Potty training was on the list of “things I never want to do”, like climb Mount Everest or learn Chinese. I’m just not that adventurous. I put it off as long as I could, which may have been to our advantage because Eva has done well and learned quickly and I’m really proud of her. We started last Tuesday after Labor Day so today is day 9 of “potty training” and I feel like she is basically good to go with going to the potty at home all day long. She has been wearing these training pants all day long and during nap, but still wearing a diaper at night. I bought a large black poster board (a thick one that could stand on it’s own, not paper) and some “neon” crayons and made a simple chart for Eva to put a sticker on each time she used the potty successfully. Her and I doodled on it and when she puts her sticker on she likes to color things on it each time too, so we’ll just continue to add stickers over the drawings until the whole board is filled. I also bought her some sorta-healthy candy and she gets one as a reward each time she goes on the potty. She never gets candy, so she was really excited about that. I found these at Whole Foods and they are mostly just fruit with no preservatives or dyes or other junk. The first few days were the hardest, but after day 3, she knew the drill and I wasn’t worried about accidents anymore and she was telling me each time she had to go and it’s been easier every day since. On day 1, before she woke up, I had the living room set up with a blanket, her small potty chair, a stack of training panties and a new toy: Mega Bloks. I also then put out some wipes, plastic bag and a laundry basket, but didn’t get a picture with all that. My idea was to sit in the potty area and play most of the morning so that we were close to the potty and could go easily. I also gave her snacks and juice (which she does not normally drink) so that she would have to use the potty more often. She surprisingly was not into the juice, so I could not get her to drink much more than she normally does, so it made for a long day, just waiting around for her to pee. The first few times on the first day when she had to pee she didn’t tell me of course, but then she realized that something was different, she wasn’t wearing a diaper anymore and she needed to pay attention to this. I also was trying to put her regularly on the potty to try to go, like every 30 min, but she did not have to go that often since she wasn’t drinking that much, so then I stopped trying to persuade her to go and I just let her have a bunch of accidents until she realized she needed to tell me she had to go. She used the white potty chair for the first few days, but then she wanted to use the big potty with the potty seat lid attachment. I preferred this since obviously we could just flush the toilet instead of having to clean out the potty chair. I ended up putting the potty chair back in the bathroom so she could have the choice of which one to use. I have to help her onto the adult potty, so that is the only disadvantage right now. Even if we had a stool, I don’t think she would be coordinated enough to step up and then turn around to get on.
We talked about the potty all the time during the first few days. We read a bunch of potty books we got from the library. Sometimes we’d read while she sat on the potty and talk about each step of using the toilet, then flushing, then washing hands, then getting a sticker on the chart and then getting a reward. She has memorized the steps and will tell me what is going to happen next. It was extremely time-consuming the first few days and I definitely felt like I was losing my mind at certain moments because of the boring repetitiveness, but it now just keeps getting easier and I can hardly believe that just a few weeks ago she was wearing diapers all day long and now she only wears one at night. Sometimes she wakes with a dry diaper and sometimes she wakes with a wet diaper, so I haven’t yet gotten rid of the night diapers, so we’ll figure that out soon. She has been wearing training pants during nap and that has never been a problem. She also has done well going out to different places and has never had an accident outside (yet) but she refuses to go on a public potty so I have to figure out how to bring a potty seat along with us or how that will work.
We told her that when she fills her entire chart with stickers (she might be able to fit 100+ stickers on there), we will go out and get a special gift for her that she can pick out, so she has that long-term goal in mind and by then hopefully it will be second nature to her.
I’ve heard that potty training can be a challenging period of time with a young child and it could take a long time and be difficult for them if they aren’t ready, so I was really hesitant to do it for a while, but I think talking about it a lot before starting really helped, as well as making it fun with rewards for each success and doing a no-turning-back method of waking up on day 1 and putting on panties and never putting a diaper on again (except at night), regardless of how many accidents happen. We did not leave the house for the first 3 days except to just take a walk outside, because I wanted her to be immersed in this new reality. I think that helped her to not have any accidents when we finally did go out for many hours at a time. She has had fun with this experience and I’m so glad to not have to change (as many) diapers anymore. I can’t believe how fast my little girl is growing up!