Friday, April 9, 2010

Potty Training Hell

Most people get up in the morning and go to work.  I however do not.  I get up every morning and venture into potty training hell.  As you know, I work in a large toddler program - 20 kids between 18 and 30 months with 4 teachers, which means we each have a group of 5 to deal with take care of.

My 5 kids range in age from 23 to 30 months and they are currently ALL wearing underwear!  This doesn't happen often, usually a group has a mix of trainers and diaper wearers.  But no, I have a group that ALL want to be training at the same time!  And although I LOVE toddlers, they are my favorite age group, I hate, despise, loathe, potty training.  Especially when it comes to training 3 boys all at once!  (The two girls in my group are 98% toilet trained and have been for a couple of months.)

My day consists of taking my three boys to the potty every 15-20 minutes all day long.  Where I encourage them to pull down their pants, then I beg them to pull down their pants and then sometimes, I just give in and do it for them so that they don't pee their pants standing beside the potty because they are being too stubborn to do it themselves.  (By the way, if you aren't already aware, toddlers are the most stubborn creatures on the face of the planet . . . but that is a topic for another post on another day when I am not obsessing about my potty training hell!)  

For the most part, they are all very eager to sit on the potty or toilet but with boys, especially "little" boys, how they sit on said potty is very important.  Once they are sitting, I can't take my eyes off them for even a second because as we are all aware, boys come with a built in dangly toy that, although it is usually hidden, it suddenly becomes exposed during potty time.  Now, I understand that this "special playtime" is natural for males of all ages and developmental stages, it is not something to be encouraged in public.  But mostly, I MUST discourage this because if we get lucky and one of these little boys actually has to pee while sitting on the potty, I need that little dangler to be pointed into the potty!  Otherwise I will be cleaning pee off the floor or the wall or me or another child, not to mention off the child who peed.  Even if they aren't playing with it, those little things have a mind of their own sometimes -  you really never know where the pee might end up!

So, we sit on the potty, well, they sit, I stand, hopefully out of the spray's way, until they proclaim "I done!", then stand up, turn around, proudly point at the EMPTY potty and exclaim "I PEE!  I PEE!"  I sigh and explain, "not this time, maybe next time."  If by chance one of them actually does pee, I jump up and down like a lunatic clapping and cheering for them, but that doesn't happen very often.  Then it is back to encouraging, begging and finally pulling up their pants for them, helping them wash their hands and sending them off to play while I disinfect the potties for the next round.

If I am lucky, we have 15 minutes of play time before we start it all over again.  If I'm not lucky (which is more often the case) I find a puddle, a little boy (or girl) playing in wet pants or one of them comes waddling to me "I peed."  Then it's back to the bathroom to peel off the pee soaked clothes (again, if I am lucky it is just pee, but we won't even get into that part of potty training hell!) put the clothes in a bag to go home (lucky mom and dad) and get them dressed again.  (All of this has the same three steps as going to the potty - encourage, beg and do it myself.)

What makes this all even more difficult is the fact that every time I am in the bathroom with one of my potty trainers, the rest of my groups is playing unattended - now, I can see them from the bathroom but I'm not close enough to break up fights or catch the toy that is being thrown at someone's head.  Yeah, there is never a dull moment with toddlers!

Sooner or later, these three boys will be reliably potty trained, but until then, there won't be much else happening with my group!  Art?  Stories?  Play?  Sorry kids, I don't have time for that because it is time to go to the potty!!  Yes, again!

So, if any of you have toddlers who are being toilet trained at daycare, please take a moment this week to say thanks to your child's care givers because I can tell you, with 12 years experience, that training a group of toddlers is not an easy job!  And if you are potty training your own child at home, thank your lucky stars that you just have one!!


  1. Wow! Sounds like you are having a busy time. Todds are my favorite age group, too.
    Thank you, Nicki for all your dedication!

  2. At least Liam won't have any tricks that you haven't already seen!