Adventures,  Kids,  Party

Potty Training Spider-Man

It was the middle of quarantine, no more diapers at home or in stores… Perfect time to rip the potty training band-aid? Or perfect storm for potty training failure…

Our last potty party worked really well with our fun-loving son, so we decided against all odds to try it with our next son. I bought themed potty training pants and underwear, a Spider-Man doll for him to teach, made treats and drinks, decorated the bathroom and the house for a party… I wasn’t very confident at being prepared because I didn’t have the book or any other materials that I had last time. We were also under quarantine, so my husband and other kids had nowhere else to go- just a limited window of time they could be outside of the house for me to concentrate on potty training.

What Worked (Days 1-3)

#1 Stay Consistent

Going every 20 minutes the day after really helped- with a timer! Call all body parts, underwear or training pants, and steps the same thing because Repetition is Key. We always rewarded for trying, even if nothing ended up happening, so his efforts were appreciated.

# 2 Make it FUN

Treats that he was super excited about (licorice) made a BIG difference for our son whose most important motivator was instant gratification. He did NOT like learning the steps (potty, wipe, flush, wash) through teaching a doll, singing, watching movies, OR reading potty books. Instead, he had his breakthrough moment when I was on the potty next to him on his little potty, we counted to 3, and then we both went together. He just needed me to hold his hand. The day after though, we had to give him privacy because he wouldn’t go if we were there and then had an accident right after putting his sticker up.

#3 Kindness

This process is ROUGH, especially when success depends so much on your attitude. Keeping your cool about accidents is something I’m still working on. It helps to cover or remove all the stuff you care about getting dirty. Also helps to have at least a week’s worth of clean training pants, and cleaning stuff at the ready.

What I Can Do Better (Days 4-9)

Internal reward is the goal with potty training, to go potty just for independence. This is supposed to develop with time and the right type of praise and encouragement, but we never got to it. No amount of candy or kind words could entice our little one to potty by Day 4, and he didn’t want to work for it anymore. He didn’t even want to hear the word “potty”. He fought us every time he had to sit on the potty, then had only accidents after that. However, he also didn’t want to go back to diapers. It was a confusing time and we weren’t sure if we just needed to keep cleaning all of these accidents and wasting pull-ups, or if we should try again another time. When you’ve gone on that long, it’s so hard to let go of hope!

I became exhausted and weary, and it chipped at my cheerfulness and I think stopped me from doing better with training. I didn’t want to give up on him, I was sure he could do it if I just stuck with him. It started to affect my sleep, my side job, and everything else. Finally it was evident to me that he wasn’t ready, and more importantly I wasn’t ready. I cried, probably from a mixture of sleep deprivation and anxiety over possibly messing up my kid with pottying. We can try again when it’s not a stressful quarantine, when he shows more penchant for doing things just because he’s proud to do them, and when I’ve figured out how to parent my strong-willed child.

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