I had a mind once. Now I have small children.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Trials and Tribulations of a Potty-Training Mom

Luigi woke up one morning a few weeks ago and decided he didn't want to wear diapers anymore. Now, let me explain something about Luigi. Luigi only does things on his own time, when he wants to, and when he is ready. Knowing this about my darling son, I knew that he meant business. The time had come. To be quite honest, I was actually pretty excited at the prospect of only having one Goomba left in diapers. Oh the money we will save! Oh the time I will have for Facebook stalking instead of diaper changing! And so, the days of potty-training descended on our house.

First things first, we had to get ready. I had already bought Luigi some of his very own underpants with everyone's favorite Tank Engine on them. Underpants with a beloved theme is a must in this house. Even Bowser wears boxer underpants with beer mugs on them. Then came the potty seat. We have about 6 to choose from. So, we let Luigi pick the one he liked best and promptly set it up in the bathroom. The potty chart came next. I am not ashamed to say that I bribe my kids to get them to do things. The potty chart is an excellent tool to aide in child bribery. We stocked up on stickers, Skittles, and popsicles. We were ready and set to train for the potty.

There are a few things I feel you should know about this whole experience. Some of you may not yet have lived through the joys of teaching a child to switch from diapers to toilet. For some of you, it may have been a long time since you have done this, and I would like to refresh your memory.

1. When you are potty-training a child, plan to discuss pee and poop in every conversation you have for the next several weeks. This is not an exaggeration. You will either be asking your child every 5 minutes if he has to go pee pee or poo poo, or you will be discussing with your family the progress of the peeps and poops, or you will be telling everyone else how exciting it is that So-and-so is finally peeing and pooping in the potty. Not everyone loves this, and you will realize that, but you will also find that you just cannot stop yourself. It is all that consumes you until said training is over.

2. Expect to find pee and poop all over the house every day for several days, or even weeks. I'm not saying my kids go in the corner by the fica tree, it's just that you find evidence of "accidents" everywhere. Fortunately, when kids are learning to use the potty, I am aware that I need to watch for Mystery Rocks, so they don't get kicked under the couch for weeks at a time. I have found wet underpants everywhere from the laundry room floor, to the toy room floor, to the bedroom floor. I have found soiled underpants, still on a Goomba, but leaving a trail of "rocks" from the laundry room, to the toy room, to the bedroom. We have had spilling accidents when we try to take the potty bowl to the big potty in the bathroom. And my personal favorite--and this is for all you Moms of Boys out there--the spray of urine across the bathroom walls when a little one is learning to pee standing up like Daddy. You may think you know, when you are pregnant with your first child, that you will be cleaning up the excrement of your child for quite sometime. But, no one really tells you how VERY MUCH there will be over the next 2-3 years. It sometimes shocks me how much can come out of my tiny Goomba's little bodies.

3. Potty training makes a child more aware of his or her body. For boys (maybe for girls, too, I have not trained a girl yet) this means a discovery of his "parts." It's like, they knew all along that it was there, but now it has function. And they realize that sometimes it feels nice to touch it. It's like a new toy that they want to play with all the time. I must tell Luigi about 35 times a day to put his weiner away. Or to get his hands out of his pants. Or to pull up his underpants if he isn't going to actually go to the potty. I vaguely remember Mario going through this stage, too. Which means it is just a stage, right? Although, admittedly, Bowser and I do get a giggle when he says, "Hey, Mom, look at my big, strong weiner!"

4. Kids do NOT like to poop in the potty. It scares them. It actually completely freaks them out. At least it does mine. It took about 4 days of holding it, hours and hours of running around, half naked, literally holding butt cheeks together with one hand, and two hours of forced potty-sitting in front of the TV with Thomas for Luigi to finally get a poopy in the potty. Then came the huge celebration. Popsicles! Stickers! Skittles! I thought he would love it all so much, that the next day would be a breeze. Not so. It took about a week of this ritual of butt-cheek holding, and forced potty-sitting for him to realize it was ok to put the poops into the potty and not into his underpants.

All in all, my sweet Luigi has done a wonderful job. As I said earlier, when he is ready to do something, he just does it. We had a few days of accidents. And every once in a while, when he is intensely playing with trains or running outside, we still have a small accident. But, they are getting fewer and farther between and most days we have none. I am proud of my boy and very relieved to be through with this milestone.

Two down, one to go. Peach? Are you ready???


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