Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Potty training

So, I sat down to do an entry on potty training. I had been delaying doing one because there have been several days in the last month or so, that I came very, very close to giving up. I didn't want to jinx the process by blogging about it. I think I did anyway, because as I logged into blogger, Megan peed her pants. First time in 3 days and I'm positive she knew she had to go. Why am I positive? Because twice in the last 20 minutes she said, "I have to go potty" and as soon as I moved toward her and asked her if she had to go, she said, "No!" as in, no, I don't have to go. I have learned in the past that it will get ugly quick if she says she doesn't have to go and I make her, so I decided to wait until she told me again...that didn't happen...

We started the training on Feb. 3. This was at least a month before I really wanted to, but she did well in a little experiment I tried and it seemed silly to delay.

I had bought a potty and all the other items suggested for potty training. One book suggested leaving the potty out for her to get used to it. After dinner the night after the potty appeared, she asked to use it. I removed her diaper and let her try. Nothing happened. I was working on something on the second floor which has all wood floors, so I figured it was no big deal to clean up a little puddle, and I left her diaper off. About a half hour later, I asked if she wanted to sit on the potty. She sat down a minute or two. I told her if she went "pee pee" I'd give her a piece of candy. She went immediately. An hour later, she repeated this with the promise of an M&M. After this performance, I decided it was silly to have her wear diapers for another 2 months until "the books" said she might be ready.

The next morning, I ran to the grocery store before she got up and got an array of snacks (for rewards) and juice boxes (it was recommended to offer her as much to drink as possible to provide more practice). After breakfast, I gave her a special present, a doll that could go potty. After giving the doll her bottle, we taught her how to go potty on the big girl potty. This was supposed to teach Megan the concept of how to do it. It worked, sort of, but kind of backfired. After teaching the doll, you are supposed to put the doll aside and have the child do it. Well, Megan did not want to put the doll away and the first accident occured while I was trying to convince her that the doll needed a nap. The rest of the morning did not go all that well, we had 4 accidents and 4 successful trips to the potty. She did go poop on the potty (I'm sorry for the use of all the graphic terms, but this entry is really intended for those who might have gone through or intend to go through a similar process...)

By naptime, I was exhausted and tired and not so sure that starting potty training was a good idea. I think I had somewhat unrealistic expectations because all the books I found were like, "Potty Training in a Day."

I think the saving grace for the process and my big recommendation, was having a portable dvd with a potty training dvd right next to the potty. I thought it was a silly idea at first, but I found one for 3 bucks at Baby Depot and decided to try it. It turned out to invaluable because she loved watching it. It helped keep her sitting on the potty and I think seeing "big kids" was a good motivator. The second half of the first day was better with no more accidents. Chad's mom came over that afternoon and I think the double team helped.

Since that time, we have gone through several phases, but at this point I think she gets it. Initially, I was trying to get her to pull her clothes on and off, but she just doesn't have the coordination for it and it led to frustration. It took about a week before she would tell me that she "had to go." She gets very, very mad and yells, "No!" if I ask her if she has to go (even if she probably does). She went through a phase where she was very resistant to sitting on the little potty, but would happily go using her fold up seat (another potty training necessity) when we were out of the house. To avoid a meltdown at potty time, I started using the removable seat on the big potty. This somehow made the necessary difference (and made the clean up easier) and there were no more freakouts.

A few funny stories:

Once I was down in the basement loading laundry. I heard Megan shreak and then nothing. I continued what I was doing and then went upstairs to investigate. I found her in the bathroom, saying, "I go potty, Mommy." Sure enough, she had gone upstairs, sat on the potty and done the task. I should have been thrilled, she got it. Unfortunately, she hadn't pulled her panties down...

A few days later, she was in her room playing and found the "step stool" I had gotten to help her get to the potty. It was upside down (and also filled with papers!) and I heard her babbling about her "potty." Before I could stop her, she sits down and goes. Again, her heart was in the right place, but again, her pants were still on...

Anyway, I consider her mostly trained. I still put her in a diaper for naps and at night (she is waking up dry more often, but I'm not ready to wake up in the middle of the night to change sheets). We are going several days at a time with no accidents and I figure we can work on the whole undressing herself after the other parts are more mastered.

So, that is the update. And here she is today:

Any good ideas or tips that worked for others, let me know...


Kristin said...

Interesting that you blogged about this now because earlier this week I bought a potty seat, pull-ups and M&Ms. I have a DVD and book on the way. :) Cate seems ready in most ways, so we've been talking about it a lot. She acts like she wants to go on the potty and then cries when she sits down. So we're going to talk about it some more and start really training soon.

I actually have been wanting to blog about suggestions, so I'm glad to read about your experience.

And I'm impressed that she's potty trained well before she's 2.

Anonymous said...

I think you are on the right track. It will be easier in the summer when there are less clothes to deal with. One of our kids needed some discipline because they knew what to do and when to do it but refused. The dvd is a great idea--you 21st century moms have all the luck.

Emily said...

I can't wait to see the scrapbook pages of these pictures!! :)