You're definitely a Mama when you want to shout to the world the great success of your potty training efforts. So lets get right to the shouting.
MY SON ROCKS!!! WAHOO!!!!!
If you just thought to yourself, "She's a nutcase, who cares?" - then you are not a parent. And I hope one day you will experience the great joy one feels when your child takes a big 'ol poo on the potty. Until then, go ahead and consider me a nut.
YIPPIE!!I have put forth much blood, sweat and tears into this endeavor. OK, maybe not blood. And not sweat. But definitely tears, darn it. I use to wonder if my son's days with diapers would ever come to an end. Now I see the light at the end of the tunnel! For we have and continue to have potty success!! I do not have all the answers. I don't do everything perfectly or by the book. I am no expert, this is after all my first go-around. But if you stick with me here, I will share with you all my secrets and what worked for my son and I. Maybe you too will soon see little toddler logs in your potty. :) These are the things I have learned:
1) First and foremost....patience is a virtue. It is very true when people say your child is ready when they are ready and not when you are ready. No amount of willful thinking on my part was getting my sweet little boy closer to the potty. And no, strong arming them into it does not work. Just for the record. LOL! Children will control two thing: what they put in and what they put out. I heard that from Dr. Phil one time...and other resources as well. ;) You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink. Likewise, you can lead a child to the potty, but you can't make him wee-wee. *Sigh* So be patient. I know you hate hearing that. But, please don't shoot the messenger.
2) Monkey see, monkey doo-doo (HA! Did you like that one?). I don't know about you all, but I figured if I wanted to teach my boy how to use the potty, I had to show him. You can't just tell them how to do it without showing them. That's like telling them to go cook you a 5 course meal. Our little ones simply don't know how. You need to create a fascination with all things potty before they will EVER think of sitting on it. Tell them you need to go! Do an exaggerated funny run on your way there. Let them hand you the toilet paper. Let them flush for you afterward. Ask for a high-five because you went "wee-wee or doo-doo" on the potty. And if you haven't already figured it out, choose your potty vocabulary.
3) Potty shop. I have compiled a list of things that have helped me and my awesome dude.
*Potty seat. Either one to fit on the toilet or their own separate potty seat. I got one of each, but my son liked the actually padded seat that went on the toilet.
*Step stool. If you have chosen to get the seat that fits on the toilet, they need a way of actually getting up there. A step stool also does wonders with being able to reach the sink.
*Potty book. Funny story, my son would grab the almanac we have on the back of the toilet and sit and flip through it. It became a helpful tool for me. It was nice to have that little something to give him. Looking at the almanac is something he gets to do ONLY while sitting on the potty.
*Wiping material. My son just uses toilet paper. But I'm sure having their own special flush-able, cool looking wipes would be rad too.
*Hand soap. Get a way AWESOME, totally COOL looking type of hand soap. It makes washing hands afterward tons of fun. Boring bar soap is lame. ;)
*Undies, training pants, whatever you think will catch your little one's attention and make them feel like a big kid, but still work for you.
*A to-go potty. There are ones that fold up nicely that you can take with you.
4) Praise, praise, and more praise. Even if they wind up sitting on the potty without doing anything, they still sat there! Any step forward is worthy of praise. And it's a fact of life, accidents will happen. You'll have wet pants to change. Pee to clean up off the floor. You might even get sprayed with pee (hey, point it down! lol) REMEMBER: One unkind word or gesture done out of frustration can set the whole potty business back two steps. They're trying. They want to do good. Honest. It's a scary, new thing that they are tackling. I see this now. So keep up the praise. The first time my son went wee-wee, I called all the grandparents to tell them. Not only did they get a kick out of it, but my son was lavished with tons of "good jobs!" and "that a boys!" It did wonders for him and made him want to try, try, and try again!
5) Reward. Lets face it, I'd poop on the potty for a candy bar. If someone wanted to give me one, I'd gladly take it! I swore I would never use bribery. But hey, it's not bribery. It's a reward! I like that word better. :) I love to use stickers. I made up this absolutely cute sticker chart and each time my little guy uses the potty, he gets a sticker to put on. I also write little things on the cart like "Way to go!" "YAY! You went doo-doo!" It's fun to do, fun to look at, and will be fun to hold on to to embarrass them with in the future. If you don't want to do stickers, just do what you find works. Maybe a penny each time they go? Maybe some sort of fun treat. Maybe a high-five is enough. Speaking of high-fives...
6) Remember to make it fun. This pretty much goes hand in hand with all the other points. My son loves Spongebob. His potty seat has spongebob on it. He likes to dance so I made up a funny potty dance I do every time he goes. I might look retarded, but who cares? No one's watching me other than my son.....I think. We're super big into high-fives, knucks, E-T's, handshakes, etc. I automatically get a high-five each time he uses the potty, even if I forget to ask for one! :) I use funny voices to talk to him while he's sitting on the potty too.
7) Figure out what works BEST for you and your little potty trainee. We skipped the training pants and went straight to underwear. In truth, most of the time he goes bottomless. This works for us. We have wood floors and the occasional accident is easy to clean up. When guests come over or we go outside I put the underwear on. If there is an accident, you know what? Oh well. We just change clothing. He does, however, get a diaper at night and when we leave the house. The diaper at night is a precautionary measure we use to keep me sane. I'd get tired of washing sheets every day because it's inevitable that the mattress/sheet protector isn't large enough to actually "protect" anything from getting wet. Ugh. The diaper when we leave the house, I'm proud to say, will be in the works to get rid of here shortly! We purchased the to-go folding potty seat and will be starting that adventure. Hooray! Now I really do get to subject everyone to my potty dances and silly voices.
Other points to ponder:
*Sitting or standing for boys? I don't pretend to know the answer. My boy, obviously, is training sitting. I don't know when we will make the transition to standing. Perhaps he will learn to wee-wee standing this summer outside? We'll see.
*Who's easier and faster to train? Boys or girls? I also don't know the answer to this. My daughter is far away from potty training. Get back to me in a year perhaps. It would be interesting to hear input on this because I've heard girls are easier.
*Does success with # 1 mean success with #2 as well? Hmmm, I've read that just because your kiddo goes pee on the potty, does not mean poop will immediately follow. In my case, however, my little guy ran out of his room one morning holding his bum exclaiming, "Mama! I do doo-doo!" And so he trotted to the toilet and sure enough, he went. He has been going doo-doo on the potty ever since.
If you are a potty training Mama (or Papa, or whomever), I hope this post will help you out or give you encouragement if things aren't going as planned! You can only do your best to be patient, find what works for you, and deal out the love and praise. When you're in it, you're in it for the long haul. Before becoming a parent, whenever I use to hear people talk about potty training I would always wonder what the big deal was. Now I know. It is by far a daunting task and it's easy for you, as well as your little one, to become discouraged. Keep it up! The days of diapers will eventually come to an end. Who knows, you might one day miss having a diaper to change.
Fellow potty training participant