Sharing our latest potty training adventure for some lighthearted entertainment: Imagine. You’ve got the van all loaded up with enough stuff to take care of a toddler for a few weeks. Christmas gifts wrapped and packed. Holiday classics blaring on the radio, ready to sing Jingle Bells to a 2-year old heart’s content on a 6 hour drive from one side of a huge state to another. Well, 6 hours *without* a toddler – if you’re a parent you can probably do the math on that. Just stopped for a potty break & snack. A couple hours into the drive – no turning back now, but a LONG, LONG way still to go. Suddenly, the cry from the back seat. “Mama, my poopoo’s coming out!!” Yep, 5 words you really don’t want to hear from the backseat of your car!
I have to admit, my first impulse was that we had a “car seat potty pit” on our hands. This girl, along with MANY savvy toddlers, quickly learned that we would stop everything to get her to the potty. So, if there’s someplace you don’t want to be – bed, a car seat, you name it – might as well claim you need to potty! Something about this seemed different though. Maybe it was the way she was holding her feet up, like she was aiming her poop-cannon. Maybe it was the earnest look in her eyes, as if they were saying “help me!” Maybe it was my mommy intuition kicking in – SUCH an important parenting “skill” to tune into. Either way, we are lucky we did not brush this plea off. Turns out that her body “chose” a huge road trip for her first bout of diarrhea, ever. 6 poop stops on what should be a 6 hour car ride.
When I told this story to my friends later, the response was invariably: “Oh no! How BIG of a mess was it? And what did you do with a poopy car seat on such a long ride?” Even I was amazed that no accidents happened. Every single time she told us when she needed to go, every single time she held on for the next freeway exit, and we all worked together to help her through this. We arrived at our destination no messier than we left.
This is the power of Oh Crap! Potty Training. Our girl has been what we consider “trained” for 9 months now, so she’s had a LOT of practice. If your child is at a different stage of potty training, a different reaction – like temporary diapers – might be in order. But, when you can, it is great to leave the door open to be pleasantly surprised by your child’s skills. I know I was!
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