Potty training my son was easy. At least in the sense that my wife was home on maternity leave with our daughter and since I’m an at-home dad, we were able to split duties (literally) between the new baby girl and potty training our 21 month-old boy. We tried to use one of those 3-day training methods (ok, it was really 5 days, don’t judge me), and when we got frustrated, one of us took over watching him while the other grabbed the carpet cleaner. That’s how 3-day potty training methods go: watch the kid, clean the carpet, watch the kid, clean the couch, clean the rug, clean the chair, rinse, wash, repeat. Ok, now that I think of it, it wasn’t “easy” at all. It was actually super frustrating.
Fast-forward 20 months later and it was time to start thinking about potty training our daughter. I started to have flashbacks and nightmares and one night I woke up in a cold sweat. This time, it’s just me. All me. ONLY ME?!? My wife would be at work and not at home to tag team when our daughter peed all over the floor? Who would get the carpet cleaner?? And who was going to make lunch for the kids and me while I focused on potty training her?!? I had to face reality. There was no way I was going to even attempt a 3-day method. Contrary to popular belief, I am not entirely crazy– although my wife would beg to differ.
I drank some coffee, calmed down a bit, and had an epiphany: if I trained my boy, I could train my girl no matter what method or system I chose. I remembered how cute he was when we would both stand up and race to see who could finish first. OH! And all those times in public bathrooms when I could get him to just pull his pants down, lean in, and let it flow? It wasn’t that hard. This will be fine, I will be fine, WE will be fine! And then it hit me. She’s not a boy, she’s a girl, girls can’t stand up, what are you thinking?!? I have no idea how to potty train a girl, especially by myself!!! Abort mission, abort mission, ABORT MISSION!!!
There had to be a better way
Right before I threw in the towel and accepted my fate of not potty training my daughter until she was 18, I received a sign from the parenting gods. There is a new system to potty training, one that doesn’t require constant carpet cleaner cleanup behind your child for 3 days, one that could be done without the assistance of my wife, and one that would still allow me to cook, clean, and keep my sanity while I trained her. Most importantly, it was a new system that would bring my daughter into the potty training process as a true partner with me, and was tailored to her unique personality and how she learns. It’s called the Pull-Ups® Potty Partnership.
The Pull-Ups® brand, along with child development expert Dr. Heather Wittenberg, has developed a whole new way to potty train. By identifying five potty training personality types in young children (the Puppy, the Owl, the Bear Cub, the Turtle and the Squirrel), the Pull-Ups Potty Partnership helps parents work with their child’s personality, instead of against it. And it all begins the first time your child puts on a pair of Pull-Ups® Training Pants. I had to check it out.
As I researched and planned the beginning of our journey, there were a few things that really caught my attention with the Pull-Ups Potty Partnership besides the fact that it didn’t include staying at home for 3 (or 5) full days mastering the art of the carpet cleaner. It was going to be a journey that would give us the opportunity to partner and grow and tackle a big challenge together, as a team. Also, by utilizing Pull-Ups Training Pants, since they look and fit more like underwear, not only would it help teach potty training skills, it would give my daughter the independence to slide her pants on and off, while also providing consistency for this new milestone. But the thing that really calmed my dad-that-has-only-potty-trained-a-boy nerves was the entire section dedicated to help potty train girls. I was saved!
Reassurance that potty training my girl wouldn’t be as hard as my nerves thought, provided by renowned child development/potty training expert and Pull-Ups partner Dr. Heather Wittenberg.
Here are some of the tips that I learned from the Pull-Ups Potty Partnership and why I chose it over other systems/methods to potty train my daughter.
Determine Her Potty Personality
Starting to potty train a child before they are ready is like watering a seed without soil. I took the potty training readiness quiz at Pull-Ups.com to make sure that my daughter was showing signs of readiness to begin our potty training journey. Then, I determined which of the personalities my daughter resembled by taking the potty personality quiz. The Pull-Ups Potty Partnership offered tips, tools and advice geared specifically towards her personality to guide and support us including potty charts, stickers, and games, oh my!
