Well I’m definitely no potty training expert, but I wanted to share a little of our potty training journey with you guys because it has gone pretty smooth. I know there are people that do it much earlier, but some of the pediatricians in our office recommend waiting till the kids are over 2 years old or showing interest. Jase started showing interest before his 2nd birthday and would always pee (or even go #2) in the potty before taking a shower, but I decided to hold off on officially potty training because I was due with Kade soon and didn’t want it to be too many changes for him at once. (I figured having a new baby in the house would be a major adjustment, but honestly, it didn’t really seem to phase Jase much.)
I figured I’d start trying once we got settled with Kade, but things kept coming up (trips, etc.) that caused me to decide to hold off. I’ve been praying that I would know when it was a good time, and on Monday of last week (11/2) I woke up and felt like it was a good time, so we decided to give it a shot. Jase turned 2.5 on 11/8.
My friend Lindsay sent me her copy of 3 Day Potty Training book a while back and I read through it for several ideas. I reread it before starting on Monday and followed several of her techniques. (She says in the book you have to follow it exactly or it won’t work, but we modified some and still had great success.)
Several months ago I bought a few packs of big boy underwear and a potty chair. I also bought pullups even though the book advises against that.
For a couple months prior to potty training, I would always make a big deal about going to the bathroom in his diaper being “yucky” and would have him say it too. I told him that we were going to start using the potty and big boy underwear soon because diapers are for babies and he was a big boy. This helps them get used to the idea. It says to have the toddler go with you to throw away any diapers (we are donating the leftovers to our church nursery), although this is more for the parents than the kiddos.
Monday morning I put Jase in his bog boy underwear and made a really big deal about it. I told him we were going to keep them dry and several times throughout the day I would have him check to see if they were still dry, praising him each time. I did not ask him “Do you need to go potty?” but instead framed it like the book suggested and said “Jase, tell mom if you need to go potty, okay?” I repeated it ALL DAY long because he needed the constant reminder until he learned to recognize the sensation of needing to go.
The book suggests filling them with LOTS of fluids and high fiber foods, so I gave him lots to drink & lots of snacks (most of what we eat is pretty high in fiber anyway). I reminded him often to tell me if he needed to go potty and praised him for being a big boy every time he was dry. He had 3 accidents that morning and Jon was starting to seriously doubt that he was ready. One time Jase went to the bathroom in his pants about 30 seconds after I had reminded him to tell me if he needed to go to the potty, but it’s important NOT to discipline them for accidents. You want them to have positive associations with going to the potty. (The other two accidents were more of my fault because I walked away from him to do something with Kade. The book really encourages you to stay close to your child all day during those 3 days.) I did not ever just set him on the potty or use any books that would encourage him to spend more time on the potty than necessary, etc. I used candy (smarties) because I know that works for Jase. (A sticker chart probably wouldn’t do it for him, but a piece of candy & he’s all in!)
Each time he had an accident I would tell him it was yucky, show him that his big boy underwear were not dry, and remind him that he was a big boy and needed to go in the potty. I didn’t tell him about the candy because the book says bribing them (rather than just rewarding them) can lead to a power struggle of “I want it now!”
I finally got him to go in the potty around lunch time and made a really big deal praising him and telling him I was so proud of him! I gave him 2 Smarties (he nodded and said, “mmmm, that’s good momma” as he chewed it u), a big hug, and a high five. I lavished the praise and told him he was such a big boy. I taught him to dump the potty into the toilet, to flush, and then to wash his hands. Once he realized he got candy and lots of praise, it was game on. He peed in the potty probably 10 more times before nap time.
Now here’s where I didn’t “follow the plan.” I used (and am still using) Pull-Ups for naps & at nighttime. Jonathan said he would prefer me to do that so clean up is a little easier, and honestly I agree that was the best decision.
At this point, Jase was still in his crib with the mattress all the way on the floor. Our first day of potty training he climbed out of his crib and was walking around upstairs. It scared the SNOT out of me!! He has never done that before, so both boys were upstairs (supposedly) napping and I heard their doors open and someone walking around..I almost got my gun since Jonathan wasn’t home.
