Three Things I Learned in the First Month of Potty Training:
1. Whether it be a nanny, a babysitter or your husband, make sure that everyone who cares for your child is involved in the process and understands your goals. If you have a no diaper rule everyone needs to follow it and be on the same page, otherwise it can be extremely confusing for your child.
2. Poop can be super scary so get your kid a distraction while they sit on the toilet. We’ve been using the Hatchable Mini Eggs. As she is going potty she tries to get that tiny overpriced piece of plastic out of the egg, which serves as a distraction so she is not anxious to get off the toilet.
3. Be patient — very, very patient. Dig deep into the depths of your soul to tap into that patience. If you don’t you will drive yourself completely crazy.
How many times since becoming a parent have you asked yourself, “Why did nobody tell me that?” When it comes to potty training I’m about to tell you the shit that nobody tells you. Over the first 72 hours I thought we had it nailed – Zelda was killing it. She was excited, going to the potty on her own and pulling down her own panties. I thought we had reinvented the wheel. As it turns out, we had not. When it comes to going number two, it’s a whole different game. I can see why it’s called potty training and not poop training, because if it was no one would want to do it. Poop is nasty, it’s shit and it’s scary. The first time Zelda went number two on the toilet she was terrified. She didn’t know if she could get up from the toilet and sat there and read six or seven books before standing up to see what she left behind.
We were so excited and congratulated her – she was pumped for herself too. However, after that she quickly decided she didn’t want to do it again. She kept saying, “It’s so stinky, mom! It’s so nasty.” Yes, Zelda, it is but we all do it and it is just part of life. Since then, it’s been a battle to convince her to go number two on the potty. Every time she takes a tinkle I give her an immense amount of praise. I want her to go at her own pace so I don’t pressure or push her.
Last week, I was in the other room and unbeknownst to me she went number two on her own. She brought me her portable potty and showed me its contents – the vilest human poop I’d ever seen. I’m a mom, I have two dogs and I’m used to cleaning up shit but I wasn’t ready for this. It was as if a full-grown adult walked up to me and handed me a full poop. I quickly gathered myself, dumped it out in the real toilet and began washing her potty with soap. Once it was clean, I walked down the hall to check on Zelda.
I could still smell the poop and when I focused on her, I noticed there was poop smeared across her shirt – so disgusting. As I was throwing her shirt in the wash she looked up at me, putting her hands in my face and said, “Oh no, ma. Look – poop on my hands.” There wasn’t just poop on her hands. It was deep in her nailbeds, it was so nasty. I drew her a bath and on my way down the hall I quickly realized she had finger painted my walls, closet doors and some of the carpet with her poopy hands. I literally had shit going from one end of my house to the other. I had to keep it cool because I didn’t want her to think she did something wrong by going to the potty and I didn’t want to scare her. In true mom power form, I cleaned it up, gagged to myself and said every curse word I could think of in my head.
This stuff happens and no one posts it on Instagram. A shitty wall probably doesn’t go next to anyone’s perfectly posed dinner flat lay, but it’s important to know we all go through this, it’s just part of the process. To keep your child from being anxious about getting off the potty, I recommend finding a distraction. If there is ever a time for praise or bribery, this is it – reward your child for doing something good.
Hatchable Mini Eggs have been working for us. They come four to a pack and cost $10. It’s almost impossible to remove that tiny overpriced piece of plastic from the egg in one sitting so it becomes a goal for her while she’s on the toilet, she wants to go back and work on cracking the egg open. If you can get your child to use the real toilet instead of a portable potty, do it. It makes your clean up so much easier. Trust me, dumping a big human poo and then scrubbing it is terrible.
When you’re on the go, be prepared for any situation if you’ve transitioned out of diapers. I’ve heard a lot of people carry plastic bags, which is great if that is what works for you, but we’ve been using the Itsy-Ritzy Travel Happens Wet Bags. It’s easy to keep a couple in my diaper bag and I can throw her clothes in one when she has an accident. Once it is sealed, the smell is completely concealed and when we get home I can throw her clothes and the bag into the washing machine. As a bonus, they are eco-friendly and won’t leave you in a bind wondering where to place poo filled clothing.
As I said in my first potty post, every child is different so don’t compare yourself to others. There will always be those moms who potty train their 18-month old in three days. And while they are rockstars, you’ll also find other parents who the process is longer for and that is okay. Allow your child to do things at their own pace, don’t apply pressure and always keep it fun. The next time you’re scrubbing shit off your baseboards and want to drop a couple f-bombs remember you’re not alone, I’m right there with you!