Monday, February 2, 2015

potty training...

We started potty training around September/October, and I am already forgetting so much about the process that I wanted to blog about what worked (and didn't) for us to help any other mamma's out there who need some tips, (and to remind myself what we did when we tackle it with #2 in a couple of years.)

Our Potty Training Must-haves: 

1. Potty Chair.  We have 2 bathrooms that are easily accessible to Lucy. We put a potty chair in one and a potty seat in the other, just to see which she preferred. (She seems to like both.)
2. Potty Seat. Lucy and I went to Target together and picked her seat and panties out so that she could play a big part in potty training.
3. Lots of Panties/Underwear. We probably started with about 20 pairs. In the beginning we would go through about 3-4 a day because of accidents; and then there are the accidents where there is no recovering said panties from...
4. M&M's as a reward {One for Pee and Two for Poo.} We used this reward system for 2-3 months, then stopped reminding her about her reward. If she still asked for one after she went, we would give her one, if not we let the reward fade away until she no longer needed it.
5. PiddlePad. We have a Chicco NextFit and it's not the easiest thing to take apart to clean. This PiddlePad saved us on a few occasions with an accident in the car. (It's not perfect though-we did have a couple of accidents that the PiddlePad didn't catch.)
6. Everyone Poops. We read many, many books while waiting for the magic to happen on the potty. Our favorite was (and still is) Everyone Poops. It's so silly and perfect for potty training! We also read A Potty For Me. 

What didn't work for us:

  • In this motherhood journey so far, I've learned how individual each child is with the milestones they reach, and potty training is no different! We tried potty training around 18 months and it didn't work for us, and started again after she turned 2 because Lucy seemed ready, and I truly believe you have to watch your child to see when they are ready. We knew she was ready because:   
            *she could tell us when she Peed/Pooped in her diaper    
             *she could pull her pants up and down without a lot of assistance
             *she would go 1 or 2 times a day at daycare when they would take her
  • The "Potty Train in 1 weekend" Idea. I started on a weekend when I had 3 uninterrupted days at home with her, but honestly it took 4-5 days before she would tell me she had to go on her own, and then lots of reinforcing in the days after.
  • Pull-Up style diapers. These were great for practicing pulling pants up and down but otherwise she still treated it like a diaper. 
What worked for us:

  • Running out of pull-ups. We used pull-ups (or the Target brand) during the day so she could practice pulling up/down her pants. When we tried potty training the first time I got so frustrated with the amount of pee and poop all over my house that I gave up and we just gave up and kept on using the pull ups. One weekend, I ran out, and decided if I didn't have any pull-ups to fall back on then maybe we could pull it off. And we did!
  • Delaying Night-time potty training. I am pregnant, y'all. And I need my sleep. So we decided to hold off on night-time potty training until I have the energy. She wakes up dry sometimes after nap and never after going the whole night, so I took this as a sign that we weren't ready for that part yet. 
  • Timing potty time with a timer the first 3 days. I used my iPhone timer and we would go every 30 minutes the first day, 45 minutes the 2nd day, 1 hour the 3rd and by the 4th day I waited for her to tell me (with me reminding her by asking "do you need to go potty?") 
  • Patience. This is not a magical thing, y'all. After we had "successfully" potty trained, she still had poo accidents at school every day for about a month. We finally had to get her a special snowman PEZ dispenser that she would earn after she pooped in the potty at daycare. We reminded her about it every day, made a HUGE deal about it, and about 2 weeks later she was very proud when she had finally earned it! She has also had rare accidents outside playing or in the car, but patience has been the biggest life saver. Coming to terms with the fact that it is not a perfect science, and that accidents will (and can) happen has helped my sanity more than anything! 
  • Carrying around an extra pair of pants/panties...just in case!
I hope this helps any of you mammas out there who are trying to tackle the potty-training beast! It is messy and crazy but so worth the pride your little one gets when they can do it themselves, and you know, the whole cost savings of not buying diapers...