Thursday, 5 May 2011

Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Potty Training

Potty training was one of those things that I never really looked forward to.  Yeah, I was excited for the time when I didn’t have to spend half of my disposable income on diapers, but the actual process of potty training was something I tried to think about as little as possible. I figured potty training was natural and it would just work itself out.  Boy, was I wrong.  In my attempt to potty train a 2 and 3/4 year old, I discovered many things that people never tell you about potty training, but probably should, so here goes:

1.  Others know nothing about potty training.  If you are going to be leaving your offspring with any other adult make sure you leave specific instructions about how to take them to the potty.  You may wrongly assume (as I did) that everyone should know how to go to the bathroom and therefore would be able to show someone else how, but that is not always the case.   I learned this the hard way when I went to pick up my child from the onsite babysitting at my gym and was told he was going commando because they had let him go to the bathroom alone and he ended up throwing his pull-up in the garbage (like we do at home sometimes) instead of pulling it back up after he went.  I was also told that he had unrolled the entire contents of the industrial size toilet paper roll in his attempt to go potty (I am probably to blame for that though – I usually hold the roll so when he pulls it will rip off).  Moral of the story – make sure your kid knows what to do in the bathroom when you are not there, because apparently other people don’t know.  
2. Your child suddenly becomes the boy (or girl) who cried “pee” ... or “no pee!” in my case.  Sure, it hasn’t been that long that my child has been able to talk to me but in the short time that we have been communicating I have already come to rely on what he tells me.  So now that all of a sudden I am asking him every ten minutes if he has to go potty and he says ‘no.’ Stupid me, I believe him.  Three minutes later I am mopping up a puddle of pee.  Or he says he does have to go when I am in the middle of grocery shopping and I run like a marathoner knocking down old ladies in an attempt to get in the bathroom before he wets himself; and then I am stuck, hunched over, holding him over a public toilet while holding my one year old under my arm pit because they do not allow grocery carts in the bathrooms (insert obscenity here) and I cannot leave him outside to get kidnapped and, of course, then it was a false alarm.  I quickly learned not to pose my inquiry as a question, as my mentioning the potty just made him more aware of it and after he said ‘no’ he would start thinking about it and then go.  So instead I started saying ‘let’s go see if you have any pee’ and taking him once every hour to the potty.  While this didn’t stop all accidents it certainly helped.  That, and always knowing where the nearest bathroom is. 
3.  If you have other children keep them far away from the potty and its by products.  Unfortunately, chocolate and poop look a lot alike to a one year old, especially one who likes to put everything in his mouth.  So when Prince accidently had a pebble poop in his pants and proceeded to leave a trail in a very Hansel and Gretel like manner as he walked around the house (unbeknownst to me), Simba had a great old time following the trail before I realized what was going on.  Prince also started the good, but bad, habit of going pee in his potty and not telling me about it.  So when all of a sudden Simba was being too quiet (you know what I mean) I would go to Prince’s room and find him playing splash pool in the potty full of pee.  Poor Simba is really getting the crap end of the stick (no pun intended) in this whole potty training business. 
4.  You still have to wipe their butts for them!  When does it end? I don’t even enjoy wiping my own ass, why the heck would I want to have to wipe someone else’s? I don’t know how I got the idea in my head that once they could poop in the potty they could also wipe their own arse, but boy was I wrong.  As I mentioned, Prince has a good/bad habit of going to the potty and not telling me and I have caught him putting on his underwear and pants on a butt smeared with poop.  Kinda defeats the purpose, ya know?  At least when you are just changing a diaper you can detach yourself after a while and it doesn’t seem like ass wiping anymore.  But when they stand up from the potty and stick it out for you to help wipe there is no escaping the fact that you are wiping ass. 
5.  It never ends.  Sure, your kid gets better and doesn’t have as many accidents.  My inspiration for this post actually came from the fact that I found myself writing in my journal “today was the first day in two weeks that I didn’t have to scrub poop or pee off the floor!” But as they say, shit happens – your kid gets sick and can’t go to the potty so he is back in diapers for a while and you have to do it all over.  You go visit someone and they refuse to go potty in a strange place.  And then there is the fact that you still have to somehow figure out how to get them to sleep through the night and stay dry – I am not even going to touch that one until my kid won’t fit in Goodnights anymore.  Point is, I can still remember being 5 or 6 and having my mom put cream on my behind for me because I had a sore butt.  Just because they are out of diapers doesn’t mean you have seen the last of their cute little hinnies. Butt I guess that’s just part of being a mom (pun intended).


  1. East Coast Emily said: Live and learn!! Don't assume things that worked for one kid is going to work for the next. Congratulations on making it through the wonderful stage of potty training! *high five*

  2. Or you can try potty training your baby before the age of 1. Check out how I used elimination comnunication technique