There is nothing worse than fighting a losing battle with a stubborn toddler–especially when it involves the potty.Kids that have hit the three-year-old mark can be the MOST difficult to potty train because they know they can win when it comes to their body. So, how’s a mama supposed to beat them? Well, you gotta play smarter–not harder.
Your secret battle strategy must involve a third party: if your kid thinks you’re the one who wants him to potty, you’ll lose every time. But, when there’s a super-awesome and hysterical friend in the bathroom, it’s a game changer. Here’s how we outsmart those little know-it-alls:
Instead of letting on that you want them to use the potty, let them meet The Potty Rocker. When they see his hysterical stunts in his washable children’s book, they’ll laugh out loud!
After they’ve gotten to know The Potty Rocker, all you have to do is stage a bathroom visit by rolling the bathroom with toilet paper and leaving your Potty Rocker figurine in the middle of the mess. When the kids see it, they can’t believe he’s come to life and they’ll be waiting to see what he’ll do next.
Now that they’re eagerly awaiting another visit from The Potty Rocker, you’re set! When they’re asking when he’s going to return, just say, “He says he can’t come back until you _______ on the potty…” Even if it’s just getting them to sit on the potty, that’s a start. Keep it easy in the beginning, then gradually let “The Potty Rocker” ask them to land something of their own in the toilet bowl!
So, if you’re stuck in the ring with a head-strong toddler, don’t throw in the towel! You just need to enlist the services of The Potty Rocker and let him do your dirty work.
Click below to download our FREE potty training guide to learn how you can ROCK THE POTTY!
My three-year-old isn’t Potty Trained and I’m Crapping my Pants
I know I’m not alone, ya’ll: I can see you out there shaking in your big girl panties. Your kiddo is pushing three and you’re thinking about what the heck you’re going to do when the preschool says your little stinker is going to spend a few extra months in the two-year-old class.
We can argue all day about whether or not it should be mandatory for a toddler to be fully potty trained before they can be promoted to the three-year-old class (we beg to differ), but the fact is it’s required by many preschools and daycare centers. Not cool when you’re the one whose toddler loves rocking his diapers.
I’m serious when I say I feel your pain–my kids were diaper loving monsters. Unless you’ve gone head-to-head with a tiny tot who enjoys playing trains with a hot load in his pants, you have no idea the battle that we face. In fact, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that you best keep your advice to yourself if your 19-month-old magically “took” to the potty.
For those of you who are feeling me, here are FIVE things you know about potty training a stubborn three-year-old:
There is no magic under the sun that can potty train your kid in three days.
Your diaper-rocking tot isn’t “slow” to understand the concept. Nope, she’s actually the resident Einstein in her class. (Believe it or not, we’ve done some unofficial research and the results are in: smart kids are the hardest to potty train.)
Going commando solves nothing. Stupidest idea ever.
Contrary to popular belief, you do NOT need parenting lessons on being “consistent.”
It is absolutely IMPOSSIBLE to win a power struggle with a diaper-craving phene.
If you’ve been blessed with a healthy child, he won’t be heading to college in diapers, so take a chill pill and maintain perspective. Take it from me–a mom whose kids barely made it to the three-year-old class and I still spent the year praying they never had to poop at school–chilling out is easier said than done. Relaxing is certainly one of those things that is easier to preach, not practice.
After you’ve found your zen, take a minute to download our free potty training guide. You’ve tried everything else, so why not hear us out and give it a shot? We promise our approach is the perfect remedy for your little smarty pants.
To the annoying middle schooler messin’ with my 8-year-old: I’m about to jack you up
My son is huge. Like Shaquille O’Neal huge—seriously. Who knows if he’ll keep up this ridiculous growth pace, but when you’re wearing men’s shoes by age 7, you’re bound to be on the beastly side. But as with all great gifts, there are challenges for a second grade giant.
For example, take playing dodgeball at an indoor trampoline park. When your legs and feet are weighing you down, things get a little tricky, especially when you’re dodging rapid fire balls. Factor in a pubescent opponent, and things get downright nasty.
