After receiving an almost comically large shipment of Pull-Ups a few weeks ago, it was time to commence the potty training process in earnest. (For those of you just tuning in, I have recently been appointed a Pull-Ups Potty Ambassador, writing about the process of helping my son, T, make the transition from diapers.)
I did a LOT of research before commencing the process; not in a creepy over-involved parent way, but more in the “OH MY GOD I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I’M DOING, LIKE EVEN A TINY LITTLE BIT AIEEEEEE!!!!” type of way. As I’m sure you can imagine, there are as many theories and philosophies about potty training as there are weirdos at an American Idol audition. It was important for me, therefore, to check out everything, see what worked for other parents, and distill the most promising ideas to something that would work for my kid’s personality. Here’s what I came up with:
Prepare, prepare, PREPARE. And then when you’re done? Prepare some more.
This goes for you (in terms of research) and your child. As I mentioned in my last post, I began telling T that he’d be starting to use the toilet well before we actually commenced the potty training process. To get him even more excited, we went to the drugstore, where he picked out a ton of stickers, and then to the candy store, where he selected a few of his favorite candies. I told him that these were special presents that he would get each time he used the potty.
After that, we went to the store to pick out a potty together. There seems to be a pretty even split between recommendations to use an actual potty, and the potty seat that sits atop the toilet. After much careful consideration, we went with the potty seat that sits on the regular toilet. Number one, because I am lazy, and didn’t want to have to be dumping out/cleaning the contents of an actual potty, number two, because it’s far easier to store a potty seat in a minuscule apartment bathroom, and number three, because I was swayed by the argument that teaching your kid to use the actual toilet from the beginning of the process makes for the easiest transition overall.
We headed home with our purchases, and...put them away. T was SO excited about everything we’d bought, and consequently, I wanted to make him really, really want it. I told him we’d start tomorrow, and he began quite literally bouncing up and down in anticipation.
The next day (we specifically started on a weekend, when we could spend a lot of time at home), we kicked things off. I first showed him his special chart, where we’d add a sticker every time he used the toilet, and then with great fanfare, I took out the stickers, the candy, and the potty seat. I then lugged out an adorable train stool that T had received as a gift (and which had previously been relegated to a dusty corner of the living room). Now, I explained to him, the stool would stay in the bathroom, next to the toilet, so he could easily climb up and down all by himself. I showed him his Pull-Ups, and told him that he’d be using these now, instead of diapers. He thought they looked like “big boy” underwear, which thrilled him.
The first day was essentially spent asking T every 10 minutes if he had to use the bathroom, and even when he said no, dragging him off to the bathroom to sit on the potty seat anyway. Tiresome? YES. Effective? ALSO, YES. By the end of that day, he was still making in his Pull-Up some of the time, but he’d at least begun to recognize his body’s cues, and sensing when he needed to use the potty.
The first time he actually made it to the potty in time, J and I clapped and shrieked and jumped around (in our tiny apartment bathroom, no less), lavishing T with praise. As proud as he was of himself, I think he was more tickled by us acting like total loons in his honor. I placed a tractor sticker on his shirt, and gave him two pieces of his specially-selected candy; “one for each hand,” per his request.
We still had a ways to go, but we were definitely off to a successful start…
As noted, I am being compensated by Pull-Ups for my role as spokesperson, however the opinions and feelings expressed here are my own. Become a fan of Pull-Ups on Facebook!