Friday, June 20, 2014

how to (almost) potty train your toddler in 103 days (it really works!)

I was one of those moms that pinned a few "Potty Train Your Toddler in 3 Days" pins, read them in earnest, watched the Youtube videos and thought I was prepared for potty training.

I actually believed I would watch it happen in three short days, as promised.

Turns out either I had some unrealistic expectations or my toddler is an anomaly.   My toddler was not potty-trained in three days.  Nope.  At least not without lots of "accidents."

(If you have tried this three-day method with complete success I would love to talk to you.  Seriously, what magic did you use?)

We "waited until our toddler seemed ready."  Cormac was telling me when I needed to change his diaper, legs practically hanging off the changing table, asking about the potty, and waking up many mornings with a dry diaper.  He was just over 2.5, and all signs showed a green light for starting.

We chose a weekend we would both be home and dedicated ourselves to potty training him.

I bought a bunch of fun Lightning McQueen and Thomas the Train big boy underwear.

I purchased a pack of pull-up training diapers to wear during naps and at night.  (Some people don't do this, solely use underpants and just live through the accidents...I was not willing to be washing sheets constantly if that was gonna be the case.)

I hyped up the fact that we were getting rid of his diapers so he could "potty like a big boy" - and he seemed cool about it.

The weekend arrived and yes, we truly were done with diapers for good.

We rolled up rugs and spent the weekend playing and waiting for him to say he had to go.  There were maybe two accidents.  Maybe.  My confidence soared!  He even pooped once on the toilet!  So cool!  (Yeah, if you don't think this might be exciting you are not a first time potty-training parent.)

After those three days I figured, as promised, we were done with the hard part.  But oh no.  Let us not fool ourselves.  The hard part then began.

To sum up: the next 3-4 months were a rollercoaster.   Trying different toilets.  Sitting with him sometimes for support.  Giving him privacy when that was demanded.   Weekly bouts of constipation because he did not want to poop on the potty.  Quietly pooping (in his pants) in corners and at the end of his naps...places he felt comfortably pooping (clearly not the toilet.)   Accidents - many accidents - mostly when we'd go visit friends with kids and he was playing and did not care to stop and get me to help him go to the potty.  

Honestly the peeing has been fairly easy, but the pooping was our biggest issue.  I have heard with some kids the opposite is true, so I am only giving my personal experience, not necessarily the norm.
Where are we now?  Well, besides the occasional accident when he stays with someone else (I think the different environment probably throws him off) Cormac now goes to the potty all by himself.  He no longer even needs to tell me.  Most times he just walks right in there, goes, and comes out.  Sure his shirt is often tucked into his underwear, but I help him out with that.

He does his daily poop, right before naptime, on the toilet, rather than in his pants (praise Jesus!)

He wipes his own butt.  Uh, the best he can, then I have to check it.  (Yeah, I have gotten good at checking butt cracks.  Fun times.) 

He consistently wakes up dry, even though we still have him in pull-ups.  (I must let go of this!) 

He tells me when we are out that he has to go.  I no longer have to ask/remind him.  I think he got a little annoyed by me asking practically every ten minutes.  

Despite all this success...he still will have the occasional accident.  Like at the grandparents' houses.  Like when he rode his first kiddie roller coaster.  Like at the splash park recently.  (Thankfully that wasn't very noticeable.)

I am not sure if this is normal for a less-than-three-year-old.  I don't know if girls are easier to train.  I don't know if it is easier if your kid is in daycare because there are professionals working with them or if it perhaps harder.

I just know we have progressed a ton over the past few months and so I will focus on that.

Next step in our potty training journey - 'standing and peeing.'   Oh Lord.
my marvelous messy-haired monster