To the big kid’s credit, he had no idea that he was drilling an eight-year-old. Nope, he just thought he had the chance to dominate one of his dudes—and we all know nothing feels better to the average middle schooler than one-upping an (ever-so-slightly) more awkward peer. Climbing up the social hierarchy is foundational for adolescents and I know whining about all the meanies is a waste of time, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t want to pounce on the turd that pegged my baby in his still developing man parts.
When my little Shaq hit the ground, my husband had to hold me back and it’s a good thing he did, because what happened next rocked my world. The adolescent turd swiped that shaggy, sweaty hair out of his eyes and went running over to my sweet baby to help him up. Behind those Justin Beiber bangs, I could see genuine remorse in his eyes as he apologized to my son and asked if he was okay. Minus the body odor and cheesy dance music blaring in the trampoline park, it was like watching a sappy Hallmark movie, and for a brief moment, all was right with the world. Of course, my husband had to gloat in his “I was right and you were wrong” moment, but I’ve never been so happy to be wrong.
As my daughter gets closer to her 10th birthday, the adolescent crap is taking over and it’s making me crazy. I just want to lock my children in a time capsule and give them some kind of puberty blocking pills. One day my gentle giant will be scoring his own social points as he pegs some innocent kid with a dodgeball, and I can only hope that there will still be a genuinely sweet and remorseful child peeking out behind his Beiber hair as he offers the little one a hand up. So for today, I’ll refrain from jacking up any preteens and remind myself that inside every awkward middle schooler hides a scared little kid, just looking for some love. Isn’t that what we’re all looking for?
So, to the annoying middle schooler messin’ with my 8-year-old, thanks for jacking with me.
(And if you think I misspelt “believing,” you don’t know what it’s like to be a Belieber)
Life Skills 101: When people don’t like your crap, tell ’em to eat some, literally
There’s nothing worse than rejection. We’ve all experienced it and if we’re honest, most of us do our best to avoid it. Just hearing the word conjures up all those first day of school butterflies and the sheer panic of having no one to sit with at lunch. And for all you gold star students like me, you know good and well not to raise your hand if you have even the slightest doubt that your answer is correct. I loathe myself for it, but it’s a hard habit to break.
If we can find the nerve to admit it, most of us have a running list of things we wish could do, if we just had enough nerve to fail. I don’t know about ya’ll, but I have spent the majority of my life plotting out the safest and most risk-adverse paths to success. I haven’t had to fail much, but I’m just starting to see the possibilities I’ve been missing and I’m flooded with regret for all the things I never tried.
My most vivid rejection memory goes back to 5th grade. Somehow, I was conned into running for student council president because no one would run against the sole candidate. Since a fascist student government wasn’t cool, in the spirit of democracy, I decided to take one for the team. I won’t bore you with dramatic details because I’m sure you can guess how this story ends: I lost and vowed never to run for office again. Ever.
When I see my daughter with her peers, it’s a twilight zone experience. How is it possible to watch your childhood on replay? It’s creepy to see her falling into the same traps: refusing to try anything she can’t do perfectly the first time, living in fear of not acing a test, and constantly worrying about people “looking” at her. Talk about staring in a mirror–yikes.
Last week, I let my nine-year-old spend 10 hours peddling rainbow poop with me at a wholesale mart. I didn’t think she’d make it, but she never complained. I, on the other hand, work myself into a nervous tizzy every time I step through the doors and consider crapping my pants whenever I have to pitch my product. As miserable as these sales experiences always begin, I am always surprised by the joy I feel by the end of the day.
Here’s the thing about rejection: it always stinks, but when you force yourself to do it over and over, it loses its sting. In case you didn’t notice, that logic makes no sense. Why would anyone subject themselves to misery, knowing that it’s going to be terrible every time? Well, it’s like getting your legs waxed–the first couple strips hurt like heck, but after a while, your skin starts to numb and it ain’t so bad. And if you stick it out, the hot wax even starts to feel good. By the time it’s over, you get the reward of baby soft skin for at least 10-14 days, but you have to start all over again a month later.
Rejection is a vicious cycle of pain, numbness, and joy, but how do you explain that to a child? Well, you can’t. The only way to teach kids about the joy that can follow rejection is to show them.
