Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Adventures in Potty Training my 24-month-old.

Parents already know this, but kids make no sense. Like, how is it possible that my kiddo potty trains before he sleeps through the night?* If you're envious, please repeat my new mantra: your successes are not my failures.

The Wee Boy started showing interest in the potty early this summer, but I dismissed it as as fluke -- mostly because I hadn't read any books about it. If I haven't read "the experts," then I'm not prepared to deal with it. Of course, I've read over ten "sleep experts," with no success there, so I'm trying to be more go-with-the-flow re: potty training.

Once he started preschool, however, he was all about the diapers. I stopped thinking about potty training.

Two-year-old in kilt. Perfect for potty training.
Then a little over a week ago, I decided I was over the diapers. Several need velcro replacements (they are cloth, and I bought them used), and though I did finally unpack my sewing machine, I decided I didn't have time to replace the hook & loop. Also, the weather is getting cooler, so there weren't many days left where running around naked would be comfortable.

He had a day off from preschool for Rosh Hashanah, so we went naked (well, he did). He had 1.75 accidents before 9am, and since then (a week) has made it to the potty -- even when we went out to the Irish Fest (he wore a kilt with nothing underneath like a proper Scot). We had a couple of sprinkles before he made it to the potty here and there, but he pretty much always ran to the potty and told us when he had to go.

Except at preschool. He was wearing pullups there, which I guess feel different from underwear or commando. Also, the pullups are disposable and even more absorbent than his old cloth diapers. (I'll have a cloth pullup tutorial for you later this week.)

I kept him home from preschool on Friday last week to start the switch to underwear at home (preschool says they are fine with accidents, but I wanted to see how he would do before just going for it at school).

We had more accidents than not the first two days. Mostly, he would make it to the potty, but go before we got his pants down -- he never pooped in them though, so success there. (And yes, I just talked about poop on my Red Accordion blog. Times have changed. Move along) Sunday morning, he woke up a new boy, and we haven't had to wash out any underwear anymore. We've even taken trips out of the house, in a car, to a friend's house for dinner ... like, normal people, living their lives. And the amazing Wee Man has told us he needed to go to the potty each and every time.

Potty training surely is different for every kiddo (though maybe if I marketed our method, I could make a million bucks), but I'll share our successes/failures:

  1. We did about 3 days of strict nudity, with me being completely vigilant watching for signs he was about to pee (glassy stare, standing still, etc). He made it to the potty all but the first two times, for the most part. One half-accident with a babysitter.

  2. We switched to pull ups (disposable at preschool and cloth at home, mostly). Instant problem. He even said, "Pull ups are fancy diapers."
  3. We ditched the pull ups. I tried some commando at home, but that wasn't working for us -- mostly because he was at preschool in the mornings and home at night, and it was confusing.
  4. Then we went straight to underwear, but no pants.
  5. He washed out his own underwear when he had an accident. For a while, I was afraid he actually enjoyed that, since he likes playing in the sink. But I think he understood, ultimately, that laundry is not a prize.
  6. Accidents stopped completely on the third day.
  7. We haven't bothered potty training for naps or night sleeping. He doesn't sleep through the night yet, so I told him I didn't want him to worry about the potty while he was sleeping. I needed him to concentrate on SLEEP.

This one was the thing that seemed to make the biggest difference for him, however:

8.  I stopped sitting him on the potty and stopped asking him if he needed to go. Instead, I asked him to tell me if he needed to potty. I asked him if his underwear was dry. Maybe he has control issues or something (pretty sure it's in his genes), but he just wasn't responding well to being put on the potty all the time. When we asked him to tell us, he started to think about it a little more, maybe became more in tune with his body. Whatever the magic, it worked for him.

9.  We definitely used rewards -- he got a sticker to decorate his little potty with each time he went. And also a sweet treat (grapes, or a fruit rollup, or part of a homemade cookie). We all do a potty dance. He likes to flush it away himself, and he loooooves washing his hands.
10. I lifted my screen-time-rule to watch the Daniel Tiger episode, "Prince Wednesday Goes to the Potty," which now means the Wee Boy shouts "Flush and wash and be on your way!" every time he goes.
Tomorrow he's off to preschool in underwear, which could lead to accidents, of course. I know he's relatively young for this, but he has been telling us every time he needs to go. I'm not going to put him in pullups knowing that he'll definitely pee in them. I'm just hoping he's as comfortable telling his teachers that he needs to go as he is telling his parents.

So potty training seems to be a massive success, whereas every course of sleep training was a massive failure.

BUT, I also made some super easy DIY cloth training pants that I won't be using anytime soon (again: we ditched the pullups) ... but I'll keep them around in case they are helpful for when we start potty training for naps. I'll share that pattern, etc, with you later this week.

*Edited to add that the Wee Boy just started an allergy medicine (the day after I started writing this post) that made him ALMOST sleep through the night!!! Whoo hoo. He still woke up talking, but pretty much went right back to a sleep. I prefer medicine-free, but I really, really, really like this one!

1 comment:

  1. Wow, G understands better than most parents that pull-ups are just fancy diapers! So glad you did this when he was showing he is ready. So many people seem to be missing the 18-24-month window when kids are actually interested & ready to train. Then they panic when the kid is nearing 4 & still not trained & it becomes a power struggle. G will most likely have some accidents at preschool, but as you said, his teachers are prepared to deal with it. Just send lots of spare clothes for him "just in case." Don't have my own kiddos to potty-train, but I've worked with plenty at my preschool :) - Tammy