Potty Training Part II: Got the Draws?
Potty training can be challenging but pretty fun. The next step makes any parent’s heart race: Wearing big kid underwear. There’s something about a Pull-up that provides the feeling of security and the ease of disposal. If your child is anything like mine, there will be times where they will start to remove their own diaper/pull-up and that is a key indicator that it’s definitely time to transition. One tip is to make it an experience. Take a Saturday and get your child(ren) excited by telling them that they get to pick out their own underwear. Ask them what character they like or what colors they want on them. I recommend starting with the cotton training pants first as they tend to absorb a little more during accidents versus thin ones for fully trained kids. Once you have made your purchase, there has to be a strategy. This means dedicate certain weekends to training and encouraging your child to wear them. For kids that attend daycare, talk with your child’s teacher/caregiver to inform them of what you practice at home and what you would like to continue at school. They should be able to acknowledge your request as their main request would be to ensure your child has a sufficient amount of extra clothes at school. The underwear may make them more aware of the feeling of being wet and most kids (I won’t say all) do not like that feeling. I must warn you that there WILL be a lot of accidents, underwear washing, and even throwing some in the trash initially but it is all worth it in the end when they are finally fully trained. I remember one of my little guys finally understood the act of going #1 on the toilet. However, he did not understand the concept of going #2 there so he would hide in the corner and go in his pull-up and/or underwear. The other little guy was deathly afraid of going potty, especially the kiddie potty so he would only sit on the regular toilet if I held his hand to help remove the fear of falling in.
Rewarding for those first successes helps too! Some people reward with a piece of candy, a new book, a special prize, or even a potty party. I learned to switch my rewards up. One example I remember is when Mariah was on the potty and I told her that if she went, I would give her the M&M I held in my hand. She was like a ninja because as I held my hand open, she snatched it, popped it in her mouth and ran off without leaving any sign of a deposit in the potty.
For nighttime, this part of potty training may take the longest, especially for those who have heavy sleepers. It helps to have a cutoff of what time they can have their last beverage. Also be aware of other sources of beverage consumption. Amidst the bedtime sneaks and attempts to get out of bed, one of my kids asked “can I go brush my teeth?”. So I let them but then found that they found a cup in the bathroom and were take back sip of water like shot glasses. Another source is bathtime. My little guy was in the shower and I turn my back to grab his towel. As I turn back to get him out, he has his mouth open to the shower drinking the shower water. From that, I already knew what kind of night it would be. I find the bed mats, also known as chucks or chuck pads in the nursing world, are very helpful and absorbent also. If accidents occur, I have found instances to where the bed sheets are still dry as the mats caught everything. You can find them in the diaper/Pull-up aisle at most stores.
Some parents also take on the task of awakening their child in the middle of the night to escort them to the bathroom. That takes lots of discipline especially for the “already sleep-deprived”. I hear this helps to get kids in the habit of going to potty at night and training their bladder. For my kids, it takes forever to get them to go to bed initially, so it’s hard for me to wake them up again. You know the phrase “don’t wake the sleeping bear”.
Traveling with a Toddler
When Mariah was about 1 1/2 years old, the time came where I decided to visit my grandmother down in Mississippi. She hadn’t really had the opportunity to see Mariah in person and since she doesn’t come to St. Louis often, why not go to her. So it’s early in the morning and we arrive at the airport. We first go to the ticket counter and get our tickets and bags checked. Mariah is antsy at this time so I have to keep talk to the attendant and at the same time keep one eye on Mariah, the runner. I have to hold onto her and load her giant carseat and our luggage on the weight belt. Sigh…here we go. Our tickets are for Arkansas as my uncle Mark will be driving down the rest of the way to Mississippi. Next, we walk over to the security checkpoint with so much stuff to take off. At this time, I have to put my carry-on bag in a bin, my shoes, her shoes, and my purse. My brain has to stay active remembering where I put my ticket and ID as well as keeping track of Mariah. I’m already nervous going through here thinking what if I forgot to take something on the ban list out or what if Mariah has something that she snuck in. I frantically pat all of my pockets and hers. All clear. We successfully get through security. Now I, at record speed, grab our things and put our shoes back on. After losing about 5 lbs from sweating during that whole process, I go grab us something to eat before we get on our plane. I gave her some of my sandwich and some ice cream. She then wants to start running off by herself and pour the ice cream on herself. Grrr… Stop it! Don’t start clowning in here.
We sat down at the crowded gate and Mariah wants to scream for no reason then go and touch people. I try to sweet talk her into calming own. As I look in her face with hopes to give her a kissy-poo on her cheek, she points to my nose saying "booga" and is not quiet about it. As the embarrassment continues, it is time to venture to the bathroom before we board. Of course while in the stall, as a mom, your mind goes on red alert for germs so I try to take care of all our business like a ninja ensuring we don’t touch anything nor my bags/purse. In the stall, she decides to sing her na na song. You know (na-na-na-na, hey hey hey, goodbye!).
After the bathroom, we went back to the gate where we found a quick seat. They started boarding the plane with family and group A. As I'm grabbing our bag, I smell Mariah and it smells like some apes just took a dump. Aww man, so we “flew” back to the bathroom. I start to panic because Mike took my diapers that I packed in my carry-on over to Pops house earlier so I'm in big trouble. Here are my options: Do I have her smelling up the plane for an hour or pray she only took a small dump and put the diaper back on? I'm going for option #2. Luckily she boo boo'd little balls that I dumped in the toilet easily. Hey don't judge me. What's a mom to do in this time crunch and she smelled much better lol. So we got on the plane and she was a perfect angel surprisingly. I gave her a lollipop to help her relax and to minimize her ears popping. After 2 licks, she fell asleep. Thank u Lord especially with this bumpy roller coaster ride of a flight.
