Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Potty Training: A Mental Preparation

I have decided that this potty training business is more mental than anything else. For me. Caedmon? He doesn’t think much about it. Until he’s ready to “go” and then needs an M&M afterwards. But I spent lots of time dreading it. And strategizing. And trying to figure out all sorts of things. And then we just dove right in and I didn’t feel prepared. Because I wasn’t. And we’re still not done and I never claim to know everything. These are all things I learned the hard way. And I don’t believe that everyone should have to learn things the hard way if they don’t have to. That being said, here’s my PSA about how to prepare yourself - mentally. (A Practical Preparation will come later.)

1. Prepare yourself to think and talk about poop and pee. A lot. As in waking up in the middle of the night obsessed with it. And be ready to talk about parts and pieces you haven’t heretofore discussed with your child. Why? Because they will ask. Over and over.

2. Prepare yourself for ups and downs. Because one day will be spectacular, and the next you’ll find yourself washing an entire load of size 2T underwear and shorts, wishing you had the disposable income (no pun intended) to just throw them all out and buy new ones.

3. Prepare yourself to bribe your child. I for one, am not huge on bribery (that whole discussion is for another time), but I do believe that this is one time it will service you and your child well if done properly.

4. Prepare yourself to be exhausted by constantly watching the clock, checking for wet undies, and being on the lookout for signs of the pee pee dance. It doesn’t sound difficult, and it’s not. It just wears you out and adds to the list of things you get to think about and do every day.

5. Prepare yourself for the fact that your child may want to run around naked some. As in all the time. And you might as well let them. They’re less likely to pee on stuff if there’s nothing to catch it. And if you have issues about your kid running around the house naked, get over it.

6. Be prepared to not see other grown-up people for a few days. Because going places won’t happen for at least a couple of days, maybe longer.

7. Go ahead and resign yourself to carrying around smallish underwear in your purse along with the toys, snacks, and whatever else you’ve stored in there for your kid. Be careful not to pull it out when you’re reaching for your wallet, though. Because that looks weird.

8. If you have issues about public restrooms, now is the time to get over them. Because I can tell you that yes, you will have to take your child into them, and yes, he will touch things.

9. You might have a child who just “gets” it and absolutely loves the potty and ditches diapers and never looks back. You might also have a child who loves it one day and hates it the next, driving you to the brink of insanity.

10. Be aware that some children have an irrational fear of poop. Others have a strange fascination with it. But like #9, that can change daily.

11. Know that in time, potty training will smooth out and become part of the regular, normal things your kid does and it will not suck the life out of you forever. At least that’s what I’m told.

Actually, Caedmon’s doing really well. Our next step is to let him wear undies during naptime and progress to wearing them at night. He’s kept his diaper dry during nap and overnight for almost 2 weeks, so I think he’s ready. At least I hope so.

I know I haven’t covered everything. I’d love to hear any tips you have on preparing yourself to potty train your child. Surely there are some veterans out there who have some advice. Let’s hear it!

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  1. I am book marking this for the future! I don't think I'll be ready to start until Brayden is 2 or 2 1/2 so I want to remember your tips!

  2. I can tell from the small amount of Lilly using the potty--that it is more work than I am ready! And she SCREAMS when she has to put a diaper back on..."No, I tee-tee...NOOOOO". So, when I am ready for the work of potty training (she isn't ready to do it full time right now), I am coming back to this post. It is always good to have a friend that has tips and tricks!

  3. Caedmon spent the day here this week - as in ALL day. He kept his underwear dry all day. Naptime. He slept in his underwear...on my bed (I put an old quilt on the bed - I'm no dummy.) Played an hour / slept an hour. Got up dry...and didn't go to the bathroom immediately. Played outside. Played in the water hose...he could have cheated there some, I guess :-) I never did even ask him if he needed to go to the bathroom - he told me every time. So...his moma has done a fine job of helping her child adjust to this new developmental skill. They've both done good ;-)