I was one of those parents who feared that her children would go off to college in diapers. No, seriously, I was. Because that’s my kind of luck.
So imagine my surprise when Garrett, one of my twins, at the age of 2 1/2 (31 months, if you want to be exact) suddenly announced, “My diaper is yucky” and tore it off faster than my husband tears out of here for work every morning at 8:07 am on the dot.
I replied, “Well, if your diaper is yucky and you don’t want to wear it anymore, you’ll need to use the potty”. My jaw hit the floor when he said, “Okay” and walked into the bathroom, sat down on the little potty seat and peed!
It was THAT simple, my friends. And I didn’t even have to pull my hair out or scream obscenities into a pillow.
As parents, we bang our heads against the wall, frustrated with our children over such milestones as potty training. It’s definitely not for the weak at heart. When it comes to potty training, there’s a lot to be said about waiting until your CHILD is ready… not when YOU’RE ready.
If Garrett could give some pointers, I would imagine there would be some important things he’d want all us frustrated, exhausted parents to know.
Potty Training 101 - According to a Toddler
- This is the most important rule. I’m just gonna come right out and lay it on the line. I am in control here. Not you. Not Daddy. Not the moon and stars in the sky. ME… I am in control. I will use the potty when I am good and ready… and not a minute before that. Yeah, yeah. I know you gave me life and all. Save your breath because I really don’t care.
- Let’s go over the rewards system. If I’m gonna be honest here (which you know is RARE for me) the one reward that means the most to me is just seeing you incredibly happy. I mean, if seeing a little bit of pee in the potty from little, old me makes you beam with pride, I’m all for it.With that said, if you INSIST on giving rewards, here’s a list I put together which might be helpful:
- candy (preferably, lollipops… lots and lots of lollipops)
- stickers (of all my favorite tv/movie characters, definitely not Big Bird… he kinda sucks)
- temporary tattoos (the ones with skulls, not the ones that say “My mom rocks”)
- time-out for all my siblings (hey, it’s MY reward… don’t ask any questions)
- toys (let’s be clear… good things do not come in small packages! The bigger the better, just sayin’)
- Pull-ups vs diapers. Honestly, there’s no difference. Pull-ups are really just glorified diapers. And they’re more expensive. Save your money and just get me a big screen TV for my room.
- Underwear – okay, here’s the deal. It is of the utmost importance that you let me go to the store with you and choose whatever underwear I want to get. Running into the house all excited with a bag full of new underwear that YOU chose from Target isn’t gonna go over well with me. Just so you know.Remember, the control issue? It all goes back to that. If you come home from the store waving a package of new underwear in my face that I did NOT pick out myself, then you should fully expect a huge setback, more than likely, in the form of a big steaming pile of poop on your white bedroom carpet. Yep, that’s how I roll. With your kind of luck, you actually won’t discover it until you step in it.
- Please, please, please try to make this whole potty training thing entertaining for me. Here’s what’s UNacceptable:
- You sitting on a stepstool in front of me, staring me down as if your brain can telepathically send a message to my bladder and my colon, urging them both to take quick action so you can go update your Facebook page, bragging about how awesome you are at potty training your child (as if…)
- Calling the entire family into the bathroom to watch me perform. I know it’s hard to resist because I’m just so darn cute sitting on the pot. I mean, I’d want to stare at me too. But now that I’ve agreed to give up diapers, I have the right to privacy in the bathroom. I’ve earned it. Oh, and before you even think it… YOU, however, do not have any right to privacy… like, ever.
- NO taking pictures of my poop and e-mailing them to Daddy at work with the subject line reading, “You HAVE to see this”. My poop can only truly be appreciated in person. If he’s lucky and I’m in a good mood, I may just produce another whopper on the weekend for him to experience with his own eyes.
- NO saying, “How can such a little body make such a big poop?” Let me just remind you that YOU do the cooking around here. I can’t help that my body considers most of the food you make garbage.
- Singing silly, stupid songs (say this 10 times fast successfully and maybe I’ll consider holding my bladder for an entire night so you can get 8 consecutive hours of sleep – but, then again, don’t hold your breath).
Here’s what I think is super fun… see, I’m a huge Disney freak. So my mom let me pick out my own underwear at the store and of course I picked all Disney characters because I’m cool like that.
This is a picture of me, proudly holding all my underwear…
I know… so cute, right? Anyway, she tacks them to the wall in the bathroom
right next to my little potty, like this…
While I’m doing my business, I stare at them and imagine Dori saying, “Just keep peeing, just keep peeing” and Buzz Lightyear saying, “To infinity and beyond…” when I flush the potty.
It’s FUN. I totally dig this.
- There WILL be regression… when you least expect it, of course. Like, say, when we’re at a playdate at someone else’s house. Or when you finally decide to be brave enough to take the entire family out for dinner.It’s not that I’ve forgotten how to use the potty… it’s more that, for some reason, you got in your head that YOU are in control. This is simply not the case.
I am in control and this is how I put you back in your place (must we review #1 again?). You’ll look disappointed and say, “Now, why did you do that? You know how to poop in the potty!”
Yeah, see, that isn’t the point… of course I do. It’s YOU who has forgotten how we play the game. And sometimes you just have to reminded of who the REAL boss is.
- Lastly, don’t be in such a hurry to rush me through the potty training process. Remember, I’m only this young for a little while. Cherish these times and appreciate them.Trust me, you’ll think potty training was a breeze compared to the hell I’ll put you through when I’m a teenager.
So there you have it… potty training 101, in a nutshell, courtesy of yours truly…
Helene is a 40-something, married, stay-at-home mother to two sets of twins. With only 2 years between both sets, she maintains that having a wicked sense of humor is key in raising multiple multiples.
To follow along on Helene’s real-life, tell-all adventures of parenting twins x 2, please visit her blog at I’m Living Proof that God has a Sense of Humor.