Monday, February 1, 2010

secrets to OUR potty training 'success'

we are definitely not 100% potty trained in the watson household yet. well, i am. we are working on chris and the kids ;) lily is 100% in undies all the livelong day, but wears a Pull-Up at night to sleep. she has not woken up even close to dry yet. according to lots of parents i know- this is ok to do. i have heard of other parents who had their kids in undies at night and just did a ton of laundry every day. i am not those 'other parents'. topher is getting so great at telling us when he has to go, even if he is wearing a Pull-Up, which he does when we are out and about. he has occasional accidents in his undies still, but that's ok! we are so proud of both of our kids we could throw up.

here are some of the things that we did that worked for us. now, please remember that we tried potty training about 3-4 months ago and that was a DISASTER. if you are potty training and it's not going well- just STOP. read my posts from before about potty training, give thanks you are not me, and take a breather. for everyone's sake. i have heard and read that potty training shouldn't be hard, and that when your kid is ready it will be easy and painless. i never ever thought i would be able to say this- especially with potty training lily, but it's so true! it was pretty easy!

step 1- fail and move on.
we tried. we failed. we stopped. we moved on.

step 2- prepare ye the way.
after some time had passed from our failure, chris and i started warning/telling/prophesying that one day there would be no diapers in the house and that she would HAVE to pee on the potty. we told her this starting in novemeber. we did our potty training camp in january. lily likes to know what's going on, and i think she really appreciated the warning. topher on the other hand, doesn't really care what's going on or when, he just wants to be a part of the fun. we did not prepare him at all i don't think. at least not verbally the way we HAD TO with lily. all kids are different. even if they have the same genetic make-up.

step 3- comfort, not chaos
they say to make sure things are not chaotic. 'they' being 'profesional potty trainers/pediatricians/moms, etc... i will give them some kuddos for this advice as well. we did not have anything going on in january. we had been in the apartment long enough. we were in our daily schedules. everything was good to go. the kids had been hanging out on their potties for quite a while. topher even peed a few times. lily- not so much. but she didn't mind sitting on it again which was great. we talked about pottying more and more as the day approached. we watched videos and read books about it. again- more for and with lily than with topher. and lily was pretty excited about undies this time cause she knew some of her friends were wearing them. we bought some that she and topher got to pick out themselves, and this made the process more fun, and more real for both of them too.

step 4- pray!
actually, for me, this was step 2. post-failure. i don't think i prayed all that hard about potty training the first time i did it. and failed. after that i prayed and prayed and prayed. i prayed for lily to be ready and for us to know when that might be. i prayed for myself to be ready for anything- failure part 2, or success. i was a mess. like seriously scared. i was scared that lily would legitamitely never want to be potty trained. i was scared that we would fight again like we did before. i was afraid that i would lose my mind again like i did before. i needed peace, to be calm and courageous to proceed with our plan. therefore i needed to pray. and i thank Jesus for having helped us out as much as He did!

step 5- stock up.
during our first attempt to potty train, we bought some 'big items' to 'entice/bribe' the children to pee in the potty. it did NOT work then. so we still had these toys, and brought them out this time around. the kids were happy to receive their prizes, but did not necessarily pee to receive them. or at least topher didn't. he peed 3 times and we gave him his toy. he was happy. this made lily want her toy a little more, so she peed 3 times that first day and received her toy. and was happy. but then the next day when the kids both had accidents on the floor, chris took the toys away. toys may or may not work for you. they were not really a deal maker or breaker for us.
but i did stock up on juice boxes, yogurt drinks, candy, and stickers. these were the real tools we needed for potty training. the kids drank A LOT the first two days of potty training. just to make them need to go. and they got a reward for even just sitting on the potty. this made the day fun, and very sugary. lots of teeth brushing occured those days.
i thought the stickers might be more fun for the kids to put on their charts, but they didn't care as much as i did. the chart was a good reminder for chris and i as to how many pees made it into the potty, and we could see their progress every day. progress is always good.
we also 'stocked up' on Pull-Ups, but hid them. we used to have a drawer with diapers in it in the living room. if the kids needed/wanted to be changed, they opened the drawer and brought us a diaper. both of our kids, at some point, checked to see if there were diapers in the drawer, and there wasn't a single one. they knew we were serious!

step 6- set the timer and go go go.
one of my girlfriend's who has successfully potty trained her two girls told me that she set her microwave timer for every 20 minutes, and whenever that timer rang, her kids sat on the toilet. and they did this all day, for a few days. except when they were napping. cause everyone needs a break. so we did this, and it worked out well for us.
one thing that tripped me up a bit with lily was that she would say she had to go and then either not go, or take 20 minutes to go. i had visions of us being at target for hours, in the dirty bathroom, waiting and waiting for lily to pee. the first day and a half was spent WAITING for the pee to flow. but when it started flowing- it's like the flood gates were opened and there was no more waiting. lily knew when she had to pee, and when she peed she did it as soon as she sat down. it was awesome.

step 7- keep on keepin on.
every time your kid says they have to pee- get up and put them on the pot. they won't always go, but if you don't listen to them, they will have an accident sooner than later, and you will probably both feel discouraged because of it. this happened with topher once or twice... (learn from my mistakes people! i make tons of them!)
and like lily, even though things may start slowly, they will pick up eventually.
the whole thing is pretty exhausting for everyone, cause there is so much getting up and down. setting the timer. turning it off. getting the carpet cleaner. going to the bathroom. getting more juice. going to the bathroom to empty the potty. etc, etc. but in the end it all pays off! just be prepared to work for your reward though.

this is what worked for US. if you are about to embark on the potty training journey-i bid thee good luck! if you should happen to stumble, or fall off of your horse completely- that's ok. give it a couple weeks or months and try try again. know your kids, what they like, what they need. for some kids this thing takes 3 days, and for others it takes a LOT MORE. and all of that is OK. your kid WILL pee pee in the potty!

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