I realized it was Jase and had a talk with him about staying in his bed. It was obvious he KNEW he wasn’t supposed to climb out, but he did it probably 10 more times. I started disciplining him for disobeying and finally let him sit on the couch with me and watch Veggie Tales while Kade finished his nap. I put him back in his big boy underwear and he stayed dry the rest of the day.
That night we put him back in his Pull Ups and had a talk with him about staying in his bed. And thatttttt didn’t work. He got out probably 10 or so times and it was about 10:45ish before he finally went to bed for the night. (Jonathan took over with the talks and discipline at this point.) I posted on Facebook asking my mommy friends for advice and got tons of great suggestions. We decided to transition his crib into a big boy bed the next day (mostly because we were afraid he would get hurt climbing out of his crib) & also went to Target to get a baby gate to put in front of his door. That pretty much did the trick and the next day was MUCH better. He still got out of bed a few times, but we stayed consistent putting him back in and telling him it was time to go night night (Supernanny style). If he got up, Jonathan would tell him on his monitor to get back in bed.
We didn’t leave the house at all on Monday, but we did on Tuesday to go get the baby gate. Jonathan wanted him to wear his PullUp in case he had an accident, but he stayed dry the whole time and told me when he had to go to the bathroom at Target. Such a big boy! I bought him some Gold Fish as a a treat for going potty.
He stayed dry the whole next day too and did an AWESOME job telling us if he needs to go. We put the potty chair in our half bath by the kitchen and living room, but if he tells us upstairs or in the basement we will just set him on the big toilet. He wore a PullUp to church and I kept reminding him to tell me if he needed to go potty, but he stayed dry the whole time and didn’t go to the bathroom till we got home. He also pooped in the potty!! Go Jase! (Ha…funny how the things we get excited about change when we become parents.)
So far his only accident was on Friday when we had friends over to play- and I’m not sure if it was because he didn’t want to stop playing or if it was because he had an upset tummy. Other than that, in the potty every time. We remind him often (but less and less over the course of the week) to let us know if he needs to go potty. We do not ask him. We don’t set him on the potty unless it’s to try to go before bed. We LAVISH the praise for using the restroom AND for staying dry. We tell him often that he is such a big boy and we are so proud and we always “celebrate” when he goes. (I have a feeling he’s going to be a “words of affirmation” kiddo.) And we are still rewarding with Smarties…just not every time. We try to limit drinks for 2 hours before bed. He is doing GREAT with it!!
I don’t like the idea of 2 big changes at once (potty training & toddler bed), but in this case Jonathan and I didn’t feel like we had another option. We didn’t want to pull back on potty training since he was doing so well, and we couldn’t get him to stay in his crib. And honestly, Jase has always done really, really well with transitions. He’s just an easy kid in that aspect, so we felt like he could handle it. After the first 2 nights (and adding the baby gate), he has pretty much stayed in his bed for the most part. If we hear him get out, it’s usually because he needs to go to the bathroom. When we walk upstairs an open his door, he puts on this innocent face and says “Oh hi mom….I get out of bed?” Really though, I think he just doesn’t want to go potty in his Pull-Up. Unfortunately that means his naps have been shorter since we’ve started potty training…only about an hour and a half instead of 2 1/2-3 hours. AND he’s been waking up earlier in the mornings (or at least ready to get up and out of bed sooner.) Maybe he’ll get to point where he starts sleeping a little longer as he can control it better for naps. We will stop with Pull-Ups for naps soon, but probably keep them at night for a while.
We are still working on teaching him to call for us if needs to go & staying in bed until we come up to get him.
Anyway, that’s how we did it! We are going on over a week with only 1-2 accidents, so I feel pretty confident. We still haven’t left the house in big boy underwear, so we may try to give that a shot tomorrow.
I highly recommend reading the book for some great tips because I do think it was very helpful. And as with all things parenting, you have to adapt to what works for your family. We also did BabyWise and Baby Led Weaning with Jase, but we had to tweak a few things to make them work for us. So I guess we’re down to one in diapers…
(**I know this post was pretty much a grammatical train wreck with tenses, so thanks for sticking with me.)