I hesitate posting this as an amazing trip trick because although I might have one of my children completely potty trained during the day, and one of my children completely pee-pee potty trained during the day, I still have one child that will only poop in diapers and one child that doesn't care what they poop in or on, so long as it isn't a toilet.
Even though I may not be the most knowledgeable person about potty training a child ... I believe it is important to share the wisdom that I have gained thus far in the toilet training arena. So without further delay, pull up a chair, potty or other, and let's discuss.
First, children will not potty train until they are ready, even if you do pump them full of fluids and leave them pantless. Try as you might, potty training is all about control. They have the control. You do not. You know that saying "You can lead a horse to water..."? Same concept applies here. The sooner you come to terms with this simple fact - the easier it will be for everyone involved and the cleaner your floors will be.
Second, rewards may or may not work. One of our three-year old children is completely "day" potty trained. As a result of her potty training prowess, she has received a pair of princess shoes and a two-wheeled princess bicycle. She also receives a standing ovation and much hoopla every time she goes. Even though our other two three-year old children would love nothing more than fancy new shoes and a two-wheeled bicycle and exhausting praise, and they know what they need to do to get such favors, they are not willing to bid their diapers adieu. This is their choice. They and they alone, are in control. Refer to #1, above.
Third, the effect of peer pressure on potty training is overrated. People have long told me that once one of our children is potty trained, the other two will follow closely behind. Maybe I'm confused on what the term "closely behind" means, because after three months, I would think any kind of peer pressure would have been exerted by now.
Fourth, just because our children see how we - or small visitors to our home that do not mind having observers in the restroom - use the toilet, does not mean that they will want to hop up and try going themselves. Regardless of how much I plead with them to just try and hit the Cheerio.
Fifth, I'm not entirely convinced on the benefit of Pull-Ups or Easy-Ups or anything that remotely resembles the cross between diaper and underwear. The only reason that we use them is because sometimes, I find that they are easier to deal with when we are on the go. We have one child that will hold their poop until they are in a diaper. We have another child that will come up - holding a clean diaper and wipes - and instruct me to change them before laying down on the floor and sticking their feet straight up in the air. Both of these children are fully capable of going to the potty and have done so at some point in the past. But both of these children, if pressed, will go in their underwear and not mind in the least. When your child is ready to go potty, they will be terribly dismayed if they have to go in anything other than a toilet. At least if they are a girl. By the name of Elizabeth.
Sixth, a good potty training chair is a necessity and more than one potty chair is necessary if you have multiples. Fortunately, I only purchased one type before realizing that it was the wrong type and the best type is the kind that has little to no parts. I now have a fleet of Baby Bjorn potty chairs. I also have a smaller low-profile Baby Bjorn potty chair that I take with me in the car and on walks. The reason I love these potty chairs is because they consist of a small pot that is easily removed and (this is the most important part) easily cleaned. Now, if someone writes to tell me that the Fisher Price variety with the faux roll of toilet paper, lid, music box and flushing sounds actually worked for potty training their head strong child - I will eat my words, before rushing out to the store to purchase one. Until then, I'll also mention that from the research I've done, it appears that Once Upon A Potty also makes a chair that meets my stringent criteria for minimal parts.
Seventh, once you are feeling courageous enough to venture out of the house with your potty trainee ... make sure that you have a clean change of clothes with you. Also, try not to forget that you have a potty trainee in tow. I have been known to forget and am reminded only when a child with dripping wet pants comes up calling me Mommy. I try to encourage our children to use the potty before we leave the house - once we arrive at our destination - while we are at our destination - and before we leave for the car ride home. I also have with me a small foldable potty seat that I keep in my diaper bag that works great for public restrooms. After 36 years on this planet, I am convinced that there are few things in this world more horrifying than watching your youngster collapse bum first in to a public toilet.
Eighth, there are a lot of good books on the subject of potty training. I'm fairly certain we own them all. The favorites in our library include:
A Potty For Me!
Once Upon A Potty Note: we have both the Prudence & Joshua versions AND the movie.
It's Potty Time
Where's the Poop?
Ninth, relax. Even though I have a platoon in diapers and spend a small fortune every month, I know it won't be like this forever. Although, recently one of my children has told me that they love their diapers and plan on wearing them "Ahways." Of course this is the same child that was the very first to use our new potty chairs - but hasn't gone since - and nowadays, won't go poop without a fight. I've let go of the belief that potty training for all of my 3-year olds is going to happen in one day. Or over a weekend. This is a process and if anyone tries to tell you differently, just nod your head and smile. Remember that many children aren't completely potty trained until they are 3.5 or 4.
Tenth, as much as possible - keep it fun and try not to get frustrated. A few months ago, a woman named Allison sent me a song by the band Over the Rhine. (Hi Allison, if you're reading. I hope your pregnancy is going well!!) In my attempt to make using the potty an event that our children should excitedly embrace, and also to remind them where their poop should go, I set OTR's song to a few of our pictures that I show to our children frequently. Make sure your volume is up.
Now, I'm off to buy more diapers. Because even though our children know where the poop is supposed to go, not everyone is entirely convinced they want it there.