I’m a mom. Of two very sweet boys. The second who joined us a mere three months ago! Having been a member of the MOB (mom of boys) squad for some time now, I’m already well versed in the nuances that come with changing baby boy diapers: The moving aside of the ‘bits and pieces’, the always-when-you’re-not-expecting-it pee pee spray, and have I just been living in a house of boys for too long or does their ‘business’ really smell worse than girls?!
My older guy is on his way now to getting this thing down on his own. His name is Jay, he’s three and a half, and he’s been bladder trained for months. The problem is, like so many other toddlers his age, he just isn’t that interested in pooping outside of a diaper. My husband and I have tried it all: Offering treats and rewards, suggesting the fish in the ocean were hungry and that Jay should “feed them” by pooping in the toilet (I can’t take credit for that one; a friend advised it over conversation at a dinner party – as one does), reinforcing, negotiating, and eventually… accommodating. Time’s-a-ticking on the months left before he heads off to Kindergarten next year, and hubs and I are getting tired of cleaning up his Poonamis.
So I was especially grateful to be invited to an event last week, hosted by fellow (and delightful) therapist and parenting expert Alyson Schafer. The Potty Partnership is a whole new way for parents to view potty training. By aligning with our kids and empowering them to become equal collaborators with us in the process, a typically tricky time for both sides can become a heck of a lot easier. Through the Potty Partnership, parents have access to take a free quiz to discover their child’s unique Potty Personality, in order to receive tips and tricks that are specifically tailored on how to best train their child.
The Potty Personalities are five-fold (the psychology geek in me renamed them the “Little Five”). Just like the Big Five Personality Traits in adults, the Potty Personalities encompass the basic qualities and quirks that form the foundation of a child’s character. There are the Puppies (eager to please and motivated by rewards), the Turtles (resistant to change and tenacious), the Squirrels (bad hair-don’t care busybodies), the Owls (A types), and Bear Cubs (go-with-the-flows).
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On my taking the quiz, Jay buzzed in as a Puppy. In reality, he’s more like a cross between a Puppy, Bear Cub, and that drunken Octopus in search of his keys making the mom-group rounds on social media. But when it comes to pooping in the toilet, he just won’t budge. In reiterating our situation to Alyson, I came away with some hope-inducing tips. Given Jay is being particularly stubborn as a normally not-so-stubborn little boy, Alyson suggested we take the proverbial spotlight off the issue, and chill out for a few weeks. We should then go back at it from a more matter-of-fact and honest standpoint. One thing we were doing that I learned isn’t optimal for training is switching between regular diapers and Pull-Ups. We had been using Pull-Ups during the day to fulfill Jay’s request for a “diaper” when he felt the urge to go. For naptime and overnight, however, we were reverting back to regular style diapers with sticky tape on either side. Consistency is a key aspect in speeding things along when Potty Training. Namely, when the littles are finally out of diapers it’s best to keep them out for good! Pull-Ups Night Time Training Pants allow for that continuity of my little guy feeling like he’s still wearing underwear, even while he’s sleeping. Plus they have easy-open sides for when quick changes are needed.
If only getting our kids to behave the way we want them to was as easy as Sheldon Cooper made it look, popping chocolates into Penny’s mouth in that now-infamous episode of The Big Bang Theory. In truth, Potty Training is tricky business. Even the experts need expert advice! It requires patience, persistence, respect, and egalitarian teamwork between parent and child. And wine. Lots and lots of wine.
By: Natasha Sharma CCPA/ NKS Therapy
Natasha is a speaker, Relationship Therapist and the author of The Kindness Journal.