Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Potty Training by a Non Expert

I want to start this post by letting you all know that I am NO expert in the area of potty training. I am just going to share our experience - the good, the bad and the ugly :)

Potty training is one of the areas of parenting that I dread. My experience hasn't been the best and when it didn't happen as fast or as easy as I saw it did for other parents I felt inadequate.

Because Isaac is a teenager I am going to spare him the embarrassment of sharing how it was with him. I don't really remember the specifics but I know he was over 3 before he was interested or willing to try.

I had read that girls were easier than boys so I used that as my comfort when it took a long time. Then we had Gabriel. From the start he hated the toilet. Would scream if we even thought about putting him on it. It was rough. Then we had this huge snowstorm and were stuck indoors for several days so I decided it was happening that weekend and wouldn't let him wear anything but underwear. The first few days were bad and with lots of accidents - but after the weekend he had it figured out and we were good to go!

With both Isaac and Gabriel we used pull-ups to help "train"....and it seemed like we were in that phase for a long time before we made the switch to underwear which isn't terribly cost effective because they are pretty expensive too!

When we moved and changed daycare providers Markel told us that she was somewhat of an "expert" at working with kids who are potty training.  I was skeptical but thought we would see when the time came.  Markel told me a few weeks ago that she thought Elijah might be ready to start, he was asking to go when some of the other kids did. She told us that when we were ready to go forward she only asked that we spend the weekend before with him in only underwear while he is awake.

So we decided that this weekend was "it" and after showers on Saturday made a big deal about wearing his "big-boy" underwear.

Saturday was a pretty big fail! He went through several pairs of underwear that day and even peed while sitting on Dominic's lap. It seemed like he just wasn't getting it.

On Monday I brought him to Markel's with his spare pants and underwear but wearing a diaper. I told her that the weekend was a flop and if she wanted to try with him she could - but I wasn't expecting miracles.

Boy was I wrong!!

The first day Markel took him to the bathroom every 15-20 minutes (a saint I know!!) But she said that he needed to start getting used to how it felt to need to go. He was given a "reward" of 1 skittle each time he went. Elijah was liking the treats and was motivated. He had 1 accident in the morning but was dry until bedtime that night.

Day two was even better and he stayed dry from 6am to 7pm!! And by day 3 (today) he was starting to tell us all that "I need go potty now". He is starting to get it and I am so very proud of him. Of course none of this would be possible if Markel hadn't been willing to work with him.

So what have I learned from these 3 very different experiences?

Well for starters no child is the same. You have to train them when they are interested. If you try and force it on your time you will get major resistence like we did with Gabriel.

I am a believer now that pull-ups may not be the best way to go. It really is a glorified diaper and the underwear give them that wet, uncomfortable feeling if they do have an accident. This is working with Elijah but it means that you have to really watch them esp. if they are on furniture! :)

During the first few days you will need to devote your time to taking them to the bathroom every 20 minutes or so. (Thanks Markel!) They start to understand how they are feeling when they have to go and this is the first step in recognizing the urge to go on their own.

There is no "right" or "wrong" time. I really believe that it is different for each child. And don't compare your child to other children of a similar age. My dad used to say that they wouldn't likely go to kindergarten in a stressing about it now wasn't worth it!

And finally - relax and don't let this be a stressful process for you or your child. Before you know it they will be teenagers and potty training will be a distant memory...unless you keep having kids like we did and then you will be repeating this time and time again! :)

Wouldn't have it any other way!! Happy Wednesday!!


Tracy said...

naked time worked best for O and A, for sure (similar to the undies method.) But, A still wears pull ups at night, so we're still spending our money there. boo.

Mom said...

That's how we trained you kids--we put the potty in the kitchen and put you on it every 30 minutes. We used Skittles, too! Within 24 hours you and your sister had it down. It took your brother longer and he was over 3 before we started, but the underwear did the trick. We lived in the dark ages, though and didn't have pullups!

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