Potty Training Primer or Guess How Much Laundry I’ve Done Recently?

We’ve been knee-deep in potty training for awhile now, and I just thought I’d share some of our experiences, because when I was searching online for tips I found mostly generic crap that didn’t help me at all. (thebump/babycenter, I’m looking at YOU.)

Potty Training Tips

  • Buy yourself a big bottle of Nature’s Miracle for your carpets, floors, and car (YES, I said car) and a gigantic bottle of white distilled vinegar for your laundry. The vinegar pulls that ammonia smell out of the clothes without damaging them. (I have a high efficiency washer and put it in the bleach “pod”.) Save yourself from having to run the same load on sanitary 3x trying to get the smell out. Not that I’m speaking from experience or anything.
  • Sticker charts are bomb. And don’t waste your money on the ones in stores. Get yourself some fun paper (you know you have some), clear packing tape, and a permanent marker and make your own. (Bonus tip: Packing tape all along the front means you can “start over” and take the old stickers off.) We have three levels of sticker glory in our house: sitting on the potty, peeing in the potty, and pooping in the potty.
  • Incentives: We have memberships to a local zoo and zoo-themed amusement park that we use as prizes. Get enough stickers, and we’ll go to the zoo or amusement park. Its a big deal in our house. (Sean told Hubbs the other day: “Daddy! I need two stickers, then we go to zoo!” It’s working, folks.)
  • Keep the stickers out of reach. We have ours hanging from the shower rod in an old pen/pencil zipper bag.
  • Hit up the dollar stores for stickers. They are ridiculously expensive elsewhere.
  • Have options. We have a small child potty on the floor and a seat that fits over the toilet. The throne used depends on the kids’ mood.
  • Get a step stool. Kids are short and porcelain is hard. Remind boys to use said step stool when standing to pee. You know, so they can actually get the fluid IN the bowl. (headsmack)
  • Have entertainment. Seriously. You’re going to be in that bathroom A LOT while you’re doing this. We have a small basket filled with potty-themed (and normal) books and dinosaur flash cards. It helps you keep them on the potty until they can figure out their business.
  • Get a soft/plush rug for yourself. Like I said, you’ll spend a lot of time in there.
  • Invest in paper towels.
  • Don’t underestimate the power of YouTube videos of animals pooping/peeing.
  • Having done it once now — and still going through it — I recommend that you go big or go home. Pull ups are for naps and sleeping only. (Or long car rides.) After that, just underwear. Yes, its messy but only in the short-term and I think it is less confusing for the child.
  • Take a deep breath. Potty training is hard. Really hard. And Frustrating (with a capital “F”). Try to keep it upbeat and happy. And if your husband comes home one day to find his kids running around naked and you crying as you sit between two gigantic puddles of urine? Let him baby you for a minute and hand the potty training reins over to him for awhile. Sometimes that fresh perspective is just what the kid needs to connect the dots.

Watch as I seamlessly transition from urine and poop to food! Wash your hands, folks.

  • My kids are obsessed with eating picnic style in our living room these days. Aside from being super fun, I think its easier for them: They both refuse to use booster seats right now, so eating at the table can be a challenge for the shortcake — especially if she has yogurt or soup. At school they have child-sized tables and chairs, at home, not so much. Plus, its kind of fun to stretch out and relax.
  • Smoothies. If the color is anything close to green, Sean will turn his nose up and refuse to drink it. But Allie LOVES smoothies. In particular, kale and fruit smoothies, which she helps me make. Her job is to sit on the counter and help me pull the kale leaves off the stalk. She takes this very seriously. (We use between 1/2 to 3/4 of a kale bundle for each batch.) If your kid will try it, its a great way to get dark, leafy greens into their diet. I’m hoping it will also make her more open to trying the greens cooked someday. As it is now, when I pull the kale out of the refrigerator, she yells “yum!” (We also use organic spinach in smoothies, which imparts little to no flavor but tons of vitamins.)
  • Muffins. I know, they don’t sound that exciting. But my kids are obsessed with zucchini and banana bread muffins. Part of it is the shape: They look like cupcakes. But the other part is flavor. I use whole-wheat flour and substitute half the sugar for dark agave syrup and add 1 tsp of vanilla to the recipes. The result: moist, flavorful muffins that don’t lose their volume or become too dense. They’re great in the morning and for snacking.

Little Bits Of Random

  • Hilarious and slightly awkward: Fact: Bath time eventually = anatomy lessons. After watching her brother streak through the house waiting for their bath to be ready, a naked shortcake came walking up to me, pointed at her lady bits and asked “where go?” with her arms in that “I don’t know where it went” gesture. OH. I explained that little girls and little boys have different private parts. This conversation led to Sean saying “fa-guy-nah” and pointing at my crotch for the next two hours and Hubbs telling me that as the only other female in the house, I should walk around naked more so our daughter wouldn’t feel “left out”. (Can you hear me laughing?) And even at 22 months, she understood the basics: “Guy-nah. Mine. OK.”
  • You have to teach small kids that private parts are — well — private. And that they shouldn’t touch other people’s bits and pieces. Because they will — and probably when you least expect it.
  • I answered the door with a Biore pore strip on my nose the other day. Kudos to the guy for not laughing or running away.
  • I chopped about 8 inches of hair off a couple of weeks ago and now it’s too short for a ponytail. I love it.
  • We took a ton of pictures at the pumpkin patch and my memory card decided it was going to break/hold them hostage. I’m annoyed beyond words and will 1. end up buying a new memory card and 2. Drag Hubbs and the kids back to the pumpkin patch for pictures. One in particular: Of the kids against the pumpkin “measuring stick”. Its kind of an annual thing now.
  • We took the kids to Tilden Park in Oakland yesterday to feed the animals and ride the steam trains. We blew through 4 bunches of celery and 1 head of romaine faster than you would believe. But it was a ton of fun. My favorite part was probably Allison’s laughter: She thought feeding the sheep lettuce was just tops and couldn’t stop giggling.
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