Potty Training Tips - Part Two
So in my first post, Potty Training Tips, we went over some basics and the first six steps. In this post you can read the next six steps, or go over here to read about the best ways to clean up a potty training accident!
7) Everybody poops
I’m about to get REAL here, y’all. Talking about poop doesn’t make me uncomfortable because 90% of the conversations in our house revolve around this topic. HOWEVER I’m sorry if this grosses you out.
So, this is probably one of the hardest things to master as a potty trainer. I think we all know from experience that our digestive system can be unpredictable. We can feel gassy without needing to poop. We can have a SUDDEN URGE to have a bowel movement. We can be constipated or have diarrhea. We can feel like we need to empty our intestines, only to be met with a tiny nugget (yup, I went there). It’s hard to gauge and articulate ourselves, so how are we going to expect a 2 year old to do the same?
Basically this is all trial and error. I’ve found that once kiddo poops on the potty a few times, it gets much easier. Not without accidents, but easier. Once they learn the sensations and overcome the fear of pooping on the potty, you’re over the biggest hurdle. But what to do until then?
Is he regular? One of mine WITHOUT FAIL would always poop after his afternoon nap, so it made sense to me to just plop him on the potty immediately after nap. If they don’t want to sit, do whatever you have to do to distract them. Read books, sing songs, play I spy. Stall as much as you can, and hopefully things will start moving down the pipes.
Is he gassy? That’s a pretty good indicator. When we were first potty training I always put them on the potty if they were gassy - better safe than sorry, am I right?
8) Cleaning up.
This is the worst part of potty training for sure. No one wants to do it or even talk about it, but I’m here to be that friend for you. I’ll go into great detail (because you NEED to hear this), but for the sake of sticking to my numbered points, I’ll put the crappy details in another post. It literally needs to be a post in itself, so don’t miss it.
9) Reintroduce pants
Osh Kosh/Carter’s has some particularly cute lined windpants that are FANTASTIC for being soft on the inside. Remember, we’re not doing undies yet. We usually wait a couple weeks for that, just to be on the safe side.
But these pants options are great for protecting the outside world from the elements within should there be an accident. They also have sweatpants/joggers which are super easy to pull up and down; especially compared to jeans. They also don’t have buttons or zips, so you’re really winning with these. I literally just ordered 4 pairs for Mr B.
You are going to learn VERY quickly which stores have the clean bathrooms and which don’t. IKEA: good. Our closest supermarket: BAD. Cream coffee shop: Good. Industry City: good. Friend's house: depends who your friends are! Petco: good (surprising?!). Playground: BAD (not surprising). For a while I’d encourage you to either stick close to home or to the places that you KNOW are cleaned often.
11) Teaching independence
We are currently in this phase. Slowly but surely, we are getting to full independence. First we start with teaching the fine motor skills that they actually need to pull their pants and undies up and down. We stress the importance of “one at a time” and pulling up their undies first, followed by their pants. The automatic reaction of our boys has always been to try and just pull them all up and once and that often ends in a twisted jumble of parts and clothes. Those sweet, chubby fingers don’t always work efficiently, do they? We try to encourage them to pull up from the sides so that their undies don’t get caught under their tush if they pull from the front (or their goods are hanging out the front if they pull from the back).
We are also teaching how to actually get up onto the potty. This looks so difficult for a tiny person who is still getting used to how their limbs function. Oftentimes they are too little to be able to actually reach the potty and are still using a step stool, which is difficult in and of itself. We try to make sure that the step-stool IS NOT pushed right up against the base of the toilet; this way kiddo actually has a bit of real estate to turn around on before pulling down his pants and sitting down.
12) To sit? Or not to sit?
Some kids are terrified of falling in the potty and don’t want to sit. Some spray like a firehose. Some would sit all day if they could (my oldest definitely falls into this category). Ultimately, I think you just have to try the methods and the potties and see what feels most natural.
I think it’s best to sit at the beginning (especially as they’re learning all of the mechanics) and then as they get older they can try standing. No need to rush - they’ll figure out what works best for them eventually. My opinion? The longer they sit, the more time you have to enjoy not having to clean pee off of the wall.
When it come to standing there is more skill required and you may even have to hold their penis down so that the stream of pee goes directly into the water instead of onto the back of the toilet. You barely even have to touch it - just push it down SLIGHTLY. If you push it down too much the pee will end up going on their underwear. Eventually you’ll teach them how to push it down themselves, but there’s a lot of trial and error there too. Often they want to push it in instead of down and then everyone gets a shower. Again, patience is key (antibacterial wipes, soap and body wash too).
12) Potty options
Potty seat. Tiny potty. Urinal. I think it’s just a matter of your child’s preference. We’ve had all three, but my fave was probably the tiny potty that had a removable potty seat. I think that having options helped because he felt like he had some control over the situation - choose your own adventure style. Although if we were home owners I would ABSOLUTELY splurge on this thing.
13) When to throw in the towel.
We gave it about 4 or 5 days. If there was absolutely no progress being made (or if it was progress at a snail’s pace) we went back to diapers. However, this only happened with one of our boys. With the others, we fully committed 100% and had success. That doesn’t mean that we didn’t consider giving up. When a kid poops on your foot, you will most definitely ask yourself, “Why are we doing this?!”, but in the end it’s worth it.
Also, expect your kid to poop on your foot. That way if they do, at least you’re expecting it. If they don’t, you’re ahead of the game!
Ok. Now for how to clean up the potty training disasters. Go read this final potty training post!