As I psych myself up to begin potty training child #3, I thought it would be interesting to compile a list of actual potty training strategies that I have either used or personally known of someone using. These are all true stories. Seriously.
Tactic 1: Hold a Fleet Baby Laxative up in your hand when your child is 18 months old (yes, you read that right, EIGHTEEN MONTHS OLD) and say dramatically, "Either you do this yourself or I do this for you."
Tactic 2: Brainwash your daughter. Never actually tell her to use the potty, instead check out dozens of children's books about using the toilet from the library. Only watch movies about going to the bathroom. Make it the topic of all discussions in your home with everyone but your daughter.
Tactic 3: Park your son in front of the tv on a little portable Elmo toilet that speaks Spanish when a "deposit" is made. Make him watch "Elmo's Potty Time" on repeat and drink liquids until he goes. Ignore the red circle deeply imprinted onto his little bum at the end of this 2+ hour ordeal. Tell yourself you're not an awful person for making your son do this, when deep down you know it was borderline child abuse.
Tactic 4: Wait till your stubborn 3 1/2 year old is 1 month away from starting preschool and have a straight forward rational talk with him that it's time for him to start using the toilet... and for you to stop changing his man poop diapers.
Tactic 5: Show your daughter how her favorite doll can "go potty" on the toilet. "Wipe" the doll's bum. "Wash" the doll's hands. "Give" the doll a gummy bear. Ignore your daughter when she tries to imitate your behavior by dunking every stuffed animal and doll she owns repeatedly in the toilet.
Tactic 6: Buy a "Poo Poo Train." Stick it on top of the refrigerator for your son to look at every day. Each day he is dry, give him part of the train. Make sure the train says "Poo poo!" instead of "Choo! Choo!" This is key.
Tactic 7: Let your son pick out his favorite character underwear. If he has an accident in it, launch into an over dramatic scene about how he pooped on Lightening McQueen ("How dare you poop on Lightening McQueen!!!") and then throw it away in the garbage. FOR REAL.
Tactic 8: Potty train your dog and the 2 year old will naturally follow the dog's lead. That's all you need to do. It's that easy.
Tactic 9: Never put your child in diapers to begin with. You can call it something sophisticated like, "Elimination Communication," while everyone else calls it "crazy." Hold your child over houseplants and street gutters when you sense that it's their time to go. Be one with nature and your child's bowel movements.
Tactic 10: Let your child run around naked all summer so that they will get a sense of what is really happening when they feel warm urine flow gently down their little legs and nature poop onto the grass. (Hey, it's fertilizer!)
Now that I've written it out, I still don't know what to do. Ugh, I hate this. I think I will have to go with Tactic 11: Wing it, because no amount of subliminal messages or baby laxatives can make your child do what ultimately she can only do for herself. Wish us luck. Have I mentioned how much I hate this?