Potty training is a humbling experience. Until I had kids of my own, it’s safe to say that I never thought I would see the day when at 7:00 in the morning I’d be dressed in my corporate power suit on my hands and knees scrubbing pee out of the carpet before heading into the office to close a business deal.
I never thought I would cheer and clap when another human being pooped, and I never thought I would find myself scuffing down the hallway in my PJs in the middle of the night to change wet bed sheets.
It actually has less to do with what I happen to be wearing and more to do with the fact that it’s not my own pee I am cleaning up. Potty training doesn’t have a convenient time or place. When your kid has to go, they have to go. If they don’t go when nature calls, there are accidents to clean up.
Before I was married with children, I lived in Europe for a time. One of my first memories from living abroad was watching the Czech women who lived in my neighborhood potty train their kids outdoors. I can remember watching these mothers with their little ones playing in the park outside my flat and all of the sudden, they’d have their child drop trow right in public and take a leak. I was mortified and shocked that they would just whip their little boy’s wee wee or little girl’s hoo hoo out for the whole community to see. I assumed it must be because they were foreign. Now, I am not so sure. Maybe it was just because they were committed to potty training.
Over the summer, we drove our minivan to South Carolina for the family vacation. My daughter was at the height of her potty training and we (as good parents) had to be sure that we didn’t fall back to using the diaper – because trust me—it would have been easier.
Instead, we brought along a tiny training potty and set it up inside the van. There were times when we didn’t have the warning or the ability to pull off an exit ramp to find the nearest public restroom. But, we did have that potty.
Gross as it sounds, we’d pull over and right there and then, unstrap my daughter from the car seat and sit her on the potty. She’d do her business and when she was done, we’d dump it into the grass, rinse it out with some water and away we’d go.
So what are the etiquette rules to potty training? Teaching your child to “hold it” isn’t always as easy as it sounds. Should you pop a squat anywhere to relieve your kid, or should they be forced to go in their pants if there isn’t a restroom in close proximity?
Some children begin to use the potty in a few days while others may take months. It can be hard on the parents and the kid. So, don’t beat yourself up and don’t give up.
Make sure you’re ready: Don’t even try to potty train when you’re moving house, expecting a new baby or there’s some other stressful event in your lives. Wait until things settle down so you can both cope with the inevitable mistakes.
Make sure she’s ready: If she’s starting to notice when her diaper is wet or dirty, or if she tells you when she’s about to do a wee or a poo, then she’s ready. The transition from diapers to pants will be much smoother if you react to her awareness, rather than let her age dictate.
Some children potty train in days, others in weeks. It’s crucial that you remain calm throughout, even if it means slipping a pair of trainer pants on.
Go for it!
Pick a couple of weeks when you’re staying close to home, and make sure you let everyone who looks after your child know your plans.
- Introduce the potty well before training starts. Have the potty in the bathroom from birth so the potty has already become a familiar item, and let her sit on it with a nappy on before potty training starts.
- Encourage your child to let her toys have a go on the potty. If she has a doll who wears a nappy, let your child teach the doll how to go to the toilet using the potty.
- Let her pick out some underpants to buy and make a big deal of her becoming a big girl.
- There are plenty of books out there to prime your child for the big day – check out our recommendations below.
- In the beginning, ask your child about every 40 minutes if they need a wee, and remember to pack at least one change of clothes to get her into something dry right away.
- Don’t make your child sit on the potty for more than a few moments; if your child wants to get up even after not doing a ‘wee’, allow this and praise her just for trying.
- When the first ‘wee’ is done use lots of praise – ask around and most families had a potty dance or song to motivate their kids!
- A reward or star chart could really help enforce this new routine. Products such as ©My Wee Friend™ can really help as an added bonus – every child will love it, and it also gives that extra bit of encouragement for continuous potty use.
- Day in the life of potty training a toddler (parenting-success.com)
- Potty training for the younger set. Less diapers, bonus for mom! (ask.metafilter.com)
- Potty Train ? Potty Training Child (parenting-success.com)
- Potty Training the Clean Way (webmd.com)