Monday, September 30, 2013

Potty 101

There is a saying: Every time a child is potty trained, a parent earns their wings. Ok, I made that up, but I really think it ought to be.

As a 2’s and 3’s teacher I rocked the potty training world, swapping pull-ups for undies at lightning speeds. Having successfully potty trained my own (genius) son and approximately 974 TLS kids, I was pretty much the potty champ (insert butterfly and rainbow sounds). I approached potty training with a near blasé attitude:  ½ peaceful Zen guru, ½ existential potty philosopher. It was deep. Meet my 2nd born (insert screeching brakes sound). Suddenly I’m cast a drift, drowning in a sea of laundry and hand sanitizer, on my hands and knees trying to figure out if I am cleaning up dog pee or kid pee…. and why is it in my closet?

Potty training isn’t for the faint of heart, but it is a parenting milestone that you can’t avoid. There are some basic truths: 1) Every child is totally different, and there is truly no one potty training prescription. 2) They DO get there. Here are the biggie rules: never shame your child, and throw a mega party with every success... or not. My daughter is kinda terrified by my excited potty cheers. 

The secrets to potty training are consistency, recognizing the signs of readiness, consistency, epic patience, and consistency. Pick an approach, and stick with it. Expect accidents, arm yourselves with a change of clothes (or two) and buy a good carpet cleaner. If your child is regularly waking up from naps with a dry diaper, then his or her body is telling you it is physically ready. Yeah! (night-time is a whole different story and will come later).  Other signs include showing discomfort with a wet diaper, ability to pull pants on and off, and telling you they want to go to the bathroom. Keep it as light as possible and offer choices to engage them in the process (Do you want to hop or skip to the potty? Do you want to sit like a cowboy or like a monkey?), have a potty party, or choose special bathroom books. Potty training doesn’t have to be the most amazing fun ever, but it shouldn’t be a battle either.

I suppose what I am trying to say is this: who the heck knows how to do it! It’s not something we must endure. We don’t slough through it, they do it! THEY do it, not us. Whoa, I just blew my own mind.  And best of all, I am sure there is a great story in the making you can dig out on your child’s first day of college. You earned it.