September 3, 2013

potty training

When my oldest daughter, Leah, was younger, I was definitely the milestone obsessed mother.  I had a stupid timeline in my head on when she was "supposed to" do certain things. Give up bottles at 12 months, get rid of binky at 18 months, potty trained and in a big girl bed at 2 years.

Boy, was I dumb.

I drove myself (And my husband. And my mom. And my child.) crazy.  And my child ended up doing none of those things at the "right" time. She actually wasn't potty trained until she was almost 3 1/2. She was stubborn and so was I. It was a bad combination.

With my second daughter, Paige, I haven't been driving as many people crazy (I hope). I've been much more laid back about when I want to encourage her to do the milestone stuff.  She had bottles til she was over 2 yrs old, still has a binky, still in a crib, and up until this past week, was still in diapers.

And considering how old Leah was when she finally potty trained, I assumed Paige would be the same way. But people are right when they say that the second child is ready sooner.  Paige has been randomly peeing and pooping on the potty for almost a year now, usually before baths. More recently, she has been waking up dry from naps, and keeping her diaper dry for long stretches. I could tell she was ready.

But I put it off for a few months. Its a lot of work.

And then as this summer was drawing to a close, and I was getting tired of trying to put diapers on her after going swimming.  She was dry a lot of the time. We were ready. I didn't feel like doing any sticker charts or bribes with her (I don't think she fully understands the concept anyway) or anything else "official." I just bought her 2 packages of training pants (basically thicker/more absorbent than regular underwear) and one day, I put those on instead of diapers when I got her up in the morning, and randomly took her in to go potty throughout the day. It worked pretty well, but she still was having accidents on my floor 3-4 times a day.


After about 2 days of that, I didn't argue with my husband when he put diapers back on her for a couple days. But I couldn't deny that she was ready. I just needed a new plan. (I love plans.) I did some googling and some thinking, and made up my plan.

 Here's what I did:

On the first day, I set the timer for every 45 minutes (seemed like a reasonable time for her, you might have to start with a shorter increment), and when it rang, I took her in and set her on the potty (regular old potty, no spiffy chairs or anything) and set her on it far enough back that she can hold on in front of her - don't worry, I keep it clean! I brought in the iPad with me so I could show her a little video clip and help her be patient til she peed. If she didn't pee, I would take her off and set the timer for 20 mins and try again. All day.

First day, zero accidents. But I felt like I was the "trained" one, and I was exhausted. It was a lot of time spent in the bathroom. But, zero accidents.

On the second day, I bumped the timer up to every 60 minutes. Good day, in spite of soaking the crib during her nap. And the third day, every 90 minutes. And that third day included a successful potty trip at Target! That is a big deal!

On the fourth day, I had to work. Daddy did a pretty good job taking her in to go potty, but there was an accident. But not the end of the world.

By the fifth day, I was just keeping an eye on the clock, and making sure to take her in every 90 mins-2 hours. She wore panties to church, and went potty in the potty there twice! At the end of the fifth day, she was starting to grab her little bum when she needed to go, and we would rush in and she would go potty just fine!

We are still keeping diapers on her at night, just in case. But as soon as she wakes up consistently dry in the mornings, we'll ditch those too.

Getting toddlers to go poopy in the potty can be a whole other story. I lucked out with Paige, since she had been randomly pooping in the potty for a few months. All I had to do was keep an eye on her around 9-11am (her regular pooping time), and when she looked like she was starting to "strain" a bit, I would just take her in and put her on the potty to finish her business. No biggie. Other kids can get really freaked out by the whole pooping concept, so my suggestion is to start getting them comfortable with it as young as possible. 

Bottom line:
  • Use cloth training pants. Pull-ups just add one extra step to conquer between diapers and underwear and prolong the process.
  • Set a timer, to help your toddler's bladder become more consistent/scheduled/organized, and to prevent accidents on the floor.
  • Gradually increase the time.
  • Don't bother with treats or stickers or charts.  Instead, use lots of genuine positive encouragement, reinforcement and praise. This helps them internalize their success and motivates them to keep trying.
  • Begin early (12-18 months) by encouraging them to use the potty. But don't begin actual potty training until they are legitimately ready (waking up dry, going long stretches with a dry diaper, and are able to pee on the potty).
  • If its not working, take a break and try again in a few weeks. The last thing you want is a kid that resents the potty.
Good luck! And make sure you reward yourself throughout the process. Its hard work! You earned it!

32 comments:

  1. Great article. I might add that the way you have Paige sit on the toilet is rather unique also. She sits far back and spreads her legs so she can hold onto the seat between her legs so she feels secure and balanced. Fun times!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, we didn't even use the little potty chairs with her at all. Remember how many chairs we bought for Leah?!?