Do I enjoy it when people look at me like I have two heads when I offer them a piece of rainbow poop? Heck no, but by the end of the day, I have to say it’s quite amusing. I’m slowly starting to realize that as a parent I have a responsibility to put myself out there so my kids can watch me get rejected and then see me bounce right back again. It doesn’t mean that I have to hide all my frustrations, but it does require that I watch my tongue and not murmur all those dirty words under my breath.
The best part of selling crap is that you don’t have to take the rejection personally and it’s cheap entertainment. For a while, Penelope stood behind me painfully pointing out all the crazy looks people gave me. But after an hour or so, she was in the aisles handing out poop and giggling when she got the same crazy looks. Haters gonna hate, yo.
Let’s not pretend that putting yourself out there is all hunky-dory, because the truth is it stinks. Instead, let’s all put on our big girl panties and take one for the team because the greatest lesson we can teach our children is how to handle rejection. If they can make it past the initial pain, they’ll find that there’s a period of grace where it doesn’t hurt quite so bad. And if they can hang on just a bit longer, they too can experience the joy that comes when you just don’t give a crap anymore.
Now, go! Make a fool of yourself, get knocked down, and when you get back up, just laugh and tell those haters to eat crap. Literally.
Embarrass your kids: The Only Resolution Worth Keeping
Since we all know that resolutions aren’t my style, I cannot take credit for this stroke of parenting genius. This one’s 100% my husband since he decided his resolution for 2016 was to embarrass his children as much he possibly can in one calendar year. Of course it started as a joke, but I’ve made an executive decision that this is a resolution worth keeping.
After he announced his resolution on New Year’s Day, Andrew decided it would be cool to do this in the grocery store:
In case you didn’t notice, Andrew was the only person on aisle seven that should’ve been embarrassed. As a 15-year-old trapped in a 9-year-old body, Penelope is always an easy target, but this was nothing–even for her. And what about Banks? Well, obviously he ain’t scared to carry a bag of pull-ups around the store.
Fast forward a week and it’s Bankston’s birthday: time for round two. What’s even more embarrassing than your mom driving a minivan? When she paints the window, holds posters out the sunroof, and dresses like Chewbacca in the carpool line. And what couldtop that recipe for a coolness disaster? Dad in an automated Darth Vader mask.
Needless to say, they were begging us to speed away:
So after the drama died down and Penelope threatened our lives if we even think about doing anything beyond picking her up in a limo for her birthday (she doesn’t understand if it’s not embarrassing it ain’t happening), I did a little research on the positive effects of embarrassment. Turns out, my husband is smarter than we thought.
WHY EMBARRASSING CRAP IS GOOD FOR YOU
IT’S GOOD FOR THE STATUS QUO
Apparently, embarrassment maintains social order. Imagine a society where humans behaved like dogs and we scratched our butts and hiked our legs on each other’s mailboxes. Not cool.
EMBARRASSED FOLKS HAVE MORE FRIENDS
Research has shown that we empathize and emotionally connect with people who show embarrassment in appropriate social situations. In other words, the dude who blushes when he notices his fly is unzipped is much more likable (and far less creepy) than the dude who goes to the mailbox in his undies.
EMBARRASSING STORIES ARE THE BEST
The things that are the most embarrassing in the moment usually end up being the funniest stories. Let’s just say we’re preparing our kids to be the life of the party.
EMBARRASSING PARENTS = BULLY PROTECTION
We’re going out on a limb with this one, but Andrew and I have a hypothesis that if other kids see what we’re willing to do to our own children, the thought of what we might do to a bully that gives our kid any trouble will be as haunting as “he who must not be named.” Voldemort ain’t got nothing on an almost forty-year-old dad with a face like this:
So, there you have it: four solid reasons why you should embarrass your kids. We’ll probably need therapy and some serious image repair, but 2016 will be a year to remember. And, who knows? Twenty years from now, they might even thank us.
Toddlers see me rollin’ and know diapers are about to rollout! No more ridin’ dirty in your house!
What shenanigans is your Potty Rocker up to? Maybe he’s rolled the bathroom? Left some of his magical rainbow poop around the house? Drawn on your potty? Regardless, let the Potty Rocker take on the task of potty training and you take a step away from stress. The focus is on you, your family and fun. There’s no “stress” in any of those!
