Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Update on Potty Training Progress

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Exactly one month ago today, I started potty training our baby boy at 19 months. Since he was my second child to train I felt much more prepared for this task and wasn't nearly as overwhelmed as I was the first time around. I can't really say which child was easier as they both were awesome on some things and struggled with other parts of learning to use the potty.

My daughter potty trained at 18 months but I knew my son wasn't ready at that time. I really only trained my daughter that early because she was showing almost all the signs of being ready to potty train and was asking several times a day to sit on the toilet after a weekend of watching her cousin, who was newly potty trained. I decided to just roll with her requests and I can tell you she was a breeze to train. She basically trained herself after experiencing 1 day of multiple accidents (almost entirely on carpet, thus my overwhelming feelings).

I had absolutely no intentions of potty training my son as early. In my previous work experience, I interned during my masters degree at a child counseling center and we almost always recommended children not be potty trained until closer to 3 (when they are more cognitively developed) and also explained that research shows boys can be more challenging to potty train than girls are. I was prepared to stick with diapers for the long haul and patiently waited for my son to show the signs he was ready.

Right before turning 19 months, Riley started to show a ton of interest in the potty. He wanted to help flush and was especially curious when his sister used the potty. I'm telling you, kids like to have other children for role models. This doesn't always play well in my favor, but this time it did. To help Riley learn more, we pulled the little potty chair (<-- affiliate link) out for him and big sister explained how it would be used. He instantly wanted to try it out. We also read him several educational books (from the library).

Thus, began our new adventure. Potty training. I use the 3 day potty training method. I'm not the first to ever come up with this method and if you google it, you will find many different blog posts and articles written on this. By the end of the 3rd day, your child can be potty trained but it really means focusing on training the entire 3 day period. This means clearing your calendars, staying home, having no company, and keeping your eyes on your child like a hawk. I have found a Friday through Sunday work best for our household.

As I mentioned above, I wasn't nearly as overwhelmed this time around. I would actually describe myself as calm through most of the experience and that made a huge difference. We still live in the same house as I potty trained my daughter in and we still have mostly carpet in the house. My solution? Remove the dining room table and rug out of the dining room (which has tile) and lock us in that room for as long as possible. I brought several toys and books in there with us and rotated toys as often as possible. We made it 1 1/2 days in there. I can tell you, cleaning up accidents is much easier on tile than on carpet. Also, I was completely okay with ditching potty training at any point and waiting until he was older if needed. That really seemed to take the pressure (aka stress) off of the whole experience.

It also helped to have big sister as a cheerleader. She was so excited to help her little brother learn to use the potty. Plus, when he earned a sticker she could earn a sticker, too, for helping her brother. She loved this! I'm hoping to write more on how to utilize a big sister when potty training. Don't get me wrong, it came with its challenges, too. Like, when she became very upset that he wasn't going to potty train immediately. I had to really work to keep her interested since I had to dedicate several days to training her brother in order to be successful.

So, at one month, we are fully potty trained during the day (diapers still at night and nap time as that typically doesn't get figured out until a much later age). It's not perfect though. He is really young so I know there will be accidents. Sometimes, he gets so busy in play he doesn't want to stop to go. I continue to focus on having him go every few hours to avoid accidents.

How has potty training gone for you in the past? Or, are you going to be potty training a little one soon? I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas!

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