Sunday, November 6, 2016

P is for Potty Training

 Pee, poop, potty seats...all things potty training.  Before I get into what we did, there are a few things you need to know.

1. What worked for my son, may or may not work for your child.  Tweak it to fit your child's needs.

2. By potty trained, he is using the potty throughout the day, but feels more comfortable wearing a pull up at nap just in case (and I am okay with that, especially if he hasn't pooped that morning sometime) and a diaper overnight, as he still wakes up wet sometimes.

3.  There will still be times when you are cleaning up poop.

4.  Look closely at your child.  Listen closely to your child.  Get them involved as much as you can. 

5.  Just because someone else has a child who was potty trained by a certain age, or in X amount of days, doesn't mean it will go that way for you. 

6. Look at what is going on in your lives as a family and their lives as an individual.  Too much change at once can cause things to backfire and take longer.

7. Consistency, consistency, consistency

8. There will be accidents.  Let them roll off like they are no big deal and move on.

9.  Bribery is can go a long way to getting successes.

10.  Daniel Tiger has a great episode on going potty and an awesome song to use.  My son still uses the words, as do we, but not always sing it

11.  Learn a potty happy dance.  You may think I am kidding, but if you can be beyond excited about it, they are more likely to keep at it.  Or any type of verbal praise goes a long way.

12.  Let them help.  Let them pick out a seat.  Let them pick out underwear.  Let them lead the way for when they are comfortable to move to the next step.

For us, potty training has been a process.  It was my plan originally to start the process a year ago during the Summer, just after my son had turned 2.  However, after finding out we were pregnant and deciding to sell our house and move, I decided that would be enough change.  Plus, I wouldn't have the time to invest, nor could I be consistent.  While he told us when he had poop most of the time, looking back, he wouldn't have been ready then to start.

Move forward to after the first of this year.  My son, almost 3, started showing interest.  He wanted to pick out a seat.  We started out giving it a try whenever he asked and using stickers as a reward.  Things were going alright.  I used a timer and when it went off he would try.  Most of the time, he wouldn't do anything.  I began to notice that he was getting frustrated when he had to stop and go try. And the stickers became more about putting them all over his shirt and playing with them then a reward.  We also used peppermint candies, which he loved, as a reward once he got enough stickers.  But it came to a point when he was asking for one every time and would melt down when he didn't get one.  Then we were working on his brother's room and weren't being consistent. Plus, all of us got hit with a bad cold bug and after that any time we tried to have him try he pushed back.  He was getting defensive.  So, we decided to take a break. 

It wasn't until the end of the Summer of this year, when he was almost 3 1/2 that we went back to it.  Not his choice at was mine.  He and his brother were taking a bath when all of a sudden he said he had to poop.  I quickly pulled him out of the water and set him on the toilet.  He was uncertain at first and didn't want to use it, but when I told him the mess it would make in the tub he was okay, relaxed more and ended up going potty.  He went again right before bed after a little encouragement.

About a week later, we were visiting family, and after he woke from the overnight and having his diaper leaked, I told him he needed to start trying to go before naps and before bed.  It would help  him not have diaper leaks.  After a few days of that, we added in after he woke for the morning and after he woke for nap. 

A few days of that, then we started the potty pennies.  He could earn pennies for using the potty.  Once he got to 10 pennies he could trade them in for a surprise from the basket.  There were ten items in the basket, all things I found in the dollar section at Target.  When we got to the last one, we were done.  We also made the deal with him that once he was dry and in underwear during the day he could have the train engines Bash and Dash that he had been asking for.  The engines were completely his idea and it was something that we figured if it was his motivation, he would work towards it.  Here's how it worked.

Until he got comfortable going pee and would go on his own when he needed we used this method of payment.

Sit on the potty ~ 1 penny
Pee ~ 2 pennies
Poop ~ 3 pennies

It then changed to
Pee ~ 1 penny
Stayed dry ~ 2 pennies
Poop ~ 3 pennies (he was still learning how to know when his body needed to poop and making it to the bathroom in time)

On the wall in the bathroom I had the pockets I made hanging up on the wall.  No, it wasn't my intent to have them look like underwear (as asked by my husband...looks even better when you have a penny in it). But they worked.  My son would put the penny/ies in that he earned.  He could easily see how many he had earned and how many more he needed.  By the time we got through all the surprises, he was ready to be in underwear and he was good to go.  We made a big deal about going and getting the two engines.

Two months later he is doing great!  Only a couple of accidents and he still wears a diaper for the overnight.  However, he wakes dry more days than not.  And we just started a couple days ago not wearing a pull up during nap.

When we have traveled, we take along his potty seat (which just sits on top of any seat) and also had him in a pull up for the car ride.  If there is one thing learned during this is that when a kid says they have to pee, they don't usually mean in five or ten minutes, they mean now. 

Be ready for lots of curiosity.  My son would always want to look after one of us had gone.  Then once he started using the toilet, he stand and look for a bit before flushing.  There have even been times when he called me to come look at his poop and if I didn't he would describe what it looked like.

I remember the first time he went poop on the potty without being asked to go try.  I was upstairs getting his brother ready for a nap and I heard him say "mom, mom, I went poop!" My first response was, "where" and when I found out it was in the toilet there were lots of praises.

Now, I have two boys.  Boys pee different than girls as you know.  When we first started the potty training, any time he sat on the potty we wadded up toilet paper to make sure things stayed pointing down and going in the toilet.  When we were out, we do a wipe and then toilet paper.  Why the wipe?  Because most bathrooms out and about don't have the greatest absorbency toilet paper and the wipe is enough to make sure the pee doesn't still manage to go down the legs and get everything wet.  Someone had suggested having him sit backwards on he seat, but we haven't tried that yet.  Now, he usually remembers to push things down on his own and doesn't use the toilet paper wad, unless we aren't at home. 

There are going to be easier days then others.  Even now, we will ask him to go before we move to the next thing and he gets mad at us sometimes.  When they are ready all the pieces will fall into place quickly.  The harder you push, the more they will resist.  So, go with the flow.  Be flexible, patient, and ready for anything and all things poop and pee.  Good luck!

Share any tips and success you've had below in the comments.

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