A few days ago my sister Judy left this comment on my post about making my nifty jewelry holder: "What's this...cooking, potty training and crafts...what are you are trying to be...Martha Stewart?"
I laughed when I read it. Somehow the words "Martha Stewart" and "potty training" just don't seem to go together. I just can't imagine her sitting next to the toilet saying "Winky down," for weeks on end.
Still, it got me thinking about what potty training would look like if Martha Stewart were doing it, instead of me. With apologies to Martha, here's my take on it.
Martha's Way: Make your children's bathroom a place they want to spend time in. Choose a theme and have fun! Stencil an inspirational saying or two on the walls. Make a fun cover for your soap dispenser to fit your theme and encourage your kids to wash their hands.
My Way: Gradually strip your potty training bathroom of everything your kids play with that they shouldn't: toilet paper, toilet brush, wastebasket, and all accessories. Flip the towel ring up so they can't hang on it and rip it out of the wall. Try to remember to wash someone's hands after each potty round. Yours, your kid's, your dog's. Whoever.
Martha's Way: Provide special toys for your children to play with while they are on the toilet. Hand embellished felt puppets can be both entertaining and educational.
My Way: After the first few toys wind up in the potty (because with triplets, sometimes your attention MUST be elsewhere for a second or two), choose toys that are easy to clean and that float. Stay away from sinkers that will require a call to the plumber.
Martha's Way: Bond with your child by making a few delightful picture books to share while toilet training. Select photographs of your child's favorite things and use these beautiful embossed papers to create pages that engage your child.
My Way: Go through your older child's books and garage sale cheapies. Choose those that are already in poor shape or that look the most durable. Bonus points if they float or are waterproof. Because one way or another, those things are going to get wet.
Martha's Way: Bake up some special treats as a reward for successful attempts on the toilet. I like to make these delicious candies that are chock full of nutritious ingredients like organic beet juice and pureed carrots. Your children will love them, and you'll love knowing they are eating healthy.
My Way: M&Ms, baby! Or neenies, as Alex calls them. No healthful benefits, just straight up sugar. I have a big Mason jar full of them in the cupboard, right next to the hard liquor. Turns out that's just a happy coincidence. Though it is a bit disturbing to see my kids staring hopefully at the cabinet with all the liquor.
Martha's Way: You can accelerate your child's progress by putting him or her in these darling training pants that you can make yourself in a matter of a couple of hours.
My Way: I have to stop you right there, Martha. First, no one potty training multiples has a couple of minutes, let alone a couple of hours. Second, this is the very reason online shopping exists. And Etsy.
Looks like Martha's got nothing to fear from me, at least in the potty training domain. Though I suspect she'd be happy to leave that area of expertise to me.