Get Them Out of Diapers and on the Potty
Everybody poops. This is a well known fact. Books have been written about it. And those books are dedicated to one mission: teaching your child to use the potty. This is a challenge for many families. I know, because I belong to one of them. I've heard countless stories about the difficulties presented by the seemingly simple task of potty training. There is no shortage of education on the issue either. Whether in the daycare circuit or among family and friends, people are more than willing to share their experiences and techniques that have eventually worked. The problem is, none of those solutions worked for us. None! We tried them all and none were working. Until my brilliant wife devised a plan that not only worked, but it worked in one weekend.
Bugs in the Diaper
One of the most amusing potty training methods was suggested to us in a Miami diner. I was at a business conference and fortunate enough to take my wife and, at the time, 18 month old daughter along. The first day of the conference agenda was fairly light and we had time that morning to go out for a nice breakfast. We found a greasy spoon within walking distance to our hotel and decided to give it a try. The place was small and inviting with a friendly waitstaff. Almost too friendly. As our waitress took our orders, we began the usual small talk that happens at a restaurant. The waitress commented about how cute our daughter was, we thanked her, she asked how old she was, and so on. Somehow our brief chat evolved into potty training. I figured this is common for most new families. Nothing brings people closer than sharing potty training adventures. But I know that I will never give the advice we were offered that day. When explaining our potty training trials, the waitress interjected by detailing what worked for her little one. "I put a raisin in my son's diaper. When I changed him, I showed him the diaper and told him it was a bug. He used the potty from that day on." This seemed like a cruel way to potty train our child, so we didn't attempt this method. We also wanted her to eat raisins some day.
The Bare Essentials
Another method that found its way to us was passed down through my family. Of all the resources available to a new mom and dad, what could be better than their own parents? After all, they had success with you. Why shouldn't those same skills work for your kids? We were willing to try anything at this point, as our potty training was taking a toll on our patience and our furniture. If you've gone through this parenting stage, you understand that accidents are going to happen. Sometimes your kid is late in getting to the bathroom and sometimes they don't even try. All you can do is laugh and know that it is going to get better. With that knowledge, we decided to give it a go with the family-tested method. This comes from my mother's side. As the story goes, she potty trained me the same way her dad potty trained her. By taking the wheels off. That's right, no diapers at all. Or underwear. Or pants. You can imagine my reluctance to entertain this idea. The expert theory behind this is that the security of fabric around their bottom is keeping your child from using the bathroom. If there is nothing there to catch and absorb, the next logical step must be to race to the potty. This is not what happened. The running happened, just not to the right place. Our daughter was easy to find though. We only had to follow the wet trail left behind.
The Promised Land
At this point you are probably wondering if I have an actual potty training solution that doesn't involve scaring your kid or staining your carpet. I promise, I do. I have to admit, it was my wife's idea so I can't take credit. I am huge supporter though. It is brilliant and it worked in just one weekend. At a certain age, young girls become enamored with the same thing: princesses. I don't know the scientific reason behind this, but I have witnessed it firsthand. My daughter, along with all the other girls she is friends with, is obsessed with princesses. They know them all by name and what story they belong to. This is wonderful news for the Disney Corporation. It's also wonderful news for parents hoping to potty train their kids before the next trip to Disney World. My wife, being a psychology major, decided to put that degree to work and use our daughters love of princesses to our advantage. Step one in our process was to put her in underwear full time. But not just any underwear. My wife bought underwear with princesses on them. Genius. Step two, convince our daughter that the princesses are her friends and they don't like being wet. Step three, tell our daughter not to go 'pee pee' on her friends. As soon as she felt like it was time to go, that's when it was time to get to the potty. We constantly reminded our daughter not to get her friends wet. To my surprise, this worked. Instantly! We had a child that went from complete potty aversion, to one that now fully embraces the concept. Now all we need is a method for training her to get off the potty.