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Sunday, June 30, 2013

Adventures in Potty Training

So we did it.  We picked a day (this past Monday) and decided to potty train Kaylee.  I had already been through potty training with Ri and knew it wasn't for the faint of heart.  When training her, Kaylee was just a newborn and Septtro was gone a lot for football.  So that likely made it more difficult.  This time, I wanted to potty train Kaylee while Septtro was home during the summer - before baby came.  

Ri learning to use the potty - just a week after turning two years old
I must say, I was quite nervous.  Kaylee seemed ready physically (was needing less diapers during the day than previously) and she was showing more interest in the potty (trying to sit on the potty; whereas before she would cry and whine if we mentioned anything about the potty).  But she's a bit strong-willed.  And even with Rilynn I felt it was a battle at one point.  I can totally understand why - this is a child's only leverage and control over their parents...using the bathroom when and where they please.  Plus who wants to stop playing to go sit on a potty?  That's no fun.

We began the day by Daddy taking her to pick out a potty seat.  She picked a princess one that plays music.  After she got home, we gave her big girl underwear - Cinderella; her favorite.  Then we went over to where we usually change her diaper and packed up the rest of the diapers and put them away, explaining we weren't doing any more diapers and she was going to use the potty now.  Daddy read a couple books about using the potty.  We watched videos (thank you YouTube) on using the potty.  

Ri enjoyed being able to watch so many "shows"
And we practiced sitting on the potty.  She doesn't like juice - her favorite drink is ice water (weird - but good - I know).  So we gave her some diluted sweet tea to get her pumped full of fluids as much as possible.  After all, you can't learn if you can't make mistakes, right?

**Disclaimer here: This is when I freaked out while training Ri.  I wasn't prepared for that much pee.  Everywhere.  I had to remember a habit done for a couple years wasn't going to automatically be broken.  And I had to relax (this is where Septtro was helpful this time...he's a bit more relaxed than myself).

If she sat on the potty but didn't go, we would still praise her for trying.  And when she would have an accident, we would **gently** explain to her that's not where it went anymore.  We would take her to the potty and tell her that's where she's to potty.  

Even the first day, she had success!  At this point I don't think she intentionally meant to but we timed it right.  But that's so key - her going in the potty and helping her understand that's where it belongs now.  After successfully using the potty, she would get an M&M and a princess sticker on her sticker chart.  Then we would let her flush (she quite enjoys that).  

For nap time, we decided we would stick to the big girl underwear.  I know some people do diapers or pull-ups at naps and/or bed time.  But we just prefer to do undies all the time so we can be completely done with diapers.  No right or wrong way - just a preference.  Once again, I was nervous.  

**Another disclaimer: I believe Kaylee - or kids in general - can smell fear.  And they take advantage.  I'm so nervous about pee everywhere or what may happen, I'm not always sure of myself and the decisions I'm making.  But with potty training, it seems you have to be confident - as well as quick - with your decisions and your expectations.  Another area Septtro excels in as far as potty training goes.  So I usually asked him what to do.  I wasn't mentally capable of making potty decisions.  

notice the ultimate crib sheet on top?  must have while potty training!
Before nap, we explained to Kaylee that she wasn't to wet her bed (and also, not to get Cinderella [on her underwear] wet).  She woke up crying about an hour and a half later - DRY! (she got an M&M for that too)  We put her on the potty and she went!

That evening, I asked Septtro (you know, the sane one) if he thought we should do underwear for bed time.  He said yes.  I was sorta hoping he'd say no.  :)  So around 7:30pm or 7:45pm we put her on the potty so she could go before bed.  We watched videos and read books.  But nothing. Finally, close to 10:00pm, we gave up. She obviously wasn't at the point where she could make herself go.  And she didn't have to go.  We put her to bed.  At about 1:00am, she woke up crying.  When I picked her up, she was dry.  So I took her to the potty.  It didn't take but a minute for her to use the potty.  I praised her, gave her love, and asked if she was ready to go back to bed.  She nodded so I put her back to bed and she slept until 8:00am - and stayed dry again!

playing outside without pants - PTing in warmer weather is nice!
I told a couple of my friends this all seemed too easy.  And I was bracing myself for disappointment.  Sure, she had accidents - but it didn't seem nearly as bad as when I was training Rilynn.  With Ri, she would sit for an hour on the potty and as soon as she got up, she would have an about frustrating!  But I soon realized, for her, she was used to going to the bathroom while standing.  So sitting down took a while for her to get used to.  For Ri, I let her watch Super Why to help her relax and not think about it.  

