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Toddler Tuesday: Potty Training

Kaity teaches her son to use the potty and learns a few things as a parent along the way.

Toddler Tuesday: Potty Training

I remember having a notebook. A notebook filled with breastfeeding times, which side boob, the number of pees and poops. I remember saying “I never thought a peed or pooped diaper would bring me such happiness.” It meant my baby was hydrated, being fed properly, and I could sleep a little more soundly (though not often).

Slowly but surely we grew out of the newborn phase, and pees and poops became less romantic. And thankfully part of the norm. Changing diapers shockingly was no longer a high point in my day, yet I was also in “no rush” to get him out of them when people asked whether he was potty trained at two.

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In the same token, my baby was no longer a baby, but a toddler. Then again the thought of trying to figure out the whole public bathroom scene with him seemed too difficult, aka too disgusting. Then again, would that ever be appealing? But when my toddler started trying to take off and (even more oddly) put on his own diaper, I took notice and realized it wasn’t necessarily about me. Truth be told, if a few of my other friends hadn’t already done it, I probably would have been less likely to give it a go. Strength in numbers.

Many had been singing the praises of a book appropriately titled “Oh Crap,” so I followed the success stories. At 2 years and 5 months old, we took the plunge. As the book suggested, about a week before we started talking about how we were going to “throw the diapers away,” and so on April 5th we “threw them away” (except for at nighttime) forever. Yes, forever.

The author of Oh Crap, Jamie Glowacki, is against pull-ups so we bypassed those suckers--which leads to perk number one: no more spending money on diapers! The first “block,” which for us lasted three days, were nakie days. Once the diapers were out of sight we waited. We had the extra liquids ready--because practice makes perfect--and yet it was all… anti-climactic.

We had envisioned pee everywhere and just pure mayhem. Thankfully, other than one moment where I picked up my child while he was peeing and ran with him while he continued to pee across the room to get to a potty, there wasn’t much more than dribble action. Instead my child was what she called a “camel.” Some would say, “you’re so lucky” and maybe we are because we weren’t stepping in puddles every step of the way, but it was insane watching our child do the pee pee dance because, from what we could read from his eyes, the potty was evil.

The process also helped me see Parent Fail One: that our child hardly drank liquids! Had my child been dehydrated all these months? So we gave in and bought the juice that was usually reserved for birthday parties only to ensure the pee. By day two, another Parent Fail: the TV became a crutch and our child more defiant than ever. This was potty boot camp, yet I felt I was the one getting whipped into shape.

Those first few days, my child fought every pee on that potty...not to mention the poop that we ended up waiting days upon days for. Suddenly we were back at square one. Except this time I able to plead with my juiced-high toddler to poop. Thankfully the book suggested not to keep a notebook because I would have driven myself crazy.

On Day 4 we made it beyond the house in pants, on Day 5 we got a traumatizing poop (thankfully I was warned about this by the book and friends as well) and after an accident at the park on Day 7 we were potty trained! It took a long time to celebrate though. I’m still kind of in disbelief each time I say it. Because admittedly those 7 days--and to be honest, that first month--were one of the hardest of my parenting experience. I had ripped the band-aid off and it hurt us both.

I knew that potty training would be difficult but I hadn’t expected it to really test me as a parent. My patience was pushed to the edge and after a few meltdowns on both sides, I realized that while Oliver was learning how to use the potty, I was learning things too.

I needed to learn to be more patient. This was my first teaching task as a parent, and after a few days I realized that maybe I had pushed him a little too fast. I was frustrated by things that to me seemed ridiculous, but to him were very big deals, such as accidentally peeing on his own leg. I had to remind myself that this was all new for him. And even though the book or other friends said one thing, my child is an individual. And every day this huge accomplishment of his is becoming more and more part of his norm, with each tiny feat--like peeing at a friends house, nevertheless an unfamiliar public place--adding to his success.

As adults we often have a hard time being pushed beyond our comfort zones. Why would I think my toddler wouldn’t have something to say about it? I do believe that a little push often leads to great accomplishments (yes, potty training is a great accomplishment). But I also believe as parents we need to pick and choose our battles. So when my toddler had anxiety about sitting on the tiny potette, I knew I needed to suck it up and bring his giant potty with me (as foolish as I looked) until he was ready.