Being a PreK teacher meant my laugh lines started early in life. I think we can all agree that at any moment a toddler can bring to the table a whole lotta laughter in their honesty. The humor wasn’t the best part of working with kiddos for years, but it was a perk (Sidenote: Potty training throngs of youngsters was not a perk – clearly The Potty Rocker hadn’t made his presence known in the world yet).
People used to shudder at the environment within which I taught. The teachers wore whistles around our necks and we practiced drive-by shooting drills with the children. You hear the whistle, you drop and cover your head. There were two shootings while my children and myself were on the playground. Play never stopped. Gunshots were a norm. I stood frozen in my tracks. The windows in my classroom were shot out more times than I can count and you get a fired up Mama Bear when you leave shards of glass in my classroom library. GRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!
That said, my children and their families became my family. Their lives were my life and I was welcomed onto the front porches and living rooms of their homes like a BFF. It made their humor my laughter and I found a new found affinity for sidewalk hangouts and the art of talking to the beat of the rhythm of the song in the background. Laughter was the best and it filled the air.
I’ll never forget one of my little guys sat outside rolling a dump truck back and forth. Back and forth. As I watched I heard him jamming out to one of my favorite rap times at the song. While he moved his truck along its imaginary path, there is was, the three-year-old making the best text-to-world connection in the history of connections. It was, “I dump like a truck, truck, truck. Guys like what, what, what? Let me sing it again!! Oh, I dump like a truck, truck, truck.”There it was folks. He sees a dump truck and makes the connection.
I imagine you thought I’d take this whole, “dumps like a truck” in a different direction, but that’s the beauty of having worked with young children for so long. Like them, you never know what to expect from a teacher. We have a lot of tricks up our sleeves and we can dump the humor on you at any moment.
You Can Lead a Kid to the Potty, But You Can’t Make Him Go
“You can lead a kid to the potty, but you can’t make him go.” Let’s face it, your timetable for ditching diapers and your kiddo’s timetable for rocking the potty were never created to be in sync. He was swaddled the second he was born. Since day one, you’ve been doing the wiping and for most kiddos, that’s just fine.
So no, you’re not bad at parenting. No, you’re not failing when it comes to potty training. If you worried one of these things, yes, you’re stress out too much and need to chillax. There is no space for anxiety in your life. Seriously, let it go!
The Golden Rule to getting your kiddo out of the potty is to let them lead. Seriously, if you’re looking for the perfect time to potty training and wonder the exact perfect day, you’re not going to find that chiseled in stone – because it doesn’t exist. Duh. The right answer all depends on your little stinker’s interest and ability. Who knows, you may have a bone-a-fide potty prodigy on your hands who rocks the potty at 11 months old (and if that’s you reading this, um, cheers to you Dad!)! You may have a little one who literally puts diapers on herself and will run from the potty. Or, you may be somewhere in between! Regardless, here are a few questions you can ask yourself when thinking about bringing The Potty Rocker into your home and ditching diapers:
Does my kiddo recognize when he needs to use the bathroom?
Does my child ask to use the toilet?
Does my child understand the purpose of a toilet (you’d be surprised)?
Have I modeled language about when, and what to do when, nature calls?
Has my child shown an interest in using the potty?
If you answered yes to these, you’re one step closer to leading your kiddo to the potty. Now, whether he goes is up to him, but there are sure-fire ways to get him loving the bathroom and rocking the potty. The clear way to do it to introduce The Potty Rocker. That, Mamas and Daddies, is (in our opinion) the most important step of them all.
Sometimes we lose sight of how simple it really is to trick your kids with a simple craft that turns into a treat of laughter too. All you need to do is spruce up a toilet paper roll with some funny faces (mustaches recommended…clearly) and hide the little tricks to treat the fam.
Stash the funny dudes around the house and in the car (maybe even a lunchbox if you’re really sneaky) and get the kiddos wondering where the REAL Potty Rocker is hiding.
P.S. Impostors beware, all the cool kids know there’s really only Potty Rocker and he only comes out of the bathroom sign when you’re ditching diapers!