Parenting in the Pandemic: Potty Training

As parents, we have had to deal with a lot of shit. Literally. I think most parents have been pooped on and peed on, have been on the receiving end of vomit and farts, drool and snot. Unless you have an army of nannies, this is just part of parenthood.

baby with reusable diaper
He used those leopard print diapers until they didn’t fit anymore. I got maybe five of them on sale, and they were just so adorable!

When Lucas was still wearing diapers, we opted to use cloth diapers at home, and disposables when going out, and at night. We wanted to cut down on costs and waste. Unfortunately that also meant lots of laundry, diapers and liners soaking in countless tubs, scrubbing and washing and rewashing.

We were so relieved when he was finally potty trained, and we didn’t have to so much laundry anymore. But potty training was its own hurdle.

There are many approaches to potty training. We read about the Vietnamese method, where babies are potty trained as early as seven months; it seemed a little extreme. There was another one where you sit the child on the potty every fifteen minutes, regardless of whether or not they need to go. We tried this, and it didn’t work so well for us. And some kids just decide one day that they want to stop wearing diapers.

Potty

We bought Lucas a potty, and we put it in the shower. He learned to use it whenever he was taking a bath or a shower. He would stop what he was doing and aim for a pee. But what about outside bath time?

Sticker chart

Well, we were all at home, so it was the best time to potty train. We told him to tell us every time he peed or pooped in his diaper. When he mastered that habit–and wow that took a few months–we told him we weren’t going to buy diapers anymore, and he should start wearing briefs in the day time. Next, we borrowed a hack from my friend Jaye and her son Jan: a sticker chart!

MISSED OPPORTUNITY: I should have called it a shart. Because it’s a shit chart. Hee hee.

Anyway! We made a chart, with a column for pee, and a column for poo. And I told him, for each time he was able to poop or pee in the potty, he got a sticker. If he got ten poo stickers, I would get him a pizza. I don’t remember what I promised him for the pee stickers.

It seemed to work! Every time he made a successful trip to the potty, he eagerly asked for a sticker, and proudly stuck it on the chart himself. When he filled up one chart, I told him that for the next chart, ten poo stickers would get him a chocolate cake. After that, I asked him what his next goal would be. “THIRTY STICKERS!” he said! Damn, this kid aims high.

But I think we all forgot about it, because I don’t even remember if we made it to thirty, or what I promised him if he met the goal.

stepladder with potty

Steppy

Eventually he got tall enough to pee in the toilet. We let him use a small footstool so he could pee properly. But we also needed a potty seat so he could sit on the toilet without falling in. So we ordered a combination stepladder and potty from Lazada. Lucas named it Steppy. (Because he needs to name everything.)

It was quite convenient, because he could get up on the steps to stand and pee, or he could sit down to poop. It was light enough that he could easily put it on the toilet by himself. And it folded too, so we could remove it from the toilet and prop it against a wall when it wasn’t in use.

It was also easy to assemble, barring some confusion between he and my brother; said sibling accidentally shot a plastic screw into the leg. Guess who had to spend about an hour trying to extract the screw.

Most important part: It’s blue, Lucas’ favorite color!

Sitty

Since we moved into a bigger house, Lucas spends most of the day in his play room downstairs. That’s where he has all his toys and books. That’s where he does his online classes, and watches YouTube. On weekends, we watch movies there.

There’s a bathroom right outside the play room, so we needed another portable potty for that bathroom. Lazada to the rescue! And of course Lucas had to name it.

Sleeping without accidents

The next, last, greatest hurdle: wetting the bed. Lucas sleeps in what he calls his bed-bed-crib, so fortunately we don’t wake up on a wet bed. Sometimes, in the mornings, he wakes us up to say, “I weewee.” Then we change his clothes and wipe him off, and we take the sheets off his crib. Sometimes he wakes up crying in the middle of the night, because he’s wet. It’s a struggle to get him to stand up to clean up, to pee in the bathroom, to change clothes. “Bright light!” he protests sleepily while peeing in the bathroom. I put a clean towel on the crib, and next thing I know he’s fast asleep again.

We limit his fluid intake before bedtime, and we make sure he pees before he goes to sleep. But sometimes we all fall asleep before he’s able to go for his last pee. Other times he wakes up and says, “I didn’t weewee! Are you proud of me?”

I’m sure (I pray) he’ll eventually stop wetting his bed. Maybe I can set up a sticker chart for that too!

sticker chart

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