Oh Poop! Potty Training Tips & Ideas
What’s worse than unsolicited advice? Unsolicited advice from someone who has no idea what they’re talking about. Yup, that’s today’s post: a dad whose daughter isn’t yet potty trained giving you tips and ideas. I realize this is akin to a trainer with love handles and moobs telling you what to eat and how to workout or a mom with a kid on a leash telling you how to control your child, but since this post will probably be on page 200 of a ‘potty training’ Google search, I’m sure those who got to this page are pretty desperate. So if that’s you or you like reading about poop (what parents don’t like a good poop story?), read on.
For those that got here through a Google search, I’m guessing the first 1999 page results didn’t work and potty training has literally been crappy, so here’s a trippy video to cheer you up (note: it’s called Singing Poop so don’t watch it if you’re grossed out by poop). And yes, it’s a Korean video – I’m not sure whether I should be ashamed or proud – and that word ‘unga’ you keep hearing is the sound adults make to help their kids go poop: Uuuuunnnnnnggggggaaaaa!
I won’t translate the whole thing for you, but at 0:39 with the watermelon in the background, they are singing, “Did you eat watermelon? Confirm it! Chocolate Chip Cookie!” And you thought Japanese people were weird.
Now on to the potty training advice.
Make sure your child is ready
Forget that you know someone whose kid was potty trained within a week – ok, that doesn’t happen, but I do know someone who proudly proclaimed that their kid peed and pooped in the toilet around 2 months. Brafreakingvo. “How’s the air up on that high horse? Good? That’s great!” Well, that’s what I wanted to say, but what I actually said was, “Wait, since the kid can’t move, don’t you have to carry him to the bathroom anyway?” To which she responded, “I don’t have to buy diapers, nyah nyah!” Well played. Well played. So yeah, as with all things in parenting, there’s always some kid that’s ahead of your kid and their parent will ask, “Wait. Your kid isn’t doing that yet?” Best thing to do is flip them off and move on.
D1 was pretty fast with all of her milestones, especially for speaking, so since she was able to communicate with us with words around age 1, everyone else figured she’d be potty trained in a snap. Wrong. She’s been able to communicate that she needs to pee and poop for more than a year now but she’s been happily doing so in her diaper.
So how do you know they’re ready?
- Awareness – if your kid is happily playing and then you *sniff sniff* and ask, “Did you poop?” or you think you should change their diaper because it’s been a while only to find that that bad boy has been soiled to the point where it drips when you pick it up later, then your kid is probably not ready. If your kid makes little movements or shows other signals that he/she is aware that they are about to poop or pee, then you’re getting close.
- If you find your kid is walking around the house sans diaper and then you find a diaper with turds on it, first inspect all places that child walked to ensure she didn’t leave skid marks. Also, she’s probably ready.
- When you get them in the morning, is the diaper dry? Like the Redskins, one victory doesn’t mean anything, so make sure there are numerous consecutive nights where the diaper is dry in the morning.
Make sure you’re ready
Potty training is a lot of work. Here’s my checklist to ensure you’re ready:
- Would you be patient if your kid has an accident?
- Are you ok with the necessary clean up in aisle 6 if your kid has an accident outside of the house?
- Would you be ok with finding a pool of pee or some turds in the corner of the house somewhere?
- Are you ok with public restrooms or are you the type that likes to hover over the toilet? (hovering a kid without getting poop on your shoes is a challenge. Let’s just say I had a bad experience)
- Are you willing to make detours & stops at any point in your day, especially when running errands or you’re on a tight schedule, when your kid says they need to potty?
- Can you identify where the bathrooms are for all the places you frequent?
Buy the right tools for you
We initially bought two BABYBJÖRN Toilet Trainers – one for upstairs and one for downstairs. We chose those because using a stand-alone potty meant you still had to clean up pee and poop. Our daughter would use it but she didn’t like it very much.
So we went out and bought the Fisher-Price Stepstool Potty. Cleaning it up is no fun and the metal contacts are starting to rust but this one is nice because my daughter can do it herself and the dainty princess noise alerts us that she’s done her deed.
Also, don’t be like me and keep proclaiming that this is the last box of diapers you’re going to buy. I said that 4 Sam’s Club packs ago. Pull-ups are expensive but much easier to get off and on, especially in public restrooms that are not equipped with a changing table.
Some parents are against a reward system. I’m sure those parents reject or return any and all performance-based bonuses at work as well. But for me, I like bonuses, heck, I even do things to earn Good Husband points, such as buying flowers, back rubs, etc…which can later be redeemed for things like hanging out with friends, taking a nap, etc…
For potty training, we’ve found that rewards help a lot. You could use verbal rewards, “GREAT JOB! You’re a big girl/boy now!” You could use stickers or other treats. My wife and I like to encourage D1 with words, give her a sticker for a pee, and for a poop, we give her a toy. Toys are actually not cost-prohibitive if you go to the thrift store. The one by our house sells a bag of 8-10 toys for about $1.50. We also bought some items from the clearance section of Target – though I did have to elbow a few other moms to procure the goods.
I won’t lie to you, potty training can be difficult but you and your kid can do this. We’ve taken it slowly but surely and are now at the point where she wears just underwear at home but wears a diaper when we go out (public restrooms are gross) and during bedtime (washing sheets every day is not cute). With a little more persistence, she’ll be potty trained, I won’t have to buy diapers for her, and I’ll teach her how to properly sanitize a public restroom seat.
So what about you? What worked for you when you were potty training your kid(s)? Do you have any potty training tips and ideas?