From the Potty Training Trenches (vol 2)

Folks. I am just floored. I went into this week praying it wouldn’t be a total disaster (but expecting it to be a bumpy ride) and have to tell you, we MUST have timed this potty training gig just perfectly. (Which, btw, was totally by accident…meant to do this months ago but kept having to push it back for various reasons.)

I’m not crazy. I know that the week we have just experienced is not typical. But maybe, just maybe, by sharing how we chose to potty train Buddy, one of you will find the perfect trick for your child that helps potty training click.

First of all, we’ve been talking this up for ages. Literally, almost a year. When we moved into our new house last summer, I replaced all the toilet seats (does anyone else do that when they move or am I absolutely nuts?!) When I did this, I chose 2 of our 3 bathrooms (excluded the master bath) to have this special toilet seat that has a built-in child’s seat that magnetically attaches itself to the lid.

I think I thought I could get away without having a tiny potty on my floor…but we bought one of those back in March when we originally planned the big push…and then postponed it to now. This week he’s used both the little potty & our regular toilets. No real preference. We might have gotten away with one or the other…oh well.

Buddy has also been in pull ups since he went to preschool last fall, thinking that would encourage earlier potty training. Nope. And those things are actually pretty hard for a two-year-old to pull up on his own. Seriously.

Anyway…on to what worked this week! (Please excuse me jumping back & forth between past & present tense. I’m calling myself out here. It’s hard to stay in one or the other when talking about this!)

1. Buddy wears “big boy” underwear during all waking hours. This started Monday morning first thing & had been talked up for several days so there were no surprises. We decided to put him back in a pull-up for naps & overnight cause…well…we’re not ready to deal with that mess yet. 😜 However, after the first day or so, he even has been waking up dry. This morning he woke up dry & used the potty all on his own before getting dressed! So cute to hear him proclaim “Wow, I’m such a big boy!” (Do you think we’ve said that a few times lately?)

2. For the first day & a half, we used a timer. I started with 45 minutes then shortened our time each time until we were trying every 15 minutes with (unfortunately) only one success the first day & lots of accidents. Towards the late afternoon on day 2 something suddenly clicked for Buddy & he would jump up & take off running for the bathroom declaring “I have to tinkle!” (Which is a hilarious thing to witness btw.) Once he showed me he could identify the need to go on his own, I quit making him go sit on the potty at regulated times & he really seemed to appreciate that freedom.

3. Accidents were NEVER a time for disappointment. (This was HARD!! Especially by the end of day 1!) Accidents were just something that happened, got cleaned up, & then we moved on. But we ALWAYS sat on the potty after an accident. (And to deter the quick “sit & run” we sang a couple songs while we waited to see what happened.)

4. We kept outings to a minimum but we already had swim lessons scheduled every night this week, and a couple appointments that were unavoidable. We bought a pack of those plastic training pant covers to throw on over his underwear while we were out & about. So far we have lucked out & haven’t had any accidents outside the house but I have several complete changes of clothes on hand at all times, just in case.

5. While we have had no trouble getting him into his big boy underwear in the morning, he hasn’t been quite as willing to shed his pull-up after nap. Yesterday we made sure to talk about it with him before we changed into the pull-up for nap & laid his underwear right next to his clock so he’d see it & remember the expectation. This seemed to help a lot so we plan to continue this for a while until he’s more comfortable.

6. Reinforcers: We use skittles, mini marshmallows, & jelly beans for our post-success rewards (that’s right…I’m not above bribery) plus we let him call a family member each time he went on the potty to tell them. It was SO CUTE seeing his face light up each time someone told him how proud they were of him. So. Stinkin. Cute. I was actually disappointed when he decided he was done calling people.

We have had ZERO accidents on days 3 & 4!! We let Buddy tell us when he has to go & I am loving this child-led approach. He is responsible for his actions & responds really well to this.

I am not quite ready to declare him “potty trained” but I cannot express how proud (and relieved!!) my husband and I are! I think we are both still in disbelief that this process is going so smoothly.

We continue to brace ourselves for possible set-backs, the dreaded “regression” when baby comes in a couple months, and are still dealing with a few challenges (like getting him to have a BM…yikes.) If you have any tips for dealing with any of these, or have ANYTHING to share regarding potty training, I’d love for you to leave a comment below!


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