It's 1:00 a.m. and you swear you just heard the ghost of a little red monster say, "Elmo can use the potty." If that sounds familiar, I'm going to go out on a limb and say you're in the midst of that grand old parenting adventure known as toilet training. Don't worry, I'm not in the "my child potty trained in three days" camp, but I have been through it and can assure that the following potty training moments will prove you've got this pee thing handled. Just don't talk to me about poop.
I decided to potty train my toddler this past August. It was hot, so naked baby wasn't a problem. My husband was deployed and couldn't insert himself into the process and potentially screw up my plans. My mom was staying with me, and she's a potty training ninja. Plus, my daughter would have several weeks before school started up again. In typical fashion, I read up on the process and settled on Jamie Glowacki's Oh Crap! method. At 25-months-old, my daughter was in Glowacki's 20-30 month sweet spot for potty training.
I went all in, but it's been a bit of a roller coaster ride. She did great at the beginning and progressed well through Glowacki's "blocks," but the return of her dad and simultaneous start of school was enough to throw her for a loop. A few months later, things have settled down, and I now have a toddler who reliably initiates and goes pee in the potty during the day (no stickers or prizes required). I call that progress, and so are each of these little potty training milestones:
When You Catch That First Pee
According the Glowacki, Day one of potty training is best spent with a naked kiddo and zero distractions. I'll admit it was hard not to look at my phone when I heard my email ping, but it was worth it. I ended up really enjoying the one-on-one time with my daughter, and when she started to wee for the first time that morning, I was able to catch her and put her on the potty.
When You Dribble All The Way To The Toilet
You won't catch all the pee, though, and cleaning up is not the most fun you'll ever have. However, it's a big improvement from a puddle on the floor. The moment when you race to the bathroom with a dribbling toddler under your arm is actually empowering because, hey, it's progress.
When You Learn Your Kid's "Tell"
In Oh Crap!, Glowacki insists that every kid has a "tell." Some do a distinctive potty dance or grab themselves, while others might simply cross their toes. When your kid's signal is subtle, like my daughter's slight pressing together of her legs, it feels like a huge step forward when you finally recognize it for what it is. Plus, your attention to detail has just bought you several additional seconds to get to the bathroom.
When Your Kid Tells You "Uh-Oh"
In my house, "uh-oh" is usually not a portent for good. It means my kid has knocked over a chair, spilled her milk, or more recently, pooped on top of her books (true story). It's such a relief when that word starts to indicate "I have to go pee" instead of "I already did pee." It's a sign that they're learning the feeling of having to go pee, and that, my friends, is going to save you a lot of accidents.
I'll admit I was glad when my daughter finally learned to just tell me "peepee" because that "uh-oh" pushed all my anxiety buttons.
When They Pee For Someone Else
After three hardcore days of essentially potty training bootcamp, I had to go back to work. My mom was staying with me, and although she's amazing with kids, I was concerned that things would fall apart in my absence. But no. Baby girl was fine. Since then, she's gone for her dad, teachers, babysitters, and aunties. You know your kid has got it down when they can generalize to other people and situations.
When They Toddle To The Bathroom On Their Own
Nothing makes you feel like you've got the pee thing under control like a child who self-initiates. The first time I saw my little one pad down the hallway in her bare feet and plop herself on her potty, I swear I wiped a tear from my eye. I wasn't so crazy about her attempting to dump her pee in the big toilet (that was a mess), but I liked where her head was at.
When You Graduate Your Kid To Underpants
Glowacki recommends going commando for a few weeks when you're trying to potty train. My daughter did great naked under dresses, but for school she had to have panties. She loves Minnie Mouse, so I got a black, white, and red days of the week set for her. It really makes you feel like your kid has grown up when they walk around with a non-diapered butt. Especially when they keep said butt dry.
When You Successfully Go On An Outing
Believe me, it may take a couple tries. I have washed my daughter's car seat cover more times than I care to admit. Start small. You'll be amazed at how successful you feel just walking to the mailbox and back. Now we go to and from school with no problem. I can take her to Target and then out for cupcakes, and she'll tell me when she has to go.
When You Make It Through A Regression
We took a trip to see family about five weeks into potty training. My daughter had already started to regress, but it all came to a head in Portland. She full on rage-peed on my husband at the zoo, screamed when I tried to put her on the toilet, and peed and pooped her pants like it was nothing. I put a diaper on her on the plane home and cried over what I perceived to be a failure.
It felt like she'd forgotten everything she'd learned, but I wasn't giving up. I dug in and went back through Glowacki's blocks, and my daughter is doing so well now. I have a long way to go (hello, night training, my old friend), but I'm checking pee off my list and giving myself a pat on the back. When these moments happen to you, I hope you'll do the same.
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