By the time I was preparing to potty train my third child, I figured I had it all under control. I had trained both my other kids within just a week or two—with very few accidents and no significant frustration. I thought I was good at this. I was wrong.
My third child and I have been going around this particular issue for two full years now. And, while we’ve made good progress, I’m fairly desperate to be done with the process. But as my mother always said, “You can laugh or you can cry.” In an effort to help myself and all other mothers laugh, here are some ideas:
- Pick out the fanciest, brightest-themed potty you can find. Then buy a plain model when the bells and whistles scare your child.
- Fill a jar with colorful candy to use as rewards. Then watch those candies bleach in the sun because your child has no interest in using the toilet.
- Buy more laundry detergent—just trust me on this one.
- Before sending your child on an outing with family members, be sure your child hasn’t eaten the chocolate laxatives.
- Google the best ways to wash out Lego figure heads for when that seems like a more exciting place to aim.
- Keep warm washcloths on hand for when your child bends over to see himself use the potty and a forehead needs to be wiped off.
- Periodically spot-check the middle of the bedroom—a favorite place to pee on the sly.
- Also keep an eye on the toy box, especially if your child sleep-walks.
- Give up thoughts of preschool, long playdates, and getting all your errands done in one trip. It’s going to be a while.
- If your child is a boy, you may want to consider removing from sight anything with an interesting hole in the middle—like CDs.
- If your child comes into your bedroom in the middle of the night and asks to use the bathroom, make sure you get up to take him to avoid confusion between the toilet and the corner of your bed.
- Hand your child a container of wipes to clean up after he or she has had yet another accident. Be prepared to spend the next two hours disinfecting your bathroom.
- When your child finally uses the toilet–shout, dance, hug him or her, and load the whole family in the car to drive through a winter storm at bedtime to buy a toy. Prepare to accept the same toy back the next morning when your child hands it to you and says, “I don’t want to use the potty.”
Most of all, remember that despite all current indications, this will not last forever. And you will have a never-ending supply of funny stories to help other mothers laugh.
QUESTION: What stories can you tell other mothers to help them laugh their way through difficult days or weeks? What situations were stressful when they happened but are now favorite funny stories?
CHALLENGE: Find another mother going through a hard time that you can relate to, and share your stories. Or, if you’re stressed and stretched yourself, remember funny incidents of your own past or ask another mother to share her’s. Let’s lift each other!
Edited by Aubrey Degn and Sarah Monson.
Image from Shutterstock with graphics by Julie Finlayson.