I was asked for more potty training details, and though they're not all that exciting, I thought I'd post them here. I like the book “Toilet Training In Less Than A Day”, which was recommended by my friend Wendy. It's an older book which I picked up on amazon. I use a lot of techniques from the book, but I totally change much of it, too. For starters I don't use little potty chairs. I'm very squeamish when it comes to poopy germs and such, so I prefer that they just go in the toilet (with a little seat that sits on top). I also don't teach them to pull down their own pants, wipe, etc in the beginning. I have no problem doing this for them for awhile till they're a bit more coordinated (I still wipe Hannah and pull her stuff back on, as she hasn't learned to dress herself yet). I do prefer potty training fairly young – just under two – if I can, as diapers are expensive and don't always fit well in our budget! I don't know if I'll worry about it with Juliette, though, as she's a dream cloth diaper baby, and I only use cloth with her.
So the other week with Naomi, I spent the first couple of hours in the bathroom. I chattered away about where we go potty, who else uses the toilet (listing all the people she knows), telling her how big she was to use it, etc. We fed the potty dolly, and took her potty a few times. I offered a candy or snack to Naomi many times telling her they were “big girl treats” for learning to go potty, and let her drink as much as she would. After about 15 minutes of this, I tried putting her on the toilet . . . nothing. We repeated all of the above. . . .nothing. I think the third time, she did go potty – lots of verbal praise, hugs, and a candy. And more special drinks – juice, milk, etc. We repeated this every 15 minutes or so, till she'd gone in the right place about three times. I must say, it is not my favorite way to spend a day (read: boring!), but it is well worth it!
The rest of the day I just set the timer for every 15 minutes, and said “it's time to go potty”. She picked up the potty thing by the end of the day, so she'd go pretty much each time I took her. She had a few accidents, which we cleaned up quickly. I kept her in panties so I could see right away if she “leaked” (leggings are nice, too – you can see it, but it doesn't leak out much). That way I could tell her as she did it “No, No (firmly), we don't go potty in our panties, we keep them dry.” I diverge from the book's method here, too, in responding to leaks/accidents. I just calmly but firmly told her what to do, and by the end of the day (when I knew that she was able to go on the potty) I did give her a mild swat for accidents. I know that probably sounds terrible, but it wasn't really hard enough to hurt – it was just a way to communicate that this was now in the realm of “don't do that”. I don't know that I'd recommend it for all children at all times, but for Naomi it worked great, and over the next three days she only had a couple very small potty accidents (not even emptying her bladder – she just started, then realized “oops”, and we went to the toilet). I was having a dickens of a time trying to figure out how to get her to go poopy, and she was really trying to hold it in, I think, as she went over a day with no bowel movement. The first time she did go in her pants, and I just calmly but decisively said “No, no, we go poopy in the toilet now.” I took her there to remind her, then I cleaned her up and we went on about our day. The next time she did go on the toilet, but it took her some getting used to. I related the story of her first successful poopy in my post “When It Rains . . .” if you'd like to read it – I thought it was rather funny, but I was very proud of Naomi for figuring it out so quickly. I was going to start feeding her normal foods, knowing that she'd get diarrhea, and just keep her in a pull-up for a few days to let her have more opportunities to practice with the safeguard of a pull-up (my mom's idea), but this worked out instead, so I didn't need to. After this, she went in the toilet each time. I was SO proud of her!
I wasn't sure how this all would go, since she's not very verbal, but she quickly (within two days) started telling me each time she needed to go. I changed the timer setting to 20 minutes the second day, then thirty minutes the third day; then I only reminded her if it'd been awhile and she hadn't asked). A couple weeks into it, she has had no accidents of any kind for the last week or so (even been dry after naps) – I consider her potty trained at this point (HOORAY!). I don't know how much is attributable to the method, but I am SO thankful this was quick and easy – it's been my favorite potty training experience so far!
Honestly, the biggest four things about this process that I think have helped are
(1)praying (before, during, after, aloud, silently – this whole thing has been covered in prayer for patience, success, etc),
(2)giving her real panties most of the time instead of diapers, pull-ups, etc. (I am doing pull-ups at night, to save on laundry; but she's equally excited about the panties and the pull-ups!),
(3)praising her for dry panties throughout the day (as opposed to just praising her for going potty on the toilet)
(4)just being relaxed and happy. I wasn't really stressed at all (as I was with my first daughter – I had not a clue what I was doing!), except maybe right at the beginning. Overall this was a happy and enjoyable process (as enjoyable as potty training can be, I mean).
I do tend to try for all or nothing. Either my kids are diapered or they're potty training/trained – no real in between. Training Naomi at this age was somewhat experimental, since she is a bit younger and doesn't say many words, but as it worked so well, I don't plan to go back to diapers at all.
I've yet to have a child regress after potty training – I just haven't let that be an option when they're awake. I don't discipline for accidents if they happen once – only if they become a habit that doesn't seem to be health-related. I have had a daughter who had a few potty accidents which quickly stopped after I gave that child some special one-on-one time – the need for snuggling was apparently manifesting itself in potty accidents. So I do try to weigh the whole picture. However, I don't worry at all about naps or nights till they're around three. Hannah was dry at night for a few months, then just started wetting the bed at night again. Isabelle did the same thing at around 30 months. I just stick a cloth diaper, or trainer on them at night till it goes away. I suppose that's not the greatest thing to do, but it works. I really like what Kendra said about not worrying, as they'll be trained by junior high! I apply this particularly to sleep times. Isabelle's now dry at night consistently, and has been for quite awhile, but I'm sticking with cloth dipes/trainers at night for the littler ones! There are some great ones at littleraindancers.com!