Potty training: the gift that keeps on giving
Not to worry, no TMI in this post. Just a few learnings from a naive mother, who abusrdly assumed that once her daughter was potty trained, she would remain potty trained.
If you’ve ever asked another parent whether their child was trained or not, you may have notice a slight squirm of indecision. They probably turned to the sky, contemplating if they could indeed officially classify their child as potty trained. Maybe their little Johnny had been trained for the last six months, but then suddenly they recall fishing a number two out of the kiddie pool the week before last.
We’ve all been there.
My husband and I “potty trained” our daughter Layla at the age of two. She was exited to try it, and she took to it right away. As parents, we were obviously pleased to have a genius for a daughter. Layla would squeal in delight each time she went, and follow it up with a celeabratory high five. Everything was right with the world. I was happily doling out potty training tips to friends. Then two months later I came face to face with potty training regression. It’s basically waking up one day to discover your child is no longer potty trained. Like a dream – poof – the training vanished. All of it, down the drain – literally.
Suddenly Layla was having accidents all the time. Was it because her new sibling was taking up all the attention? Was she just too busy playing to stop and go to the bathroom? Was she angry and seeking attention? It turns out it was all of the above. So how do you get your kid back on the porcelain throne? Here’s a few things I learned along the way.
The reward system
Small is key. I once met a mom who told me that she gave her son a Thomas the Tank Engine toy each time he went on the potty. I thought that was a bit off the rails (pun intended), and expensive. We started with Smarties, but soon found that it probably wasn’t the healthiest reward. So it evolved to prizes, like the stuff you find in those little red machines at the drug store. We found ourselves running out to buy more, and Layla began to get picky. They were also the perfect size for our newborn son to swallow, so we were constantly waiting for her to lose interest and drop them so we could hide them away again. It was work. Eventually we ended up just giving her one yogurt covered raisin, and she eventually stopped asking for them. Whatever you reward your child with, make sure you can maintain it.
I don’t mean in the sense that you should keep a poop log, but more of a log about what they’re eating and when. For example, if I give Layla fruit/veggie juice, shortly thereafter… well, you know. So it’s best to be proactive and take them before it’s too late.
Grin and bear it
There will be times during regression that you want to just drop everything, get in the car and drive…to Mexico. During Layla’s regression period she had four accidents in a row. Accidents that still haunt me. It’s enough to drive you mad, especially when you have another little one crying to get into the bathroom while you’re cleaning up. I’ve learned that you have to be prepared for a lot of accidents when you potty train and thereafter. A LOT.
The most important thing is to stay positive, which I haven’t always done. We’re all human after all. But during her last regression period, I made sure to tell her how proud I was of her, and I could tell that struck a cord. And now at the end of a long hard day, I’m rewarding myself for keeping my cool. But not with yogurt covered raisins. Just wine. Lots and lots of wine.