Monday, March 16, 2009

Potty Training, or Just Keep Working the Program

Here are the potty training plans I woke up with this morning:

Dress the Part
You're going to spend the day discussing and handling human waste, which can be seriously demoralizing. This is not the day to schlep around in yesterday's yoga pants. Get dressed in something you like; put on some make-up. You're going to need all the pick-me-up you can get. Ditto on your environment: Start in a somewhat clean house or the please-just-stick-a-needle-in-my-eye-and-save-me-from-this-hellhole will set in faster.

Assemble the Supplies
You need juice, pop--whatever sugary, otherwise off-limits drinks your trainee will drink in abundance. The child needs practice, which means lots of pee. Ideally, the kid is peeing every 10 minutes. Today, you're the drink pusher. Also you need pocketsful of bite-sized treats to dispense each time the trainee sits on the potty (no matter the outcome). A peeing doll is useful.

The procedure:

In advance, you've been talking this up: How potty training works, how it's so awesome, how you'll be a big boy with big boy underpants, how treats will be involved.

To begin, take off the diaper. Put on loose-fitting underpants (so the trainee can get them on and off easily). Celebrate the new pants.

Potty train the doll. The doll is playing until, "Oh! Her potty is coming out!" Run her to the potty, sit her down, surreptitiously squirt some water from a medicine dispenser into the potty. "Good job, Dolly! She put her pee pee in the potty!" (Do not linger to reflect on what you've just said.) With your trainee, admire the dolly's pee.

Then do the same with the trainee. "Oh! Time to go potty!" Shepherd them over to the potty, make them pull down their pants and have the seat. Once they're seated, give them a Skittle or marshmallow or whatever. "Is any pee pee coming out?" Then pull up their pants and off they go.

Repeat every 10 minutes or so.

When they pee on the floor, think to yourself, "Oh what a great learning experience they just had!" Calmly walk over and say, "Are your pants dry?" Make them touch their pants to notice that no, they aren't. Say, "Let's see if any more pee pee comes out." Walk them over to the potty and do your routine like normal, Skittle and all.


And repeat.

All day.

Calmly and happily.

Like you don't mind potty talk and puppy messes all over the place.


Afternoon update:
So far, we've had 3 accidents in 3 highly inconvenient places. (I have miles of easy-to-clean hardwood floor! You can't pee on that?!) No pee in potty. Skittles don't seem to be a big motivator. I just keep telling myself, Work the program - Work the program.


Most exciting potty training moment of the day:
Jesse is on the pot in the kitchen, when I hear Haley's wail from outside. "Doesn't she know how obviously fake she sounds?" I grumble. Then I turn to see Haley with blood dripping down her forehead and into her eye. Her eyeball is floating in blood. I gasp. Which makes her cry all the more. Also now Jesse is crying. Turns out Levi hucked a stick, which accidentally clocked Haley. It's a little cut, but man did it give a dramatic presentation.


  1. Oh I am so glad my potty training days are over! However my "blood caused by sticks being thrown" days i'm guessing are not.

  2. Yeah, Ang! You did it one day! Now just keep it up! Work the program! Hooray!

    Interesting that you say to get all nicely dressed. I think I would have gone the other direction...not get dressed at all so that when you get pee on you, you don't feel like it's impossible for you to dress nice even one day.

  3. "To begin, take off the diaper. Put on loose-fitting underpants (so the trainee can get them on and off easily). Celebrate the new pants."

    "Celebrate the new pants?!?" Now I know why women do this. My manly self is in complete denial in the first step. Men are more into visulaization like:

    Imagine the tree.
    See the tree.
    Feel the tree.
    Now pee the tree.

    Problem solved - let's go blow something up.

  4. I'm sure the "pee the tree" technique would work like a charm...if you only ever wanted them to pee on trees.

  5. So this is the dark side of parenting that is hidden from uncles and rarely sees the light of a blog... terrifying.

  6. Oh. My. Not Fun. We have lots of hardwood floors too. Not looking forward to there being pee on them either.

    But my son is still just 18 months old. Sometimes I think it would be really nice to be at this point. And then I read this and realize I don't want to be at that point quite yet.

    How old is Jesse?