By Friday, Kaylee had gone an entire day with no accidents!!  

Yesterday - Saturday - morning, Septtro went to get her in the morning and she had wet her bed.  That happened with Ri too.  I'm sure it's not the last time.  But previous to that, she had stayed dry during all naps and at night since Monday.  

Overall, she's doing really well!  I don't know that I'd consider her fully potty trained at this point.  But the past two days, before we have gone out somewhere, we have asked her to sit and potty and she has gone.  So it seems now she's at the point where she can go on command.  Now we need to get the point where she tells us before she has to go and holds it until she goes.  

I'm ever so thankful to Septtro for his help and for basically taking charge of this for me.  I call him the potty whisperer.  :)

My thoughts:

1.  I don't believe staying dry in diapers through the night or naps means a child is ready to start potty training.  The morning we started, Kaylee had a VERY full diaper.  

2.  I don't think it matters exactly how you choose to potty train - or when.  But consistency seems to really help as well as not overreacting to accidents (I had a hard time not overreacting).  But it's work - for sure!

3.  It's not so much the child being ready to potty train as it is the parent(s).  **yes, I know the child must be to a certain extent**  I think we probably could have trained Kaylee earlier.  Some kids are trained as early as 16 months.  I'm not necessarily one who would be ready for it that early.  But some parents are.  And they do it.  And it works.  But once you decide...go for it!!  Be confident and consistent (maybe I'll improve in those areas when we are ready to train #3).  :)

4.  "Don't force them or it will backfire" isn't always the answer.  I remember being told that with Ri (perhaps that's why I was always second-guessing myself about how much to force and let them decide).  But again, what kid really wants to stop playing and learn to not go in their pants?  That's not convenient.   We made our girls sit on the potty when they didn't want to.  And they cried because they said they didn't want to.  But we (mainly Daddy) calmly explained that Mommy and Daddy wanted them to sit for a little while and they needed to do what was being asked.  (I've heard some moms rewarding kids just for sitting to try to go)  The crying usually didn't last long - especially when we turned on a show or let them do something entertaining while sitting (this was usually during the beginning stage when they just needed to experience some success - but at this point it was still probably a bit confusing to them why they had to sit on this box thing with a hole in the middle).  

5.  If you use treats as a reward, they won't always ask for it until they've moved out of the house.  I was sorta afraid of this at first.  There will come a point where using the potty becomes routine.  Praise may still be warranted, but not necessarily a treat.  

6.  Don't assume your child will be like someone else's.  Sure we used the same general ideas for both our girls.  But it wasn't the same experience with both of them.  They are different.  And so every experience will be as well.  Just because a friend's child was trained in a day, or three days, or a week, or whatever doesn't mean your child will be.  And it doesn't mean there's something wrong if your child isn't trained as quickly as someone else's child. Before starting with Ri, I heard about all these kids that got it really quickly.  So I expected Ri too - but she took a while longer.  And that's ok! 

7.  I'm no potty expert (although I think my husband may have a gift in that area...that one is listed in the Bible somewhere right?).  :)  The way we chose to do things isn't the only way or right way.  But we have found it's what we prefer.  And like I said, no matter what you choose, it will happen eventually.  

So if you are in the middle of potty training or thinking about it - good luck!  and godspeed! ;) Also, you can do it!!!!  And so can they!!!

1 comment:

Jen Knox said...

Congrats on such progress! Potty training is NOT for the faint of heart (-;

With Georgia, we kept the nap/night diapers for quite awhile. I knew in my gut I wasn't ready to deal with it when pregnant (and G still in a crib at first, too). Once she finally gave up nap/night diapers for good it was the easiest thing ever. But I suspect that with Lydia, I will be more prone to try getting rid of all diapers all at once! We'll see (-: I've got a good year at least before I want to tackle that.