We started “successfully” potty training Nora about two weeks ago now. She’s definitely nowhere near finished, as she had two big accidents today, but we are making progress! It was a draining first week, a more accident prone second week, and now my parents are here so we are all over the place. While, we’ve not finished yet, I’ve already written a few new lessons in my parenting book.
1) It’s good to be prepared.
We had been thinking about potty training since before Charlie was born, but the timing never seemed right. We always had a trip coming up, or a baby to be born, or something else that made us postpone starting. While I was pregnant, and still had time to myself, I read the popular book Oh Crap! Potty Training: Everything Modern Parents Need to Know to Do It Once and Do It Right. It was really good to have read this book before we actually started, but I probably should read it again. We have not followed everything this book laid out, but some of the tips have come in handy.
We also bought three potty seats because we’re over achievers. We’ve used the Munchkin Potty Seat in the bathroom, the Munchkin 3-in-1 Multi Stage Potty first in our living room and then in our van, and keep the OXO Tot Potty for Travel in the backpack to go out and about. It was good to have these ahead of time to introduce them to her slowly so she knew what to do with them when she actually started.
At some point, we had also picked up a couple packs of underwear from Target, had some microfiber cloths laying around the house for cleaning up accidents, and bought a ton of potty books. We thought we would be good to go whenever we decided to bite the bullet- and I was glad to be ready with all of our supplies before I thought we would need to be!
2) It’s also good to be surprised.
I was really dreading starting the process and having to always know where the closest potty was for the rest of my life (I may be a little dramatic). My parents were going to be out to visit us soon, so when Tony and I discussed when we should really start encouraging her to start, we thought that we’d wait a couple weeks until after they were gone. Tony had a work trip and was going to be out of town for a few days in that time frame, so it was better just to wait. Of course, Nora tends to have her own plans (as most toddlers do), so she woke up the first day he was going to be gone and stated that she’d like to wear undies and pee in the potty now. And because I’m winging this parenting thing, I just went with it. That first day was a good amount of accidents, but she also made it to the potty a couple times! The whole process ended up being way easier than I had anticipated, and I’m glad we waited until she wanted to do it rather than “forcing” it on her. Had we introduced it before she was ready, I think it would’ve turned into more of a power struggle- especially with our strong-willed, opinionated little girl. The overall dread I had over potty training left and was replaced by a new “can-do” attitude, as Tony calls it.
3) It’s okay to have setbacks.
I should’ve known that potty training wouldn’t be over as soon as it started and that she wouldn’t just start politely saying “Mommy, I’d like to go use the toilet now, please” and then go all by herself. Over the first weekend, she had a couple big accidents that led to her not wanting to go anymore. Then she started saying her “booty” hurt, so being the kind of hypochondriac parent that I am, I thought she might have a UTI (even though she exhibited none of the symptoms- but you never know!!) I gave her a couple days break where I didn’t push it, and she kept saying it. Luckily, Charlie already had a doctor’s appointment that week, so we were able to get her in too to check. After an hour of trying to pee at the doctor’s office and then half an hour in our trunk trying some more, we finally had a sample to give to the doctor. Of course, it ended up being nothing. On the way home, Nora said “I feel all better now. I like going to the doctor.” So at least we got that out of our doctor’s appointment!
We started up again that next afternoon with success again! I guess it’s just important to jump back in when things are seeming to go backward. But it’s also probably good to listen to your toddler’s “symptoms” even if it turns into nothing.
4) The magic of music and books is a beautiful thing.
The amount of times I’ve sang the Daniel Tiger Potty song in the last two weeks is astounding.
When you have to go potty, stop! and go right away. Flush and Wash and be on your way!
The Daniel Goes to the Potty book was our anthem that first week- it even has a fun button to press that has a flushing sound, what joy! The episode it’s based on was also a hit (Prince Wednesday Goes to the Potty/Daniel Goes to the Potty). My mom had also given us a few potty books that we had been reading in preparation, Peep and Egg: I’m Not Using the Potty and Vegetables in Underwear, that have both been big hits. Our newest favorite is The Potty Train– chugga chugga, pooo pooo. We keep these and a couple Usborne poop books on top of the toilet where we go and read them as we wait. They also work as bribes to get her to sit on the toilet when I’m thinking it might be time to go. Sometimes we’ll sing songs instead, The ABC’s is always a hit 😉 Whatever passes the time, right?
5) There’s nothing more exciting than that first time, except maybe the second time
I think the excitement around potty training falls into the “things I didn’t expect before I became a parent” category. The look of pride on Nora’s face the first time she went potty was so awesome to see and be present to. It made all of the accidents and mopping up pee so worth it (at least so far…). Still, every time she goes, she has a smile on her face and a look of surprise that it’s actually happening. She finally got that big P in the toilet yesterday and she was so excited, but also trying to figure out how it all works. It’s so fun to see her little mind rolling.
Of course, we are still only a couple weeks in, there are still accidents happening (multiple today!), still diapers to clean up at nap/bedtime, and so much ahead of us. These little peeks into Nora’s head have been so awesome- even if it is making us spend a long time reading and singing in the bathroom everyday! Here’s to a fast transition to going by herself, without too many tears (on either of our parts!)
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