While this isn't exactly a cutesy post like last time, or probably anything that Darcy would like being repeated about her when she's say, 15, I feel like I have to document our foray into potty training. We might have another kid someday and have to do this again. Plus I am kind of amazed by the method we've used and how it has been going. So gear yourselves up, its time for Potty Training Boot Camp!
We switched D into Pull ups a few months ago, hoping that she'd catch on to potty training without the drastic methods we saw online. Surely she'd pick it up quickly, right? Apparently, not so much. After a couple times using the potty, she quickly lost interest and showed us no desire to stop going in her PullUps. I've heard this now lots of places, the diapers and PullUps are so absorbant that they don't care if they are wet. After a few months of this, and paying for the I-can't-believe-anything-costs-more-than-diapers training pants, we decided to go with the go-for-broke weekend method, which is detailed in several different places online. I also wanted to try this method because Darcy has two working parents, and doing the potty training slowly over time just wasn't going to work out without a solid foundation set before she had to go back to daycare. Here are a few sites we looked at for advice:
To get prepared for our weekend adventure, I stocked up on stickers in multiple sizes, printed potty charts (freebies all over the web or make one in powerpoint like I did), new little girl underpants, carpet cleaner, and I even bought a new SpotBot, which we've used for years to clean up after Logan's little carpet bombs. We cleared the schedule of things to do and focused entirely on potty training - no groceries, no trips to the mall, no anything outside of hanging out at home and having fun with the potty. We used the timer function on Tony's ipod to play a fun little chime every 30 minutes or so. Then we ran to the potty - "potty break, potty break!" I also made sure there was a pile of favorite books and some new little cheap toys - happy meal freebies, little dollar store junk - in the bathroom next to the potties. We would provide lots of water and juice and some salty snacks to keep her drinking. For now, we would allow PullUps for naptime and bedtime and eventually for car rides when we started venturing out again. Results were mixed to start, and we had to change up a couple strategies here and there, but here's our day by day review of the process so far.
Day 1: Saturday
On Saturday morning, I told Darcy it was potty time and there was a present for her in the bathroom. She immediately ran and sat on the potty to get her present, although didn't do anything while sitting other than demand her present. :) Her "present" was a new pair of Yo Gabba undies, which she immediately wanted to put on. While we put them on, I told her what they were and that there were "no more PullUps!" which we turned into a fun chant. I also showed her the charts and yay fun when she used the potty, she got a little sticker! I saved the small stars and smiley stickers for just sitting, but when she actually did something on the potty, I had big stickers ready to give out. Of course we also completely freaked out and lost our mind when she actually DID something in the potty - singing, dancing, cheering, hugging - it was the marti gras of potty celebrations.
We went about our day indoors as usual, except for multiple towels covering every piece of furniture I cared about, and no TV because it was too distracting - she just zones out like her daddy. :) After just a few hours, we had one successful #1 in the potty, and multiple accidents down her leg. We ran through 5 or 6 pairs of undies by naptime so I decided that maybe bare bottomed was better - I'd still have carpet to clean, but less laundry. Potty break time was starting to wear on everyone, Darcy was starting to refuse to go, and the times she would sit for a while, nothing would happen. Until maybe 5 minutes after she got up, when she'd go again. I changed up the timing on the ipod - setting for 35 minutes after her last pee, and if she couldn't go then, we'd try again in 5-10 min intervals until she could go. We tried withholding things like TV shows to use as rewards, but it just led to tantrums and started looking more like a power struggle. We were spending a lot of time cramped up in the bathrooms with not much to look at or do, even as I rotated through books and toys.
By end of day Saturday, I was starting to worry if we'd be back in PullUps by Sunday night in preparation for daycare on Monday. :(
Day 2: Sunday
The morning on Sunday started much like Saturday, continuing with the bare bottom treatment. By mid morning, she had used the potty once and had several accidents. But at least she had started to notice that something was going on - we would hear her say "oops" or "uhoh" as she had her accident and try to rush her over to the potty to at least get one drop in the potty. I had to take a deep breath and call that progress. After thinking through the no TV policy, I realized that it was truly a distraction, but it might serve to help us. So I moved the potties out into the living room downstairs and bonus room upstairs and we put on a movie. This time, the timer worked very well, when it went off, as long as she could stay in the room, she hopped up and watched TV from her potty. By naptime, she had used the potty 7 times and only had 3-4 accidents, mostly from before the TV watching started. Post naptime, there were no more #1 accidents that evening! I started to think this might actually work. And Darcy was so proud of herself as we freaked out over every tiny little drop. By bedtime, she was saying "Mommy Daddy look at me!" and "I use the potty". We called a whole bunch of family members so she could brag to them as well.
