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Thursday, February 2, 2012

Potty Training: Update

I haven't talked about potty training here for a long time. Some of you might not even know that I tried potty training Ellie just after she turned a year old. Silly, right?
Well, it's only silly to some. Others might think I'm crazy for not starting sooner. Potty training is kind of a taboo subject, at least in my experience. I really don't care how (or when) others potty train their children. It's not a sign of how intelligent the child is or how determined the parent is. I don't believe that potty training your child at three and a half years old will harm them in any way, but if you think Elimination Communication is the way to go, then more power to ya! I'm not here to tell you that my way worked magic......because it didn't! I think the only way to potty train your child is to do it the way that works for you and your child. 

This has been such a long road for us that I would be hesitant to hand out any sort of advice or tips or tricks. What has worked for us?

Bribery
Consistency
Low-Pressure Attitude
Patience

When Ellie was about 15 months old, I was determined that she would be potty trained by the time she was 18 months old. I knew that starting at that age, we would need at least a few months to really get there.
Well, when she hit 18 months, I set a new goal of being potty trained by age 2! Haha!
I am happy to report that at 2 years and 1 week old........we are well on our way to being potty trained ;)

This potty training business is no joke! And while I'm making light of it, and it probably sounds like we've been in potty training hell for almost a year now, that's just not the case. The truth is, while Ellie isn't completely potty trained just yet, I haven't changed an actual diaper in at least 3 months.
The road has been long and slow, but I actually really like how it has worked out for us.
I feel like this has just been one more transition, and since we've taken it slow and eased into things, it hasn't been traumatic or stressful for either party. Sure, there were days where Ellie hated the potty and no amount of gummy bears would get her to sit her little toosh on it. But then there are days where I get brave and take her out of the house in underwear and she amazes me by staying dry all afternoon!

For me, the biggest motivator is diapers.....they're all cute and sweet when you have a newborn squishy baby who loves to coo and look up at you while you wipe their butt. But my cute little baby started hating diaper changes starting when she learned to walk. She absolutely HATED them. Naturally, I began to hate them too. I would much rather peel soaked underwear off her little bum five times a day than wrestle her around for 10 minutes every time she needed a diaper change. That's the honest truth.
That was my biggest motivator in all of this, and if I had a laid-back kiddo who didn't mind diaper changes one bit, I might not have pushed the potty-training envelope so much.
I can't emphasize this enough, but this is what worked for me and my child and my family. To each their own.
So where are we at now? 
At 2 years old, this is what potty training looks like for us:

1. Ellie wears a pull-up to bed. Usually she wakes up in the morning and her pull-up is wet. It's wet, but not soaked. And sometimes (I'd say one day a week or so), she even wakes up dry!
My next step is going to be waking her up before I go to bed and have her use the potty one more time. We'll get to that step eventually. She was wearing pull-ups for naps, but as of the last week she wears underwear for naps, and it's working out well! I'd say she is dry after her nap 60% of the time. 

2. Ellie wears underwear all day. (If we are going to be gone all day and I know we won't be making it to the bathroom regularly, then I will use pull-ups, but all other times it's underwear.) I pack plastic covers for the babysitter to use......sometimes she uses them, sometimes she doesn't. At home we try and just stick to the underwear without a cover, and for most quick errands we go with just underwear  now (and pants, of course!). Yes, this means she sometimes has accidents, but the accidents are much easier to identify in underwear than they are with pull-ups.
I'm getting over my fear of public accidents.....they're going to happen, no matter how prepared we are!

