Thursday, October 16, 2014

Three Rules for Leaving the House with a Newly-Potty-Trained Toddler

This past weekend my darling potty-trained Penelope had the epic accident of all accidents.  Ironically it was near the diaper aisle at Baby Town.  We had been there just short of half-an-hour and she had been quietly sitting in the stroller watching Anna and Olaf YouTube videos on my phone while I talked to the stroller-accessory associate.

All of a sudden Penny was whining and complaining (about nothing), then soon crying uncontrollably and wanting me to carry her.  So annoying.  I didn't want the whining to wake up baby sister, so I obliged and carried her on my hip as I went to peruse the diaper bags.

The sobbing turned to a whisper: "I haffa go pee pee."

Alright! Let's do it! Let's go potty!

But what should have been a beeline to the bathroom was more like headless chicken run because I didn't know where the bathroom was.

Then, it was too late.

A flood.  On her.  On me.  Like, all over me.  My dress, my shoes. All over the floor.  All over the bottom of my dress because the hem dipped in it when I bent down to try to clean some of it up.

Let me tell you, being saturated in urine, in public, is one of the most humbling experiences I've ever lived to tell. 

On to my advice....

Three Rules for Leaving the House with a Newly-Potty-Trained Toddler:

1.  Empty that little bladder pro-actively:   If it has been more than one hour since the last time your kiddo went potty, without exception, taking her potty to at least "try" should be the last thing you do before you leave the house, and the first thing you do when you arrive at your public destination. Without exception. Every single accident Penny has had outside of our house (I think there have been four, in seven weeks) could have been avoided if I had not failed to follow my own rule.  
2. Bring an "accident pack":  Quart-size ziploc bags can fit toddler-sized panties, t-shirt, shorts, and socks; and add a plastic grocery bag (for the stuff that gets pee on it, which might or might not fit in the ziploc).  This can fit nicely in your diaper bag or purse.   Keep it on you in the public place.  Not in the trunk of the car, not in the stroller that you keep in the trunk of the car, not in the toddler's backpack that you decided to leave in the car.  On you.  The time that you don't have it on your person will be the time that your kid has the biggest accident in the worst place with the the car parked the farthest away.   Speaking of cars, keeping a beach towel somewhere in the car is not a terrible idea.   
3. Have a game plan for how you will react when accidents happen. Because they will, happen.  Not just how to clean up efficiently, etc., but the emotional stuff.  Mentally prepare yourself:  What words will you use? Are you going to introduce consequences?  If so, what will be the punishment?  Will you talk about it later or let it be a thing of the past?  Part of potty training is being a toddler brain ninja.  The psychology of it all is huge. How you react when things happen, positive and negative, will affect what they do next time.  The last thing you want to do is completely flip out on your little munchkin the first time they have an Ooopsie in public.  Or maybe that's the first thing you want to do.  Decide ahead of time where your strategy lands on the spectrum between making your kid not want to ever ever have an accident again (with possible fear and shame) and making your kid still feel loved and accepted and that it's ok to have accidents sometimes (with possible nonchalance).
Back to my story...

It was all my fault.

I didn't take her potty as soon as we arrived at the store.  The "accident pack" wasn't in the stroller that I was pushing both girls around in (it was in the car).   It was a nightmare.

Thank God I was at a store that sold pull-ups.  And thank God my Josephine slept through the whole thing.  I don't think I could have handled it if I had also had a crying infant during this escapade.

This was the first day I left the house on my own with both girls since Josie was born, P.S.   You should have seen the look at the salesperson's face as she watched me stand there uttering this is happening... this is happening... as my daughter peed down my whole body.

Your time will come, my friends. Don't say I didn't warn you.  Be prepared.

(you can read my first post about Potty Training here)

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