      Delete
    2. My little brother sat on the potty backwards so he could put his hands on the back of the toilet and didn't have accidents onto the floor. Lol

      Delete
    3. That is so smart! I'll have to remember that if I ever have any boys. :)

      Delete
  2. I love that I just finished reading this post, and my 2.5 year old pops his head out of the laundry room (his hiding place) and announces that he is poopy. Wanna come train mine too? I am way too tired with an infant to do it. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You'd have to pay me! Haha I doubt that I would have the patience to do it, but I used to think that it would be so awesome if you could just take your kid to a potty training day camp for a few days and have someone else do it for you! Good luck :)

      Delete
  3. Great tips! We're doing the potty training thing with a 26 mo boy. He's been using the potty since shortly after his first birthday, but we didn't start training until just after 2 because he has a 10mo sister and that was a bit too much for Momma to handle. I completely agree with using the cloth underwear instead of pull-ups. We were on an extended vacation and there were so many times we couldn't be consistent and we totally set him back a bit. We're not stressing, we'll get there!

    Kristin

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good luck :) Thanks for commenting!

      Delete
  4. I have a 3 1/2 year old boy who really could care less about using the potty. He's never actually gone on it. He will hold it until he's off. DRIVES ME NUTS. He's always been at his own pace with everything, so I keep hoping. I am planning on keeping him in trainers all next week and not leaving the house. Crossing my fingers!!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh my gosh, my oldest was the SAME way! So frustrating! I'm sure he won't be going to kindergarten in diapers, but it probably feels like it!! Good luck :)

      Delete
    2. I am in the exact same boat. I have another toddler and a newborn too so I'm scared to start but I know it needs to get done. I was really hoping that by waiting longer that he would be more inclined to want to start on his own. No luck!

      Delete
  5. I drove myself crazy with my older three. My youngest just turned 2 and, like yours, she has been randomly using the potty for months. We have a seat to put on the toilet, but she usually prefers not to use it. I haven't started actual training yet, but this sounds like a good plan...when I'm ready! LOL :) Thanks for the great encouragement!

    ReplyDelete
  6. My 5 1/2 year old girl is potty trained during the day but still wets her bed EVERY NIGHT. I feel like I'm never going to get her trained! She shows zero interest in going to the potty. We've put pull-ups on her at night,make her use the potty then, after reading a story she pees in it before I tuck her in bed! I'm going crazy, but I dont show her my frustration anymore. I've spoken to a few doctors and they say I have to wake her up every 3 hours at night!! Seriously?! What do I do?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh that would be frustrating! I wish I had a good suggestion for you, but I don't know! I assume that she will eventually grow out of it, right? My daughter is almost 6, and I feel like if that was happening to her, I could talk to her about why and figure out together what to do. Does it not bother her? How does she react when it happens? I don't use bribery very often, but I wouldn't be above rewarding her for staying dry. Maybe someone else will see your comment and have a good idea. I'm feeling for ya though, how frustrating!

      Delete
    2. The waking her up sounds cruel-for her and you! My oldest child wet the bed at night til age 9, my 2nd til about 6 1/2. The younger two were about 5 and 3 when they stopped and I have one who is 2 1/2 who I'm just starting to potty train. We had late bed-wetters on both sides of the family so I wasn't so worried about it. I bought overnight diapers that they used every night and I never made a big deal out of it. (did you know some dollar stores sell them at a cheaper price). Bed wetting can also be related to diet or the amount of sleep. I've read that even an extra half hour of sleep can stop bed-wetting. So you could try googling it, but it'll stop when they're ready.

      Delete
    3. I wet the bed till I was 7 or 8, and one night I went through the last of my clean underwear, so I had to go to bed with no undies on, just my nightgown. I didn't have any accidents, so the next night I did the same thing, and no accidents. Since then I have never slept with underwear on , and had no accidents. Don't know if that would work for others, but I plan on trying it with my daughter when she gets older if she has a problem.

      Delete
  7. This is great information! I'm on day 2 of training with my son. I'm most curious as to how long you let your little one sit on the potty without going before you let her get off the potty?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My little girl is a wiggler, so I let her sit as long as she wanted. It was usually just a minute or two. But if I knew she needed to go (it had been longer than an hour since she peed last) I'd bring in the iPad and have her sit for more like 3-4 minutes. My only suggestion is to not MAKE him sit there, or he will likely begin to resent potty training. Good luck!!

      Delete
  8. What great information!! My friend told me how she trained her two boys.
    She set aside a couple of days to focus on training then gave them salty food like peanuts or pretzels to make them thirsty.
    Gave them lots of water to drink so they would need to go often.
    Took them to potty regularly watching to see when they might be getting the "urge" to go.
    Within one or two days they got the idea of feeling the need to go and going.
    I don't recall that she talked about training them to poop. That's another whole program.