3. We use bribery. I thought that we would be weaning the bribes out of our routine by now, but the truth is, we just aren't at that point yet. Ellie knows that she will get a gummy bear, or an m&m, or some other small treat if she uses the potty and stays dry. However, if she forgets to ask for a treat afterwards, I don't remind her! I know that eventually we will cut back and change how we use treats......for now, anytime she uses the potty is still a celebration :)

4. In general, Ellie has been doing SO good! Since she is in underwear all day now, it's easier to "tally" up her accidents and keep track. She has been having about 3 accidents each day (this includes naptime), and she's even had a few accident-free days! 
I feel like she is doing a great job, and I'm happy about our journey so far.
I stated earlier that we have a Low-Pressure Attitude towards potty training. I know that some parents choose to wait until their child is "showing signs of readiness" before they potty train, while other parents choose how and when their child will be potty trained and don't stray from their plan.
I feel like we fall into the middle somewhere......I had a general idea of how and when we would potty train Elliott, and I didn't really wait for her to tell me that she was ready. I don't punish Ellie or make her feel bad for having accidents, but now that she knows what to do, I definitely make sure she knows what our expectations are about the potty.
Does that make sense? I feel like I laid out the plans, Ellie showed us how much she could handle, and then we readjust the goals and standards from there.
We are constantly changing our expectations and goals to fit where she is at and what she has learned. 

Like I said, I feel like potty training is just another little transition.......just like moving from a crib to a toddler bed, from crawling to walking, from bottles to food.
 Each transition has taken longer than I thought......its a progression, not an over-night change.
I like knowing that each day is a new day, never the same as the one before or the one after that.
While we may not fall exactly into a category of "diapers" or "potty-trained", we are somewhere in the middle and THAT'S OKAY! 

What are your experiences with potty training? I'd love to hear your thoughts, tips, and advice!

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8 comments:

Barbara said...

You're amazing! It sounds like things are going really well :) Isla sits on the potty and we make it fun but she's still in diapers. My goal is by 3 she'll be trained. I'll start introducing undies this summer when it's warmer. We have a lot of summer/fall transitions :/ potty training and toddler bed. I guess I better get my mind set ready.

Ashley said...

You are my inspiration for potty-training! I really started potty-training Adelynn after she turned 2 and she was doing really well, but now has NO interest in sitting on her potty. She will absolutely NOT poop on the potty and hasn't yet. I would love for you to e-mail me some of your methods, if you wouldn't mind. I am back to blogging, so you will have to come visit me! It has been awhile. If you need my e-mail let me know.

Jaimee said...

My son is 2.5 and we are no where near as close as you are :( We introduced the potty at about 1.5 yrs but nothing has come of it. He will use it for a few days here and there but then loses interest. I know boys are slower and it really doesn't bother me but man it would be nice to get rid of diapers :)

Nicole M Petersen said...

my son just turned 16 months and i've tried a few times to put him on his potty with no luck. he just gives me a grin like he knows what's going on and that i'm silly for even trying so i've come to the conclusion that when he's ready, i'll know. (mother's intuition right?) i haven't had problems with any other transition so i'm not about to start with potty training. like you said it's better if there is no stress on either party.

Chelsea said...

Thanks for stopping by...isn't it funny how you can run across people that you have so much in common with?
We just started potty training our 2 year old after we made the move to Korea. We knew it would just be too much change before the move (move to a bed, move out of the house, lots of random trips, etc!). He'll be 3 at the end of the month and after 3 weeks of hard work over Christmas Break, he's finally doing great! An accident every few days and a damp pull-up in the morning, but you've got to take it one step at a time. We used stickers for bribery and after getting so many stickers in a row (more each time) he got a new toy or a date or a treat. Now he only remembers the stickers at bed time! :) (Also a great way to reinforce counting skills!)

Melissa @ knit purl baby said...

Good job Ellie! We are no where near even thinking about potty training yet but I know what you mean about unruly diaper changes. JC likes to show me how strong he is by doing acrobatics while I'm changing him. But this kid would sit in his poop all day and not even bat an eye. He does not care. I guess my plan is to wait until he starts to show when he's ready.

Anonymous said...

better when they wear knickers, it is much easier to "play" with the p=ssy

Anonymous said...

I would luv her wet pull ups, little girl pee is mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm