Potty training your children is fun (said no parent, ever). We trained our first child, The Understudy, at 21 months while my wife was home on maternity leave with our second child. We used a three-day method and tag-teamed our way through five full days (three days didn’t work) of frustration, wet floors, and many bottles of wine. Now that it’s time to potty train our second child, The Starlet, I realized that I wouldn’t have my wife around to tag out this time and I knew that if I brought up the same training to her she might kill me in my sleep. At the 11th hour, I found a whole new way to potty train and keep my sanity (and my life). No, it isn’t a bigger wine rack, it’s the Pull-Ups® Potty Partnership.
After researching the Pull-Ups Potty Partnership program and spending several weeks incorporating the program into our daily routines, I can honestly say it is leaps and bounds better than the frustration of the three-day training methods. It’s a new program geared towards bringing your child in to the process as a true partner, tailoring it to his or her unique personality and how they learn, and most importantly, working together to accomplish this huge milestone in their life. Oh yeah, and the frustration level is miniscule in comparison to what we went through in those traumatizing five days with The Understudy.
As we worked together, we came up with some tips that will help parents and kids not end up in the corner in the fetal position; wet and covered in stinky-squishy solids. So take a seat on your porcelain throne and learn all about how I potty trained The Starlet and saved my life.
Knowing When to Go
When it comes to potty training, the most important thing to remember is that every child potty trains differently based on their personality. Don’t just jump in and start potty training without first doing your research. Use Pull-Ups.com to find out if your child is displaying the signs that they are ready to begin their potty training journey. Once you and your child are ready, the Pull-Ups Potty Partnership has a quiz to help determine what your child’s potty personality is. Pull-Ups®, along with a child development expert, has developed five potty training personalities: the Squirrel (can’t stop, won’t stop energy), the Puppy (energetic and easy to direct), the Owl (determined, busy and “bossy”), the Turtle (willful and resistant to change), or the Bear Cub (footloose and fancy free).
The Starlet’s potty personality is the Owl. Once I knew that, I checked out the training that Pull-Ups has tailored for her so that I could work with her personality, instead of against it. There are tools and advice on how to get started, how to introduce Pull-Ups® Training Pants, helping children know when it’s time to go to the bathroom, etc. I made a couple notes, took a deep breath, drank a fourth cup of coffee and it was time to begin our potty training journey.
Let’s Get This Potty Started
Make the first time they put on their brand new Pull-Ups Training Pants a special one. This is a big moment symbolizing a promise to work together to navigate the world of potty training. Get stickers, stamps, small prizes, something that your child will get excited about and reward them when they are successful. And never, ever, under any circumstances, underestimate the power of the high-five and enthusiastic “Ya-Hoo!!!!”
The Starlet was adorable the first time she tried to pull on her training pants. She tried so hard that I wish I had recorded the grunt she blurted out as she pulled with all her might. It took a few tries, but she got the hang of it. As we went, I realized her fascination with stamps, or, as we like to call them, “tattoos.” Every time she successfully stays dry and pees on the potty, she gets two tattoos. Her brother gets one as well because he encourages her to be a big girl. Teamwork makes the training work.
Consistency is the Key to Regularity
Once you make the decision to lose the diapers and switch entirely to Pull-Ups Training Pants, don’t look back. Putting your child in Pull-Ups one day and diapers the next, causes confusion. Children feel empowered when they suddenly have the independence to slide their pants on and off and it helps to teach potty training skills at the same time. Once you give them that independence and empowerment, don’t take it away. Stick with it through thick and thin.
Child psychologist, Dr. Heather Wittenberg is a potty training pro with tips on why parents should choose Pull-Ups when starting their potty training journey. Watch this quick video to hear her explanation:
The Starlet occasionally has poop accidents and the only way to ensure proper cleanup without getting poop all over the house is to put her on her changing pad. Since we’ve had her in Pull-Ups and so rarely use the changing pad, it seems so strange now. Like she’s too big for it. And she is!
Put Yourself in Their Diaper
Your child has been peeing and pooping in their diaper since the beginning of time. Literally. This is a big change for them, so on your end it will take a mighty dose of patience and understanding that this whole concept is about to rock their world. They are not going to jump at the chance to stop peeing and pooping in their diaper. A little understanding of their stage fright will go a long way. Check out what Dr. Whittenberg has to say on the matter:
The Starlet is… strong willed. She’s bossy. She’s determined– exactly like the Owl was described in their potty personality. We can go an entire day of keeping her Pull-Up dry and she actually lets me know when she needs to go potty a few of those times. And then the next day, I can’t catch her before she pees or poops to save my life. When I get frustrated, she gives me the look that says, “What’s your problem, Dada? I’ve been doing this for 19 months. It’s cool. I’m cool with it. Just be cool, Dada.” It takes some patience to realize that she’s right and accept that it’s a process. Poop-Rome wasn’t built in a day…at least I hope not.
Pee by Example
Let’s be honest, the last time you got to potty on your own was the day before your first child was born, so you might as well make it part of their training. Demonstrate how moms and dads go potty and slide on and off their big underwear, and show them how their new Pull-Ups look and fit more like underwear. Let older children in the house demonstrate the same with their big kid underwear.
The Starlet does her best work when The Understudy is sharing potty time with her. When he sits on the big potty and she faces him on her little potty, their potty-success rate is better than an ice cream truck next to a splash pad. When I know she has to potty, but is resistant, I call in The Understudy. He gets the job done.
If You’re Backed Up, Be Flexible
No parenting method is the be-all, end-all. What works for some will not work for others. When you’re backed up and it seems like nothing is working, go back to the Pull-Ups Potty Partnership and see if some of the other potty personalities might apply to your child. Try something new. It’s perfectly fine to pick and choose whatever strategies work best for your child.
The Starlet has moments when she is squirrelly like the Squirrel. Using one of the strategies from training a Squirrel, we play a little game like the grunt game. I grunt, she grunts. I grunt harder, she grunts harder. I say, “ready to poop in 1, 2, 3…” and grunt real hard, and that usually does the trick. (Well, she stays interested, at least.) Also, remember when I said The Starlet does her best work when The Understudy is demonstrating with her? That’s straight out of the Bear Cub strategy. Be flexible, find out what works, and build on it.
It Takes Two to Potty
It’s best for both of you to approach potty training as a journey, not as a finish line. The point of the Pull-Ups Potty Partnership is to train together. Let them be part of it. Let them feel important, because they are and it’s about time that we recognize that when it comes to potty training.
The Starlet is an amazing little Owl. The journey that we have taken with the Pull-Ups Potty Partnership has really brought us together in a wonderful way. We’re a team and this gave the two of us the opportunity to learn and grow together. Through the Pull-Ups Potty Partnership, my daughter and I have set a foundation for how we will tackle big challenges as a team.
I sincerely hope you and your child enjoy your potty training journey as much as we have. Take this challenging milestone and use it as a way to grow, learn, and accomplish anything by partnering with your child.
The Starlet has grown so much in this journey and I’m grateful that I’ve been able to be by her side. At every successfully dry Pull-Up, it warms and breaks my heart at the same time. That’s probably the Dad Pride creeping in and telling me that it’s a new dawn and The Starlet isn’t the little baby she used to be anymore.
That’s my girl.
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.
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.
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.