I’ve potty trained four now. Mostly successfully. If we had neighbors close enough to see, they’d likely tell you of the occasional toddler bed sheets gracing my clothesline. Accidents happen. Around here, fairly often.
I cloth diaper. I’m convinced this is a huge benefit to me when it comes time to train them for better things. Like underwear. When I inform them they will be wearing, um, nothing on their bottom, that nothing will contain anything any longer, the whole concept of what it feels like to go isn’t new to them. The running down their leg – that’s a new one. But things move quickly and within a few weeks, my 18 months to two year old is potty trained.
For my first two, I had a pretty set way of doing things – and they worked. I still do them that way – but my four trained children are proving themselves, amazingly enough, different from each other. Imagine that. My once-you-are-trained-diapers-are-gone-24/7 mentality worked well the first two times around. I didn’t wash so many sheets. These last two kids are giving me a run for my money. For almost two years now, my laundry line has been graced with at least one, often two toddler bed sheets. Every day. It’s getting a little old. I’d given in and put them both in paper diapers for a bit, just to get a break. But they were telling me they were dry in the morning – and their droopy diapers were saying something else entirely. So I put them in cloth diapers at night. That made them both beg to sleep without a diaper again. Something about feeling the wet against their behinds was not so pleasant. Imagine that. So back we headed to try it again. And for many months, I washed sheets. Every day.
#2 on Sterling and Ruby’s morning routines:
Put your pj’s away and make your bed. Unless you are wet. If wet, put them in the laundry room. Strip your bed and put anything wet or stinky in the laundry room.
Someday we’ll change #2 on their lists and it won’t say anything about wet laundry. They’ll have moved past this stage and everyone tells me it will be sad. I’m not sure I’ll miss the smell that regularly hits me upon entering the laundry room though. It’s just not that pleasant.
In the last month or so, only one of my dear younger children have been contributing to the line’s load. Most of the time. And that’s getting less and less. Whether my persistence has paid off or they are just finally getting past this, the concept of getting up to go is finally sticking. And now I know. One size fits all parenting doesn’t work. At all. I’d realized this about discipline. About schooling. About my expectations for them. But potty training joins the list. And one day, when I’m old and the tables are turned, I’ll remind them of all the sheets I washed for them.
And they’ll make me strip my own bed, sort out what’s wet and stinky and haul the wet laundry to the laundry room. Because that’s what I did for them.