And then one day he was. And I was a better parent for it. Not because he’s potty trained, but because I recognized his weaknesses, my own weaknesses, when to push and when to give in.

In This Article

    These challenges from Nike PLAYlist are exactly what my child needs to stay active

    Plus a fall family bucket list to keep everyone moving all season long.

    While it's hard to name anything that the pandemic hasn't affected, one thing that is constantly on my mind is how to keep my family active despite spending more time indoors. Normally, this time of year would be spent at dance and gymnastics lessons, meeting up with friends for games and field trips, and long afternoon playdates where we can all let off a little steam. Instead, we find ourselves inside more often than ever before—and facing down a long winter of a lot more of the same.

    I started to search for an outlet that would get my girls moving safely while we social distance, but at first I didn't find a lot of solutions. Online videos either weren't terribly engaging for my active kids, or the messaging wasn't as positive around the power of movement as I would like. Then I found the Nike PLAYlist.

    I always knew that Nike could get me moving, but I was so impressed to discover this simple resource for parents. PLAYlist is an episodic sports show on YouTube that's made for kids and designed to teach them the power of expressing themselves through movement. The enthusiastic kid hosts immediately captured my daughter's attention, and I love how the physical activity is organically incorporated in fun activities without ever being specifically called out as anything other than play. For example, this segment where the kids turn yoga into a game of Paper Scissors Rock? Totally genius. The challenges from #TheReplays even get my husband and me moving more when our daughter turns it into a friendly family competition. (Plus, I love the play-inspired sportswear made just for kids!)

    My daughter loves the simple Shake Ups at the beginning of the episode and is usually hopping off the couch to jump, dance and play within seconds. One of her favorites is this Sock Flinger Shake Up activity from the Nike PLAYlist that's easy for me to get in on too. Even after we've put away the tablet, the show inspires her to create her own challenges throughout the day.

    The best part? The episodes are all under 5 minutes, so they're easy to sprinkle throughout the day whenever we need to work out some wiggles (without adding a lot of screen time to our schedule).

    Whether you're looking for simple alternatives to P.E. and sports or simply need fun ways to help your child burn off energy after a day of socially distanced school, Nike's PLAYlist is a fun, kid-friendly way to get everyone moving.

    Need more movement inspiration for fall? Here are 5 ways my family is getting up and getting active this season:

    1. Go apple picking.

    Truly, it doesn't really feel like fall until we've picked our first apple. (Or had our first bite of apple cider donut!) Need to burn off that extra cinnamon-sugar energy? Declare a quick relay race up the orchard aisle—winner gets first to pick of apples at home.

    To wear: These Printed Training Tights are perfect for when even a casual walk turns into a race (and they help my daughter scurry up a branch for the big apples).

    2. Visit a pumpkin patch.

    We love to pick up a few locally grown pumpkins to decorate or cook with each year. Challenge your child to a "strongman" contest and see who can lift the heaviest pumpkin while you're there.

    To wear: Suit up your little one in comfort with this Baby Full Zip Coverall so you're ready for whatever adventures the day brings.

    3. Have a nature scavenger hunt.

    Scavenger hunts are one of my favorite ways to keep my daughter preoccupied all year long. We love to get outside and search for acorns, leaves and pinecones as part of our homeschool, but it's also just a great way to get her exercising those gross motor skills whenever the wiggles start to build up.

    To wear: It's not truly fall until you break out a hoodie. This cozy Therma Elite Kids Hoodie features a mesh overlay to release heat while your child plays.

    4. Have a touch-football game.

    Tip for parents with very little kids: It doesn't have to last as long as a real football game. 😂 In fact, staging our own mini-games is one of our favorite ways to get everyone up and moving in between quarters during Sunday football, and I promise we all sleep better that night.

    To wear: From impromptu games of tag to running through our favorite trails, these kids' Nike Air Zoom Speed running shoes are made to cover ground all season long.

    5. Create an indoor obstacle course.

    Pretending the floor is lava was just the beginning. See how elaborate your personal course can get, from jumping on the couch to rolling under the coffee table to hopping down the hallway on one foot.

    To wear: These ready-for-any-activity Dri-FIT Tempo Shorts are perfect for crawling, hopping and racing—and cuddling up when it's time to rest.

    This article was sponsored by Nike. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

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