Thursday, July 2, 2015

Potty Training the Next Generation Way

Potty Training the Next Generation Way
Written by Renee Arbia

Xavier is now 3 years and 3 months old. When people ask me if he is potty trained I reply with “yes”. My reason for this is because he wears “undies” (as he refers to them) most of the time, except at nap time and during the night. Nap time and night time he wears a pull up diaper. Usually, he gets up and still goes to the potty even during the night as he can hold it for a long time. However, once in a while he has an occasional accident. We never intended on night potty training along with daytime potty training, it just kind of happened. In fact the whole process has been very long, and rough, and so much harder than people lead you to believe, but at least I can say he will not go to college in diapers.

Xavier is our first born child. We know nothing about potty training what so ever. We really did not care to do it or worry about it. I wanted it to be a completely natural process. I realized from the age of one to four my son had to make a lot of transitions, he gave up breastmilk (Read: No More Boobie Juice), he transitioned to a toddler bed, he gave up his pacifier and life in general gets harder for children his age, as they start to come to the realization that the world does not in fact revolve around them.

I hope after reading Potty Training the Next Generation Way you will not only laugh, perhaps grasp a tip or two, but most of all realize that it is a long and gradual process and is different for every child in every household. Here is merely our story.

Flashback to Xavier when he was one, that was when I got the potty out. I bought one of the all in one type of potties. It started as a little potty, then you could use it as a stool and small seat, then it’s just a big step stool for the sink. We started with the little potty. All I encouraged was when I went in the bathroom, I would encourage him to come and just sit on it. I had heard from other moms that getting your child to just sit for a few minutes is usually a problem. So before Xavier was old enough to say “no” I figured it was best to get him to sit on the potty. So every time I went he would just sit in his clothes and diaper on the potty and we would read a potty book.

Around the age of two nothing seemed to be happening so we decided to step up the potty training some more and we started having him sit with no undergarments on the little potty while still reading the potty book. He eventually peed in the little potty and pooped in the little potty. However, that does not mean he was potty trained. He had no idea when he had to do anything. You could sit him on the potty and as soon as you got off he would go in his diaper. So we left things alone for a little while thinking he needed to feel when he was wet. I was disappointed as I for some reason assumed once he peed and pooped in the potty he would do it all the time. I was sorely mistaken.

At two and a half I started putting him on the potty every two hours for ten minutes. He gradually got the hang of it and started going potty on his own. Then, we made the mistake of going to visit a relative out of town for the day (it was Thanksgiving). We put him in a pull up and just told him he could go in the pull up or use a big potty not thinking it would be a big deal. It ended up being a HUGE deal. He ended up having to take a major poop right as we got to our relatives and cried the entire time until dinner was ready. Luckily, they had a mini potty seat and some glycerin suppositories to save the day!

After the Thanksgiving incident Xavier wanted nothing to do with the potty ever again. We took a break for a few months. We kept Xavier in pull ups. Then, around the age of three Xavier would come up to us and tell us when he was wet. We then started the every two hours for fifteen minutes again. Except this time we got something different. We ended up buying from Babies RUs what is affectionately known in our home as “the Super Duper Potty Seat”.

It is a potty seat with the characters Lightning McQueen and Mater and some others from the Disney movie Cars which is one of Xavier’s favorite movies. What I love about it, is it folds up so you can fit it in your purse, diaper bag, or a large cargo pocket. It fits on every toilet, plus it is much more sanitary (just be sure to bring good wipes with you to be sure to clean it well after you need it in a public restroom) and it was around ten dollars. Xavier loved the Super Duper Potty Seat so much it encouraged him to use the potty more. We encouraged him to wear his pull ups all the time, but to keep them dry. When he kept them dry for an entire week he received a Lightning McQueen race car (yes, we bribed our kid). In fact we had to keep bribing our kid so we decided to make it cheaper and chose the sticker method.

Of course bribery was not our first choice, but it seemed to be working, until we started cutting down on bribes and he started not caring so much about going in the potty. He was out smarting us again.

We tried the weekend boot camp you leave your child naked and apparently when they have to go they will use the potty. I do not recommend this method, as it was a gross disaster I hope to never remember again. We tried just putting him in underwear and letting him mess himself so he would be uncomfortable with it. Another crazy idea I had heard from someone. Apparently sitting and coloring in a pile of poop and pee running down your legs does not bother my son, not unless you plan on giving him a sticker to use the potty.

Frustrated I just stopped potty training.  I figured he could wear pull ups to college as long for all I cared, of course that left me still changing diapers, diapers he was outgrowing very quickly. One day we were browsing at Barnes and Noble and I was browsing through their potty training books. I then, had the idea that perhaps Xavier did not really understand how to go potty. I found another potty book that was specific for boys and a little more graphic, it is called Once Upon A Potty by Alona Frankel. Xavier loved the book and we started reading it as a bedtime story. I love it because it’s short, sweet and to the point and Xavier really seemed to pick up the potty idea much better with the illustrations.

Our last potty war resort, I am not proud of, but it sure did work. I used my son and my love for books against him in the war on potty training. I knew at three he now knew when he had to go wee wee and poo poo he just did not want to. So here was our negotiation. He would wear pull ups all day and have to keep them dry. At nap time and bed time he was back in diapers. We read Xavier a nap and bed time story every day. If he was dry all morning he could pick whatever book he wanted as a nap story and the same if he was dry from after nap until bed time. However, if he was wet or poopy he had to read the potty book. “Obviously, if you had an accident today, you need to study up more on using the potty. We need to read the potty book tonight” is usually how I would put it to him. It was not that he did not like the potty book; in fact he did like it, but him not being able to decide the book we read really made him mad and upset. However, he would always come to his senses and know that any book was better than no book.

The book method worked. After a week of dry pull ups, so dry even during naps and bed time they were dry, we switched him to fun character underwear. He now has Lightning McQueen Undies and Paw Patrol Undies. Which he would love to show people at first until we told him we do not show our undies to everyone we meet.

I can report it has been three months since we had to read the potty book. Although it is no picnic in undies either, we are just starting to not have to bring the Super Duper Potty Seat everywhere we go. He now likes potties so much every time he sees people going into one he suddenly has to go too. It is never easy to get your toddler to a potty on time and when you get there they are scared out of their wits because it’s a strange potty. He now gets up from nap and bedtime to go potty and that can sometimes put a cramp in our nightly routine of anything we are doing.

Nothing is better though than when your see the smile on your child’s face when they just went potty and realize they are a big boy that wears undies just like mommy and daddy. That accomplishment is huge and I am so glad we accomplished potty training together as a family.

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