Our Potty Training Story

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Potty Training. Those are two words that are so bittersweet to a mothers' ear. It means no longer having to buy and change diapers, and yet it also means entering a whole new world of butt wiping, cleaning up pee off the floor, and begging your toddler to please, please, pleeeease just poop in the potty. So much fun. 

I wrote this post back in June, when Baylee was 23 months old, all about how terrified I was to potty train and that I didn't even know where to start. I was pretty sure back then that Baylee could stay in diapers forever and I would be okay with that. (Maybe not?) Flash forward to September, and an actual pep talk from a mom that I met at a concert (so random right?) who had just potty trained her 26 month old twins got me revved and ready. Baylee was also almost 26 months old, so if she could do it with two girls of the same age, I could definitely conquer just one...right? I got all the tools we needed: panties, pull-ups, a potty chair, a potty seat for the big toilet, and lots of diluted apple juice. We were going to do the 3 day challenge that is in every single potty training pin on Pinterest. Ha. Looking back now, I laugh.

I'm sure there are a gazillion kids who "potty train in a weekend", but not mine. Oh Lord, not mine. Before we get in to that, though, I guess my main struggle was some confusion on what "potty trained" actually means. For me, potty trained means my kid can wear underwear or a pull-up all day and keep it dry, while most of the time letting me know when they feel the urge to go. Reminding them often and occasional accidents may ensue, but for the most part staying dry until they reach a toilet means they are potty trained. What I now believe the 3 day challenge definition of "potty trained" is: when said child sits on the potty they poop or pee. While this is the most crucial part, at least in my opinion, this is only step 1 in the process. Perhaps I was overly optimistic, but I literally thought that I could have Baylee trained to my definition at the end of 3 days. It turned out that it was actually me who was getting trained.

Day 1 was accident city. I mean, the kid peed everywhere, and I was so frustrated. If I wanted to clean pee out of my carpet, I would have gotten a puppy. I thought about throwing in the pee soaked towel for a couple of months, and trying again when she was older, but I was stubborn and determined. It was then that I remembered the wonderful art of bribery.

So, on day 2, every time Baylee went pee on the potty she got a white chocolate chip. Poop equaled two white chocolate chips. Suddenly, we were getting somewhere and she was finally "trying" to go and getting it that pee in the potty=candy. She still had quite a few accidents, though, because she wasn't telling me when she felt the urge, and I had to resort to taking her every hour on the hour.

By day 3, I was a well trained watch dog. As soon as that clock hit anything o'clock we sat on the potty, Baylee got her chocolate chip, and mommy was exhausted. There were no more accidents, but I was practically in tears from spending the entire day in the tiny bathroom. This wasn't what I had in mind at all.

I started googling "When will my toddler start telling me that they need to go potty?" because I was now terrified to leave the house. There was no way we could reach a toilet every hour while we were out and about. Everything I read told me to chill out and that kids will tell you in time. I decided to take a breather, remind myself that "This too shall pass.", and keep trying.

As the weeks went by, I phased out the chocolate chips, and stretched the time I took Baylee potty from 1 to 2 to eventually 3 hours. About a month in, she started telling me when she needed to poop, and about 6 weeks in she finally started to let me know she had to pee. Did she still have accidents? Absolutely, but I tried my best to not flip and let her know that she was a big girl and now needed to try her best to make it to the potty. I eventually switched to strictly pull-ups for some peace of mind while we were out of the house, and so that I didn't have any clean up when she did have an accident, and that really helped both of us from getting frustrated. 

It took a solid 4 months, but she finally got better and better at holding it, and letting me know when she really had to go. Just this week, almost 5 months in, I decided to start trying to go pull-up free, and only wear undies, and I am proud to say that Baylee has stayed dry for 3 days now! Little accomplishments like that have been our saving grace through this whole ordeal.

So, for those of you in my boat, who don't have a child with a "potty train in 3 days" personality, my best advice to you is: don't potty train in 3 days. Take your time. There is absolutely nothing wrong with going at your child's pace and helping them be proud and eager to go potty instead of pressured and frustrated. Also, if I had it to do over again, I probably would have waited another month or two. I know a lot of kids potty train early, but biologically, their ability to hold it and recognize what the "urge" feels like just isn't there until they are closer to 3 years old. So, unless you absolutely have to, don't rush it. Kids absolutely know when they are ready.

And when they are finally ready, and stay dry for 3 days straight, you can celebrate with a lollipop. :)

Until next time! XoXoXo

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