Friday, May 13, 2011

The Do's and Don'ts of Potty Training

With a 2 ½ year old triplet boys, potty training is constantly top of mind for a number of reasons.  For starters, it will feel like we won the lottery when we stop sending a significant portion of our paycheck to diapers.com each month.  Then, of course, there’s the fact that we’d like our boys to be normal functioning members of society and that necessarily requires saying adieu to Pampers and Huggies before they hit the double digits.  Ideally, and hopefully, sooner… much sooner!

I don’t have time to read up on the latest do’s and don’ts of potty training -- even with our first two kids, I never got too hung up on all the literature and “rules”.  I always figured that our kids would eventually get the hang of it and sure enough, they did.  Not without a fair amount of wetting the bed and just about everything else but still, by the time they were about three, Liam and Ciara had fully embraced the glories of the porcelain bowl.

With Kevin, Declan and Cormac, I suspect that our current approach contains more “don’ts” than “do’s” and I’ve decided to share them so you can learn from our mistakes… and perhaps have a chuckle as you think about three bare-bottomed two year-olds vying for one little plastic potty.  With that visual to keep you amused, here are a few lessons learned from our recent adventures in potty training…

  • I’m pretty sure that when your kid asks to sit on the potty, you should say yes.  DO encourage interest in the potty.  Do NOT say as I do, “Um, sorry sport, but I just changed your diaper and, for that matter, your brothers' diapers too and I don’t have the time or the money to change all three of you again and lose the next half hour of my life while you hold me hostage in our dirty bathroom.”  That feels like a definite DON’T, right?
  •  DO offer little treats as incentive for potty performance.  In our house, little treats are really little – as in one M&M for #1 and two M&Ms for #2.  It is amazing what these kids will do for an M&M or two!  That said, do NOT expect your toddler to understand deferred gratification – e.g. if your kid poops on the potty at night after brushing his teeth, he will still expect those two M&Ms right away.  Telling him that he can have them with breakfast (while admittedly questionable in its own right!) will only lead a nasty tantrum that just might cause a potty training setback.  Remember Pavlov’s dog and reward your potty training tyke immediately after that coveted drop or two lands in the potty.  Oh, and DO have him wash his hands before administering that treat! 
  •  Consistency is king.  I'm sure that a major "DO" is is to put your tot on the pot at routine intervals... first thing in the morning, after breakfast, before the park, before and after lunch, before and after nap, you get the idea.  But when you multiply all that on again/off again, PullUp/pull down, diapers on/off times three, well, it's just plain exhausting!  And I can't keep up with it.  Which is why I know I am committing a major DON'T when I tell my guys to "Just hold it.  You can go on the potty later."  Really?  A two year old is going to hold it?  Here's a newsflash.  They won't.  Trust me.
One last note, when your little gal or fella tells you they don't want to sit on the big potty, believe them .  They mean it.  That big potty that Mom and Dad use is scary.  Especially when your Mom lets go of your hand to stop your brothers from whizzing on the floor and you land IN that big potty, having your worst fears realized.  This is a major DON'T.  And yes, one of my kids might be scarred for life.  But dammit, he won't be wearing diapers to college.  And hopefully not to kindergarten either!  Wish us luck and feel free to share your own do's and don'ts! 

1 comment:

tripleZmom said...

Hey, at least you've started. I bought a new potty and some training pants, but I've been too lazy to start with the youngest. And there's only one of him! Since I managed to train the other two, I'm sure I'll get around to it. Or, you know, the preschool works really hard on it. :)