Ok – there is WAY too much information out there about how to potty train your toddler – what to never do and what to do. I’m not even going to attempt to offer advice here because each little one is so different, but what I’m hoping to capture is some of the secrets…(as in, no one tells you this!) and the ups/downs, and the doubts you might have while trying to potty train your little piddler!
Who knows – honestly! I don’t know if they are ever ready, and I think if you’re potty training before the age of 2.5 you’ll always think that your doing it too early. It’s not like the peanut tells you ‘Mama, I wish to stop soiling myself and use the facilities now.’
I saw ‘ready’ signs like:
– interest in the potty, setting up the seat on the toilet daily
– joining me in the washroom (ALWAYS! How I miss the lone trips to the can…)
– dry diapers
– the odd ‘job’ on the potty
– incessantly trying to wash her hands at the bathroom sink
Ok, that last one might not be a potty sign…but I thought we were getting close to ‘good to go’ category.
So I ran out, got the Easy-Up diapers, some cutesy undies, the potty had been there for months (yes, I was over-eager tossing it into the bathroom at the age of 6 months so she would get used to seeing it. It was primarily used to house her puzzle pieces and join me during my business. Now, however it is officially used for her business!) I also grabbed a few cute step stools, stickers as rewards and my ‘can do’ attitude and we were off to the races.
I decided to just start a habit of putting Hannah on the potty whenever she woke up and periodically throughout the day.
Well…that was my intention, but then I realized that diapers absolutely suck to put on whilst little one is standing up, so I just left them off, tossed her into a dress and I set my phone timer to 20 minutes. Like Pavlov’s dog, when the timer went off, we went to the potty.
Surprisingly, children do not pee on 20 minute increments (*cue sarcasm). What I did experience was wet floors, followed by ‘uh-ohhs!’. Quick trips to the potty with gentle reminders that we pee in the potty next time, and a quick clean up of the floor (paper towel and vinegar my choice of wipe).
My fear moment: Hannah has NO CLUE when she has to go pee, am I starting her too early?
My positive information moment: Accidents are a good thing! Peeing down your leg and realizing helps your toddler to understand what is happening with their body. Diapers don’t allow this realization.
Also avoid saying ‘it’s ok’, after an accident because it’s not really, you don’t want them to do this, instead say ‘Let’s use the potty next time.’
Keep trekking moment: Two real pees on the potty that day, two pees in the potty that had started on the floor, but were stopped and finished in the potty (pretty happy we caught those ones!) and a bunch of accidents.
While I hadn’t exactly anticipated starting full out, we’ve got the ball rolling so let’s keep it going onto…
Today I introduced the reward system of stickers. We made a paper that says ‘Hannah’s Potty Chart’, coloured it and put it up on the wall beside her potty. Pee = 1 sticker; Poop = 2 stickers (or one large sticker).
The day continues to be 20 minute timer set to sit on the potty, accidents, stops and finishes in the potty.
We ended the day with five stickers and one double sticker.
The double was a bit of a doozy – it probably took 10 minutes of her switching between the potty and the potty seat on the toilet. Back and forth and back and forth. I knew she had a number 2 because of the toots (TMI – but also an FYI!). And eventually the potty won the prize and the double sticker was awarded.
Diapers are still worn for naps and nighttime. Well, the diaper was put on for nap by me, and removed by her pretty early on allowing the bed to act as potty (*Le sigh!).
My Fear Moment: She still has NO CLUE about when her body actually has to go…did I start too early?
My Positive Information Moment: Every site you read says parents are stressy about potty training. It’s SO TRUE! She’s going along with her day and I’m watching my timer and biting my nails hoping to catch the next tinkle pre-floor visit. It takes about 20 seconds to clean up and she learns something every time. Stay positive and stop stressing! (So easy to write but so SO SO SO hard to do!)
Should I Keep Trekking Moment?: I’ll be honest, because of the fear mentioned above, I was ready to go back to diapers and try again in a few months after today. But then you read that going back to diapers can really confuse your LO. Gargh! See how tomorrow goes!
Today I woke up on the fence about this whole potty thing, maybe she is just too young! She got up and we visited the potty – dry.
I set my timer…and then gave up the timer. 90% of the time the timer went off and I sat her on the potty she didn’t have to go and she was starting to hate her trips to the can. The timer was good for getting her used to sitting on the potty, but it hasn’t actually caught anything. So out the window the timer goes…
And then, when I’m not focusing on the timer, I notice signs. Like the hand to her crotch, a little dance, saying ‘wee’ or ‘mama’. Her actually going to the potty on her own!
I even ventured to the store and for a walk today – putting on a pull-up type diaper on her. She was dry when we got home both times, and when I sat her on the potty, she went! Could she be getting this?
We ended the day with all pees in the potty and only 2 half accidents outside (which she finished inside)! In no way do I think accidents are behind us, but we are on a good path! She also got a big sticker for a poop later in the day – that she told me she needed to go. It took 3x her saying ‘poop’ and sitting before she went, but she did go!!
My Fear Moment: Today I feel better…I think deciding that if it’s not the right time, I’ll just call it quits took the pressure off my mind and let me go about doing things again. It’s going well though (so far) so we’ll keep on trekking!
My Positive Information Moment: I’ve read over and over that if you choose to use a pull-up type diaper to put the child’s undies underneath so they can feel when they are wet. Realizing that this totally sucks because the undies are guaranteed to get wet and need washing, I read somewhere that putting a piece of flannel cloth in the diaper also works. So I cut up an old pillow case into squares and put one square into the pull-up. Easier to dispose of and saves her cutesy undies for when she is able to wear them!
My Keep on Trekking Moment?: So far, so good today…we’ll see how tomorrow goes. Nice to leave the house – I think we were all going buggy staying close to the washroom in case of emergencies.
I’ll let you know how this journey continues…fingers crossed!
(*Photo courtesy of www.littlerockfamily.com)