I’m not sure how it happened, but somehow I was led to believe that potty training was the end game for dealing with poop and wiping butts. I believed the very simple levels of childhood would go – super new baby, kind of new baby, baby, almost toddler, completion: toddler-child, equipped with his or her own butt-wiping abilities.
That is not the case, however, and I’m a little pissed at myself for coming to this conclusion. Because now I am in the throes of potty training with a three-almost-four year old, and I usually still have to give him a once over every time he poops.
Potty training does not mean the end of the poop game. It means you are very much still in the poop game, but your duties (duty, haha) have changed. It now means that instead of changing multiple diapers a day, you will instead be called upon from across the house by your toddler, who announces very loudly “I have to go potty!” so you know exactly what you’re in for before you even make it to the bathroom.
It means five to eight times a day, you will fit his tiny, ultra-luxurious potty seat onto the actual toilet and help him get his pull ups down so he can sit upon his throne and giggle when you finally hear that tinkling sound, because the sound of someone using the bathroom is never not funny to a toddler.
It means reminding him, every single time, to pull his pants back up and flush the toilet and wash his hands. And then usually helping him through all of these processes just to speed things up a bit. (And let’s be real, if you leave him to do everything on his own, you’ll more than likely have a mess to clean up later.) The whole thing can take about ten minutes, each time.
We started with one of these, a Smart Potty from Baby Bjorn, pretty much as soon as we realized our oldest was interested in the toilet, but I quickly started dreading the times he needed to use it. Emptying it is basically like dumping a bucket of gross and to me, that’s the beauty of the toilet. We don’t live in the 1800’s anymore, right? Besides, flushing it is half of the reward for my kid so win-win.
We very quickly transitioned him from the Smart Potty to this guy, the Tot Sit Right Seat by OXO, and we haven’t looked back. Honestly, both the Smart Potty and this much easier, much cleaner seat are the same price at $19.99, but if I had known beforehand, I would’ve started my little guy on the seat straight away and avoided the whole bucket-shaped-like-a-potty in the first place.
Not only is it more pleasant for me to deal with, but most toddlers are all about their independence and for some reason, nothing feels more freeing for them than flushing their own… messes, for lack of better phrasing.
Nobody wants to discuss this part of potty training. It sounds like such a simple step but believing that was the biggest “new parent mistake” I’ve ever made. I almost miss the simplicity of changing diapers. Almost.
Plenty of different methods, tools, and books exist to conquer potty training and I’ve seriously tried more of them than I wish to admit but to be honest, I wish I would’ve just bought the $20 seat and had put the rest of that money towards a bottle of wine.
Speaking of books, there is one that my son has been obsessed with throughout this whole process. Like many children, he’s absorbed by the superhero world. I think this book makes pottying look like a superhero skill to him and he’s that much more proud to go by himself.
He has the story memorized but he still sits on the toilet and flips through the pages while he’s trying to go. I even keep it in the bathroom cabinet for his convenience. This book is called “Potty Superhero” , a Little Learners Board Book.
You can click the link or the photo of its cover for more information, or to purchase it for $6.99
Not everything will work for every child. They really are different and have their own ways of learning things. The advice I wish I were given when it comes to the whole potty process is to really harness my patience, be prepared for it to take a while, and pay attention to the signals my child gives me to figure out what works best for him.
And, there’s always wine…