potty training tips | encouragement from the trenches


  Ah, the joys of potty training! More like “Parent Training!” Am I right?!
My daughter was completely potty trained at the age of 13 1/2 months during the day. At only 20 months we no longer had accidents at night. {Right in time, before my second child was born!} I was one proud, and very happy mommy. I felt I had been very successful at potty training, I had this thing down!
When the time came to train my second child. {This time a boy!} I had heard that boys were a challenge, but I was ready to tackle that challenge! 
To my surprise, my son was potty trained completely during the day at the age of 2. We used pull-ups for night time, and he was 3 when he completely stayed dry at night. He enjoyed the experience and was very proud of himself. Again, I felt a sense of accomplishment! Another successful training mastered! I couldn’t understand what all these other Mom’s were talking about, when they shared their horror stories. Boys, weren’t that much more work?!  ;0)
The Day I Quit
THEN my 3rd child’s potty training days came along.  {Another boy.} This time things were MUCH different.
To my complete surprise, this child, believe it or not was FEARFUL of the toilet! He would cry in fear, especially when the toilet was flushed! {I’ve never used a potty chair for my children. I didn’t believe in them and I still don’t.} *We use potty seats.
I tried OVER, and OVER, and OVER, and OVER, and OVER…{you get the idea.}  to get my son to use the toilet. FINALLY, the day came and he was comfortable with sitting on the porcelain throne. {He was 2 1/2.} The sitting on the throne was FINALLY accomplished, however the use of the toilet was non-existent!  

Eventually the *cheerio toss was tackled with the #1 process. Winking smile

I was THRILLED, when he started letting me know when he had the urge to go number 1! We completely *got rid of pull-ups, and put him in big boy underwear during the day. We literally *set the timer for 10-15 minutes at a time, and we would visit the toilet THAT often… so we wouldn’t miss the opportunity of any sudden urge to go number 2. 

However, my son would sit for a good half hour on the toilet, and 20 books later, would go in his pants. It NEVER failed. I was then again cleaning up a mess of poo! SO NOT FUN!

Number 2 didn’t come as easily.  
The last straw finally came for me, when I ended up cleaning poo, out of the carpet for the 2nd time in one day. {Being pregnant probably didn’t help the situation.} That was it, for me. I slapped on a diaper and called it done! I was feeling as if I was in a constant battle with my then 2 1/2 year old. I beat myself up pretty bad over “quitting”. I was feelin like a failure as a mom. I remember telling myself: “I can’t even teach my kid to use the toilet!” “It started off so well, with my first 2…what was wrong with me training him?!” “Does he feel my frustration?” “Do I not explain it right?” “Is he possibly not getting as much attention as my other two?!” 
Trust me, I was deep in the trenches and was almost positive my son would be in pull-ups until he was 20! 😉
My Mom, told me “perhaps he just isn’t ready yet?” 
She recommended I wait for awhile, and see how it goes. And she has a right to say such things. After all, a mother of 15 should KNOW.
During the deep trenches of the forever poopapocalypse I learned that I was “still a good mommy” not a failure.
Bottom line {pun intended!} It was simple. My son just wasn’t ready. And if a child isn’t ready to use the toilet, it just isn’t going to happen, and there’s nothing anyone can do to change that.
The New Beginning
  My son turned 3, and we took the reigns once again.  It was then I believe my son was truly ready! He had still continued with going number 1 when we had quit. {He wore pull-ups, due to so many pooey accidents. Though he kept them dry, number 2 was our major issue.} 


We AGAIN, tried the *sticker charts, *rewards and everything all over again. FINALLY, I came up with an idea! He was such a hands on child, I figured I needed to give him something, to do with his hands. 
So, I gave my son an antique school bell to hold. {My grandma’s old school bell.} 
I told him  “if you go poopey in the potty, I WILL let you ring this special bell.” I left the bathroom, and told him I would be right back. His face lit up and he was ready to try! I had just walked into the kitchen, and I heard the bell ringing. {I honestly thought he was so anxious to ring the bell he was just “trying” it out for fun.} On my return and to MY SURPRISE, my son had gone number 2!!!! 
I’m positive I had tears in my eyes,  I was praising and praising that boy UP and DOWN!!!
We never had another accident during the day! We were truly “saved by the bell!” We were even having dry pants at night, with just a few accidents here and there at night. It finally clicked, and boy was I one relieved mommy!
I began to fall in love, with the ring of the bell. {it was a sign of true accomplishment, and pure joy!}

{My 3rd child, a year ago.}
The bell was used for a couple months, and then eventually he just didn’t “need” it anymore, and he is doing GREAT! {He is now 4, and now we’re working on the wiping process.} I’d appreciate ANY helpful tips on this stage in life.

*Potty Training Tips – I’ve tried and found they work!

1. “Throw Away” the diapers – have a party and have your child “throw away” their baby pants. {Of course don’t really throw those expensive things out! Just use a clean trash bag.}

2. Bribes – there’s nothing wrong with bribery! In fact rewards are a great way for a child to see accomplishment. {Small pieces of candy or dried fruit work great!}

3. Character underwear are expensive – Finding underwear that looks just like mommies or daddies is VERY special to a child. It also shows them that they are “Grown up” and are learning to be “Just like, Mommy or Daddy.”

4. Target Practice {for little boys} – Little boys love games! Try tossing in a few cheerios in the toilet and have them aim! {This worked like magic for my boys.}

5. Dye the Water – dye the toilet water with blue or red food coloring; it changes to green or orange when they go number 1. Little ones love knowing that they created the colors.

6. Make Flushing Fun- Our 3rd child was afraid of the toilet, and flushing was even worse. We made a big deal, at waiving and saying goodbye to the poopies. The excitement helped hide the fear he had.

7. Fear of Public Toilets – the automatic flush, that is! Pull out a post it sticky note from your purse, and place it over the toilet sensor, while your child uses the toilet. After he/she is done, toss the paper and flush. {This worked for a couple of my Munchkins.}

8. PRAISE, PRAISE and did I mention PRAISE?! Children love praise, and we must be sure to heap it on, while they tackle this amazing training feat!

9. Consistency – set the timer for 10-15 minutes at a time. Have your child listen for the “beep”.  When your child hears the BEEEEP…they know it’s time to go potty. {My son still hears the stove timer very well!} ;0) Spread the time out as they start using the toilet more.

10. Skivvies are okay – while training! Have your child run around in his underwear. Don’t put any other bottoms over his/her underwear. Let them feel the air, so if they go, they will get a sudden chill, from the cold air and the warmth of their wet mess.

11. Sticker Charts – are a great visual, of a great job well done! {This is really all I needed for my daughter.}
12. Patience. Potty Training takes a lot of it! When your child does have an accident, encourage them to try and do better next time. Don’t make a huge ordeal out of it. {I’ve failed with this, too many times!}
13. Use the BIG toilet. {After all that’s what we’re training our child to end up using anyway!} 
And besides when you are out at the store, YOU can’t pull out a small potty chair in your purse!

14. Books – Have a basket or drawer of your child’s favorite books, in the bathroom. Let them choose their reading material for their sitting time. {All my children have loved this.}

15. Ring A Bell –  Tell your child they can ring the special bell if they can go in the big potty. 

I want to let you know, that YOU WILL, eventually have a trained child. Through sweat, and tears, you will come out a tried and true mother. Keep up the great work dear Momma!

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