Potty Training, aka, cheering for poop
Unlike some of the other children milestones we have gone through (sleep training, breast feeding, teething) I have received a LOT of advice from doctors, day care provider, and fellow parents about potty training. Maybe it's taken me more by surprise because potty training was one of those things where I felt like "oh, are we supposed to be doing that?"
Because I have NO idea what I'm doing with this whole thing, and because we're currently in the process of potty training, I really don't feel like I can offer any concrete advice about what to do. There are lots of different methods to try, from the "pants free weekend" (which just sounds like a fun time), to the "put your kid on the potty every hour" approach, which I'm sure each of you can look up and find from more reputable sources. What I can provide is a list of the best gear we've found (oh yes, like anything with children, there will be gear), and the reminder that they probably will be potty trained by the time they go to college. So don't sweat it that much.
So here's the gear I've liked so far:
Step Stools: The idea with potty training in general is independence, so if your child can't get to the toilet themselves, it kind of defeats the purpose of going diaper-free. We have two bathrooms, one which is Chewie's (aka, covered in bath toys), and one which other adults use.
For Chewie's bathroom, we used this step stool, which I LOVE. It's stable, it allows him to have his feet firmly on the ground, and he seems to enjoy using it more too. The draw back is it's gianatic, so it may not work for a bathroom where you'll have adults regularly using it (but, I will say with all the rage about squatty pottys, maybe it is good for adults too).
For our "adult" bathroom, we got him a stool which he could drag back and forth between the toilet and the sink. This one has great slip proof rubber on it, and is the tallest on the market (since Chewie's dad and I are kind of giants, our toilet and sink are pretty high, which is frankly just cruel to Chewie). It's got a small footprint and doesn't look horrific, which was my qualifications for guests seeing it. Plus it has handles he can grab and use to drag it into the kitchen, which he's started doing often...heaven help us.
Turns out if you don't use a smaller toilet seat, your child may fall through and/or hate sitting on the seat generally. I initially really loved the idea of a potty seat that was built into the regular seat like this one. But then, after reading some reviews, I realized what was crucial was the splash guard. We decided to teach Chewie to pee sitting down at first (less chance of misshaps and easier for public bathrooms too), but the potential for rainbows of pee to go all over your floor are high. So this one has a tiny splash guard which keeps that under control. Plus, it's affordable, looks streamlined, and is generally solidly designed. A winner in my book.
Our daycare suggested just getting Chewie used to the idea of using the potty by reading him some books about it. Since Chewie is into Elmo ("into" being the understatement of the year), we got him the Elmo Potty Book. Every time he uses the bathroom he still talks about how he's "just like elmo". And I genuinely think it did a lot to get him used to the idea of using the toilet.
I'm currently in the middle of a pants-free weekend, so I'll let you know how this all goes when we're on the other end of it...which I hope is soon. Less because of the whole potty-training thing, and more because I don't do well with being tied to our house.