Potty Training Update

I confessed awhile back how I dreaded the impending days of potty training. Over the last few weeks my daughter has been fighting putting on diapers and requesting big girl panties. Well last Monday her petitions were stronger than ever she and decided she was done with diapers. What’s a mom to do, but to throw always all the diapers follow her lead and begin the toilet learning/potty training process. Through my years of babysitting, teaching preschool, and being a nanny, I’ve really come to believe that toilet learning is the better, more accurate term for this process.

If your toddler is anything like my daughter, they are independent and determined to do things their way and in their time. As much as we may want them to do things the way that we would like and/or think they should, there will be resisting and screaming until they do it their way. It’s also not uncommon for these little monsters people to do it just as we wanted, but they had to decide it was the right course of action. Repeatedly I’ve seen this play out with every child when it comes to using the potty. As much as we may want them to do be done with diapers, they’re not done until they decide they’re good and ready. This level of determination and independent thought doesn’t seem all that different from us as adults, but for some reason it’s more maddening with a little person.

I’m not one to be told to do things when I don’t want to, and the apple doesn’t far fall from the tree with my daughter. For the last few months my daughter has expressed an interest in using the potty and wearing big girl panties. I’ve really tried not to force the issue, but provide her the opportunity to try. Yes these opportunities have resulted in wet floors and mommy getting peed on (perhaps all over your neck while they ride on your shoulders), but we had some successful attempts too. Occasionally my daughter has spent most of the day out of diapers, but inevitably she asks for her diapers back on. This last week has been much different than the past.

VHP decided with the first diaper change of the day that she was done with diapers and has not allowed me to put them back on her since outside of times when she will be sleeping. We are still using diapers at nap time and bedtime, because I’m not a complete glutton for punishment (remarkably there hasn’t been much fighting about this). There have been accidents, there have been more than a few of messes to clean up, and we have questioned if she is ready. However, we have now survived 7 days in panties, the accidents are happening less often, and they are happening at fairly predictable times (i.e. usually when she is too engrossed in her current activity).

So how have we been going about it?

  1. We start the day out with a quick attempt to use the potty. If it’s not a successful trip (aka nothing happens), we try again after a half hour because we know she’ll need to go after waking up.
  2. We have been using Gerber training underpants because they are more absorbent than the cute Frozen panties.  If we’re leaving the house we make sure to use a Bummis pull on cover over the training underpants.
  3. We make sure to keep at least 2-3 extra pairs of pants and underpants with us wherever we go in a ziploc bag or wet bag (to store the soiled clothes).
  4. At least once an hour we ask if our daughter needs to use the potty. If VHP hasn’t asked to go within 60-90 minutes of her last successful trip we take her to the potty to try.
  5. No matter what, we never pressured our daughter to go and wouldn’t push the issue if she refused.  Too much pressure leads to outright refusal, and then potentially to full on toddler determination not to use the potty.  We do ask a couple times in a row if she seems distracted/unsure/is blatantly ignoring us, which is typically met with palpable annoyance…and then a trip to the potty which is usually successful (uh, told you so kid).

I know that some folks get really nervous about leaving their house with a potty training child, but so far it’s not been the end of the world for us. On Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday we were lucky to have her at home all day due to a snow day and then being with her grandmas. Wednesday and Friday were preschool days, and I think seeing classmates using the potty were a good source of encouragement (nothing like a little peer pressure). Our first trip out Tuesday evening was to church and a casual dinner with friends. There was only one accident at church, which wasn’t a mess with the Bummis cover being used. Besides that accident, we averaged two during the day and one in the evening. The recurring timing for one daytime and evening accident was meal time, because little miss couldn’t be torn away from a good meal. Sunday was an even better day as we managed to keep the day down to one accident! Here’s hoping we’re on the right track!

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Potty Training Why Must You Do This to Me?

many thanks to gratisography for the photo

For many parents, the time to start potty training is filled with joy for the day that diapers will be no more. For myself, it’s a period I dread. I’ve been a part of the team supporting child and their parents through the potty training process more times than I can name. I’ve cleaned up countless children, wiped up MANY floors, and done innumerable loads of laundry  from “accidents” that may or may not have been an accident.  No matter how you go about this process with a child I know that much of this is inevitable. Over time my thoughts on potty training has ebbed and flowed.  

After watching many children succeed in learning to use the toilet and many have to go about it in their own way, I know that this process is not one size fits all. I’m also a firm believer that a child will not make the switch from diapers to the potty until they are good and ready. At times we can wonder if we’re crazy in what we’re thinking about on this parenting journey, but I really appreciated this post from Janet Lansbury affirming my inclination on why we shouldn’t potty train. I realize we can’t force a child to make the switch, but sometimes it’s hard to know when a child is good and ready. 

My husband doesn’t get my potty training/toilet learning dread, as he thinks this is a great next step for our daughter. I’ve tried to explain what’s in our future and why I’m not wanting to rush this next stage, but I think seeing is believing. For the last several months, VHP has been showing more and more signs of potty training readiness. I’m really trying to follow her lead so that things can go as quickly, smoothly, and painless many loads of laundry free as possible. 

Since thanksgiving, things have been even more potty focused in the Parker house.  Around 12:00 on Thanksgiving day, I took VHP upstairs for a diaper change and she demanded no diaper.  I asked if she needed to go potty, to which she responded yes.  Took her and she did in fact pee a fair amount (not the first time this has happened mind you). After that she REFUSED to put a diaper on, so big girl panties it was. She did great through thanksgiving lunch (an early meal due to my brother having to work), and went potty again before nap. I did put a diaper on for nap time (much to her dismay), but it was right back to being in panties after that. Difference this time was that she would NOT use the potty. Well, during snack she decided she HAD to come sit with me. As anyone can guess,  half way through snack she and I both had wet pants. We changed our clothes, finished snack and played for a bit. After snack we tried to potty again with no luck. Shortly thereafter my mom noticed VHP’s pants were wet AGAIN. Changed her clothes AGAIN which I know is normal for this process, but tiring nonetheless. Before long it was potty time again, VHP wouldn’t go, and not too long after that it was accident #3! I decided enough was enough, and back to the diapers she went (with much protestation)!

Over the next couple weeks VHP would use the potty some, but this past week it’s been different. She has started requesting to go potty, and really going more than usual. Saturday she used the potty more than soiling her diapers, and for that I was really excited. But then there was the after dinner diaper change incident in a public restroom. She was being cooperative through the diaper change, and all was well in our world. Then I asked if she needs to go potty, which is the normal diaper change question lately, and her response was yes. I’m getting ready to grab her and take her potty when I notice the changing pad is getting wet. She smiles. I tell her we don’t pee on the change on the changing table, to which she responds, “yeah, pee potty.” I affirm this and clean up the new mess on our hands. VHP keeps giggling and declares, “its’s funny!” 

Sigh, have I mentioned I dread potty training?!

I’m hoping this whole process goes well, but I’m feeling quite skeptical. Tips for what has worked for you? Guidance on what hasn’t worked? Stories to share on the challenges JOY of switching from diapers to using the potty?