Friday, February 1, 2013

Potty Training 101

Potty training is a tricky thing. You don't want I start too early, and then end up "potty training" for months because the child wasn't really ready. You also don't want to wait to long and end up with a three and a half year old that refuses to use the potty. There is a ton of pressure on Mamas to potty train your children early. My mom always said that 2 1/2 was the magic number and Michael will be 2 1/2 next week.  I had considered starting the process with Michael in November, but I wasn't sure how he would do. Also, with us traveling for thanksgiving and to Disney in early December, and with all of the holiday activities during November and December  I figured I would wait until we were done with holidays and got back from our Disney trip in January. That way, we could focus on just the potty, and not have a bunch of distractions.

We have been putting Michael on the potty at night before bed for about 6 months. It was mostly to get him comfortable with it. We didn't use a little potty, or a little seat that goes on the big potty. I wanted to make sure he could use any potty without any problems. For the longest time, he would just sit on it, and that was it. He was never scared of it. Then, when I was in the Bahamas, he actually went pee pee on the potty! I couldn't believe it. Ever since then, he would consistently pee on the potty. So, I started putting him on the potty more often; before nap time, if his diaper was still dry after an hour, and then random times during the day. Then he decided that he didn't want to poop in his diaper any more, and would only poop on the potty. (I was very excited about this!) He is a very regular boy, so around the same time everyday, I would put him on, and he would go. So, for the past 3-4 months he was using the potty a lot and was even telling me when he had to go. But it definitely wasn't consistent and with the holidays and travel coming up, I put off training him until things calmed down a little. The one great thing about this, was that there was no pressure on me, or on him. It was like a fun game. And when it came time to actually potty train, he was already half way there.

I understand that this is what worked for us, and that all children are different. But here is how we did it.

The week before we went to Disney in January, we really started talking about going potty on the "big boy" potty a lot. We talked about "big boy underwear" and where does pee pee go. We told him that there would be no more diapers after he started wearing his big boy underwear.

So, we started on a Tuesday morning. When he woke up, I took him to the bathroom and sat him on the potty. Then I showed him all of his big boy underwear and let him pick which ones he wanted to wear. He picked out the Monsters Inc. pair.

 I watched the clock and every 30 minutes I would take him to the potty. I let him drink like normal. If he didn't actually go when I took him, then I would wait another 15 minutes and try again. Well, mommy got a little distracted and he had an accident. We went and sat on the potty anyway, and reinforced where pee pee went. Then we took off the wet underwear and set them on the side of the tub. I told him that Mike and Sully were sad because they were wet. And every time after that, he would see the wet underwear and say "oh no! mike and sully are wet!" After I got distracted, I remembered that I had a potty watch!

So I set the potty watch for 30 minutes and showed him the watch. I told him when it started playing music it was time to go sit on the potty. This worked great! every time he heard the music, he would run to the bathroom. After his first big accident, he only had two others on the first day, and they were where he started to go and then he stopped himself and told me. Michael also got an M&M and a sticker for his potty chart each time he went on the potty. I would only give him the chocolate if he asked for it. And sometimes he would forgot. Day 1 went way better than I expected.

Putting a sticker on his chart
Day 2, we had to go babysit, so I brought his potty watch and several dry pairs of underwear and hoped for the best. I was still taking him every 30-45 minutes. He did have one big accident and it happened within 20 minutes of him going. So I had to pay closer attention to how much he drank, because if he drank his whole cup of water, he would pee and then 15 minutes later, he would have to go again. He also had a little accident where he started to go, and stopped himself.

Day 3 we were back at home, but I was brave and decided to take him out in public. We went and saw daddy at work and to the grocery store. I made sure to put him on the potty right before we left the house and then as soon as we got where we were going. The. Again when we left and when we arrived at our next destination. At the grocery store, we went several times just to make sure we didn't have an accident. He did awesome!
He had filled up his potty chart by day 3, so he got a special treat after dinner, ice cream!

All filled up!
Since then, he has only had one more accident. He also tested me one day to see what would happen if he did go pee on the floor. That is the only time he got yelled at for having an accident, since he did it on purpose. Every other time he had an accident, I told him it was OK  and that we would try again next time. I did always leave the wet underwear out so he could see them and be reminded. We used the potty watch for the first week, after that it wasn't necessary.

About a week and a half after we started, he started telling me that he had to go. That was a big milestone! I still ask about every hour, but if he tells me no, we wait. I make him sit on the potty first thing in the morning, before and after nap, right before we leave the house and right before bed. I also make him try if it's been 2 hours and he hasn't gone. Almost every time I put him on the potty, he goes.

This is his second chart all filled up.
Notice it has a lot more squares than the first one!
It has been three weeks and I would say that he is potty trained. He has done great at church and even tells them when he has to go. The other day we went to the park, and I knew there wasn't a bathroom there, so I came prepared. We had a little potty in the car, and when he told me he had to go, we just went to the car. It worked great, and I have a feeling we will keep it in the car for our upcoming trips. This whole process has been a lot easier than I thought it was going to be. And it really helped that I waited until he was ready.

Just in case anyone is wondering:
- He wears a diaper at nap time and night time. He wakes up every once in a while dry at nap time, but not consistently yet. Night time is going to be tough. He still fills his diaper by morning. We have started limiting his drink intake before bed and are trying to break him from having a cup of milk right before bed. It will just take time.
- I have never put a pull up on him. All a pull up is, is a glorified diaper. (My opinion) He has only been in underwear, except for naps and nights, since day 1. When we go in public, I put plastic pants on top of his underwear. But have since stopped doing that, since he's never had an accident in public.
- I carry an extra change of clothes with us, wherever we go.
- I made the potty chart myself. If you would like one, just let me know. I can e-mail you one with your child's name on it.

Again, this is what worked for us.

I know that this was really long, but I know that I will not remember all of this later on, so I wanted to have it all written down.

If you have any tips for night time training, that would be great.

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