Potty Training: The Stinky Truth
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Well guys, I did it. I survived potty training my fourth boy! And it only took 4 months! (Are you sensing the sarcasm?)
So here's the thing about potty training. I hate it. There is nothing (so far...) that makes me feel more like a failure as a mother than trying to potty train one of my boys. It takes so long and I truly begin to believe it will NEVER happen. Visions of grown men in business suits with diapers poking out the back of their pants start to haunt me. Shudder... But despite the fact that I am pretty sure I am the world's worst potty trainer, I am going to impart some words of wisdom to you all on this subject. (Feel free to disregard all of it.)
* Potty Training Stinks. Often times, literally. I hear stories about magical babies potty training themselves at 12 months old, but that is NOT a reality in my house. When I first start potty training my guys they will be standing there naked and will start peeing on the floor without even realizing they are peeing until the splash starts to hit them. I mean, they don't have a clue what's going on down there. So getting from this point to "potty trained" is a long process. I always start thinking "I'm sure we can do this in two weeks, max." Hasn't happened yet. Prepare yourselves. It could be a long haul.
* Bribery Seems To Work Best. I have yet to find a more effective method to train my kiddos than good old fashioned bribery. Here's the up-side: toddlers are super easy to bribe. We mostly used candy and stickers, both of which seemed like Olympic Gold Medals to our little man. Cheap and easy and pretty effective, along with a lot of verbal praise. We may or may not have gotten desperate and also bought him a giant bag of plastic monster trucks for prizes... But they really didn't end up working any better than the candy and stickers did. And finding an effective way to entice Cash to use the potty was really not my problem. We'll get to that next. Bribery. Use it.
* It's Probably Going To Get Embarrassing. Ok, so I'm pretty sure the reason it took me FOUR MONTHS to potty train Cash is because I was so scared to take him out into public without a diaper on and risk an embarrassing mess. But I have four kids and a busy schedule so that means we are not home a lot. Going back and forth between underpants at home and diapers in town is really confusing for these poor little peeps! The best advice I can give on this is to bite the bullet and stick to the underpants. Does that mean that you might be in the middle of the world's longest check out line at the grocery store when they suddenly get real still with that look on their face (you know the one) and you realize you are witnessing poop in progress? Yep. It happens. It happened. And then Cash proceeded to start waddling like a duck while yelling "I pooped, mama! I pooped! It's stinky!" It's horribly embarrassing. Just know that other moms have been there and get the heck out of there as fast as you can. And don't feel guilty chucking those underpants in the trash can instead of hauling them home. I. Refuse.
* Be Prepared for Poopy Pants. With that being said, you will probably have to deal with a messy pants situation at some point. I started equipping Cash with his own backpack supplied with wet wipes and a change of shorts and underpants. Every where he went, that backpack went. Dealing with a public disaster is much easier if you are prepared to deal with it quickly. If you look at the pictures below you can see that Cash really didn't mind hauling his little backpack around. It didn't weigh very much and I think it made him feel cool like his backpack-toting older brothers.
* You Are Not A Failure. I told you that you could disregard all of my advice, but this is one you should all listen to. Just because your child may not be taking to potty training as easily as you thought he or she might, that does not mean that you are failing as a mother. Some of you may have those magical self-training babies I have heard about in Mommy-lore, but for those of you like myself who do not, don't despair! They WILL NOT go to kindergarten in diapers, they WILL eventually figure it out, and you WILL NOT spend the rest of your life terrified to leave your home with your sweet little mess-making kiddo. All I can say is hang in there ladies and keep up the good fight! You are good mommies and you rock for loving your babies enough to survive potty training!
Posted by Devin