Sunday, September 7, 2014

Potty Training, Dad Style.

Someone from the Denver Dads Group asked a question about potty training his son.  I thought I'd share some advice.  When I saw how amazing and brilliant it was (humblebrag), I realized it had to be shared with the world...  or the five people who still know I write this thing.  (Hi, Mom!)

My thoughts on Potty Training:  The Definitive Solution*.

(He and him are used only because I have a boy.  This will work for girls, too.)

Dear Potty Frus-Training,

Here's something really important to remember:  You're not "training him" to pee in the potty, you are practicing the skills.  Our pediatrician shared that with us when we expressed our frustrations.  Think about it, we are expecting a three year old to do something an inebriated adult can barely do.  So, we treated it like practice.

Here's my set up:  go to Home Depot and buy a plastic lined paper drop cloth in the paint section.  Lay it out on the floor and place a small toddler potty there and one in the bathroom.  You can also put a training seat and stool on your toilet, or whatever he's going to use.  Toss toys, crayons, and books all over the drop cloth, turn on Sesame Street (specifically because it's 1 hour... and because it's Sesame Street).

Now, take off his diaper and put him in underwear NOT TRAINING PANTS.  Make sure they're underwear he picks and loves.  My kid loved the lego Jedi ones.  Let him roam free and play on the drop cloth.  It's his special play place.  Set an alarm that makes noise.  Every fifteen minutes, you race to the potty.  He races in and practices getting his underwear off and sitting.  (Don't have him stand and aim.  Again, think drunk 19 year old and ease of use.  Standing will come.  Also, NO Cheerios or food in the toilet.  Can be confusing for a toddler and next thing you know, you're training your kid to NOT eat cereal pieces from the toilet.)

MM's are an awesome reward.   Let him pick which kind he wants.  It gets fun as their specialty seasonal ones come out.  (If you've used treats in the past, don't do this step.  Or do.  It's flexible.)

If he has an accident, don't get mad.  Tell them, "Oops, almost."

Take off the dirty underwear and have him race to the potty from all of the rooms nearby; his bedroom, the living room, the kitchen.  Then have him sit on the potty while you grab the drop cloth and fold it up and toss it.  Then you're done.  Let him know he did a good job racing to the potty and your work is done for the day.

The entire process lasts no longer than one hour (one episode of Sesame Street).

He will eventually make the connection between the feeling of having to use the potty and the skills you've practiced.  Mine did it when he got sick with a stomach flu and he FELT the urge.  Hard.  And one day later, he's completely diaper free forever.  We've only had four or five accidents in the last year.

And most important, make it fun and never seem like something to be ashamed of or embarrassed about.

*This is in no way a definitive solution, more of a definitive suggestion.

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