Monday, July 11, 2011

Monday Mommy Tip (Potty-Training)

I am starting a new feature on the blog: every Monday I will post a Mom's tip. Something that I or my friends' do that I find incredibly helpful in parenting my child. A little lesson or task that makes my life easier. Or just some general wisdom from someone who has come before.

This first installment comes from the realm of potty-training. Having just gone through this with Olivia, I felt this was a good place to start. Whether or not you choose to do the highly intense, boot camp-esque methods I employed is irrelevant. This tip is perfect for anyone trying to teach their child to go in the toilet.

My post about the potty-training experience can be read here. Note that we had quite the first night - 7 accidents in a row! This left me wondering about how I would survive the next day on my own. When Liv had an accident, Frank was essential [in my mind] to getting through it. One of us cleaned up Liv and talked her through practicing, while the other cleaned up the immediate area. It involved getting clean clothes, washing hands, and spraying the area with Lysol (not in that order). So, I figured out a way to make it easier to do everything on my own:


1. Have a bucket handy filled with water and OxiClean (or any product like OxiClean). The idea is that as soon as clothing becomes soiled, you can immediately throw the garment(s) in the water for soaking until you can wash them. This made my life so much easier! Toss 'em in and forget about 'em.

2. Keep everything within arm's reach. I had her extra underwear & clean clothes, M&Ms, a roll of toilet paper, a roll of paper towels, a thing of wipes, a plastic bag [for garbage], my recording sheet, a stool for me to sit on, and a box of tissues [damn, the allergies!] all in a 4 foot radius of the potty. Nearby, but safely out of reach, was the container of Lysol. I never had to go more than two steps to get anything I needed. It was a thing of beauty; I wish I had taken a picture. There should have been a sign on the door that said: Potty-training in Progress... Don't Touch Anything!

3. I trained her using a tiny potty because our bathrooms are located upstairs and in the basement; nothing is on the first floor, which is where our easy-to-clean laminate flooring is. I didn't want to train her to use the upstairs bathroom because of (1) the carpet, (2) we don't spend a lot of time up there unless we are on the bed, and (3) it would have been a longer travel distance had we been downstairs. The basement was out because of the carpet and the [golf-ball sized] crickets. If you can avoid carpeting, do so. It's much easier to clean a hard surface than to scrub carpets (especially if you are alone).

4. The tiny potty had to be emptied into the flushable toilet, which wasn't an issue... until she pooped and I mistakenly used wipes. We cannot flush wipes at our house, so they had to be thrown in the plastic bag -- kind of smelly and gross in my opinion. I started using the toilet paper to clean her as best I could and finished off with wipes. Much less odor and a little more sanitary.

5. If you do the intense potty-training like I did, don't bother with pants until your child has the concept [and is having zero accidents]. Otherwise, they just get in the way. Liv went 3 1/2 days without pants, and the first day I put them on her, she said, "Where we goin?"

Good luck!

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