March 4, 2013

Potty Training Progression

The convenience of the travel potty seat!!
This is in the back of our car!
I've been trying to record some notes from our potty training saga. This is rather lengthy, but I want to share it with you to demonstrate that I think potty training is very much a process. For us we made little steps forward a bit at a time, and with each one I would still say we are training (and are today, since he wears a diaper for naps and bedtime), but more and more I would say we are 'mostly trained'.


When M was about 20 months (May, 2012) we bought a plush potty seat, just to try, just in case, and happened to notice his poop face, and got lucky, every now and then. But then something happened and the potty became intimidating for a while. We were frequently declined when we offered him the chance to go, even though he clearly had to go, and was uncomfortable in poopy diapers, and refused to sit in a high chair or carseat when soiled.

Around 23 months (July), I actually got a yes one morning when I asked if he wanted to sit on the potty. Given his recent pattern, I knew I was going to change a poopy diaper before we left for school, and I was dying to avoid it. And we indeed caught it!! In the freestanding grown up potty. I rewarded this with the first thing I thought of and happened to have on hand: chocolate covered pretzels. The kid probably would have gone for more healthy REGULAR pretzels, or even stickers... But this started a trend I was afraid to mess with. For the next two weeks he was doing his morning business on the potty with only one exception.

Even on our weekend trip to LegoLand (September). We took a travel potty with us, and carried the removable seat around with us when we were out and about, just in case.

The next weekend (October) was a long weekend, and we decided to give the 3-day method a try. Sort of. I couldn't bring myself to really stay home for 3 days straight, without leaving. We went out some, but mostly he wore big boy underwear at home. This was they key to getting pees regularly in the potty (as prior to this we were only catching his daily poo). He finally figured out it was OK to pee in the potty, and we were much more successful.

The Tuesday after the long weekend, we told school, and they agreed to be more vigilant and encouraging, and added him to the list of potty-goers. He went 3 times that day (where previously he's declined or sat with no results)!

The next week we went on vacation, across the country, and he actually made significant progress!! We visited all the bathrooms in the airports and planes and restaurants and friends' houses, again mostly with the handy travel potty seat. On our day traveling back, he stayed dry all day!

His first day back to school he had a couple of wet diapers, but also lots if successes! The next day he was dry all day and they asked if we could send in underwear or pull-ups! I couldn't bring myself to send in Pull Ups, since we'd been using cloth diapers for so long. So we did send in several pair of underwear and lots of extra pants. And we kept offering the potty at home (especially before we left for things) and on the weekends. Only going through 3 diapers per day!

A couple weeks later (November), he finally started going to school in big boy underwear full time (gerber training pants). He still had about one accident per day. That weekend we went to an event outside the house in underwear ( to see Thomas the Train)! He had one accident while there (he was too busy playing with toy trains they had set up to come get us for a potty break), but was not a big deal at all. we have used hardly any diapers this whole weekend. M started getting blisters on his birdie, so we switched to disposables and night/nap time :( Got to use our portable potty in the back of the car before heading home...

During the next month (December) he twice stopped playing all on his own, went into the bathroom, raised the seat, moved the step stool, pulled down his pants and went all by himself, without even telling us! He was already at little wet and needed new underwear and pants but... yay! Once, Daddy and I snuck up outside the bathroom and when he turned around we cheered. He was SO PROUD of himself.

After traveling home for the holidays (Jan 2013), I think we had some regression. could be partly due to the shifting schedule, or the excitement of all the new toys, or the lack of schedule until school started again. Either way, for a day or two every potty opportunity was an accident. Then just a few accidents. And when he started at his new school, he had one accident per day, all three days, and on the weekend, only in the evening. By the next week, he was staying dry all day. whew.

***Mostly we find that accidents happen when WE forget to ask. I found that being pregnant helped me remember to invite him to go with me during each of the many visits I was making. And something my mom said really made me relax about it though and feel like we are 'there'. I was telling her that we still have some accidents and she said, 'Oh hon, you'll have that 'til he's 5...' and I thought, 'OK, maybe he's pretty trained then.'***

It is only recently (Feb, 2013) that he reliably tells us when he needs to go, with enough time to get there, and can actually hold it until he's made it.

- All of this said, look for another post with the summary of what I think has worked best for us. - 

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