Potty Training on the Go

Me {Walking into room with holiday decorations and taking in the scene}:: “NOOO! What happened?! Where are your pants? Where does poop poop go?”

M {Big smile}:: “Potty!”

Me:: “And where did you go?”

M {Mild confusion but excitement at this question game}:: “FLOOR!”

Me:: “WHY!”

M:: “Mickey say. Mickey say.”

{Points accusingly at Mickey on the iPad}

Me {Grumbling to myself}:: “How do you even know to blame him? Well Mickey better freaking have a Mouskatool for this…”

M:: “OH TOOOOOOOOODLESSSSS!” {That’s how you summon the little dude with the useful mouskatools for you non Mickey Mouse Clubbers)

This was the scene at my home on a Friday night JUST after I had taken her to the potty. M is 23 months and strongly shares a stubbornness trait with her mother. What she’ll often do easily for others is a battle of wills when it comes to me. This falls tidily under the umbrella of frustrating! Daycare said she was ready, yet I didn’t know if I could survive trying.

The holidays were coming up, and there were many planned outings; did I really want to have this element added in?

I previously tried a disastrous no pants weekend a few months earlier … by the 20th time I nearly slipped and died on my hardwoods from pee pee, I was over it. At daycare with an audience and all the other little kids going potty, she was the pinnacle of potty training perfection. It was a Friday at the beginning of a 3-day weekend, and we just spent a disastrous first day of tears, temper tantrums, and outbursts. In my defense, some of them were hers too.

What was wrong? I bought the Frozen underwear. I had the sticker chart. I was consistent in my offering her to go. Was it my attitude? Was it my belief I had to keep her at home all day to avoid accidents? Would we scrap all our plans? Holidays are busy and always on the go, and I don’t have TIME for this.

But maybe the problem was me a little bit. I was making this work and not fun. I changed my game plan. I was all in. The next morning I had my new attitude, and right off the bat she went potty and did great! I tossed her up into the air to celebrate and laugh as a residual excitement tinkle landed. Right. In. My. Face. Minor set back.

But I forged on! And here’s how…

Potty Training On The Go | Houston Moms Blog

Attitude shift.

I was stressed with other things, and my attitude was off. She could sense that, and me forcing her to go every 20 minutes was not the way to do it. The “no this or that if you don’t go potty” was creating a very bad climate. I would respect her choices. When an accident happened, we stopped to clean it up and go over where pee-pee and potty go. No anger, no shame, no naughty listing — just facts and hugs.

I got over it.

The embarrassment of having the kid who wet herself or, goodness forbid, went potty in her pants, that is. I pre-warned friends and said she’s potty training, so there’s a chance. Some people were cool with it, and some weren’t. It wasn’t a problem at all. She also quickly learned that going potty in her outfit was a way to end play time quickly. Keeping a spare change of clothes and zip lock bags was CRITICAL. 

I found potty friendly places.

Keeping her confined at home was creating stress, and her pent up energy was driving me nuts. We found places that made sense for us.

  • Houston Aquarium :: We went here the morning after Mickey Gate. It has indoor and outdoor restrooms and is not overwhelmingly large. It’s easy to walk through the marine life {and random Siberian tiger} and hit up the potty, and then go on a few rides and hit up the potty. Not a single accident. Plus really yummy kids meals!
  • Houston Museum of Natural Science :: With great open spaces and different areas all with very accessible restrooms, she could often point out the potty herself here.
  • Houston Zoo :: The layout at the zoo is great! Walk a little; stop at a potty. Go see elephants; stop at the potty. Zoo Lights here we come!
  • Kid-Friendly Restaurants {Heights Area} :: Holidays are all about meet ups with friends, so I picked places where she could eat, go potty, play, and go potty. She enjoys being a big girl, so she likes to go like the adults. Our favorites are Lola, Berry Hill on 11th, Ruggles Green, and Colinas.
  • Our Front Yard :: I am SO LUCKY to have a street full of kids her age. At any given time someone is outside. We can go play, and we are close enough to the house that going potty is easy. Plus, there are plenty of kids around to motivate each other. It’s a solid parenting win for all parties.

Poop Happens.

It isn’t uncommon for kids to pin down going number 1 and struggling with number 2. This isn’t fun. It isn’t pleasant. My laundry machine was tired. But I just kept reinforcing her, and FINALLY we got to the first day before her nap that she told me she had to go number 2 and did. There is hope. Just be sure to invest in good detergent, carpet stain remover, and Lysol wipes. Maybe an extra back-up holiday dress too…

Potty at Work.

I work late nights typically 2 nights a week doing a research study for kids. For me that means going to daycare around 5:30 pm and bringing her to work with me from 5:30-7 pm. The hour I am with the study subject, a study colleague and close friend watches her. I have a portable potty in my office along with stickers and treats, so she doesn’t skip a beat.

Night Time.

I still put her in a nighttime diaper. She fought me the first few times but now knows it is part of the routine. Once she wakes up dry regularly, I will know it is time to try. But for now I will take my daytime potty victories.

Two weeks in, and she had a perfect weekend. Maybe it’s a fluke … maybe I’m setting myself up for disaster. But once I stopped letting myself get in the way and let her take some of the control, things DID get better. And we can still go enjoy all our holiday events!  No time will ever seem like a good time for potty training, so if your kiddo is ready I say go for it. Take a deep breath, close your mouth when doing those celebratory tosses in the air, and ENJOY a diaper-free holiday!

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Ana T. enjoys sharing her life observations with a healthy dose of humor as she navigates life with her pint size sassy sidekick M {November 2014}. She comes from a loving, loud Croatian family raised in Cleveland, Ohio. In 2008 she made the jump to Houston where she full time practices and teaches optometry. 2014 - 2015 was a blur of survival for her: difficulty conceiving, a rough pregnancy, a seemingly happy marriage shattered in a Lifetime Story–esque way. Being alone as full-time single parent/career woman with a newborn living miles away from her family definitely wasn't the plan. Despite all this, Ana T. and M are tearing up play spots, eating their way through town, traveling all over, and THRIVING. Ana T. is into trying out and laughing at fitness fads, ridiculous Facebook statusing, and at 34 still searching for ANY craft she could have a smidgeon of talent in {currently it’s knitting… stay tuned}.



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