Potty Training Tips
It's May already! Birthday month for Miss Remy and nearly Mother's Day, the official marker here in Colorado that it is safe to plant. I took the girls to City Floral Garden Center in Denver on Earth Day and we had fun walking around and sniffing and feeling and tasting, little fuzzy lemons that had fallen in the pot of a lemon tree, on a drizzly gray day. The girls were snatching up the bright red and pink geraniums and putting them onto a cart, and I was THIS close to buying them plus four snap dragons, LOVE those, when I realized we live in Colorado. When you live in Colorado you should never plant anything before Mother's Day, in fear of it getting crushed to bits by snow. Case in point, the heavy white blustery storm we has just this past weekend! Good thing we opted to put all those pretty flowers back and settled on a succulent for our living room and a small pot of bunny tails grass, which was outside and I just barely got in out of the snow.
I love taking the girls to nurseries and garden centers! I can't say we have expansive landscaping or English gardens growing over here, but the excursion is enough for us to spark an enthusiasm and appreciation for natural beauty. It is making me curiouser and curiouser on things to plant and where. I just need to take the plunge and start with a plant or two, but I can't commit! Anyone have any suggestions about great, low maintenance plants, shrubs, perennials for Colorado climate? Comment below!
I also wanted to just lightly touch on potty training. I am not huge on advice, for those of you who read this space you know that. When I feel compelled to share, I'll try to be better about organizing those thoughts more. One idea lately that has been rolling around is potty training, probably because Arlo has been trained since the end of March and I now find myself packing a much lighter bag these days.
I wanted to share a couple things that worked for us. Having gone through potty training with two girls now, and seeing similar habits and routines and in the end results, I thought I would compose a tiny post about things we did in our process. Goes without saying, but I will anyway, this is not a you-should-do-this message by any means, and I know that each child is soooo very different, even gender differences play a role. My two daughters were also slightly different in their styles of learning this milestone too.
What worked similarly for both was this:
- Skip the special potty chairs and go straight onto the toilet! I knew before starting training that I was not about to put a potty in my living room, or kitchen for that matter! I also was not about to be dumping and cleaning and sanitizing a plastic potty- yuck! With Remy we used one of those padded character seats that goes onto the regular potty. While it worked for a while with her, we found that the plastic cracked and would get moisture in- gross, and also urine got underneath and was also a germ hotel. We tossed that out and purchased the child seat within the normal seat from Home Depot and then used that for Arlo and still have them on two of our toilets. They are cleaner and more convenient when guests come over and for us too!
- Skip the Pull-Ups! I am probably blowing your mind right now...or not...I knew before I started training that I wanted to go straight to panties. I didn't want there to be any confusion. I have seen many toddlers at the playground in the Pull-Ups and well past the three year range and to me I felt it might prevent the child from truly letting go of that security. Id din't want to chance it. We actually did try a Pull-Up at nap time with Remy in the beginning and she got a rash so we went to a diaper at nap time and took back that box of Pull-Ups to Costco. We continued the size 6 diapers at nap time until she woke up dry, and then same at bedtime.
- Get the fun character panties THEY like! Some parents opt for the undies of their own choosing- don't! This isn't a fashion show, for goodness sakes, nobody needs to eb excited about your child's underpants more than YOUR CHILD! So let them choose! Take them to Target and straight to the undies aisle and let them choose their new panties! Trust me, it worked! Also, let them choose when they put them on as well! Remy never really cared, but Arlo is EXTREMELY independent and strong willed to the point she had to choose her undies every time, as long as it took, I let her pick them out, and still do.
- Get a travel potty! We use and love the Oxo Tot one! I have it in the back of the car, but honestly, we have the drop troy and squat in mommy's arms position down. I used it more with Remy but we have used it with Arlo as well.