    Regarding the bedwetting, I've learned recently about the muscle control. One is less aware during the night, especially with children who sleep soundly. I'm taking a nutritional product for muscle repair myself that is helping with the muscle control and reducing "leaking" in adult women. It is safe for kids and even pregnant women so I wonder what it would do for kids??

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is fascinating, and it makes so much sense! I'll have to keep that in mind down the road (and for after my next baby, haha). Thanks for sharing!

      Delete
  9. What do you suggest for triplets? Am I to send all in the bathroom? Bc if I were to do ever
    45mins per child and then about 20mins with eachone in the bathroom I would never get anything else done that day and what are the other 2 kids suppose to be doing while I'm in there with 1? I don't have a big enough bathroom for 2 extra potty chairs.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh my gosh, I have no idea how to potty train triplets! I think I would do them one at a time, starting with the one you think will be the easiest. And space them out a month between so you don't go crazy! Good luck!

      Delete
    2. I babysat a set of triplets while they were being potty trained. For this family, all three kids were potty trained at the same time, but they waited until the kids were past their 3rd birthday. (2 boys, 1 girl) It was straight underwear (no pull ups). I think the first few times all 3 kids would come in the bathroom and just take turns sitting on the toilet for 1 min or so. Then mom or I would bring one in at a time. They got an m&m for sitting and trying, and an extra m&m for success. There may have been stickers involved. If my memory is correct it took about 2-3 weeks for all three to be completely trained. If you have a teenager or family member who would be able to help the first couple days, I think you could do all 3 at the same time.

      Delete
  10. Thank you for posting this! My daughter is 3 (December 22nd) and isn't potty trained yet. With the help and advice you have given, it has given me new ideas and a hope for an easier way to potty train her. Again, thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh good luck!!! I hope its quick and easy for you (and her!) :) Thanks for commenting!

      Delete
  11. With my son... it was my own personal nightmare (He was my first) He would even take off his diaper/pull-up/undies/cloth trainer and poop on my floor! Everywhere! He was always very sneaky and quiet about it! One day when he snuck off to the kitchen (Just before he was 3) I caught him in the act and rushed him to the toilet. He went in it and received so much praise (and some M&Ms because I was at my wits end and was ready to bribe by this point... my poor floors!) anyway after that day he kept going on the toilet... ALL the time. My husband was gone for one week for an interview. When he left we were tired and frustrated about potty training, and when he came back our son was potty trained! And after the first week he even stopped asking for M&Ms after he used the toilet! Now here I am with my daughter who just turned 2 last month and she started using the potty just before she was 1 (Off and on) and last night I put her to bed in panties and she woke up completely dry! We had 3 accidents yesterday, but 1 of them was my fault because we left the house and I forgot to see if she needed to go. Anyway so far so good! Don't worry moms it will happen for some almost overnight, and for others... not so much, but it WILL happen. Just breathe! :)

    ReplyDelete
  12. katie olsenJune 09, 2014

    I have tried to get my daughter to use the potty a few different times. She acts like she is scared to potty in it at all like she is doing something wrong. Ihave tried sitting on the regular one while she sits on hers everything she acts scared and its frustrating.

    ReplyDelete
  13. My daughter is almost 2 and have been slowly introducing the potty. First, we just bought the little potty (1 for upstairs, 1 for down) and we just had her get used to seeing it in the house. We then encouraged her to sit on the potty (clothes and diapers on) and she is now comfortable to sit on the potty for 10 minutes or so. Then came our summer vacation and we took a break from it. As soon as we came home, I have been taking her diaper off so she can try to go and she has popped on the potty the last two days. Still no pee though.
    I'm all about plans and being as prepared as I can and was frankly terrified to start full on potty training. However, I like your plan and am going to try it with my daughter this week! Wish me luck!!!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hi everyone, I have just started toilet training with my 3 year old son yesterday and I must say he is not interested. He did sit twice yesterday and I thought that was good. I have bought him cars and trains to reward him when he goes and the first time he sat for more than 2 minutes I gave him a car but now he feels like I dont want the car if it means going to the toilet!! What am I doing wrong? This is the advice I got from parents all around me and so I used a reward system. He didn't poop all day yesterday because he didn't have a nappy. Today I asked him if we wanted the nappy to poo and he did so I let him have a pull up for half hour so he could poo!!! I am very confused, my husband wants to take him out all day but how can we when we are trying to achieve something the next week, on the other hand being at home is very boring for him!!

    Potty training daily

    ReplyDelete
  15. I LOVE this article! I've been all over the internet learning now that my little boy's getting there... This is probably one of the more important things I really feel all moms who want to be prepared should see.. potty training method

    ReplyDelete
  16. We always travel with a small potty with a removable seat which helps my daughter to feel more comfortable on the big potties in public restrooms.
    potty training girls

    ReplyDelete
  17. These are some of the cutest photos. Early potty training for a kid is very important as he will learn toilet manners.
    potty training boys

    ReplyDelete