So I mentioned a few weeks ago that we were starting to potty train our 2-and-a-half year-old. I’m happy to report that 4 weeks later, things are going swimmingly. He wears a diaper at bedtime and naptime, but wears underwear at all other times. Except for any time we leave the house, we’re not brave enough to try that yet.
One thing that isn’t working as well as I thought it would is the actual toilet we’re using. A friend at work told me to get a child’s toilet seat that attaches to the big toilet because they didn’t do that and her son became scared of the big bad adult toilet. So we bypassed the Lightning McQueen toilet for a snap on child-sized toilet seat. Riley loves it and it works great, but here’s the thing. This little boy pees all over it when he’s sitting on it and then, it’s clamped on the big toilet, so any time I need to pee, I need to wipe it all off (see #1 below), unhook it and then do my business. It’s kind of a time-waster. So maybe we should’ve gone for the potty chair after all…
As a first-time parent, I didn’t really know what to expect with potty training. I’ve never taught a child to use the bathroom like a civilized human being. But I decided I could wing it and figure it out on my own without buying any trendy book or anything like that.
So here’s what I did. We took a weekend to dedicate to potty training. During that weekend, we set the timer on the microwave for every 20-30 minutes. Riley was in underwear all the time. I probably asked him 20 times an hour if we had to go potty. He just about always said no. When the timer would go off, he’d have to sit on the potty whether he liked it or not.
If some pee trickled out, I made a complete fool of myself – clapping, squealing, hugging him while he sat on the can. It worked thought, he would look so proud of himself every time. He’d be rewarded with 2 M&Ms.
Things have gone surprisingly seamlessly. Yes, he still has accidents. Number 2 is still an issue. But I swear he pees every time I put him on the potty. “Mommy I have to go potty!!!” is shouted often in our house, followed by a mad scramble to get to the potty in time.
So since I potty-trained by trial and error, I thought I would share my rules for potty training a toddler. Hopefully I’ve included some things you haven’t thought about.
1. Stock up on paper towels. Because there will be accidents, believe you me. There will be puddles on the kitchen floor, the bedroom carpeting and most tragic of all, pee on your couch, seeping in to the cushions, never to be heard from again. The weekend we first started potty training, I never gave paper towels a second thought and had to make an emergency Target run, while a puddle sat on the kitchen floor.
2. Reward, reward, reward. Throw a fricken parade in your kid’s honor when he/she tinkles. It’s so amazing to see their confidence grow. We use M&Ms as a reward. I think in hindsight, I would’ve bought mini M&Ms. Because it’s really hard to have M&Ms in your house and not eat them yourself. The mini ones would satisfy your chocolate craving and save you a few calories at the same time.
3. Have you ever potty-trained a puppy? Good, then you know what to do. Put him/her on the toilet often, praise successes and don’t hit them with newspaper if they have an accident! Accidents happen and the best attitude to have is, we’ll get em next time, kid.
4. Never underestimate the motivating properties of Thomas underwear. ‘Nuff said.