Friday, November 21, 2014

Potty Training AKA: The Shittiest Part of the Toddler Years

Let's talk about potty training, shall we? Before we get too deep into things, let me just say that I'm no expert in the field. If I was, it wouldn't have taken until my twins were over four for me to figure shit out! Now, to be fair, my daughter was born just after my boys' third birthday. Not gonna lie...they were doing pretty well up until that point...but then there was a new baby in the house, and mum was tired. ALL. THE. TIME. Let's just blame things stalling out on the baby! HA!

Fast forward...the boys are now four, refusing to do anything even remotely resembling using the potty. I'm up to my freaking eyeballs in dirty diapers, and totally at a loss on what to try next. I was going crazy. Internet to the rescue!!! I pored over countless articles about how difficult it is to potty train boys, and various tricks to try. Sticker charts, giving it more time, going pantless, going nude, cheerios, rewards...I tried it all, and nothing worked. One of the boys had a shitload of stickers on his chart, whereas the other boy had none, and didn't give a shit (LITERALLY!!). I tried the whole naked thing (thankfully it was summer, as we live in Canada, and let's face it, it gets frickin cold on the prairies in the winter), and just ended up washing my floors an awful lot. My jar of M&M's was only being eaten by my husband, as he figured he needed a treat every time he used the bathroom. I had given them plenty of time....the only smart thing I had done up to this point, was getting them to use the regular toilet. If I can stress anything, it's to use the regular toilet! I didn't want them to figure out going on a tiny, plastic potty, only to have to retrain them later on because they were terrified of the giant, porcelain pot. 

Another few months went by, and finally, some success! Both boys were peeing on the potty on a regular basis. One was pooping most of the time, but I still couldn't get the other to poop. Seeing as one of the boys had so many stickers on his chart, we decided to try letting him trade them in for a reward. He got to pick out a toy next time we went to the store, which only served to infuriate his brother that was getting nothing. Screaming, crying tantrum ensued, and one of us had to take him out to the truck while the other stayed inside to finish up our shopping. BACKFIRE!!! 

That night, while we were talking things over, we realized that the boys weren't drawing a connection between the stickers, and the reward. It was then that we decided to go and buy a bunch of cheap Hot Wheels cars to stash under the bathroom sink, so that they would have instant gratification for their efforts. 

We bought 30 cars, and started handing them out to D every time he would poop. Four cars later, G decided he wanted one of those cars, and finally pooped on the toilet!!!! From there on out, we had a few accidents, but for the most part, they had figured it out! I'm sure you've seen The Price Is Right....well, let me tell you....every trip to the potty was like a Showcase Showdown! Every poop earned the boys.......A NEW CAR!!! Suddenly I was the Rod Roddy of the Potty! It worked though! Once the new cars ran out, I just started recycling them at night. I'd refill my bin after the kids were in bed each night, and have a full stash to start fresh with the next day. The boys were getting to the point where they'd call me for help when they were finished, and the following conversation would take place:

"Good job, bud! Are you all done?"
"Yes, you'll get a car."
"All done!!"

It took a few months of constantly rewarding, and after the accidents stopped, so did the cars. I'm so happy to be down to one kid in diapers. She's going to be two next spring, and wants to do everything her brothers do, so I'm hoping it won't be much longer before I have her trained as well. She's already peed on the potty a few times, likely by fluke, but no poops yet.  Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go change a diaper....

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