Jan 31

When And How To Potty Train

How many methods are there again for how to potty train your child?  550?  Is it more now?  There’s the one where you spend a weekend filling them full of salt and liquids so they pee 40 times a day.  There’s the one where you start potty training them as soon as they exit the womb.  There’s the one where you wait until they are teenagers and can’t get a date because they smell like poop, and they kinda sorta figure it out on their own. And there’s the one where you tie an alligator to the pedestal sink to block the exit of the bathroom, and tell your child that you won’t remove the hungry gator until they poop in the toilet.  There’s really just so many great, wonderful methods to try.  So which one did we do?  

In the running was the method where you sit them on the toilet and scream “POOP!  POOP NOW!” like a drill sergeant until they “release,” but I think that’s illegal now. So we did the same thing with Alistair that we did with Noble.  We waited first until they telegraphed their poops.  You are probably familiar with this.  They will be having fun and then all of a sudden they stop.  And with a shocked look like when somebody in a horror movie sees a “thing” explode out of their chest, they hustle off to their special place.  Alistair had two places he would retreat to in order to make a poop (that’s dumb, nobody “makes” a poop, I don’t know why I said that, and I don’t have a proper delete key so there’s no going back now.  People don’t “make” poops, they are already made….it just needs to be freed, I guess.).  Anyway, where was I?  Reading back what I typed….oh, yeah, he had two places where he would do his disengaging : His bedroom closet, or, if he was outside, under the play structure.

We knew it was time when we could carry on a conversation with him that went something like, “I know where you are going.  You are going into the closet to poop, aren’t you?  Yes you are.  You want to go on the toilet?  Let’s go on the toilet.  Come on! YES!  COME ON!  PLEEEASE!!!  Pretty please?  You can’t crap in the closet! Oh forget it.”  And then he would poop in his diaper in the closet.  Phase one of potty training:  complete!

Sit ON the potty, stand IN the potty....we have to start somewhere.

Phase two was getting him to sit on the toilet.  This phase was just a random hodge podge of attempts.  Getting him to actually sit on the damn thing was the trick.  But we kept annoying him, taking him to the potty ever 45 minutes, or hour, or 3 hours, just depended on how good my memory was that day.  We kept him in pull ups this entire time, though.  I don’t care what the “smarty fartys” say about potty training, taking a kid who is learning how to potty train out on an errand, in regular underwear, is like saying, “Dear Lord, please make my kid have explosive diarrhea in the mall.  And let it run down his leg and leave a trail 10 yards long before I notice it.”  God ALWAYS answers those prayers.  You have been warned.

For us, it was repetition.  And reward.  Yes, we totally rewarded our child for pooping on the potty.  It is such a monumental victory, such a HUGE step in their lives, and it should be celebrated like they just won a gold medal in the olympics.  We high five, we scream, and we give chocolate chips.  And we give chocolate chips to the support staff (Noble Jones) who hangs out and claps, even though it’s just because he’s trying to score some chocolate. But I love it!  I’ve heard many places that you shouldn’t do this, because it’s bribery and that’s wrong. Also, if you do it then your children will grow up to be constipated unless someone waves a Snickers bar in front of their nose. Also, because it’s candy and that’s just bad nutrition.  Also, because it’s pooping and it should just be pooping and not treated like blah blah blah something scientific or something. I can’t tell you whether or not this is the case, but Noble’s five now, and he doesn’t get a reward for pooping on the potty.  For him, the reward is my screaming, “FLUSH THE TOILET! GEEZ!”  And I usually follow that up with the treat of  “Did you wash your hands?”  And then I follow THAT up with a delicious taste of “Come on! Go back and wash your hands!”

Sometimes role modeling is a dirty, invasive job. It's all a part of the big brother contract, though.

The bottom line is that Alistair is now considered “trained.”  He wears underwear now, and that’s a big deal.  There are still times when we have to be extra prepared.  When he announces that he has to go pee, it means that he has to go pee…NOW.  This doesn’t go over very well when we are  in the car.  For some reason toddlers don’t respond well to “We’ll be home in 15 minutes.  We’re not stopping! Just hold it.”   We have this cheap little fold out travel potty thing that has actually saved us on more than one occasion.  I HIGHLY recommend!

The face of victory!

Potty training is a big deal, and there’s a ton of ways to do it.  We have done it twice in our house so that kind of makes us seasoned experts.  Seriously, I should get to put a Ph.D in my name now.  I think I’m going to, regardless of whether I “can” or “can’t.”  It’s my name, and I can write it however I want.  If you have any extra questions, or would like to share how you potty trained your child, leave it in the comments section below.  I would love to hear your story.  Yes, poop talk is funtastic! Let’s hash this sucker out!

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Thanks for reading.  Love,

Dr. Russell Jones Ph.D

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