Potty, P-O-T-T-whY? Because ya GOTTA!Posted: July 16, 2012
Ah, potty training, that inevitable bridge every child must cross. Whether they cross it without getting a little wet in the process, is a chance one must be willing to take. I have helped to potty train several children and have succeeded in my task because of a couple of other “P” words, persistence and patience.
Potty training is a huge change in a child’s life. It brings with it independence, a sense of becoming a big boy/girl, and many times, rewards. For parents, life post-potty training means the hanging up of the diaper bag, the end to expensive diapers and wipes, and best of all, a fond farewell to the obligation of diaper duty.
I am happy to aid in the achievement of potty training, somewhat selfishly, as I hope to balance out the karma of my own personal potty training past. I have always been a person who has known her own mind, and as a toddler this tendency towards self-awareness was already present. My mama, attempting to entice me with the allure of “Big Girl Panties” decorated with My Little Pony, was met with my furrowed brow, hand on hip response of, “I don’t want panties. I like ‘diapies’. I a baby!” as if to say, “Lady, go sell crazy someplace else, we’re all stocked up here,” before darting off, escaping any motions toward growing up. I had the same knee-jerk reaction to the attempted change from bottles to the allegedly desirable “Big Girl Cup”, opining, “I don’t want a cup. I like ‘ba-bas’. I a baby.” I had no desire to make any changes; life was good. In addition, I was famous for being way too engrossed in play to have time for trivial matters such as potty training or weaning, my catchphrase being, “I too busy.” In fact, most of my potty training problems stemmed from not wanting to take the time away from playing to physically go to the potty. And so, Miss Cheryl herself was not the easiest potty training candidate, causing little earthquakes here, big disasters there.
One such debacle happened when I was 2 years old in our backyard pool. It was one thing to be potty trained on dry land, but once in the pool- all bets were off. I loved being in the water, and whether or not the urge to “potty” hit, I was far too involved in my aquatic play to be interrupted until matters reached critical mass. Welp, on this particular summer day that critical mass happened, and since I could not be bothered to get out of the water, I hollered to my folks, “I gonna (y’all-know-what)!” Not wanting the family swimming hole to be thus polluted, my daddy pulled me out of the pool, set me on the cement side, stripped off my swimsuit, and ran to get the hose to wash away the imminent debris. As he came running back, he slipped on the sidewalk, and bashed his head against our red brick house. He started bleeding profusely, so my sister and I hollered for our mother, who just happened to be 8½ months pregnant. She came out of the house- half barreling, half waddling- to tend to my father’s wounds(he wound up having to get 6 stitches ☹ ), while I, not grasping the severity of the situation proudly pointed downward. We all laugh about it now, retelling the story every few years, recalling details such as my mama clarifying to Dr. Cone over the phone, “No, Charlie needs stitches, I’m not in labor.” However hilarious this happening is in hindsight, it is my guilt over my potty training past that drives me to help other parents have less calamitous results with their children.
For me, the best course of action so far has been to put the kiddos on the potty at regular intervals (usually every half hour) just so they can get accustomed to heading to the bathroom on a regular(pun intended) basis, using the bathroom when relieving themselves, and also, just in case they have to go but have not yet mastered the recognition of the urge. Also staying on the potty for a decent length of time can be key, so they become used to sitting on it, and who knows- something might happen! A cute potty or toilet seat doesn’t hurt, never underestimate the power of potty presentation. Some family friends of ours were out to dinner once with their then six year-old son, when they noticed that he was gulping down his water and scurrying off to the bathroom at an unusual frequency. They noticed other boys were doing the same, and asked him upon his return from his third bathroom trip, what was going on. He replied excitedly that, “There are bullseyes on the urinals!” (Penises as guns, anyone?) There you have it, when it comes to potty training apparatuses, it’s certainly form over function. I have seen greater success with children who have the removable seat on the big potty, especially if it is decorated with some character or other, though the baby potties are successful as well, (the cleanup is far less desirable).
Potty training takes time and consistency on the part of the parents/caregivers to help the child make the move from diapers to dignity. Don’t be disheartened by failure. I received a text from Doc and Rebel’s mother, “Rebel pee-peed in the potty! And then on the floor.” Accidents do happen, it’s only natural. What’s important is that you stay the course, reward for victory, and don’t let your resolve go down the drain.