Welcome to One-Quarter Acres

Here's a chronicle of life on a plot of land right smack in the suburbs in Minnesota, whose owners would much prefer to be in the middle of nowhere.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

How to help your child be a civilized person who uses the toilet in many steps

Ike is semi-officially out of diapers. That is to say, we are out of the disposables we've been using for him overnight, so he has to be out of diapers out of necessity. Out of the past week and a half or so, he's wet the bed once overnight, and that's it, including having two nights with his grandparents. I declare this a success. *throws confetti*

Now that I have TWO children out of diapers, I can share my method for potty training. (You can call it "potty learning" if you like; I will only judge you a bit for this.)

My method for two children has been as follows:

  • Introduce the potty early. Get excited when s/he gets excited about using the potty at such an early age. Predict that child will be out of diapers before 2.
  • Get tired of cleaning up accidents. Keep child in diapers and bemoan how s/he will never, ever learn how to use the potty like a civilized human being. Occasionally make effort to take off diaper for child to use the potty and savor the glimmers of hope. Self-flagellate re: what a terrible, lazy parent you are for not trying very hard at all.
  • Get determined that It Is Time To Use The Potty. Spend days pushing the issue and making a big deal out of things. End up cleaning up a lot of pee and/or poop. Persevere.
  • Give up again. Once again bemoan lack of civilized behavior. Ditto, lack of drive and determination.
  • Notice the diaper is staying dry. Say to self, "Hm." Start to leave off diaper, without making a big deal out of things. Notice that pees and/or poops are ending up in the potty more likely than not. 
  • Try underwear after a couple of days of the above. Be dismayed that it doesn't work. Try being bottomless again.
  • Suddenly, notice that underwear is coming down BEFORE potties are sat upon. Maybe do some clapping, because parents clap when children pee/poop in designated out-of-diaper areas (it's in our contracts).
  • After much of this, attempt zero diapers outside of the house. Rejoice in successes. When success is not achieved, remind self that most people are out of diapers by the time they get to college.
  • Eventually, forget to put on a diaper overnight. When diaper is dry in the morning, try another night. Continue until you're unsure when you last put on a diaper at night. 
  • Do a little dance, but don't get too cocky, and possibly make signs against the evil eye, depending upon your superstition level, as you do not want to wake up to anyone covered in poop. 
Now, teaching kids to use the "big potty," as we call it, is another story. Nora took to it easily. Ike is reluctant and, as a result, I end up settling down to nurse two babies right as he's taking a big dump in the living room (the usual location of the "little potty"). Ah, parenthood.


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