A couple weeks ago, we decided it was time to try to start potty training Miss K. Yowza! I know that a lot of people think it’s REALLY early – she’s now 21 months old – but here are the things that led me to believe that she was ready:
- She consistently could tell me that she had gone to the bathroom. Sometimes she’d get the words mixed up for what happened in her diaper but she was able to recognize and understand that she had gone to the bathroom.
- She started waiting until she was alone to go #2, which said to me that she could recognize that she had to go and wanted some privacy
- She started showing interest in taking her clothes on and off herself.
- She was going to the bathroom less frequently than in her younger years, showing that she was able to hold it for longer periods of time.
- She was able to sit and concentrate on an activity for more than 8-9 minutes at a time
- She was curious about what I was doing in the bathroom
And ya, from my perspective, there’s a lot of benefit in getting her potty trained – she’s had a lot of diaper rashes and keeping her out of a wet diaper is important. Also, we’re having a baby in February and it would be a heckuva lot easier to only have one in diapers. She’s going to school and while they are great about changing her frequently (once she came back with three wet diapers in a three hour period!), there’s peace of mind knowing that she’d be free of diapers there.
Anyway, I found a book to serve as a guide – I used Jamie Glowacki’s Oh Crap! Potty Training. It was a quick/easy read and so far it’s been going well for us. According to the author, the sweet spot for potty training is between 20-30 months and Miss K. fits right in there. I think it’s been a benefit to us that she has just the right amount of awareness – she’s not so developed that she is trying to outsmart me and isn’t afraid of things like the flushing of a toilet.
On day one, we had several pees on the floor, but that’s expected. You’re supposed to start getting the little one comfortable with using the potty. And you want to start making the association that pee and poop go in the potty, not in your pants. By the end of the day, she was definitely comfortable with the potty and was proud when she made it there in time. She didn’t go #2 (I guess this is something that happens frequently) but on day 2, she went twice in the potty! As gross as it is to have to clean a dirty potty, I was super proud of her. She had a couple accidents but was definitely showing that she was “getting it.” On day three, she went through FIVE pairs of pants within like seven hours. Seriously. It was a trying day. But we pushed through and the next day she only had one accident and that was mostly my fault for being on the phone and not watching her signs. Day five, we sent her back to school. She didn’t have any accidents there! I was super excited. But unfortunately she did have one at home. But still, I found it to be encouraging. Day six, she had two accidents at school and none at home. Day seven – ZERO accidents!!!!! I was super proud of her. She was beginning to tell me when she needed to go and was very cooperative to go to the potty. She WANTED to make it there in time. She was clearly uncomfortable when an accident happened.
It’s not an easy thing to potty train a toddler but for us, it’s going well. The first few days were EXHAUSTING but the progress is motivating. I think a few things that helped were:
- having a guide (the book) to come back to and refer to over and over again. I’ve never done this before so I wasn’t sure what to expect. The book helped to remind me of what’s normal and what to do. I didn’t feel so lost.
- we were able to keep her home from school for a few days to give her full attention while we walked down this path. She missed two days from school but I felt like it was worth it.
- she’s not in diapers while she’s awake. We haven’t started night-time/nap training yet so the only time she sees a diaper is when I put it on her right before her nap. And even then, I remind her it’s only for sleeping. I think this does away with any confusion about what’s ok and not ok…if she was wearing a diaper when awake, I think she’d have that sense of security and would be confused on whether or not she NEEDED to go to the potty or if she could just pee right then and there.
- having close family that encouraged rather than discouraged us. Both my husband and I were apparently potty trained by two years old so both of our moms thought it was great that we were starting with Karina. What’s interesting is that we visited a pediatrician (not our usual Ped because it was a weekend visit) and she was like “It’s REAAAALLLY early to be potty training,” almost as if she thought we were setting ourselves up for failure. I don’t think we are. If Miss K. really wasn’t getting it, I would put it aside. I would. But she’s getting it. For sure. She’s telling me when she needs to go.
- I started backing off on the prompting to use the potty and let her take the reigns a little once I saw she was able to give enough notice. Once she was even standing in the bathroom hollering “Potty!!!” by the time I got to her. I thought she was saying “Daddy!” this is because potty is sometimes pronounced “Paw-ee” and daddy is sometimes pronounce “Da-ee” and when she’s screaming, things don’t always register right with me.
- not being embarrassed to take the potty with us on outings. We just set the potty on the floor of the car and before going into a store or whatever, asked if she wanted to go. If she did, she’d go. It put us all at ease. We even pulled over to let her pee once because she told us. You have to respect the fact that the kiddo is telling you. I think it reinforces trust between kids and parents too. Actually yesterday was a little embarrassing – she hadn’t gone #2 all day and we wanted to go to a pumpkin patch. She said she needed to go before we got out of the car but she didn’t. So I actually put it in the stroller and took it with us, just in case. But she didn’t use it when we were at the pumpkin patch.
So that was our first week. I’m happy with the progression so far. In week 2, the goal will be to reinforce what she’s learned and hopefully get her comfortable with using the big toilet. She uses the toilet at school but I want to make sure she’s not overly attached to her little potty. Let’s hope we continue to progress without too many set backs.
I think she’s amazing.