Captain’s Log – 28th of May in the year 2022 – Daily Journey 14 Hours
Today we began the journey of potty training. After one day I’m far from an expert, but I thought other toddler parents might like to know they aren’t alone in the journey. So here are my learnings thus far…
1) Don’t force the potty on them if they aren’t ready. We were guilty of this last summer because we thought as soon as LilKsby turned 2, we needed to push potty training. Well we pushed too much, and he stopped going to the potty all together. He was not ready for the potty, so he quit using a diaper too. It took weeks of doctor calls for advice and lots of pleading to get him to pee regularly again.
2) Wait until they understand what the potty is for. We’ve spent the last few months in preparation by modeling to him how to use the potty. We even verbalize what we’re doing so he would be familiar with the steps. By this I mean saying things like “I’m going pee in the potty. I peed now I get to use toilet paper! I used toilet paper, so now I’m going to flush! Now I get to wash my hands!” This repeated modeling sunk in because today these were the steps he wanted to follow.
3) Don’t let a book make you feel like a bad parent. I read most of a potty training book. At one point it made me feel like a horrible mom because according to the expert, I had failed my child by missing the perfect window of 24-30 months old, and I failed my child because he didn’t have the speech skills of his same aged peers. Side note: the book was written pre-pandemic, and I recently noticed that the CDC has updated their language milestones to levels lower since the pandemic had limited so much socialization and verbal communication without masks. In hindsight I realize that I shouldn’t let a book make me feel like a bad parent, but at the time I wanted to throw the book against the wall.
4) Some tips from books/online articles are helpful. For example, having little potties upstairs and downstairs was helpful. Having him go without a diaper for the first day was also helpful because we could watch more closely for potty signals. It was also beneficial to explain at nap and bed time why we were using a diaper again after making such a big deal over getting rid of it.
5) Potty training takes commitment from the parent(s)/guardian(s). For potty training to be successful you have to be willing and able to commit enough time for them to get the idea of going potty in an environment where they are comfortable and won’t be embarrassed by an accident. To do this, we waited until we had a three day window with no plans which meant for me waiting until school was out. I’m hoping that three days at home solely focused on time together watching for potty signals will give us enough of a window to realize how often we need to go to the potty, how long we can leave the house without the potty, and what trips will require taking the little potty with us. Also, we had to be committed to not getting upset about accidents. We knew they would happen, so instead of getting mad, we addressed what to do different next time. Finally, knowing his love language helped. LilKsby loves words of praise, so you can bet every little tinkle got lots of positive praise!
I’m sure there will be more wisdom learned along the way, and I’m prepared for varying levels of success. Captain’s log signing off…
The Great Kaysby