I am a little hesitant to write this post, one because I'm afraid it could jinx our accident free streak, but also because I always try to stay cognizant of that line of over sharing. I truly never thought I'd post about potty training, but in the last few months I was always interested in reading others experiences and that's part of what I love most about blogging. Connecting with a great group of supportive moms and sharing ideas, experiences, and stories. At the same time, this is a story and experience I share with Ashlynn and I don't want to put all the details out on the internet for her to be embarrassed later on, because I'd probably die if roles were reversed.
You can read my "potty prep" post here.
Basically, here's what worked and what didn't. I had planned to do a "modified 3-day method" meaning ditching diapers cold turkey, except I was going to use Pull-Ups at nap and bedtime since we still had issues with waking dry. I'll quickly say the method I used evolved to sticking with what was working for us and changing what wasn't.
We spent the first day doing a lot of time on the potty. "Trying" every hour or so. This was less about forcing her to go, or catching the rare occurrence that it would happen at the time we were there, and more about keeping focus. She had never gone on the potty prior to this attempt so it really did become the theme of the weekend. By the second day, I switched to the "Let mommy know if you need to use the potty". Of course, I still said this fairly frequently as a reminder to her to keep her cues in check, and even still three weeks later I'll occasionally ask if it's been a while and I feel like she may be getting to side tracked by something else.
The first day, the bucket of toys, books, miscellany was great. I would read a potty book, or let her hold a princess wand. By the third day, I realized she was spending too much time on the potty. Not because she was truly trying to go, but because she wanted the novelty of a story or bathroom exclusive toy. I also kept the little potty downstairs and insight, mainly so I could keep my eyes on Kenley without actually dragging her into the bathroom each non-productive visit. At this time, all potties were kept in the bathroom and visiting the bathroom became solely for the task of going potty. The potty is not a chair, we do not sit and play. We try, if no success, we can try later and leave. This definitely helped cut back on the trips and I think instilled a better understanding of her false alarms.
By Monday, we were still having problems. No accidents and she definitely knew the cue of when she needed to go, but it was the fear of going. I started getting scared that I was traumatizing her and we were headed down a path of a child who would give herself actual physical conditions, yet at this point I knew that diapers or potty it didn't matter, she knew when she needed to go and didn't want to in either. I called the pediatrician in the morning to get advice and waited for a call back. By nap, I hadn't heard from them and decided it was over. We'd try again in a few months, I didn't want her having the stress. She's only 26m and there was no need to be doing it other than she showed signs of readiness and it was a good time to take the opportunity. I put everything away. Everything.
She woke from her nap and insisted on the potty. I tried to say, it's okay, we'll use diapers, no potty. Nope. Wasn't acceptable. Relunctly, I pulled it out. I don't think we had success until a bit later, which only frustrated me more that I indeed caused damage in the span for 4 days. However that night, after daddy put her to bed. I was called to her room and requested urgently to use the potty. I let her and she went right away. She woke a few hours later night, went again, no problem. Morning, no problem. The switch turned on. I don't know if it was the reverse psychology of taking it away, or just that she needed to do it X number of times to get used to it and get over the fear, but ever since number one is a breeze. The other job was still a bit of production, but the pediatrician didn't show any concern and she's slowly gotten the hang of that and it has gotten much easier now that we built experience.
I had used Pull Ups the first few nights, but after a solid week of waking dry and calling for me when she needs to go, we switched to undies full time. It's still a learning curve, but she's survived a road trip out of state, multiple outings, pool time, etc.
For my experience, those first five days were some of the hardest days I've had a parent. Am I doing what's best for my child? Am I pushing something that doesn't need to be pushed? Am I'm supportive enough? I truly feel as if there was no way possible that I could have been a bigger cheerleader and master of patience without losing my temper. It took a toll on me. However, seeing her success now and how easy it seems in hindsight, it seems to have made those first few tough days worth it.
That said, I truly have no advice. I am not a professional potty trainer and every child is unique. I would support giving it some time to sink in, as in, don't quit the first day if there is some resistence. Let them have a chance to figure it out, but if it's a battle and progress isn't made, no one is failure. Just simply it's not time. I also support the whole, letting accidents happen and not getting upset. They'll learn pretty fast that they don't like it on their own and don't need the fear or guilt of disappointing their hero of making the mistake. Ashlynn was also smart enough to refuse drinking water and milk when offered (all.the.time.), but couldn't resist smoothies and popsicles, so use those your advantage!
So yay! We officially have a "Big Girl"! Just don't tell her that cribs are for babies, I'm selfishly milking that one a bit longer.
Any tips or tricks that made the task easy for you? Please share in the comments for readers looking to gain more information!