The Joys of Toddlerhood: Potty Training

The Joys of Toddlerhood: Potty Training

It’s that time in every parent’s life where you have to tackle the fun ‘potty training’ adventure. My son is officially 2 1/2 years old and we felt like it is time to begin this somewhat interesting (difficult) process.

For the last 6 months we have taken him to the potty on several occasions, but nothing really serious. I could tell he just wasn’t quite ready, until now. We went on a week long trip down to Oklahoma to see GG (great grandma) and while down there Aiden told me very loudly that he needed to use the potty…and he went…not once, not twice, but five times. It was time.

That is where this guy came in:

Meet the Potty Penguin.  I had this genius idea to order this timer for him to set every 30 minutes to remind him (really me) that it was potty time. And boy, did I build up this Potty Penguin. While on our trip I kept telling him, “You know when we get back the Potty Penguin is going to have to you sit on the potty!” and “Are you excited for the Potty Penguin!” and “It is going to be so fun for Potty Penguin to live with us!” Really I think I built this guy up WAY TOO MUCH! I think in his mind, this Potty Penguin was cooler than Santa. I seriously wonder what was going on in his mind and it makes me laugh a little at all the scenarios he was thinking about this Potty Penguin. 

The moment arrived when we returned from out trip to find a small Amazon box sitting on our porch. We waited until the morning to open it up. His excitement was unreal! As I opened the box, he looked in –almost disappointed– at this little tiny penguin timer. Then I showed him his new Mickey underwear and he became a little more excited. I explained to him “Aiden we are done with diapers. The Potty Penguin will make a noise and that will mean you need to sit on the potty. The noise sounds like this…” and I set the timer to a minute. The minute went by and nothing….no sound. We were both disappointed now. I forced it to ring and he became very excited! I put him in his new Mickey undies, set the timer to 30 minutes and waited for the “potty time”. At 15 minutes, the timer went off for about 2 seconds….what?!?! was this! Needless to say, after a few attempts this awesome idea of the Potty Penguin was over. The timer was broken to start with.

Even though my original idea fell through, I thought I would just write on what I felt has worked so far in this potty training adventure. We are going into day 3 and other then naps/night he is very potty trained. Here is what I have done so far that has seemed to work.

1.Wait until they are ready: Advice I have received from so many of my friends who were mothers before me was to wait until he was ready to start. They all said the same thing. It’s something that will happened eventually, but don’t force it. Some kids just do it later then others. When I tried in the past, he just wasn’t that interested but really was showing the signs now. This post on baby center is a great resource.
2. No Pull-ups: The first time he went in pull-ups he didn’t care –it was just like a diaper. The big boy undies work best. He knows when he is wet and doesn’t like it. Honestly, most of the day I have let him go commando around the house and he has no accidents. The two accidents he has had, he was wearing the undies and forgot to hold it. The naked method seems to work the best.
3. Timer: Even though it’s a plain old timer, it works. I set it for 30 minutes and he knows he needs to sit on the potty. He stops it and starts it on his own each time.
4. Potty Chair: Some parents hate dealing with this but I don’t have to lift him up to get on it which is great for me. It is always close by and when the timer goes off he will run over and sit on it himself.
5. Routine: It helps to make a routine. The timer goes off, he shuts it off & starts it again, sits on the potty for a few minutes. When he goes, I pick up the potty bowl and carry it to the toilet, he dumps it in the toilet, flushes it, washes his hands and gets a treat. He likes the routine and gets mad if I don’t stick to it (totally a first child!)
6. Treats: Have lots of them –I didn’t and wish I would have. I started with gummy worms, but ran out. I went to fruit snacks, but ran out. Now since I haven’t had time to make it to the store he is eating all my Dove dark chocolate 🙂 Whatever works right?
7. Rules: Make rules like “No sitting on the couch or bed” and “You must wash your hands after going potty” Also, I no longer buckle him in his chair for meals so we have an easier escape to the chair if needed.

Anyways, those little tips have seemed to work for us. We are on day 3 and he is doing great. I figure once we tackle the daytime we will work on naps next. I predict some wet sheets in the future…

If you have any potty training tips, I would love to hear them! Anything to make this toddler adventure easier!

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