- Get them used to going in public! We are very much a family on the go. Whether you are a homebody type or not, it is wise to get them used to going in a public restroom to avoid accidents and avoid holding it in. Holding potty too long can cause urinary tract infections. Also, in preparation for pre-school, children will need to know how to eliminate on their own and cleanup as best they can on their own as well. Over the summer, I am planning to work with Remy more on the independence portion and have her go more on her own entirely. She has gone on occasion on her own and I congratulate her but the I take her back for cleaning, in case... I need to let go more. Also, she still announces when she has to go potty, I drop everything and take her, this probably needs to stop. She turns four this month! Arlo's first time actually going poo in the potty was at the thrift store- haha! I am sure the entire store heard our excitement for her excrement...haha! Try starting your grocery trip with a trip to the loo. I always made a point, and still do, to keep it like an adventure, like, "Ooohh I wonder what their potty looks like?!" Rather than this is disgusting...although that is me MANY times in LOTS of places, "Don't touch that! Get off the floor! Stand over there! DO NOT TOUCHHH!" But going into it like it is thrilling makes it exciting for them. Now we pretty much evaluate all public potties. Haha! If you are just starting out in training, SAFE, CLEAN and amazing public potty awards go to Kohl's Department Store, they even have a mini potty! AND they have a small seat with straps for that wiggly sibling! OR Nordstrom Family restrooms... try your first adventures out here.
- Praise, praise, praise! I did this with Remy in the very beginning, and Arlo too, but I still find that when I praise them and say how proud I am of their independence, it furthers our bond and lets them know that even things like this mean a lot and how independent they are becoming. I feel like in a small way this is a chance to build their self confidence up! Arlo loves it when I say, "Wow! You're learning!" That phrase right there..."learning."
- Bribery...In the beginning Remy went pee pee on the potty very well the entire day, but then she was refusing to go and was fighting us when we were taking her very 15 minutes, we missed the reward part. My husband actually thought of that. So we got a tiny dish and put chocolate chips in there. She got one chocolate chip for pee pee and three for poo. Speaking of poo....poo took about three weeks to land in the potty for BOTH of my girls! Back to bribery, I promised both of them something BIG and special if they went poo in the potty. For Remy it was a stuffed Minnie Mouse she wanted from the Disney Store, and it worked! She had maybe one more poo accident in the panties after and then she was fine. Arlo wanted a Disney Frozen dress from the Disney Store. Something about the Disney Store...probably because we never go unless it is a special trip! We did look for a dress, but they were all too big... and I still can't get myself to cough up $50 on one of those UGLY things.
- Wait until two and a half! There are studies that say if you start too early and push it too hard before they are ready that your child actually digresses later and/or has bed wetting problems. I wasn't too concerned with starting exactly at age two. In fact, there are physiological things happening within a child and they happen at different times, and there are signals that fire to say, "I have to go potty," that need to be developed. Perhaps your child wants their diaper off at 18 months and starts going on their own, wonderful! Let them lead you as to when they are ready to train too. Don't pressure them!
- Be ready yourself! Hold your hat because it requires time, commitment, and patience! Especially when you have more than one child! Even when your first is trained, it is interesting to see how they become very needy when your attention and praise and focus is all on that potty training child. All of a sudden you are waiting intently and encouraging that little sister to go potty when big sister has to go, NOW! I remember training Remy and, it was around the time she was two or just before, see my above note, and every time I went to change Arlo's diaper, she would have an accident! The last straw was a poo on my carpet! I put the diapers back on and waited the summer out. By fall she was ready, and so was I.
- Have fun with ti! Totally kidding... it isn't fun, it is work, and I was definitely dreading it, but you know what, once it's done, it's done. Now I find myself having a hard time thinking about having another to go back to the diaper stage again...
These are just a few things, but would love you guys to chime in on the comments section for those who may be saving this for the future or going through it now. What worked for you?
Thanks so much for reading guys!
Remy and Arlo are both wearing Gardener & the Gang dresses- how fun are they?! I picked them up at Babesta in Tribeca, NYC when I took a solo trip there back in February. LOVING these long sleeve dresses from Gardner for upcoming seasons. Both girls are wearing leggings from Target and Hunter Boots. Remy's Hello Kitty was her cousin's from when she was little! That cousin just turned 16!