I guess the true task of potty training started when P was 3 weeks old. My husband read an article about training babies by the time they are 6 months so he wanted to give it a try. He was solo on this mission. I was juggling mastitis. In retrospect, I think occasionally holding P over the toilet since that age made her comfortable with the process and gave us a head start.
Our other mission since birth was to not keep her in wet diapers. We always changed frequently but as I think about this I’m not sure if it was our mission or her crying that prompted the change. She’s never dug a wet diaper….but it’s a chicken or the egg thing, what came first? I don’t remember.
We bought P a potty at about 11 months, right before she started walking. This mission was clear: we wanted her to get comfortable with sitting while we did, and we didn’t want to pressure her. Also we wanted her to be able to walk to it and use it when she did start walking.
Every once in a while she did go. We started noticing patterns in going so we tried to get there on time. Again, this whole process was with no pressure or purpose other than to make her comfortable. Every time she went we cheered. One time though, I remember being so excited I think I scared her so I had to tone it down.
At about 17 months the using of the potty became a bit more frequent. Mornings were a good time to get there as it was very predictable. Then one day while lying in bed she looked over to the bathroom, pointed and said “pee pee”. We took her over. She held it and then went. We knew it was time to focus on this 100%. Now, the only issue was when.
I started doing research and found that it would take about 3-5 days of staying at home and working on potty training and only potty training. We were about to start swim lessons and my mother was coming so it was going to have to wait. Finally at 19 months I cleared my schedule and we began.
We went to Target and bought Minnie Mouse and Hello Kitty underwear that she picked out. We bought Minnie Mouse, Nemo, and Hello Kitty stickers. I talked to her about what we were going to do and what I expected of her and knew she could do. I knew the process was going to try my patience but I also thought P would take to it super fast because of all the signs she showed of being ready. She also catches onto things really quick. Well, it’s been anything but easy and far more trying than I expected.
The first day was bad. The second day was bad. The third day was horrible and I went with all my girl-friend’s advice and had her go naked. It worked much better. Fourth day she was great. And by great, I mean we still had 2-3 accidents but the rest of the day was a success. I was in bed most of that day so I was thrilled the job was easier on my husband…but it still tried his patience big time. Fifth day was not that great. She went on the floor half the time and made it the other half. And the sixth day….she was a super staaar!
We started the morning at home. Pooed on the floor once but everything else was in the toilet. Then in the afternoon we went downtown to the Dwell show and she had NO accidents. None! She went in the toilet 6 times during the 5 hours we were out of the house and didn’t pee during the nap on the way there. I packed 4 shirts, 5 pants and 4 pairs of shoes, plenty of plastic bags and wipes just in case. I placed a pad on her stroller and on her car seat. My huge worry was that she would go on an expensive sofa or rug, which we couldn’t afford. I stayed consistent with stickers the entire day and by the end they looked like tatoos on the arm of a hoodlum. I guess these stickers, like prison tatoos tell a story: pee pee in the potty all day!
I have learned not to expect that tomorrow will be this great. She may have accidents again. I need to wake up tomorrow with the same patience I had today and with the same consistency. I’ve also realized that me telling her “I’m so proud of you. So good. So good P. You are amazing” while looking at her right in the eyes, followed by lots of kisses makes her smile and feel proud. I see she understands the accomplishment she just had with my words better than with the stickers. But she does need both, the stickers are a reminder.
I really am so proud of her. She is amazing. We’re on our way….