Well here I am again. In the potty training trenches with toddler number three. I thought I'd share some REAL wisdom with you this week... The poop books aren't going to share everything you need to know... Oh yes we are going to go there...
#1. It's Never Going to Happen on Your Terms
As a first time parent this is incredibly hard to accept... You aren't in control of your child's bodily functions. You might want to have them potty trained by age "fill in the blank" but unless your child is physically mature enough to hold their bladder, and mentally mature enough to put the potty training process together in their mind... it's not going to happen. The more you stress about it, the more stressed your child will become. So relax... it will happen... Just not when YOU think it should.
#2. Boys Tend to Care "Less"
Yup sorry moms of boys. Everything tends to happen a little bit slower with wee lads, until around high school I'm told. (There are always exceptions though, so don't get your panties in a bunch)! Being a first time mom to a son, I was very concerned that he wasn't "keeping up" with my friends first time daughters. The other thing I came to realize was that my son didn't mind sitting in soiled diapers. Our second and third children are girls and both have hated the soiled feeling. Weird right?
#3. Pull Ups Suck
No offence to the disposable training pant lovers. But seriously have you considered this concept from your toddler's point of view? They go from a paper diaper that's meant to void in that opens from the sides, to a paper diaper that's not meant to void in?? That pulls up and down or opens from the sides... That's not confusing at all. Toddlers are busy trying to figure out their little worlds, and they immediately understand that panties, or cloth training pants, are not diapers/disposable training pants. They aren't remotely the same. Plus when a toddler NEEDS to go they have seconds to race towards the potty... Fighting with pants and pull ups often results in accidents in front of the potty.
#4. You Don't Need Fancy Accessories
Like every first time mom I bought ALL the accessories. Geez who wouldn't find a special singing watch helpful when potty training? My son had zero idea why his arm was singing at him hourly... And that fancy sticker chart was awesome... I mean stickers are delicious!! Try not to get caught up in all the potty training paraphernalia hype. You need a potty on every floor of your house, either a toddler sized potty or a seat for the potty that comes built into every bathroom. And most likely you need a step stool to help your little minion reach the sink.
#5. Or Expensive Bribes
Awwww bribes. Don't kid yourself they do work. (Heck I'd be a way happier mom if every time I folded a basket of laundry someone handed me a bottle of wine. Everyone would always have clean clothes too). "If you poop on this potty you'll get a matchbox car son." Seriously you're going to be tempted to stoop this low. But don't START here, unless you are ok with spending a fortune on tiny cars. When determining your child's currency start with the cheap stuff! Our third child would jump through hoops for a mini marshmallow. For $2 I have approximately 500 bathroom success rewards. Muhahaha!
#7. Toilet Paper Truths
When using the potty one must LEARN how much toilet paper is required. One square? Ten? A rollllll? Good luck teaching this. My oldest two kids still oscillate between zero squares to a whole roll. Oh and no one will tell you this... Some kids have a phobia of flushing their used paper. Yup it's true!! They'd prefer to put their poopy paper into the garbage can, behind the toilet or perhaps even roll it back up onto the clean roll (this is awesome to discover at 2am in the dark). Words of advice... Buy in bulk. Don't own a garbage can with a lid (barf). When guests come to visit, stick a fresh roll out.
#8. Poop Happens
Most kids master peeing on the potty before the art of pooping on the throne happens. So naturally poop is going to happen... Somewhere... Usually somewhere where poop doesn't belong... Pull Ups for example, which they then whip off in disgust, equaling poop down both legs and randomly dropped on the floor. Excellent! Or if you are letting your toddler run naked, that poop will end up where ever they are busy playing. Say in their older brother's bedroom. Or on top of laptop tray. Or in the dog bed. It's going to happen... So be prepared. Cleaning gloves, disinfectant, paper towels are essential. So is a lot of patience. At this stage most toddlers understand they aren't supposed to poop randomly on the floor. Making a big deal out of it, is heart breaking for them. So grit your teeth, hold your breath and clean it (and them) up. Don't scold them, a simple "oh dear, next time let's attempt putting it in the potty" is enough.
#9. Wiping is a Learned Art
Wiping. With potty training comes needing to learn how to wipe one's own butt. This takes years. You might be uber excited to leave diapers in the past, but you my friend will be wiping poopy butts for years to come. Crap. I know. It's constant shouts of "mommmmmmmmm wipe me" at the most inconvenient times. And it is a learned art, you gotta teach these small minds which direction to wipe, how many times, etc. Years after you think this skill has been mastered you'll be doing laundry and seeing the evidence of poor wiping in the dirty laundry pile. The great news is at some point your child will indeed figure this out. I mean you don't leave skid marks in your underwear right?
#10. So is Hand Washing
Hand washing. My head wants to explode just thinking of the struggle around hand washing. You'll hoover. You'll dispense soap and funny songs. You'll instruct. You'll repeat... For all eternity it seems. I'm constantly screaming "did you use soap" and "let me smell your hands" from one end of the house to the other. The mess left behind every time can be epic too, "evidence" of said clean hands.
Are you ready for this unpredictable, uncontrollable journey? Are you ready to join me in the trenches? :)
~ Doula In The Wild
By: Doula Sonja
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