Moms The Word

May 22, 2007

Adventures in Pottyland *To Do About Tuesday*

Filed under: Good Ideas, To-Do about Tuesday — mrslady @ 1:41 pm

As of yet in my parenting experience, I consider myself to be successful.  My three year old son is extremely polite, a great learner and a generally happy and well behaved child.  Yes, I was definately giving myself and my husband a pat on the collective back for some excellent childrearing-in-progress.

But wait! Not so fast mommy!  What about potty training?

Never in my life have I been more frustrated with anyone or anything.  Someone once told me that potty training is like being pecked to death by a duck-slow and painful.  I am finding this to be a remarkably accurate account of the potty training experience, and I definately will admit that while I was pregnant and dreaming of my cute little cuddle bug it never crossed my mind that I would be cleaning his poo off of his carpet, walls, and hair [ew!] for several months of his life.

Alas, there I am.  I have been up to my eyeballs in bodily functions for longer than I care to think of, and nothing is more frustrating than your child soiling his way through EVERY PAIR OF PANTS HE OWNS in only one single day.  For those of you not potty training yet, that translates to roughly three loads of laundry, four baths [including tub cleaning], two “wipe downs”, three sheet/blanket/pillow (yes pillow!) changes, six carpet spot-cleanings, two toddler potty dumpings/cleanings, and five billion “Do you have to go potty?”s per day for an indeterminable amount of time.  It’s enough to make even the most patient and loving mommy think for one second that they should sell their child to the zoo-at least then he could poo wherever he’d like!

Fortunately, it does not go on forever-and you can remind yourself that someday the one who pees on your carpet will have smelly carpets of their own children’s making. Eventually [they tell me] children become successfully potty trained.  Rumor has it someday they will even wipe their own behinds.  In the mean time, what is a mommy (or daddy) to do?

*Ask around.  Everyone with children has had to potty train them at some point.  I recommend not only talking to people with adult children [your parents might have good tips!], but also people who are in the potty training trenches along with you.  Older parents might not remember what worked for them while potty training, unlike someone who is currently or has recently arm-wrestled their child into going on the potty.  You don’t have to use every suggestion, but when you’re at the end of your wits it’s nice to have some options that you don’t have to think of yourself.

*Talk to the Experts.  Talk to your pediatrician about what methods they recommend, or even what worked for their own children.  Pediatricians have hundreds of clients, so they are almost guaranteed to have good [medically sound] tips.

*Read up! Luckily for moms and dads who do not want to take their potty training toddler into public, you don’t have to go to the bookstore anymore if you don’t want to-online advice is just one Google away.  I like Dr.Green’s advice, and the advice on babycenter.com because they best align with my “no pressure” form of potty training.

*Vent.  Not to or on your child, but it’s definately worth talking about your frustrations.  Talk to your significant other (they’re in the same boat as you!), or to your friends and family.  While they may not like hearing about your child’s poo, they love and support you so they will fake it.  If your relatives get tired of all the potty talk, you can join online groups, like the ones on Myspace or Cafe Mom, which are not only a great place to vent, but can be an excellent place to pick up some more tips!

*Stay positive!  This is beneficial for not only your sanity, but also for your child.  If you stay upbeat and focused on the end goal [not having to clean poo off your refridgerator anymore], it will help you be more relaxed, which helps your child relax, which definately helps the whole potty training process.  Some tips I found about staying positive:

                             *Don’t listen to the Debbie Downers or the Competative Suzies.  So what if your nieghbor’s daughter was potty trained at birth? Your child will do it in their own time.

                             *Reward yourself (and your child) for successful pottying.  I personally don’t believe in candy as a reward, but use whatever works for your family.  We use stickers and/or later nap times as incentive for our son and will sometimes rent a movie or something for ourselves after a day of success.

                             *Take breaks.  Give yourself a couple minutes of down time to read an article (or a blog!) or paint your nails.  If your child potties in their pants in that five minutes, they were probably going to do it anyway. [Unless they tell you they need to go potty, in which case you jump out like a firefighter and rush them to the bathroom (as I’m sure you already do).]

Good luck, and whatever you do remember-someday this child will have to potty train their own child.  That’s a pleasant thought.

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