Disclaimer: I have never potty trained a child before in my life. I have no clue what I’m doing. All I know is what I have read from literally countless articles on the internet or in books, and what I have been told by experienced mothers.
So we are in the thick of it now. Here’s how things are going:
Sunday – Potty Training Begins
Due to errands in the morning, we didn’t get started until after nap time. Around three o’clock, my husband and I rolled up the rugs in every room in our house. We are blessed with hardwood and tile. Ariana woke up from her nap and I removed her diaper. Then, we started putting her on the potty. She wore a shirt, but no pants of any kind the rest of the day.
Ariana likes sitting on the potty. We kept it in the bathroom to start so that she wouldn’t be distracted by all of her toys around the house. We brought books, blocks, and a portable DVD player into the bathroom and just focused on getting her to sit on the potty. It proved quite easy. She really loves her potty. Of course, we never forced her to sit or to stay, we only suggested and praised her when she did.
Since we got such a late start, Ariana only peed twice between her nap and bedtime, neither time in the potty. It wasn’t a big deal. We put her in a diaper for bed (cloth, of course).
Monday – Potty Training Really Begins
Monday morning I jumped out of bed as soon as I heard Ariana stirring. I wanted to get her on the potty before she had the chance to pee in her diaper. My husband had gone to work early that morning and was due home later, but I was on my own for the moment. I scooped Ariana up out of her crib, pulled off her pajamas and diaper, wiped her up quickly, slipped on a clean shirt and rushed her to the potty. Then we sat, and sat. I put one of her Baby Einstein movies on the DVD player and after about fifteen minutes it happened! Ariana peed in the potty. I showed her how to clean up and lavished her with praise and then sent texts to my entire family announcing the news.
The rest of the day was a blur of cleaning up accidents and small successes. We moved the potty to the living room after my husband returned later in the morning. Again, we never forced Ariana to sit on the potty, but, as luck would have it, all she wanted to do was sit on the potty. At the end of the day, she had five successful pee deposits and one poo. They were all accidental, since she happened to be on the potty anyway, but progress is progress. Each successful time, we praised her, danced, and clapped. Then we let her wipe up with toilet paper and flush the big toilet. (Ariana is a big toilet paper unroller, so she has never been allowed to use toilet paper before. Flushing is also new. She thinks both things are the coolest!)
The biggest moment of the day came near the end. Ariana walked over to the potty, but noticed the DVD player wasn’t playing (we had switched to Elmo’s Potty Time for the occasion). She pointed at it and whined, so I turned it on and she sat down on the potty and peed almost immediately.
Tuesday – A Dry Day
Tuesday came and I was completely on my own. I decided not to get up and rush, but got a shower and took my
time while Ariana played in her crib. After all, she had been quite successful the day before, so I didn’t need to fight for any opportunities. Well, I got her out of bed at about eight o’clock. Two hours later, not a drop. I felt bad constantly suggesting she sit on the potty and constantly asking if she needed to go because she honestly didn’t need to. Then, around ten thirty, we had a miss. Less than a minute after leaving the potty, she had an accident. Ok, no big deal. There will be plenty of other opportunities today. No. At twelve thirty, I put her down for her nap and she was completely dry. At three o’clock, she woke up and I put her right on the potty expecting her to be bursting. She pooped in the potty, but remained otherwise dry. Another hour went by and then she finally peed, but on the floor, several times in about fifteen minutes.
She had several more accidents and no more successes and I was feeling a bit discouraged. Still, I reminded myself that this takes time and called my mother-in-law for a pep talk.
Wednesday – We Have a Connection!
I woke up a little afraid this morning. Wednesday is chiropractor day. I go once a week. It meant leaving the house with my potty training child for the first time. Ariana had worn nothing on her bum during the day for the last couple of days. I had cloth training pants waiting for her and had decided to only use them out of the house. After my mother-in-law’s pep talk, I felt like I had to see this through. So I got up, got dressed, let out the dog and cat, and got Ariana out of bed.
I brought the potty into her room so that we could start the day off with it. First, though, I had to take off her diaper so that she could sit on it. I went to lay her down on the floor to take off her sleep sack and she started squealing at me. “What? I have to take off your diaper.” No dice, Mom. So I let her go and she plopped down on the potty. I’m a big girl now and you will not be diapering me anymore. So I undressed her while she sat on the potty, quite amazed and very proud.
It was warm, so I let her go naked while she had breakfast and I packed the diaper bag and prepared to leave for the chiropractor. She sat on the potty on and off, but remained dry. When it was time to leave, I introduced her new big kid training pants and helped her slip them on. I took her to the mirror so she could see herself and gushed about what a big girl she was. Then we finished dressing and headed out.
I brought her potty with us and put it in the cargo hatch of my Prius. When we arrived at the chiropractor, I asked if she wanted to sit on it and she did. Then, we went to my appointment and she sat on it again before we left. She stayed dry all the time we were out and I praised her profusely for it.
When we got home, I made lunch. She sat in her booster seat and ate. Then she started whining. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong, but she clearly wanted to get down, so I helped her to her feet. Then it occurred to me. “Do you need to go pee pee?” She whined again and we rushed to the potty. Success! We high fived, dumped the pee, flushed and washed hands. As I dried her hands, she started fidgeting and whining again. “Oh my! Do you need to pee pee again?!” We rushed to the potty again! Another success! It appears we have made a connection. All totaled, we had five successes today.
So what’s working?
Ariana loves being pants free. I like it too because I can’t possibly miss when she pees, making it much easier to learn her signals. It looks like the rugs will be rolled up for the next couple of weeks.
The potty works very well in the living room since we spend most of our time there. I just pick it up and take it with me if we go into another room for more than a minute.
The portable DVD player definitely helps my easily distracted toddler sit still. I only turn it on when she is on the potty so Elmo has become a small reward for sitting. Once she gets the hang of things, I’ll wean her off Elmo or perhaps replace him with a different reward.
I love the Flip training pants. They fit nicely and are easy to use. Since they are adjustable, I can use them for nighttime protection long after Ariana is potty trained in the daytime. They will more than pay for themselves in just a few weeks.
For accidents, prefolds are my best friend.. My swiffer is a close second. I soak up the mess with a prefold and then quickly follow with the mop.
So what’s not working?
I’m not working. What I mean is my life is pretty much on hold during Ariana’s waking hours. I have to be very vigilant. If I were currently employed, I don’t think this method would be feasible.
Also, I am already feeling sad that I will soon be giving up cloth diapers. They are just so cute.