An insider’s guide to potty training: Installment #4 — Getting your act together
Here are a couple of ways to get yourself in the zone.
When you are ready to take the plunge, make sure, you are really, really prepared.
Have lots of spare underwear on hand. I’d recommend buying big packages of cheapies because you are going to end up throwing at least some of them out.
You think that you will just wash them, but when your child poops in a pair of underwear, you will quickly realize that the scraping, rinsing, and pre-treating it takes just to get those crappy pants into the washing machine is not worth it.
I am very frugal. I hate wasting money, but when a kid has a sh!texplosion in a pair of underwear, you have much, much bigger fish to fry in the moment.
Buy a bunch of cheap underwear, get a pile of plastic bags, grab a bunch of old hand towels and a Costco box of wipes and set yourself up a crap station somewhere central in the house.
Also, be prepared to be frustrated, angry, exhausted, bitter, enraged, and everything in between.
You are not a Buddhist Monk who has mastered his emotions with a lifetime of meditation and reflection.
You are the parent of a toddler. You are always tired, always being pushed to your limit, and always having your buttons pushed by your pint-sized bundle of joy.
Plan to experience some raw emotions and know that you are not alone.
Do some research on mindfulness, tapping, or some other self-help strategy that you think will help and don’t leave it until you are in the moment, be pro-active with this step, you will need it.
Get your team on the same page.
If you are really ready, but your partner is waffling, this is going to undermine your efforts.
With toddlers, a united front on any issue is always the best approach.
If you are a single parent, then make sure you are on the same page with yourself. It’s amazing how easily we can undermine our own efforts when the going gets tough.
Make sure that you are presenting a consistent environment that can sustain the routines and actions you are promoting.
If you are going to implement a schedule, then you must stick with it. If they must sit on the potty after lunch every day, then that must happen, without fail. Don’t tell them that they do it every day and then let them off the hook if they cry about or resist.
If I tell a child that they have to go to the potty and they throw themselves on the floor and kick and scream about it, I pick them up and put them on the potty kicking and screaming.
It’s not about how they react to doing what they need to do, it’s about them doing it. When you push a toddler through that resistance, they will give up the behavior and get on board.
If they realize that they don’t ever really have to do what you say, then they will always do what it takes to break you down. If a toddler sees you can’t be broken, they won’t bother.
So get an agreement from all parties involved (even if all parties are you) that everyone will stick with the program. No. Matter. What.
Whether your child is a self-motivated go-getter or a resister, you’re going to need some mental preparation.
Every adult in the room must be on board to enforce the same routines and rules, the same way.
You have to know that there will be setbacks as well as progress and prepare yourself for feelings of raw anger, failure, and desperation. It’s all part of the game, just don’t let it get the best of you.
Well grasshopper, you are finally ready to move on, click this link to enter the final phase: Installment #5: Let’s Do This.