Back in June a friend of mine posted this blog post and I was empowered to try it out with Abby. Abby was set to turn 2 in August and was intrigued by the possibility of getting out of the diaper buying business and really believed that Abby was smart enough to get the concept.
I asked my sitter when they typically started potty training (she does spend a HUGE part of her days with them) and they discouraged me trying before she turned three. I think it was partly based on past experience but also motivated by the fact that diapers really are easier than potty training....it takes time, effort and most of all patience. Part of me gets it, they have 8+ kids on hand at any time, it would be hard to give one child as much attention as potty training needs, but I wasn't interested in spending another year and a half in diapers "just because".
The hardest part? Finding the suggested 5 straight days to concentrate on potty training and nothing else. I work full time. I get two days, three max (if it's a holiday) unless I take vacation time. I knew I had a good chunk of time off planned around the holidays so way back in June I set my mind to the fact that we would potty train on Christmas vacation.
Fast forward to now:
This has been my view for the past few weeks. I posted on Facebook that we were starting potty training and I got so many sweet comments of encouragement and people wondering how it was going. Sorry it took me a few weeks to post, but here's a run down on how it went for us.
The first day was ROUGH!! I looked back in my journal (read Britt's post....she did an amazing job with writing it and I basically followed it to a tee) and we logged a whopping 4.5 hours in the bathroom that first day. I pumped that kid full of liquids and we sat there until she went. It was 100% a "right place, right time" sort of thing, but I wanted to have some successes before we tried adding any distractions to the mix (like TV, toys etc). She had 3 accidents that first day, but we she did go a few times, so we called day 1 an overall success.
Yep, lots of bare butts around our house these days!! She'll kill me for that pic when she sees it in high school...
Day 2 started out worse than day 1. We put on our training pants (unlike Britt I decided to go with training pants instead of full undies. They look like these but I got them in a three pack for like $6 at Walmart (I bought two packs). Abby didn't make it to the potty a SINGLE time before naptime on day two. I was totally discouraged and needed a naptime recharge myself. So diaper, bed, and we'd try again in the afternoon. Little did I know, during that nap, something clicked for her. She woke up and all of a sudden understood that she needed to ask to go potty before she had an accident. We'd be playing downstairs and she jump up saying "Mommy, I gotta go potty". Not one more accident that day; she just "got it". I'm not sure what clicked for her, or how, but I do know enough to be thankful. I don't think it's always quite that easy.
We spent the rest of vacation working on it. She never had more than 1 accident any day and now that we're back at daycare I can officially call Operation: Potty Training a success. This past week Abby had only 1 accident at daycare the WHOLE week which is even more impressive when I explain that we started at a whole new daycare this week on top of it. So, not only was she learning how to use the potty, she was also learning a whole new daycare and new kids. I'm beyond proud of this little girl and am so thankful it went as smoothly as it did!!
A few notes on how we did it:
1. I used training pants (link above) instead of full on undies. We are still using them because they absorb a bit more if she does have an accident. I don't totally love the idea of Pull Ups. I think they are too close to diapers and make kids too comfortable to really "get" the "peeing in my pants sucks" feeling.
2. I really wanted to train Abby on the regular toilet like Britt did. I think she has some great points for why she chooses that way. However, Abby was too afraid when I put her on it. She spent all of her time worrying about falling in or being uncomfortable and never could just relax enough to go.
3. Abby isn't fully potty trained yet. She still gets a diaper when she naps and at bedtime. She's still in a crib and can't get out without help. We'll get there...soon enough.
4. The dreaded #2 - I hear lots of parents have a hard time with getting their kids to go #2 on the potty. Again, I'm not sure how we got it so easy, but after only 1 week of potty training Abby went #2 all by herself. Since then, she hasn't gone #2 anywhere else.
5. Errands and general life - outside of daycare and our house, we're still in diapers. Abby's temporary (hopefully) fear of regular potties means that if we'll be out of the house for any extended period of time she's in a diaper. I worried she'd get confused going between the two but she does really well with it. I just remind her that she's in "unders" (her word) when she's got them on and she remembers she needs to ask to go. Just like weaning off diapers when she's sleeping I know we'll get there soon enough. I'm completely happy with the progress we've made and know the rest will come in time.
6. Journal - I kept one just like Britt suggested. She was right...it's SUPER helpful to see trends and document your successes. I was lucky that the true "training" part of this process didn't last long, but the journal did help keep me going. I wrote down times, successes, accidents, times she asked but didn't go...everything. Seriously, a great idea!
7. Books, Ipads, Candy and other such distractions - The first day we started potty training I dug out some of our larger story books and read to Abby while we sat there waiting to go. I enjoyed reading to her and she enjoyed listening. For awhile. After about hour of that I gave into the Ipad. We've got games and a few TV shows loaded on there and potty training instantly became easier. She'd sit for a good 30 minutes just watching (and waiting to pee). She's smart though, and learned that if she wanted to watch Mickey all she needed to do was say she needed to go potty. We weaned off the Ipad after the first week and are down to only giving treats about 1/2 of the time. Sometimes she asks before she's even gone, other times she's too excited to get back to playing to worry about her M&M.
8. Support - Britt was the sweetest friend in those first few days when she knew we were just starting. She checked in with me every day to see how it was going and offered kind words when I was feeling low. If you're a mom and ready to start potty training, reach out to me! I'd love to pay it forward as Britt did for me. We're all in this together...