If you follow me at all in any form of social media, you will have noticed I talk about potty training…a LOT. The past 3 years of Phoenyxs life I have been a work at home mom. I generally have had someone come in and help watch him 3-4 hours a day a few times a week since he has been born so I can get everything done. While I love being home and being a super involved parent, its also made it easy to be less concerned about potty training. Recently when our sitter had a schedule change and could no longer watch Phoenyx, I was at a crossroad. I had already been considering putting him in school but most schools for his age required potty training. He turned 3 on August 23rd and at the time we were looking, during the end of August and beginning of September, he just wasn’t there on potty training. I was super concerned that he would not be eligible for any educational facilities.
And I was right.
Almost all schools require that the 3 year old class come out the gate potty trained with a few willing to work with kids that were “almost there’. Phoenyx wasn’t only not “almost there” he wasn’t almost anywhere. In any case we still drove around, visited places and threw our names on many, many waiting lists, with my favorite being a school 5 minutes away and had a class act of a teachers office and crew.
Once I put him on those lists and knew that we COULD be called it was time to get very serious about potty training.
I asked around (A LOT) to find out the best ways to train and heard a variety of ideas and points. I want to also say I have a 9 year old- this whole scenario isn’t new to me but there is a profound difference between girls and boys and pretty much everything that worked for my daughter, didn’t work for my son. It took us only a week to potty train my daughter, but it took well over a several month period to potty train my son completely.
Potty Training Advice that didn’t work for us
Lets break down what didn’t work in his case:
1) Timer: A lot of friends suggested we use a timer. Put that timer on for every 15 minutes and use it as a trigger to keep trying. I think my son laughs in the face of timers. I would walk him to the bathroom and get him to sit and nothing. Then the minute his pants were pulled up and he was back in the living room, he would pee on himself. He used the timer as way to hold it.
2) Bribes: Bribes half worked. As soon as he learned to go, he happily accepted whatever treat I was rewarding him with. But at the same time if he sat down and didn’t go, I had to face should I reward him for the baby steps of trying? And if he tried and didn’t go, he was disappointed and upset and it became a negative.
3) Naked Time: I have a son. He could care less if he is naked. He could care less if he peed on the floor or ran in the backyard. Naked time only let him not worry about peeing on himself
4) Ipad: He does like to sit on the pot with the iPad, but he wont actually go. Its more of a distraction. He once sat there for 30 minutes playing a game…and no dice.
5) Cleaning up his own messes: A lot of parents told me that if he has to clean up his own pee, etc he will be less likely to make the mess. Playing this game is not worth it. My son likes any reason to clean, so he really didn’t care and in the end I had to bathe him and then re-clean his cleaning.
6) Making him stay in his messes: I got this advice a lot from parents but I did NOT use it. I don’t think its healthy for a child to sit in a mess, emotionally or physically. Potty training is not punishment.
Potty training advice that did work for us
Lets break down what did work in his case:
1) Finding his trigger: As soon as we started paying attention to the signs, we knew when he had to go. For Phoenyx he would ask if he could go outside. That meant he wanted to be alone to use the rest room. I was happy to know that he was recognizing the signs to go and once we realized he knew the signs, we had to make sure to take him to the potty immediately. This was a really great start for us because we started to help HIM figure out instead of going outside, this was the Que for the potty.
2) Staying with him: Phoenyx kinda found the potty alone scary. Initially he did so much better if we were in the bathroom with him and encouraging him. Now he goes in by himself but to start we just hung out.
3) Only the big toilet: He absolutely refused to use a little potty. He wanted a straight toilet training situation. I purchased a potty seat from the store and put in all the bathrooms with a step stool.
4) Rewards: Lets go back to rewards. After he started to go, we purchased special “potty training” jelly beans and gave him some. It got to be kinda funny cause he would try to negotiate for more. “But mom, I peed SO much.” He also makes me give treats to everyone else if they come out of the bathroom. I have a house full of grownups getting jelly beans for peeing.
5) Talking to him: You would be surprised how well your children comprehend. “You have to learn to go to the bathroom before you can go to school”- we reminded him a lot that if he wanted to go to school like his sister, it could not be in diapers.
6) PATIENCE – Bring your patience Parents. Every time we thought he was getting it, there would be a set back. He could pee in the toilet long before he could poop there, like weeks before. We had to still celebrate the pee times even if he wasn’t all the way there. I can admit I almost lost it a few times, but take a deep breath, buy lots and lots of underwear and keep going.
7) Cool bathroom soap: I know this sounds funny but P loves to wash his hands. I keep the bathroom stocked with cool foamy soap and he can wash after he goes into the potty.
8) Consistency: Once you start on this journey, you cant go back. Initially I was super annoyed with SO MANY accidents that I kept putting him between underwear and diapers. If were going out, I put on a diaper. A diaper was like PERMISSION to not go potty. You need to make a change- pull ups or underwear and don’t look back. It may be a transition from pull ups TO underwear as they get better and depending on how far you are willing to go for it, but once you remove that whole diaper thing, you have to be done with it.
9) School: So here is the biggie. I eventually got the call that my time was available on the wait list of the school we wanted. They were ok with working with him since there was a bathroom in the classroom. The first week it was nothing but pee accidents over and over. The teacher (God Bless Her) called me and said she realized what was going on- that there was no potty seat in the bathroom like at home so he was scared and holding it. Once she showed him where one was, he went in on his own and has not had an accident since. From the time the teacher inserted that potty seat and he saw other kids going in and out, it pushed him over the edge of being there. We have been school and home accident free for 3 weeks now.
Getting Started with Potty Training
Thanks to Pull-Ups® for sponsoring today’s discussion
You have to start somewhere.
No matter where you are in your journey of potty training, there is a variety of online resources that can be super helpful. To start most parents do the big switch- from diapers to pull ups. The mental idea of changing from a baby to a “big kid” can be very helpful for many. Additionally a diaper has to be completely removed and needs help being put on again and a pull ups allows a child to be more independent and start to learn on their own. Phoenyx is also the type of child that gets super excited for characters he recognizes, so finding pull ups with adorable designs like Jake and the Neverland Pirates helped him see pulls ups a friend, not an enemy.
Enroll your child into the Big Kid Academy – Free
Every Kid is Unique. That’s why when you enroll at the Big Kid Academy, you’ll get a personalized “My Pull-Ups®” page with potty training activities and advice customized to your point in the potty training journey.
The Big Kid Academy has a world-class library of potty training tips and advice from parenting experts, medical professionals and our brightest alumni: parents who have been there. Subjects include:
• How to talk to day care providers about potty training
• Solutions for nighttime
• Potty training on the go
• The best clothing for potty training
While there are a ton of resources and I encourage you to take advantage of them, from the Big Kid Academy to crowd sourcing, in the end you have to face that your child is an individual and it will happen on their own time. Just keep trying new things till you figure out what is going to make it work for you and your family. A month ago I never thought I would be here at all. I was totally convinced I’d have a 5 year old in diapers asking me to change him. I hope these tips, tricks and ideas help you a bit on your journey.
And if you have any suggestions or advice for other moms, feel free to leave them below or share them with me in social media!