When we were getting close to being a diaper-free household after ten years of wiping butts, I got a little carried away.
I found myself trying more and more unorthodox potty-training experiments in lieu of good old-fashioned patience, hoping to find the secret trick for my youngest son. If you’re at the end of your toilet-training rope, here are some wacky things you can try. Who knows? One of them might work for you!
- Make special undies! What? My three-year old and I worked together to tie-dye some plain white training pants undies to make them more enticing. This project left a huge mess of my hands for days. But training pants are very handy for newly-pottying kids, so I call it a wash.
Pro tip: Once he outgrew the original need for the special undies, we have renamed them “biking undies” and continue to use them for that purpose because they are so soft and padded.
- Mini-bribes: These are doled out immediately: M&Ms, tiny marshmallows, or stickers for each deposit. Since we’ve made great progress with poops, I will steer my future incentives specifically toward peeing in the potty and staying dry in underwear.
Pro tip: A variation on this idea is that I can break into the good chocolate for myself when I get fed-up with cleaning pee off the floor.
- Mega-bribes: These incentives require delayed gratification and are for advanced learners. For example, if you stay dry all day or fill your sticker chart, we’ll have ice cream, go to Chuck E Cheese, or buy Elsa-emblazoned underwear. Somehow, we did all of the above.
Pro tip: Let the child choose the coveted prize as she strives to earn it.
- Naked Day: Also called “environmental control,” this method never sat well with me, but it is so brilliant. The kid stays pantsless and runs around the backyard while Mama feeds salty snacks and bottomless (heh) cups of water.
Pro tip: Sweats with no undies is similar. I’ve never tried this one; I’m terrified.
- Peeing Doll: We acquired Paul the peeing doll so that our know-it-all preschoolers could teach him to use the toilet. Theoretically, my child would read all the great toileting literature to the doll. Yes, that will work. We can put tootsie rolls in the mini potty to pretend that Paul has been successful, and even award stickers to the baby for avoiding accidents.
Pro tip: These dolls are great for the tub. Even though his faux-urine smells like vanilla, I never liked that plastic kid peeing on my couch.
Sure-fired method: I can just be patient and let him get there on his own flipping timeline even if that means another six months of diping and wiping. He’s not going to Kindergarten in diapers — no one does — so history, and my two toilet-using gradeschoolers, tells me that this kid will eventually get there.
My little dude summed up his lack of motiviation with this astute quote: