Saturday, January 07, 2012

Potty-Training 101: What's Working For Us

I never blogged about our potty training experience with Case, but now that he's done and Liam has begun, I thought I might blog about what worked for our boys.
We took an easy approach, similar to the way our pediatrician recommended. It's not the traditional way I've heard and read about, but it worked. Our pediatrician believes, "Children have a daytimer or their brain, and on this device is a date: the date they will be potty-trained. The real thing, not you being trained to watch and interpret their subtle signals and run at breakneck speed to the nearest potty yelling "HOLD IT". When this day arrives in your child's brain, if you have not made too big a deal about how much it would mean to YOU if your child becomes potty-trained, he/she will come to you and say "I don't need to wear a diaper anymore. I'm a big boy/girl". You'll say, "Are you sure?" Your child will then begin to be able to pee and poop on the potty, with no accidents to speak of, regardless of how little effort or warning has gone into it. This is where we really see the "will vs. skill" issue in real life - your child could have done it "physically" a long time ago, but today is the day he/she decided to do it. It will likely be closer to 3 than 2 years."

It didn't work quite like that but close enough that it was pretty easy. When Case turned 2 we introduced him to the potty. He wasn't interested. We didn't push it, but every so often we would ask him if he wanted to sit on the potty. Sometimes he would and sometimes he might end up going in the potty. When he was nearing 3, he seemed more interested so we had him start wearing training pants. At first, he would only wear them for short periods of time. He still wasn't ready. Case never minded having a wet/dirty diaper. From the time he was born, he would yell anytime you changed him. Reminds me of that classic line from Ricky Bobby, "I've been in my dirty pee pants all day." That was Casen if we would let him.

Then one day after Case turned 3, he just started wanting to wear underwear and not having accidents. We told him once he could wear underwear without accidents, he could have underwear that have characters on them (e.g. Cars, Diego, etc.). He quickly was able to buy fun underwear. He rarely had/has accidents. They usually occur because he underestimated how bad he had to go. He still holds it as long as he can so he can keep on playing.

We took the same approach with sleeping dry. Our doctor had told us that most kids will be 4 or 5 before they can sleep dry every night. It was clear that Case wasn't ready to sleep dry yet. We tried sometimes waking him up to go to the bathroom, and he wouldn't wake up. He's a heavy sleeper! One day though (probably this past fall) he requested to start sleeping without a diaper. He would sleep dry a couple nights, and then have a night where he might have an accident. Around December, he started being able to sleep dry all the time. It's pretty rare for him to have an accident at night now.

So we're doing something similar with Liam. The difference is that now potty-training is with a different child. Liam never liked having a wet/dirty diaper. As soon as he could communicate, he started telling us about his diaper. We introduced him to the potty earlier, and now he usually goes in the potty at least once a day. This interest might wane; our pediatrician said that a lot of kids might be interested around 2 years old, but it doesn't last. We'll see what happens. For the time being, Liam gets cheered by all of us (including Casen) when he does use the potty. Casen also has educated Liam about the art of using the potty. I'm pretty sure C could make an instructional video. He talks through the steps of using the potty to both Cason (his friend at day care) and Liam. It's pretty funny to listen.

So for all you moms out there potty-training, good luck! Find out what works for your child and hang in there.

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