Oh, potty training.
There is joy, pride and relief when a baby becomes a big kid. Though bittersweet, it is a milestone often sought after by parents weary of changing and buying diapers.
At the same time, many of these moms and dads face the process of getting there with dread.
I know I do.
My first attempt at potty training my oldest daughter was painstakingly frustrating. And, that is being nice. Maybe she wasn't ready or I wasn't, but it was three months past her third birthday before I officially called her diaper free. It was over a year after we started.
I know the days of pull-ups, accidents and public restroom inspections again loom near. My 20-month-old regularly tells me about the state of her diaper and asks, hopefully, "I go potty?"
So, as I face round two of the marathon that is teaching a child to go without a diaper, I know I need some motivation for both of us. Something to get us excited about the whole process, maybe more for me than for her.
What better way to create some excitement than with a little celebration? A lot a people have a potty party when children are out of diapers for good. I figure why not start with one.
My inspiration for this comes from the one source of information that proved useful during my first go at potty training. It is a book titled, Toilet Training in Less Than a Day.
It sounds crazy, but the steps it shares actually helped my oldest. She easily caught on up until the point where the book claims the child is supposed to actually use the potty at which point my daughter would stand up and do her business beside it.
Thus, my desire for some encouragement.
One of my favorite ideas from the book involves food and drink, of course. To encourage the need to potty, the authors suggest getting kids to drink consistently by providing their favorite beverages and salty snacks such as potato chips and pretzels. It sounds outdated and a little unhealthy, but, remember, it is only for a day.
This day will be party day for us.
I plan to blow up a few balloons and string paper streamers around the room to make it festive. I'll wrap up a brand-new package of little girl princess underwear. I'll make her a simple party hat, and I'll try to snap a quick photo or two. This part is for me.
The refreshment part of our party is all her. Water and milk -- maybe even chocolate -- in big girl glasses with fun straws. For her snacks, pretzel M & M's, plain potato chips and roasted broccoli with a little extra salt. I promise she loves it.
I'll let her enjoy this all-she-can-eat mini buffet for a while before the serious potty training starts.
I hope the party idea works. I hope it makes her need to go potty easily. I hope it makes starting the process more enjoyable.
Most of all, I hope it helps watching my baby grow into a little girl all the more special.