Potty training is a necessary evil in parenthood. The upsides are many; with the cost of diapers alone, the savings are enough to make any parent potty train as quickly as possible! But, leaving the house becomes much more of an adventure, time at home is much more stressful, and it generally takes more time and energy than many can muster. Motherhood is taxing and busy, but throwing potty training into the mix can make even the most calm mom lose her head!
We know that there are a variety of ways and methods to potty train your child and each has their own pros and cons. Regardless of what method you use, there are things that every mom will go through. I write this to let you know that you are not alone. A friend of DFWMama.com, Lisa, allowed us a “fly on the wall” view of how potty training went with her just-turned-2-year-old boy, Hudson.
Lisa swears by the potty training method presented in Toilet Training in Less than a Day because it worked for her daughter, Ava when she potty trained her at 2 years 5 months over a year ago. The day after her little boy Hudson turned 2 she was cramming over the book ready to see it work again. She decided to train him earlier because she met some resistance with Ava that she attributed to the sassiness that comes with being 2 1/2.
The primary principles outlined in this book are:
- Spend one full day potty training without any distractions giving your child your full, undivided attention
- Teach them with a doll so that they understand the concept of going to the bathroom
- Put on underwear and never go back to diapers or pull-ups again during waking hours
- Offer them all the drinks that they want so that you have lots of opportunities for practice
- Teach them through dry pants inspections, practicing going to the potty and use the potty by themselves (Lisa’s addition: rather than following the book and having them go independently, she has taught her children to let her know when they have to use the potty)
- When they wet their pants, let them know that this is wrong, make them practice what they should have done when the have to go to the bathroom, and have them clean up the mess
- Give your child the control by reminding them to tell you when they have to use the bathroom rather than asking them if they have to go
- Reward with treats, songs, and incredible excitement
- Have a list of close family, friends, and favorite characters who will be proud of them when they use the potty
- And….possibly most important…once you begin potty training, you can’t go back. Stick with it until you reach success.
Lisa started the training just after breakfast on Monday morning and never looked back. The tile floor in Lisa’s house came in handy as she and Hudson spent the day playing with his train table. Hudson wore nothing but a t-shirt and underwear…9 pairs that first day! But by the end of Monday, Hudson had asked to use the potty and actually done it! A huge victory for Lisa.
When potty training it is important to rejoice in the small victories. Lisa didn’t leave the house for several days, so it’s easy to get discouraged (and lonely)! Every small step towards independence is celebrated. It’s important to have friends and family close who will rejoice with you because it is so easy to get frustrated and depressed with minor setbacks. It’s also important to have people around who won’t let you quit. Stopping and starting potty training unless absolutely necessary will only get confusing for everyone. Pushing through the difficult times is crucial for success and sanity.
Lisa quickly found that Hudson really enjoyed the bribe of candy, juice, or a snack to go on the potty. But she also found that he got very excited about his special potty song. Lisa is notorious for making up creative and fun songs for her kids. Hudson’s potty song goes something like this:
Hudson goes pee pee
Hudson goes pee pee
Hudson goes pee pee in the pot-ty!
The song is sung with much clapping and excitement. Lisa says the pride in his eyes when she sings that song is absolutely priceless.
By Friday (Day 5) Hudson was asking to use the Fisher Price potty on the go when they were out and about. This potty on the go is compact and comes in a very non-descript and gender-neutral (read: your husband may carry it!) carrying case. The blue legs collapse for easy storage. The white seat lifts off to insert a plastic bag for use. Lisa loves this potty chair because it is easy to pack and carry. It is also wonderful because you do not need to purchase any other supplies; you can simply recycle a plastic grocery bag to go under the white seat. (Tip from Lisa: rather than purchasing the pads that come with the potty, use disposable nursing pads in the bottom of the plastic bag for less mess at a much lower price!)
Several accident-free days gave the false illusion that Hudson was ready for anything. Hudson got distracted on Days 5 and 6 with one accident each day. But by the one week mark, the little man had turned the corner and was doing a great job staying dry all day.
One thing Lisa learned was that perhaps Hudson was getting frustrated by being asked all the time. She was asking him about the potty every 5-10 minutes and he was still having accidents. So, she decided to just stop asking him and found that he started telling her! (This is actually a principle from the book, but as Lisa says, it’s hard to remember to stop asking, especially when you are trying to avoid messy clean ups.) Once he figured out that it was not a game and the diapers were not coming back, he was ready to wear big boy pants full time.
It’s been two weeks since that full-day training session and Hudson has had accident-free days as well as a few days with an accident or two. He has gone potty in the potty on the go in the back of the car on the side of the road. He has gone potty in the ladies room at Costco. He has come in from the pool to go potty inside. He gets excited and proud when he tells his parents that he has to go because he knows how important it is. Lisa sings his song and still make a big deal about it when he remembers to tell her that he needs to go potty. For Hudson, the bribery of candy worked for a few days, but the song continues to delight now two weeks later. Lisa still worries about taking him out in public or where he might get distracted and forget, but they’ve both done an excellent job.
Hurrah for potty training in one day … or at least, a week!