A Day in the Life of Potty Training a FAMILY. Because potty training is as much habit changing for you as it is your child.
If you're looking for the expert's guide to potty training, this is not it. My kid pooped in his big boy underwear yesterday.
However, if you're looking for what to really expect on Day One of potty training, this is it, messes and successes included.
Here's what we did prior to Day One as a family:
- Read books about potty training. If your kid likes to read, you'll be ahead of the game. This will keep him on the potty.
- Excitedly talked about potty training and discussed what that meant: how wet pee would feel running down his leg, how good it would feel to be dry, etc.
- Practiced sitting on the potty three times a day: morning, noon, night.
- Went shopping as a family for big boy underwear.
- Asked him who he wanted to call to share his good news when he peed or pooped on the potty.
Here's what we did prior to Day One as parents:
- Talked to other parents for advice and read parenting blogs.
- Chose a potty seat insert over a separate toddler potty, to avoid a transition from toddler potty to actual potty.
- Discussed when, if ever, he'd wear diapers again, and decided on nap and bed time. Made a commitment to make no exceptions to this. Anticipated and expected to clean up messes.
- Decided on a reward system ("Thomas the Train" episodes, minimal edible treats).
Potty training schedule: Day One
7am - L wakes with full diaper; sits on potty. Mom reads story from basket of books reserved for potty time. L produces fake pee, aka pushing pee out to make mom happy, but not an actual pee. We celebrate anyway: I jump around and cheer. Jumping is requested the next five potty times. Set timer for 30 minutes. L puts on shirt, but is naked from the waist down.
7:30 - After Round 2 of fake pee and story time, we eat breakfast. L finishes milk; I make a big deal of the orange juice I'm giving him, which is 3/4 water and 1/4 juice. Up until now, I wonder why parents buy juice at all. I will support tax on sugary drinks forever! You're welcome, Mayor Bloomberg. But I understand now: you give your kid juice so he'll pee.
8, 8:30 - Round 3 and 4 of fake pee/story time. Now, I have to pee. Thanks, coffee + jumping.
9 - L pees a little on floor. I rush him to the bathroom, realize potty training is a workout, witness more fake peeing, and start wishing I had bought new books to read...
9:30 - Same as 8, 8:30.
10 - Grandma arrives. Thank God. It's a fact: I'm not great at playing with toys with my kid. Give me a nature walk or field trip to the grocery store any day. Normally, by now, we've walked the dog, gone to the Y, and are doing errands. I am BORED. Round 7- same as before.
10:30 - A little accident on the floor, but then...A REAL PEE! We call Daddy, Grandpa, other Grandma, PA cousins, and Chicago friends to share the news. They have been instructed to be excited and play their roles well. We eat snack + Halloween M&M's and have more "juice."
11 - Round 9 = fake pee.
11:30 - Round 10 and another real pee earns us a "Thomas the Train" episode (or four) while mom prepares lunch. Aside from the M&M's, Thomas is our first reward of the day. As a 30-year-old, I still think "treat" = food. I don't want my kid to think this way. He'll get a little sugar AFTER eating real food at snack or a meal. A week later, he still prioritizes Thomas episodes over candy.
12pm - Round 11; then lunch. Between constant observing, asking "Do you have to pee" every 10 minutes, and lifting of a 30 pound weight up and down the stairs, toilet, and sink, I'm unsure of whether this is more mentally or physically exhausting.
12:30, 1 - More fake pees; put on a diaper for nap. Diapers at nap/bed time until we have three dry "sleeps."
1:01 - After 13 rounds, I just want a stiff drink, but I paint the guest room with my mom instead. Probably didn't need the calories anyway, considering that later on, I consume sweet potato pie, buttered popcorn, Halloween candy, and a bottle of red wine.
4 - Wet, soiled diaper after nap; go through our (fake) pee and story routine.
4:30, 5 - What round is it, again?
5:30 - Daddy's home!!! L proudly models big boy underwear. Round 525600 = fake pee.
6 - POOP on the potty while friends arrive for dinner! Think I'm crazy for having friends over Day One of potty training? Keep in mind that this Social Butterfly Mom cherishes her social time and got very little of it, being on house arrest today.
6:30 - Whatever-the-hell round it is. Sit down to dinner.
7 - Daddy takes L for last round before bedtime. I gladly take over dishes duty in lieu of another bathroom trip.
All in all, Day One was successful: two small accidents, some real pees, and even a poop! Daddy is home on Days Two and Three, and takes L on his first trip in the car. Another minor pee happens en route, but nothing too messy. We stretch potty breaks from 30 to 45 minutes, and then 60 minutes between, always going prior to departure and upon arrival to our destination.
Biggest reward of potty training:
Aside from not having to rinse, wash, and hang cloth diapers at the end of every day, watching a toddler attempt to wiggle himself into and out of pants and underwear is a tedious and hilarious task.
- One legged standing isn't yet "a thing." Trousers drop to ground in one fell swoop.
- To remove, he either 1) Pulls foot from pants, rendering underwear inside out OR 2) Takes the down dog/headstand tripod position, then can't figure out how to reach his legs
- Sometimes, I say, "Sit on the floor." And sometimes, I just giggle as he
twerksworks it out.
- Post pee or poop: Pulling up pants in the front seems natural, but my kid would walk around with his butt cheeks hanging out for all to see if I didn't constantly remind him: "Pull your underwear up over your booty."
Think this post was too long? Yeah, I hear ya. That's how Day One of potty training feels. Just remember that parenting is only hard if you're doing it right, and the more consistent work you put on the front end, the better your results will be in the long run.
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