I have know for sometime that this past weekend was going to be the weekend we sequestered ourselves and went without diapers for our 2.5 yo daughter, P. P has shown signs of readiness for awhile and we have long had a potty just to socialize it. She has peed on the potty a couple of times in the past which were more of a fluke than anything, and she has gone long stretches of refusing it altogether. The change in her that I have seen recently is that she was waking in the morning with a dry diaper. She is also quite verbal so we can now discuss the topic and intentions more easily.
This past weekend, I happened to have her home for four days before returning to daycare on Tuesday, so the three day method was written in stone.
We had been given potty training advice by an expert on child behaviour around language and how we are supporting our children, giving them choices and allowing them the room to make their own decisions. Props are not recommended and bribes are a definite no. The idea being that you don’t want to build up the event so much that if they don’t pee it’s a failure. Also, I don’t want to have to have a bag of tricks everywhere I go. Nobody claps for me when I go pee. Although, I do clap for myself every time I am given the privacy by my children to do so alone. #momlife
Leading up to Friday, I mentioned causally a few times to P that on Friday we would have no more diapers and that she can wear panties just like mummy. And then on Thursday night as we cuddled in bed I reiterated that there were no more diapers in the morning.
So Friday morning she was ready to go and was super keen. Donning panties and a tshirt she was free to roam around our place (we live in a condo with hardwood, so pretty easy). I accepted that during the process I would allow her to drink whatever she liked in order to keep her fluids up so that we would have ample opportunity to practice so we stocked up on apple juice, coconut juice and chocolate milk. P was great about running to the potty every time I asked her to. I set the timer on the microwave and asked her to listen for the beep to go. It was more about just getting there, taking down the panties and trying. That said, we had seven pees and one poo in her panties over the course of the day. I beleive she may have peed once on the potty but that feels forever ago. It was tiring to keep cleaning up, but we were all in good spirits.
Saturday, Day Two, she was more resistant. The microwave timer had no impact. She would try half-heartedly. She would sit down with her pants still on for all of one second and would run away. She had five accidents in the day and then before bath sat down and peed. More laundry.
Sunday, Day Three, she woke me up and I checked her diaper which was dry. So we went to the bathroom and she sat down and peed. Together, we laughed about how big it was but I tried not to emphasize the event like she was responsible for inventing urinating on a potty. We went on with our morning and about an hour later I could hear her in the bathroom, peeing. Cool. We continued on and she did it again. And again. The difference being that she didn’t respond to our prompting but rather she was choosing to go herself. I was proud of her. And especially proud when she pooped on the potty as well. For some reason, day three she was making the choice and realizing that leaving playtime to go pee wasn’t as devestating as previously thought – it was actually quite quick. I think she liked the control of deciding to go herself and she enjoyed telling us about it.
We had no tears these first three days. I am shocked but so proud of her. And of us. We have barely left the house.
Monday, Day Four we went for a walk and we’re out for about an hour and a half. I timed our walk as soon as we were ready and once she peed so we could maximize our much needed time out of the house. After a walk, a donut and one too many times down the bumpy slide at the park, she peed. We were then only a short walk home so we walked home in her pee pants. She didn’t like it but wasn’t upset. We changed at home and didn’t make a big deal about it.
Tuesday, Day Five was a big day. Her first day at daycare since we pulled the diapers. She woke me up at 7am and then went pee right away – her diaper was dry. We then had breakfast and got dressed. By this time it had been an hour since she peed so I was hesitant to get into the car until she peed again. So we waited. And I waited. And she didn’t have to pee. And we waited. And still no pee. I worked myself into a state of questioning myself and what to do now that it has been nearly two hours since her pee. If we waited any longer she would miss the first two activities at daycare – which I felt bad for. So I did what I didn’t want to do. I put a diaper on her for the car ride. I explained why, that we wanted to strive to school in dry pants and didn’t want tonpee on our car seat. I felt bad for doing it, but I was desperate for her to walk into daycare feeling proud and ready to tell her teachers about her panties. When we arrived at school I took the diaper off in the ar and reminded her that she had panties on, handed a bang of extra panties and clothes to the teacher and kissed her good bye. When I picked her up eight hours later I was delighted to find that she had not had a single accident. This was not my expectation but I couldn’t be happier for her. She was truly proud.
Day Six saw the same success and Grandma brought her new panties which she was exited about. No accidents.
I’m excited for her and proud of her success And happy to see how she feels about her accomplishments.
Why I think we were successful:
- We were prepared. Prepared for accidents. Prepared with food and beverage. Prepared not to leave the house. Prepared to support like crazy.
- She was ready. I know this because her diapers were largely dry when she woke from naps and in the morning.
- Her communicative skills are at the place where we can have a conversation about it. She is 2.5 and this area is exploding with her words and phrases. It makes it easier.
- We have socialized the idea by having a potty in the house for a long time, invited her to sit on it when we used the bathroom, have been reading ‘Everyone Poops’ and discussed the behaviour that we wished to see.
- We were given the advice to not use bribes and not to make a big deal about when she does use the potty. The reason being that everyone goes to the toilet and it isn’t a big deal. It’s a normal thing and you can feel good about it, but by celebrating OTT or bribing you risk making the times where they aren’t successful feeling negative and that can do more harm than good.
- My Tiny Dictator likes to control everything, so adapting our approach to give her the space she wanted felt right. She goes on her own, dumps the smaller potty-bowl into the larger toilet, wipes and flushes herself – often before she has even told us she had to go in the first place. Where I’m now trying to close the gap is to follow up with hand washing each time.
Potty training is ongoing with so many firsts ahead of us; first long car ride, first public bathroom, first pee pants in a public place where it feels like a bigger deal to her. I am so encouraged by what she has accomplished. I’m also really excited not to spend the money on her diapers any more.
Do you have a method that worked really well for you? Or any funny potty training stories? Things you were prepared for? Hit me up at firstname.lastname@example.org