Category Archives: The Shift

The horrors of potty training and how to survive it

Potty Training

There is not a week that goes by that I do not thank some kind of deity for the fact that my kids are long out of the potty training phase. Well, my sister has a child who has just started potty training and I started having flashbacks! I thought today I would share how I survived the horrors of potty training by giving you guys some tips that will help.

Before we start, you will get poop on you and you will get pee on you. That is just the way that potty training goes.

Invest In Baby Wipes

You also want baby wipes to be in easy reach of your child so when they are using the potty they do not have to go on a quest around the house looking for them…… that is a recipe for disaster!

You know you are a parent when your weekly shopping trip results in you purchasing 8 or more packs of baby wipes. You simply must have more baby wipes that you need and you need to have baby wipes in multiple rooms in the house. First of all, they have to be in the room where you have the potty, that should go without saying! I swear to you that baby wipes have saved my butt (and wiped my kids) on more occasions than I can count.

Live The Dream And Have Multiple Potties

When we first started potty training we had one potty. We had to take it up and down the stairs all the time. Save yourself the hassle and have a potty on each floor of your house. We only have a house that is two floors so we had one in the bathroom downstairs and also one in the hallway upstairs. This way your child does not have to run up or down the stairs when they need to go. Kids when they are just learning, tend to leave going until the very last second. Having a potty that is close by makes the chance of an accident much less.

Keep Calm, Mistakes Happen

Your child is going to take a while to get the hang of using the potty so do not get all stressed out if it takes a while. We started my eldest son potty training before he was ready and it was a big mistake. We waited a couple of months, he was ready and it was a much easier experience for us all. The point is it can be very frustrating when you have to give them a clean pair of pants multiple times per day, but getting all stressed out is not going to help.

Wash them off, ask them to try and go quicker next time and move on. I know I make jokes about how horrible this is, but I would never have done this in front of my kids. You do not want to make using the potty a bigger deal than it is.

Every Kid Has A Price

Some parents may be above bribery…… I am not. My youngest son had some real trouble using the potty and I was sure a huge part of it was laziness! So I broke down and created a potty chart. Each time he used the potty he would get a star. What made him get on board with this was the fact that when he got (I think it was 20) stars he would get a surprise. In case you were wondering it was a Pokémon plush toy that he wanted.

This made him get super focused about his pooping and he never had another accident again. Some might say that bribing a kid is wrong, but I can tell you first hand that this can be what makes it click for them and get used to knowing they have to go to the potty as soon as they need, not hold off until the point of no return.

So there you have it. Potty training can be brutal and I have cleaned up my fair share of messes, but it does pass. The best bits of advice I can give you are first of all have more than enough baby wipes and to also make sure you keep calm and when an accident does happen, you clean it up and move on.

Parenting Mistakes Don’t Make You a Bad Parent

I can honestly sit here and say that as a father of a daughter I’ve made plenty of mistakes. The mistakes I’ve made have been big and small. As time goes on, I have gotten better at not overreacting to my mistakes. We all have this very idyllic mindset about what parenting should be. No one wants to fail their children. The mistakes you make aren’t failures. You should never burden yourself with the thought that a mistake is a failure. A mistake is exactly what it sounds like, and you need to get over it.

Bumps, bruises, and tears

When I was younger, I wasn’t around many kids. It wasn’t until I became a parent that I began to be around children. I always thought that children cried because they were being abused. I was that guy who gave you dirty looks at the store when your kid was crying. Now I understand why kids cry at the store. Sometimes it’s just because they don’t want to sit in the stroller for more than five seconds. It has nothing at all to do with being abused or anything like that at all.

I remember when my daughter was very young and she would bump her head on something. I would be so fearful her doing anything at all. Eventually, she did bump her head, and I felt like a terrible parent. How could I have not been there to make sure she didn’t fall? I’m not talking about me being fifty feet away while she was on the playground. I’d be a foot or two away while she was playing in the living room. I felt like the worst father on planet earth when she fell. I didn’t realize at the time that babies do fall. There is no way that you can protect them 100% of the time. It’s just not possible. The only mistake there was thinking that somehow I could prevent anything at all from ever happening.

Mistakes are an educational process

The only way you learn how to do anything is by doing it. You’ve probably been told a million times you’re doing something wrong by people who don’t have children. Typically they have no idea what they’re talking about. You only learn from experience. You could read a hundred books on how to fly a plane and still not have a clue on how to get that sucker in the air. That’s just the way life is. Your mistakes will help you become a better parent. The average mistake you make isn’t a life-changing event. Ten years from now you’ll more than likely laugh at the mistakes you made.

Parents grow right alongside their children

You aren’t the same person today as you were before your children were born. Your life changes every step of the way through parenthood. You can’t allow yourself to get hung up on the small things. You want to do what’s best. The thought of failing your child makes you sick. Humans make mistakes, and that’s the only consistent thing throughout history. You better get used to it. You’re going to make a lot more mistakes as time goes on. The important thing is that you focus on being a good parent. Spend your energy focusing on providing a good life for your child and being a reliable moral compass. The little bumps along the way may have bruises, but they’re just skin deep.