Work WITH Her Potty Personality
According to the potty personality quiz, my daughter was described perfectly as the Owl, especially when they said, “they have strong preferences and like to be in control.” She can be very strong willed, and LOUD when she doesn’t feel like cooperating. Thankfully, I found this helpful video to calm my nerves, once again.
More answers from Dr. Heather Wittenberg
With my son, I was able to demonstrate how boys stand up and go potty. With my girl, she obviously couldn’t do that, so instead of abandoning all hope, I went back to the suggested tips for training my little Owl and the simple answer was to have everyone in the family demonstrate how big boys and girls go potty by sitting down. We had our biggest success rate when our son would help to motivate her by sitting on the big potty while she sat on her little potty and they could race. I got to stand back, out of the smell zone, and watch them work.
Dress For Success
Our first step as a team was to choose which type of training pants to use. The Pull-Ups brand offers three different kinds of training pants:
Pull-Ups® Learning Designs® Training Pants have designs that fade when wet – so kids see the difference between wet and dry.
Pull-Ups® Cool & Learn® Training Pants provides a brief cooling sensation when wet to help to help you teach your child the signs of when they need to go.
Pull-Ups® Night*Time Training Pants have Extra Absorbency so parent and child can stay consistent during potty training – even at night.
My soon-to-be-no-so-little girl chose the Learning Designs with Disney characters and I was very pleased to see that they were designed specifically for girls with zoned protection that was more absorbent towards the middle of the pant. The designs that faded when wet also helped my daughter learn how to stay dry.
I also took another great tip from the information about potty training a girl and ditched the tights and cute outfits that take a degree in rocket science to get off of a child suddenly and immediately when they have to go potty. Instead, we started going with dresses and loose shorts that would set us up for success in our potty training journey.
Give Her Incentives
The first time she put on her Pull-Ups was a very special moment. It was the beginning of our partnership together and I wanted to make sure that she was as excited as I was, so I knew I had to find a really good incentive for her when she was successful.
Personally, I work for cookies (I have the personality of the Cookie Monster), but my daughter likes tattoos. They’re actually stamps, but we call them tattoos. When she slid on her new Pull-Ups Training Pants for the first time, we broke out a brand new set of multi-styled tattoos with all different color combinations to choose from. When she successfully kept her Pull-Up dry and went on the big-girl potty, she got a tattoo. Or two. Ok, she usually got four. Just remember that rewards like this are most effective when used as an immediate positive reinforcement rather than as a goal to save up for later. That’s because toddlers don’t have a solid sense of time yet. But still – it’s important to have your little one show off their potty progress to family members and friends. And what’s better than a bunch of sweet tattoos!?!
Now, if I could just work in a cookie incentive for myself, we’d be golden!
Let me just say that I wish the Pull-Ups Potty Partnership was around when we potty trained our first child. I love the fact that we are not confined to the house for 3 full days (remember, it was actually longer). The learning style is much less frustrating and the tips, tools, and advice that are found at Pull-Ups.com are invaluable.
My daughter really loves being able to put on and take off her Pull-Ups Training Pants all by herself. Of course, there are still accidents, but it’s a process and we are both learning as we go. Also, the Pull-Ups Potty Partnership helped calm my nerves and gave me confidence with so many tips and tools that I needed to potty train my little girl.
Most importantly, it has strengthened the bond between the two of us. We’re a team. We work together. She’s empowered. And I don’t have to chase her around all the time with that annoying carpet cleaner.
Pull-Ups® Training Pants are designed specifically to help teach potty training skills. Try them now at your local retailer and visit Pull-Ups.com to learn more about the Pull-Ups® Potty Partnership and discover your child’s potty personality.
This post is sponsored by Pull-Ups® Training Pants. Just a Dad 247 only works with brands that create products or services that we believe in and use ourselves. The opinions expressed in this blog entry are authentic and our own.