it’s gross, but Mason had to feel the uncomfortable consequences to realize loosing 5 minutes of playtime to go potty was preferable to waiting 30 minutes in poop clothes if he did not.
- Don’t carry around changes of clothes: Even after Mason started doing well with training at home (due to new rule #1 above) he would consistently have an accident when we went on a playdate or to a restaurant. So every time I would have to change him wherever we went. So I implemented new rule #2. No change of clothes come with us. If you poop, we have to leave and you have to ride home in poopy clothes. The first time it happened, I had tried to get Mason to go potty before we left the house because I knew he probably needed to. No, he didn’t want to take the time. So sure enough, within 5 minutes of us arriving to the playdate with his friends, he had an accident. So we packed up and left, immediately. He was completely devastated. It happened twice more and then stopped. It was very inconvenient for me as well, but it was the quickest way for him to learn the consequences. And after more than 2 months, I was ready to try anything.
If you are going through this process, I really do wish you the best of luck!