Recently, I had one of my proudest moments as a father. My wife and I have been making a tremendous effort in potty training our two-year-old son. He was off to his church nursery class, all on his own, for the first time.
I’ll admit that I was a bit nervous of what was going to happen while he was playing with other children without a pull-up on. We packed plenty of underwear and extra pants so we were ready for all scenarios. I was sitting in my own class when his teacher found me to help my son. For the last few months, when his teacher needed me, it was because he was biting or hitting. I was preparing for something similar. Instead, I was greeted with a happy toddler. “Daddy, I need go potty,” he explained. So off we went to the bathroom. “Did you pee your pants?” I asked, hoping I wouldn’t have to change his pants. “Nope! Me go potty like big boy.” Sure enough, he didn’t pee his pants and went in the potty like a big boy. I was very proud of my son because not only did he go to the bathroom like we have been practicing, but he cut his play short to use the bathroom. How did we get to this moment of proud potty usage? Here are a few things we tried over the last few months:
Remember back in high school psychology class when they talked about Pavlov’s dog and how a positive action was rewarded with a treat? Well, the same idea was at play in potty training my toddler. We implemented a reward system and there were varying degrees for different potty usage. For example, if he peed in the potty once, he would get a small reward like a chocolate chip. Each time from then on, he would get a bigger piece of candy. If he pooped in the potty, he would get a fun-sized candy bar. It was a great system for a while and everything was going smoothly, that is, until he started to cheat the system. He would proclaim that he was going to go potty, then pretend to go in hopes of getting candy. It wasn’t 100-percent effective, but it was a good start.
Make a Game out of it
My wife was very good at making a game out of going potty. Whenever he had a successful trip using the bathroom, my wife would sing a silly song to him to get him excited. “Buddy went potty, oooh ooh! Buddy went potty, oooh! Oooh!” was the preferred song of choice. Although he didn’t get rewarded with candy, he still got positive reinforcement with a fun jingle. He now loves it and will be the first to sing it when he goes potty.
The thing we struggled the most with was consistency. My wife started school and I have a job where I deliver dry cleaning, so it was very easy to waiver from our potty plan. With my delivery job, I am lucky enough to take my boys with me since my dad is the owner of the company. I’ll be the first to admit that it was much easier to just throw a pull-up on him and let him go in the diaper instead of pulling over to find a bathroom. Our inconsistency led us to have six frustrating months of almost being potty trained. Most likely, we could have met our goal a lot sooner. So, make sure to be consistent and your baby will be potty trained in no time!
Potty training can be a frustrating time for a parent, but it is one of the most rewarding as well. I swell up with pride every time my son goes to the bathroom all by himself. It’s a very odd and awesome experience.