Once we arrived at the Arkansas airport, we made our way to the baggage claim. Of course, our luggage took forever to pop up. Once it popped up, I had to carry the luggage, carry-on bag, carseat and Mariah as we walked toward the door. Thank goodness we saw aunt Farrah no more than 5 minutes after that. She grabbed our bag and I carried the other stuff. As we proceed to the car in the parking lot, it is pouring down raining. I am getting drenched trying to reach back in the two-door to install the seat and get Mariah strapped in. I finally get her in and we drove to the warm and dry house of my uncle. What an experience. Just remember, we have to go through this all again when we return home.
Here are few tips to remember when traveling with a toddler:
Toilet often. Visit the restroom often, regardless of if you’re still in the diaper change stage or potty training stage. Speaking of potty training, you may try to determine what’s best for you in when your child is ready to potty train. Although it is nice for them to be able to go to the potty while traveling, you may choose not to do the actual training around the time of the trip as you will be very frustrated and there will be accidents.
Carry-on: Be sure to bring snacks. Purchase your beverage after you get through security as you know there are restrictions on liquids. Also in your carry-on, have wet wipes (properly sealed) and any pull-ups, extra underwear, and an extra outfit if possible in case of emergency changes. You never know if your flight will get delayed or heaven forbid something happen with your checked luggage. Keep activities on deck as well like coloring books, iPad loaded with games, cartoons, and movies, and with kid-friendly headphones. I wouldn’t recommend earbuds unless you plan on spending the whole time putting them back in your child’s ear every time they move their head and also there have been concerns expressed regarding how the volume may impact the eardrum due to the proximity of the earbud. Last, if flying, I would keep a copy of their birth certificate as well as health insurance cards if they happen to need medical assistance while out of town.
Strollers: Some people have various opinions on whether traveling with a stroller is beneficial. In my experience, the umbrella stroller is very helpful. While you are getting everything put in trays through security, your child can sit there until it’s time to get through the metal detector and you can easily collapse the stroller at that time. Also, little legs get tired. If you plan to do a lot of walking whether it’s through the airport terminals in finding your gate or going on excursions like the zoo or theme park, I highly recommend taking it along. Otherwise, count on being extra buff when you return from carrying your little one.
Security: Minimize how many items you have when going through airport security. Having a purse, diaper bag, pillow, blanket, etc. can be a nuisance when you’re having to take things off, put items in the trays, all while monitoring your child(ren). A backpack is pretty helpful in keeping those things in one place. Also, a fanny pack…yes you heard right, fanny pack. It can help keep personal items such as IDs and phone in clear view and provides easy access. You don’t have to worry about it falling off and also it comes in handy when needing to use the restroom in not really having to take it off and hang it up like a purse. Guys, I look forward to seeing your Manny packs 😊.
Checked luggage: If you plan on doing any driving at your destination or driving to your destination, you may want to consider checking in your personal child’s car seat. Reason being, some car rental places do offer to provide a car seat upon request for a small fee but I would caution that some of the car seats may not meet your standards for cleanliness. Not saying that all of them are this way but just a heads up. You may find in baby stores or online a car seat back that helps with carrying it around.
Tag all bags: It helps to quickly identify your bags if there’s an eye-catching bag tag for all of your bags. If you choose a lime green tag, it may be helpful to use matching ones for your other bags. These days, there are so many luggage that look alike, you’d hate to accidentally grab someone else’s luggage or vice-versa.
No two trainings are the same. Everyone has their own pace and readiness. Just because little Ray Ray was potty trained at 13 months of age doesn’t mean that it’s the standard. First you have to remember, the child has been technically trained to use the restroom in their diaper their whole little life and now they have to unlearn that behavior and become independent. So please avoid disciplining them for not understanding the new process as fast as you want them to. What DOES help is repetition. For my boys, every morning and at night before they got in the shower, I would sit them on the toilet just to see if they had to go. Soon they would get the hang of it and not be afraid of the potty as well as have successes and tell me when they had to go.
The type of potty makes a difference as well. Some kids adore the fancy singing and talking character potty while others may be afraid of those. Or they may fear the “big potty” known as the toilet while others don’t want to use anything but the big toilet. Beware of their fear of falling in. Also be aware of their love for flushing the toilet and playing in the sink. A momedy moment I remember was when Marshall was playing server with his play kitchen cups (yes boys cook too) and plates. Mike asked Marshall to go and get him some water. Marshall was around 2 years old at the time and had a step-stool in the bathroom. He turns on the water with a mean reach and puts some in the cup. He goes to serve his dad and Mike drinks some of the water and asks for some more. Marshall is so excited that he runs quickly to the bathroom. This time, I don’t hear a step-stool, nor do I water running. However, I do hear some splashing. At this time, I walk past the bathroom and Marshall is dipping the cup in the toilet water for a refill. Marshall!! We don’t do that in the toilet sir! I guess he figured this way was quicker than struggling at the sink and could possibly turn water into “lemonade”.
Next week's tip: Teaching your child(ren) how to wash themselves