*Copyright Notice - Pinning of the party decorations is welcome, but please DO NOT pin pictures of my children.*
Potty training. Ugh. For those of you who have small children, I know you feel my pain. For those of you who don’t… well, if you plan on having babies then your time is coming and all I have to say is good luck. I had always heard that boys are the worst to potty train, and that is probably the most accurate statement that I’ve ever heard about parenting to date.
We started with Jacob just a few months after he turned two. He awoke one morning with a dry diaper, so I plopped him on the potty and to my surprise, he went right away! I was shocked, proud, and very pleased. I remember thinking, “Wow, maybe he’s a genius baby and this won’t be so bad after all.”
Oh how wrong I was.
Fast forward to seven months later and he still wasn’t peeing on the toilet consistently nor had he even attempted to poop on the toilet. And he was about to turn three. A couple of months later around his third birthday, we finally felt comfortable putting him in underwear around the clock as he was no longer having pee accidents, but there was a still a major problem. He refused to poop on the toilet. And there was nothing that we could do to make him do it.
Over the next year (that’s right, I said year) we tried every single thing you can imagine – praise, stickers, candy, a trip to the toy store, gifts from his grandparents, a daily chart with stars, blowing a whistle (which is actually what helped him finally pee in the toilet consistently), YouTube videos about pooping, the Everybody Poops book, a personalized book about potty training with his picture in it, a video from Santa Clause telling him to poop on the toilet, reasoning with him, positive words from his grandparents, teachers, and friends. We even tried washing our hands of the entire situation and ignoring the behavior completely. Everything. We. Tried. Everything. We even got so desperate toward the end that we tried negative reinforcement, and word to the wise, don’t ever go that route no matter how frustrating it gets. Trust me on this one.
Throughout this trying year, he did manage to finally poop on the toilet, but he did it exactly five times. Five times. In a whole year. It was horrible. When he started pre-k last fall, I was a complete wreck because I thought they wouldn’t let him stay once they discovered his lack of potty skills, but fortunately the school was kind enough to work with us. Bless his teacher’s hearts…
Many teachers had told us that they often see kids blossom after the halfway point in the school year, but when January of this year rolled around he still hadn’t improved. If anything, things had gotten worse. I continued to seek advice from family, friends, teachers, counselors – everywhere. I was all ears for any piece of advice. Anything.
Then one blessed day I received a text from one of my aunts whom I don’t see very often as she lives out of town. Apparently my mom had mentioned the situation to her in conversation and she had an idea that we hadn’t tried. She said that one of my cousins had a tough time learning to poop on the toilet when she was young and the thing that had finally gotten her to do it was to tell her that when a poop is flushed down the potty it goes to a party, so if you don’t go on the potty, it misses the party and that makes it sad.
Sounds completely insane, right?
Well, we tried it, and at first Jacob seemed to look guilty every time we told him that his poop had missed the party, but ultimately it didn’t work. So one night, as I was pleading with him in pure desperation, a light bulb went off in my head and I blurted out, “If you start pooping on the potty all the time, we will throw you a huge party – decorations, cake, presents, the works!”
He was absolutely thrilled with the idea, so I told Brian what I had done and we sat down to set the ground rules: If Jacob could go 30 days with zero accidents we would have the party, but every time he had an accident the clock would start over. We made a chart to count down his progress so he could see it. The first couple of weeks were a little rocky and he continued to have accidents, so we decided to put on the pressure by telling him that we were going to start potty training Olivia soon (not completely true, but whatever works!), and whoever went 30 days with zero accidents first would get the party. Well, that seemed to do it. He wasn’t about to let his little sister steal his party.
He started pooping on the toilet all the time after that and he ended up going 30 days with no accidents. We praised him and scheduled the party and continued to talk about how proud we were of him, but the week leading up to his poo poo party, we experienced a setback. He pooped in his pants twice. Twice. Brian and I were beyond upset, and at that point we didn’t know how to proceed. Have the party as originally promised or cancel it and make him wait a little longer? We consulted with the grandparents to get their opinions, and ultimately decided that even though he had completed the initial 30 day period, we were going to postpone the party and make him go another 30 days so that he would know just how serious his mistake had been.
After that he was a champ and he hasn’t had an accident since. #KnockOnWood
The weekend before last we finally got to hold that party and it was the culmination of one of the most mentally exhausting periods in my life. It was, by far, the strangest party I’ve ever thrown, but it was also one of the very best because it meant the end of a very, very rough era.
How does one decorate for a poo poo party, you ask?
Poop emojis and toilet paper. #Duh
Easy, cheap, and hilarious.
I made the banner and the signs myself, everyone brought gifts (mostly of the things that he loves right now plus some funny poop gifts), and we dined on chicken salad sandwiches, Chick-Fil-A nuggets, fruit, chips, lemonade, and the cutest – and probably only – poop emoji cupcakes that you ever did see.
It was just like a birthday party except for some of the gifts were wrapped in toilet paper.
A good time was had by all, and I’m kicking myself for not thinking of the idea sooner. I pray that Olivia is easier when it comes to the ol’ pooping on the toilet situation, but just in case she isn’t, I’ve saved the poop emoji decorations, and I won’t hesitate to use them again.