I cloth diapered. I’m not telling you that to be all sanctimonious, it’s just part of the story of how my daughter was potty trained. You see, I also work full time outside the home. While I was on Mat Leave the “few extra loads” of laundry that came with cloth diapering weren’t really a big deal. It just fit in to our daily routine. Once I went back to work hauling diapers up and down the stairs became a serious pain in my butt pretty quickly. Literally too, because I slipped on the stairs one day holding a basket of diapers and landed right on my tailbone. Ow.
I’d had enough of diaper detail. I did some research and found that while there are a million ways to potty train your kid, there are two predominant schools of thought: No pressure, your kid will use the potty when they’re ready – even if that means they’re pooping in their pants until they’re five, and the bootcamp “potty train your kid in three days” approach that seems a little harsh. No offense to anyone who used either of those methods, or any of the myriad in between, we all do what works for our families. I decided to take a pretty low stress approach to potty training. I’m no expert having only been through it with the one kid, but she was out of diapers except for overnight before her second birthday. If it worked for us, it can work for you. Or not. These little people are kind of like snowflakes.
Anyway, here’s what we did:
After the slipping on the stairs incident, I bought a potty. There is one bathroom in our house and it is up a loooooong flight of stairs from the living room. I didn’t think it was reasonable to expect a barely toddling baby to make that trip several times a day so I wanted to have a potty downstairs too. I just put it in the room at first and let her check it out. I encouraged her to sit on it fully clothed, just to get used to the idea and make sure it wasn’t a big, scary thing to her. When she was about 18 months old we let her go bottomless while encouraging her to sit on the potty. Yes, sometimes she peed on the floor. You know what? It’s a little baby pee, not battery acid. I kept a lot of paper towel and some all-purpose cleaner nearby and didn’t make a big deal of it when it happened.
When she peed in the potty a few times, we made a big deal of telling her what a good job she did doing pee-pee in the potty. Then it was time for a reward. I’ve had my own issues with food so we didn’t go the Smarties route. Instead I gave her stickers, one for pee and two for poo. She stuck them on the potty. She stuck them on her shirt. She stuck them on her face or on my face and yes, sometimes on the furniture. But I didn’t mind because they weren’t THAT hard to remove (olive oil and rubbing alcohol FTW!) and she loved those stickers.
There were some thrills, there were some chills and there were more than a few spills but by 21 months she was completely out of diapers in the daylight hours. Now if I can just get rid of that #$*&@^ pacifier, we’ll be all set.
Julia Warrender (@jwarrender) is a wife, a mother, a communications professional and an all-around smartass. It’s a lot of hats to wear and she doesn’t always wear them well. She can usually be found over at Life with a Parasite where she shares all the things “they” don’t tell you about pregnancy, parenting and infertility.