The Trial Run
We had a date night scheduled for that night, so Lil would be at a friend's house. I definitely was not going to bring over a child in big girl panties to their house within the first hours of her potty training. So she has on her big girl panties for a total of two hours that afternoon. During that two hours, she had no accidents, but she also didn't pee period. That in itself showed me that she could actually hold her bladder and somewhat control it, and it gave me the confidence that we could actually potty train if she was legitimately interested. So I put her back in a diaper and figured if she was still interested the next morning, we would go all in for potty training!
- She can hold her bladder! Though I had noticed a few dry diapers before, there wasn't consistency, so either I wasn't changing her enough to notice (possible, I guess) or she knows a difference between diapers and panties and was going often in her diaper because she could.
On Wednesday morning, when Lil woke up, she was gung-ho Dora underwear, so I decided we would give this thing a good shot! I had talked to a couple of friends about potty training, read Baby Whisperer, and several awesome blog posts about potty training in three days. It worked out that this was over the holidays because we really had a very clear schedule and anything on it, I could cancel. So I made it a point for us to be home three solid days, at the least, possibly more.
My expectations going in -- A. This would take longer than 3 days. I realize there are lots of "3 day" potty training posts, but I didn't want to go in thinking Lil would be a pro by day 3. That just sounded like a recipe for disappointment. B. The first day, or two, would consist of LOTS of accidents, but that eventually it would click. This expectation helped me to be calm and stress-free through the whole process. I knew I would have a lot of pee to clean up, and I was okay with it!
I took notes for the first several days, so I could see her progress, notice any foods that might trigger a #2, note any distractions that might be linked to accidents, etc. Baby Whisperer recommends taking these notes prior to starting potty training, but when I tried this a few months back, it stressed me out. Doing it during potty training was hugely helpful to me though! See my notes at the end of this post.
So how did day 1 go? Lots of accidents! As expected. Actually starting out the day, I was asking her every 20 minutes if she needed to go potty, and it was a total battle of the wills! I ditched this method quick. I decided that I would play with her, not continually mentioned the potty, and just let her have accidents. She would figure it out! She had four accidents on day 1, but at the very end of the day, she started to pee a little and ran to the potty to finish! This told me she got it! Her first success! We celebrated!!
Speaking of celebrate, I would reward her with a sticker for a homemade sticker chart I made and a fruit rope (Clif Kids - healthier fruit roll-ups. I'm so not into candy!). This was great the first two days, and now she could care less about stickers, but I digress.
Day 1 take-aways:
- Letting her have the accidents and then directing her towards the potty was definitely the way to go for us!
- After many accidents, they will finally get it!
- Dora and princess underwear are very motivating and worth spending a little extra on.
Day 2 actually looked pretty similar to day 1 - three accidents, ending the day with one successful pee on the potty on her own! (Completely on the potty this time.)
We are still sticking with diapers during nap and night (forgot to mention that), and she pooped in her diaper during nap. Booo. But she'll get it!
On day 2, I sought advice from another mom friend Alina, and I loved what she had to say! She basically carved out three days to stay at home with Gracie and to stay within 5 feet of her all day! (Moms know that staying within 5 feet is totally different than just staying at home, which is what I had been doing up till now.) She wanted to be sure that when Gracie had an accident, she was there to catch it, say "You need to tell mommy you need to go potty," and then put her on the potty. I LOVE this method because it teaches the kid to tell you to go potty and to listen to their bodies, rather than depending on you to help them figure out when they need to go, as with the asking-them-every-20-minute-method. I am hopeful that this will be the case and that she will tell me or another adult that she needs to go potty when we are not at home, though we will find out in the next few weeks!
Day 2 Take-aways:
- Despite the fact that we have THREE toddler potties (Hand me down, blogging, gift), Elmo seems to be the only one motivating enough to go in at the moment. We will have to work on that, but for now, whatever works.
- I have seen many times to increase their liquid intake during potty training so they will have to pee more and therefore have more opportunities to learn. It's really hard to get Lil to drink more. So we will just go with the opportunities we can get.
Day 3 was tons better! She really seemed to "get it." She basically had one accident and a dribble, two successful pees on the potty, and one successful poop on the potty! Also Lilleigh was telling me that she needed to go potty. Sometimes she would just say aloud, "Elmo potty," and run over to the potty, but she was still acknowledging aloud that she needed to go.
She pooped in the potty! Her motivation? A bag of goodies I have from party favor bags and the dollar store that she got to choose a prize from. It's been a big motivator for us!
She got a playhouse for an awesome three first days of potty training... and because I happened to find it for $30 - a steal - on Craigslist around the same time. Here she is playing in it with Daddy.
Day 3 Take-aways:
- Hang in there and they will get it!
- Teaching kids to recognize their bodies' signals and to voice that is important and totally doable.
- Having a special treat bag just for poops (different from pees) is a great motivator for Lil!
- The whole "potty train in 3 days" thing is sorta legit in that they will recognize the sensation by the third day, most likely, and start using the potty often, but there's still a lot of potty training still to be done!
I went ahead and continued to take notes on day 4. She had two pee accidents on day 4, one being in her new playhouse, which was a significant distraction. I don't see these accidents as set-backs but as part of the potty training process.
A friend asked if I ever got mad at her for having accidents. Absolutely not. It's part of potty training. Just expect them and roll with it.
On day 4, we also had a birthday party. I tried to get her to go potty before we went, but she hadn't quite figured out the whole "on command" thing yet. I fully expected an accident at the party. But no. She was dry from 10 AM to 1:40 PM. Water, pizza, ice cream, and all. This girl can hold her bladder if needed!
Day 4 Take-aways:
- Again, this girl can hold her bladder! I do wonder how she will do when she has to actually use the potty seat we put in the car (Yes, toddler potty in the car.) or in a public place. I'm a little nervous, but again just going with it. I am thankful to be at home with her and able to be the one fully potty training her, staying home with her while we figure it out, and let her ease into the public setting.
I don't have notes from day 5 to share, but so far, no accidents. And she has now gone pee twice on the potty on command. It's really cool to see the little milestones each day!
Day 5 Take-aways:
- Oooh, going on command! If we can juggle this and the battle of the will issue, then it will be much easier very soon to go out! Until we get that down, I'm just expecting accidents when we go out.
Below are my notes. The yellow are the accidents, and the pink, the successes. You can see how we go from mostly yellow to mostly pink by the end of four days.
I am sure I'll have lots to add as we start to venture out more this week, travel to visit family, and tackle public restrooms and even the toddler potty in the car. But so far, so good! I'm hopeful!