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Friday, September 30, 2016

POTTY TRAINING 101 | MOM LIFE

potty training, how to potty train, potty train your toddler, toddler potty training, potty training 101, how to get started potty training

I really don't feel qualified to write a post like this because although I can list the steps we took to get started, I still have a child that's learning day-by-day and honestly, if you would have asked me just two weeks ago on how I felt about potty-training, my palms would have started getting sweaty, my mind would start racing and I would have given every single excuse as to why I didn't think it was "time".... Until about 6 days ago. I had had it with diapers. Simple enough, I was DONE. Through. They would cease to exist. But the doubts quickly started coming... "How do I actually do this?... Where do we even begin?" I believe those two questions set us back wayyyy farther than we had to be... Let me explain from the beginning:

      Penelope was 19 months and I started noticing her acknowledging her wet diaper more and more, so when my mom came to town, she threw out the idea to start potty-training her... What could it hurt, right? Well, we sat her on the potty for the very first time (October 15th - I'll never forget haha) and BAM! She went! Like, what!? I couldn't even believe it. But not all things that glitter are gold and I quickly learned she truly wasn't ready and it was definitely a one-time thing and totally a fluke. So, back to the drawing board we went... Pull-ups and all. 
I was pretty bummed because I thought that at that time, she was ready... she showed the signs, acknowledged the process but when it came time to execute, it wasn't happening. I thought that we would never be out of diapers and I truthfully dreaded trying again because I was afraid it would be the same scenario which lead me to solid fact that mom's have a lot on their shoulders here, people. Not only are we supposed to know when our kids are ready for this first big step in life but even when we think we know, sometimes we just don't. After all, we're dealing with a small, independent human.. Y'all know how that goes.

Even though I understand that at 19 months, I was pushing for (almost) the impossible, It's certainly not impossible but I for us, it wasn't in the cards, which surprisingly lead me to Rule #1: It's never too early to get our little ones acquainted with the potty.
I learned that getting her excited to use the potty happened when she was 19 months but actually getting her to use the potty would happen much later and that's totally cool too.
She's 2 1/2 and we're crushing this! So here's how we did it:

Step 1: Get a motivator 
We use these organic suckers plus tons and tons of praise.
Penelope loooves suckers and I'm not one to give her a lot of candy (like, ever - hi, Halloween and Easter, you two about sum it up) so it's a sweet treat that she really looks forward to every time she goes - ESPECIALLY in the beginning.

Step 2: Gather the essentials
Getting prepared ahead of time will keep you ahead and it'll also save your butt (and your kids) so make sure you get everything you'll need beforehand.
So some examples: We bought pull-ups, doggie piddle-pads (YES - the pads that little puppies pee on - ones you'll find in the dog section) These are a LIFESAVER and have saved our carseat once or twice lol. Also, I stocked up on the little Arm and Hammer  diapers baggies (pictured above) because we have had wet clothes a time or two. Also, underwear. Obviously this is #1. DO NOT GIVE IN. Use them DAILY. When we go out for long trips, I use the pull-ups because it's too risky but when we're home, it's strictly underwear. No diapers, NADA. Trust me, Penelope HATED the feeling of being in wet clothes and that really motivated her to not pee her pants (she's not Miles Davis. - to all my fellow Billy Madison fans) So accidents weren't in vain! They actually helped her understand what happens when you don't take the time to use the bathroom.


Step 3: Make the little ones apart of the process 
We received our two potties from family members this past Christmas (talk about hinting) so that was out BUT what was in was getting Penelope to sit on them and to become familiar with what they do and how to use them. She would periodically sit on them from time-to-time so they seemed less like a toy and more like a tool, which really helped when it came time to really get rolling.

Step 4: Be. Patient.
Or I should say, gather patience. I am the most impatient person on the face of the Earth... Everything has to be done yesterday, so truthfully, I started seeing definite signs from Penelope about a month prior to us actually starting and held off because I was the one that wasn't ready. 
Potty training is definitely a team effort; from your child and you. It wouldn't have been successful if she was ready and I wasn't or vice-versa. It had to be mutual.

Step 5: Ideally, pick the best time of year for you.
There won't be an inconvenient time for your kid but there will be inconvenient times for you. 
For example, we travel a TON during the summer and we're constantly around family, wellllll, when Penelope gets around people that aren't, well, us, it's definitely harder for her to slow it down..... (Attention spans goes from about a 10 to a -1 if you get my drift) So I knew that trying to grab her attention to potty-train during the summer just wasn't going to happen.

Step 6: Look forward to the reward.
A couple of days ago I felt like I was seeing the light at the end of the tunnel because while we were at the dentist waiting, Penelope looked at me and said "I have to go potty." And hearing your kid acknowledge that is like hearing Jesus' voice so prepare for the tears to start flowing because you know, parenting.


For now, those are all of the tips that I have... I'm not a pro and when we have another one, that story will probably be different than this one. That's just how these little suckers work, right?
and lastly, I wish I could say that it can all happen within 3 days but again, every child is different and that's why I wrote this pretty vaguely because I don't want anyone to feel like they're being pressured or unsuccessful because it "seems" to work that particular way for others... This is a process and it can be time-consuming, challenging and messy (way, way messy) BUT it's soooo rewarding, so if you're reading this and you're on your last leg - take a break, catch your breath, regroup and go at it again. You're much closer than you think, mama! 

And I'm proud to say that we haven't used diapers in almost a week!!!! We are ECSTATIC and Penelope is pretty damn proud herself, as she should be ;)

xx,tbp



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