Day 3 & on:
Daycare! Here's what I sent to Daycare, and here are the results!
To all Darcy’s teachers –
This weekend, Darcy started a diaper-free potty training program at home. She’s been doing really well with it at home this weekend and we hope you can help us continue it at school. Here’s the basics of what we are doing.
1. No diapers or pull ups while Darcy is awake (OK to use a Pull-up at naptime). In fact, while at home, we have Darcy wearing nothing from the waist down. Since we realize that isn’t possible at daycare, we have decided to put her in loose fitting clothes with nothing underneath to get in the way. We will make sure to provide lots of changes in case of accidents. She still may need some help to pull down her pants while she gets used to this. Please let us know if you think dresses and underpants would work better.
2. Please remind her every 30-40 minutes to use the potty. We’ve been using a timer, which seems to work better than us just telling her, but please try to remind her in some way on a regular schedule. If you need me to provide a timer, I can. She should also be reminded to go 10-15 minutes after eating or drinking and immediately before going outside to play.
3. Please use the phrase “OK, its time for a potty break now, lets go!” (said with lots of enthusiasm). If she is asked if she needs the potty or if she has had an accident, she will say “no” automatically, it is better to make it into something fun and hurry her over to the potty before she thinks there is a choice involved. If she refuses, don’t force her, but you may want to try again within 5-10 minutes or risk an accident.
4. If she doesn’t do anything on the potty, please give her praise for trying and say we’ll try again later. Please don’t scold or judge if she doesn’t use the potty or when there are accidents. A encouraging message “its OK, potty training is hard, we’ll try again next time, I know you can do it, etc.” seems to be the best approach for her. We will provide lots of extra clothes and please tell us if we need to provide more.
5. When she actually does use the potty, please give her lots of praise and hugs, we’re so proud of you, cheering, etc. At home, she gets to put a sticker on her potty chart and then gets a sticker to carry around, put on her shirt, whatever. I’ve sent some stickers and the chart, please use them and let me know if I need to provide more.
Our hopes are that by providing this in writing we can help make the process easier for you and help give Darcy some consistent training. Because I know that your classroom is very busy and you have lots of children to care for, I understand if you cannot follow this plan exactly. However, if you feel like you have to make major changes to the plan to accommodate your class, I would appreciate you letting us know so that we can make sure to talk it over and come up with a good compromise and keep Darcy on a consistent plan.
Thanks so much and please call us at any time with your questions or concerns. We’d love to hear how Darcy is doing in your classroom, any notes you can make on her daily form would be wonderful.
Bridget & Tony Meadows
Monday - Two #1 in the potty at school. Darcy went through every piece of clothing we sent and was sent home in a PullUp because there was nothing else left! Once home and bare bottomed, there were no more accidents.
Tuesday - EIGHT #1 and one #2 in the potty! 3 accidents, one was because she wasn't quite done and finished up just a few minutes after a successful trip. She asked her Daddy to help her use the potty during drop off and was starting to tell the teachers she needed to go before the accident and not after.
Wednesday - ELEVEN #1 in the potty and only one accident!! The accident was because she was trying to use the potty but some of it got on her clothes. This morning, before heading to daycare, she said "Momma, I have to use the potty!"
So we just finished up Day 5 and I am soooo glad we have stuck with it and didn't buckle to using Pullups during that first rough 36 hours. We still have to tackle the car trips, naptime, and bedtime, but I think that will come in time. Right now, I'm so very proud of my little pee-er that I can hardly help but do a big celebrating dance every time she uses the potty. Not having to buy diapers and PullUps will be sooo wonderful. And I think watching her be so proud of herself is a great reward that I wasn't even expecting.