Today marks 11 days since I ditched diapers with my first born. It was kind of a bittersweet moment since that means she’s growing up.
Here’s our story.
At 18 months I bought a cute potty chair. It was a great novelty with its shiny flush handle and its giggly personality. I had no intention of rushing potty training at this moment as I wanted it to be the most pleasant experience possible. Toilets and learning about where waste comes from are pretty scary things. For a few weeks before I also took her with me to the bathroom and showed her how things worked and let her flush the toilet to say goodbye to the waste.
Surprisingly she took right to the potty and went #1. I decided to ask her everyday for a week if she wanted to use the potty. Most of the time she ignored me. I let her run around naked for a day and she went 1 and 2 all over the place rather than in the potty. Eep. Fast forward a couple weeks after weaning, I learned that I was pregnant! I halted potty training for fear of regression when the baby was born. Not to mention I didn’t want to constantly clean pee of the floor. In retrospect this was preposterous and I probably should have continued, but I digress. During gestation with number two I taught Willow where waste comes from and with the help of my best friend we gave her body parts names. Yoni and Butty Butt. We discussed them when she went quite often just to be familiar. Every now and then between diaper changes I’d ask her if she wanted to go potty and she would be rewarded with chocolate chips. I’d say during the nine months of pregnancy she went about a dozen times. It was hard for her to say yes when she really had to go vs. just saying yes because she wanted to sit on the potty. During this time my sister gave us her old potty reducer and Willow sat on that a few times and went in the big potty.
Pregnancy went quickly, baby was born and then it was time to get to business. Again. At approximately 8 weeks postpartum, cleaning horrible smelly toddler poo, and washing loads of diapers every other day, I decided I was totally done with diapering two.
So 11 days ago Willow woke up from her long night’s slumber, I took her night diaper off and said lets go potty and then wear underwear. I refused to go back. My good friend bought Willow some Yo Gabba Gabba underwear which was an added incentive to wearing them. Right away she went potty. I made a huge deal and gave her stickers for her to put on a chart and some chocolate chips. The first day we had two accidents. One of which was #2 ewww. The second day we had another #2 accident. I’d remind her each time that she needs to ask me when she has to go.
By day three no accidents not even during nap! I’m still not brave enough to ditch the diapers at night, however by day 4 she has had a dry diaper 5 nights in a row, by day 9 she asked me at 3am to go potty (didn’t really look forward to that since I’m already up nursing my newborn).
Here’s how we did it.
#1 – Ask every 15 minutes if they have to go. By day 4 they might start telling you they have to go. But it could take longer depending on the child. Take them if they say yes even if they went 15 minutes ago. The more time on the toilet the better.
#2 – Don’t use pull ups or diaper like trainers. Underwear are best because when they have accidents they feel everything and can see it on the floor and down their leg. They do make training underwear with PUL (water proof liner) that allow the child to still feel wet, are thin like underwear so its easy to pull up and down. Make sure you allow them to pull the underwear up and down (with a little assistance). Underwear with their favorite character REALLY help motivate. Take child with you when you pick them out.
#3 – Don’t make a big deal or get mad about accidents just move along and remind them to ask. Make sure they help you clean up their mess and show them where they are supposed to put their poop and pee.
#4 – Reward pee with something small, Reward poo with something big! We used chocolate chips for pee and Suckers for poo. We stopped rewards after day 7 unless she asks for them. Some kids may need/want them for months. Slowly take them away with each successful elimination.
Now that she’s potty trained we have some new dynamics. By day 3 we took our first outing; a thirty minute walk around the block. I asked if she had to go potty before the walk; she did and went. Had she not went I probably would have waited until she did. I told her good job for going and said “Now we can go for a walk.” By day 5 we took a three hour outing to home depot. Yeah crazy I know, we had a lot of stuff to buy since we’re redoing our backyard.
Here’s how we go out.
# 1 – Ask if they have to go potty BEFORE you leave. Ask 10 minutes before and right before you leave even if they went 10 minutes ago. Sometimes they hold back…and leave some in the tank.
# 2 – Get a piddle pad for the car seat or stroller just in case there’s an accident. I ordered custom pads from this seller on Etsy. She can make them with any fabric and add a layer of PUL (waterproof fabric) inside.
# 3 – Get a Potette (portable toilet) if you’re going to be somewhere without toilets such as a park. You can bring grocery bags and a gerber cloth diaper to catch waste if you’re the crunchy type. Or use a grocery bag and a disposable diaper. The Potette also can be used to put over public toilets however, they’re kind of slippery. I’m not saying this is right or wrong but dogs do their business on the grass so some might not be opposed to letting their child do their business right on the grass in a potette and then using a doggie bag to throw it away.
#4 – If you’re using a public toilet (you can use a paper towel, some liquid sanitizer and rub the seat down if you’re a germaphobe) one of my friends suggested to remove one pant leg and turn the child backwards on the toilet. It sounds crazy but it acts as a reducer since the elonganted public toilets are smaller toward the front.
#5 – Even if your child is telling you now that they have to go to the bathroom, while out in public continue to ask them every half hour or more if they’ve had liquid during the outing.
#6 – Always pack extra underwear, a change of clothes, and a few Gerber cloth diapers are great for the kid to sit on in grocery carts in case there’s an accident. If going out for a long time then pack accordingly in case of multiple accidents.
That’s it! I wish potty training success to all my fellow mamas out there. I think 70% is your willingness and 30% is the child’s readiness. Once you commit stay committed! Have fun underwear shopping in your near future 🙂