(Steps have not been tested on a female specimen.)
1) Buy some form of a potty chair (or Töpfchen in German). We went with a Bobby Car model since Fynn was obsessed with Autos.
2) Let your child run around naked in the house in order to get used to the portable pee-pee pot. (I later learned, if you are training in Germany, you can skip steps two & three and move to step four since naked children are not confined to only being indoors.)
3) If you are in America, try to be patient while wiping pee off the floor every 20 minutes or so. Constantly look for wet spots so that both you and your toddler aren’t tracking slippery footprints all through the house; be on the prowl for any stray Lincoln Logs, those things will creep up on you and create a stinky, unexpected mess.
4) In Germany, set the Töpfchen outside and let your child run around naked in the garden.
5) Bring your child to the neighbor’s garden so he can frolic naked in a colony of nudist toddlers.
6) Wait a few days, weeks, or however long it takes for the sun to return to Germany, then repeat steps four & five since obviously your toddler is not yet ready to be potty trained, but had a wonderful time running naked in everyone’s garden.
7) Once your child demands on no longer wearing a diaper, you can continue to step eight.
8) Repeat steps four through six until your child will be so comfortable naked that he begins to strip in the center of the neighborhood retaliating if you ask him to put his bottoms on again.
9) Teach your child how to pee on bushes and hedges; praise him once he gets the hang of it and starts marking your neighbor’s lawns.
10) Send child to kindergarten in “big boy” underwear and tell the teachers he is ready to be potty trained and now refuses to wear a diaper. Include numerous pairs of trousers and “big boy” underwear. (Tip: Be sure to feed child apples, chocolate, and other natural stool softeners prior to leaving for daycare/kindergarten to improve your chances of not having to change poopy pants at home.)
11) Profusely apologize to teachers at each pickup and drop off for having to keep changing poopy pants.
12) Cross your fingers and wait it out while repeating steps 9 thru 11 until child is no longer sent home with poopy pants (in a clear plastic bag) for you to repeatedly wash.
*Inevitably there will continue to be accidents. You can only hope they don’t happen at a high-end shoe store when pee-pee runs down his legs and into not-yet-paid-for-shoes** he just happens to be trying on then takes an unexpected dump into the one and only diaper you just happened to pack and has to not only sit in a dirty diaper on the drive home, but you get to also smell the stench seeping from his pants the entire way… (And deep breath in and out, but only through your mouth so you don’t have to smell the monster-size poop from the back seat).
**He didn’t really pee in not-yet-paid-for-shoes, but the fear of it happening was there and it was a close call.
Potty Training in Germany (Our story a bit more in-depth)
Prior to Fynn swearing off the diaper, the Tagesmutter (daycare) had recommended letting him run around naked in the garden to train his pee-pee muscles. This way, if accidents are made, it isn’t a problem; the plants and grass just get a little extra wet.
This then lead to frolicking naked in a neighbor’s garden where Fynn butt-stamped the slide, wiener-rolled the trampoline, and tried to write his name in the grass with pee (basically pee came shooting out unexpectedly while he was laughing about making fake burping noises).
He wasn’t the only toddler unleashing his furry in the great wide open; he had a counterpart. And together they formed a small nudist colony for toddlers; the pee-pee league.
In fact, the neighbor made a joke about the two being as free as men on a beach in Eastern Germany.
Ah, yes, freeing their Willie Winkies; how liberating.
Fynn became so comfortable in his nudity, that when he wet through his pants in our neighborhood’s center square, he then stripped down to only his t-shirt and socks. The next hour or so was spent running half-naked in the middle of the neighborhood until finally peeing on a nearby bush and then a hedge. (If any neighbors are reading right now, sorry. However, I won’t ruin the suspense by telling you whose plants he personally watered. Bitte and Bitte.)
The fact that I am letting my toddler run around the entire neighborhood pants-less is completely taboo for the US. Well… most parts of the US, anyway.
Reasons toddler nudity is acceptable in Germany and not in the US:
1.) Americans tie nudity to sex and are scared of perverts eyeballing their children.
2.) Germans are down with FKK (Free Body Culture) – Ok, maybe not everyone is down with FKK, but Nudity = Natural.
As of today… we are still working on potty training. If Fynn is naked from the bottom down, we have no problems. As soon as we add underpants and trousers, things get a bit more challenging. All we can do is continue working on it, I guess. Accidents happen.