Last week was “Potty Training Week” in the Tenneson household. It was our first full week out of school on Summer break and since my parents were on vacation in Hawaii, I had no baby sitter, which means I had an excuse to take the week off from work. Audrey (almost 2 and a half) has been showing signs of being ready to potty train for a while (i.e. asking to go potty, actually going when we let her try, staying dry for longer periods of time), but we haven’t had a good opportunity to work on it and [honestly] I haven’t been ready for it!
Overall she has done well, but we are not as far along as we had hoped to be at the end of this week. I don’t know how people have their kids completely potty trained and in undies in 3 days! Neither of mine took to it that quickly. My friend Ashley was lucky enough to potty train both of hers in a weekend and I’m just like can you come do mine?
Although we are not fully there yet, we have had some successes, and we are making progress, so I’d like to share what’s worked for us and a few things that we have learned. First a quick break down of the first few days:
DAYS 1 & 2
For the first 2 days, I reminded her to go potty every 30 – 60 minutes. Each time she would sit on the potty, she would go. She went 15 times on Day 1 and 9 times on Day 2! With Raley, we really had to coach her to learn how to “let the pee-pee out.” This does not seem to be an issue with Audrey, which is one of the main reasons we thought she was ready to potty train. Each time she goes, she says “It coming out!” and it’s so, so cute! She had two accidents each day, half of which were while she was sitting in her booster seat eating a meal, so this is something we have to work on.
|Ice cream to celebrate wearing panties all day and a great first day of potty training
I had a few errands I needed to run, so we made sure we went potty before leaving the house, and ventured out wearing big girl panties (she was so excited to get to wear panties out of the house!) We went to Target and I took her to the potty as soon as we got there, then right before we left I asked if she needed to go and she said yes, so we went again. After Target, we stopped to get strawberries from a local farm and then went home. She stayed dry the whole time we were in the car. She only had 1 accident all day Wednesday and it was right before we left for church. I had considered letting her wear panties to church, but I decided at the last minute to put her in pull-ups because if she did have an accident I didn’t want her teachers to have to worry about cleaning it up.
We stayed home all day Thursday, but she didn’t do as well that day. She had the same amount of accidents as successes (5-5). For the past few days, she had done a great job going potty when I told her to, but she wouldn’t ever tell me when she needed to go. I tried to let her go longer without prompting her to go potty to see if she would go on her own, but it didn’t work. I would try to coach her on going to the potty and not in her panties, but each time she would have an accident she would only get excited about putting on a different pair of panties. I honestly don’t think she’s quite there, maturity-wise, because she doesn’t understand what we are trying to tell her. What I learned from this day is to keep prompting her to go frequently like we did the first few days, and eventually she will learn the feeling and will start to go on her own.
Friday morning, Raley had a hair appointment in Athens. I ended up letting Audrey wear panties since I knew we were just going there and then back home. I told her that they had suckers at the hair salon so when we got there she told me she needed to go potty. She went potty, but honestly I think she only told me she needed to go so that she could get a sucker. But a win is a win! That morning before we left for the hair appointment, I had told her to go potty, so she sat down and ended up going #2. She was so proud of herself, she wanted to call Daddy and tell him about it! I was proud that she did it without me telling her “try to push the poo poo out.”
We spent basically all day Saturday at my parents house, swimming and playing outside, so she wore a swim diaper all day. We tried prompting her to go potty throughout the day, but probably not as much as we should have. On Sunday, we again put a pull-up on her for church and lunch out. We took her potty a few times while we were out of the house, but she did go in her pull-up too. I’m not a huge fan of pull-ups because to kids it feels like a diaper, but until we’re further along we are going to have to use them from time to time. After nap time Sunday she did great once we were home and in panties, although she woke up quite cranky so she wasn’t as willing and excited to sit on the potty as she normally is. She went several times and didn’t have any accidents though, so that’s a win.
What we’ve learned + what’s worked for us:
– We talked it up beforehand so she would be excited about trying.
– For the past month or so, Audrey would sometimes ask to sit on the potty when she would see big sister going potty. We would let her try so that she would start to understand what to do. Also, we wanted to encourage her and get her excited about going potty, so that it wasn’t a completely new thing for her.
– With the exception of a couple of quick outings and church Wednesday night, we stayed home Monday-Friday to work on it.
– We used stickers and candy as rewards. We had several packs of Skittles, Smarties, Starburst and Pez left in our candy basket from various holidays and events at school, so we opened them all up and poured them into a Tupperware container, which she knew was her potty treats.
– I let her pick out her favorite piece of scrapbook paper and made her a “potty chart.” Each time she goes potty, she gets a sticker (2 for going #2) and once it’s filled up, she will get to pick out a special treat.
– The stickers and candy seem to be working. Each time she goes she’s excited to get them and she likes opening the “treat box” and picking one out herself (I think it helps that she’s not getting the same kind of candy each time).
– All week, she wore a t-shirt and panties around the house. I was going to let her be bottom-half-naked, but she kept touching her hiney for some reason, so I figured it was better she have panties on.
– I was worried that going #2 on the potty would be an issue, because this is just more difficult for kids to get down. The first time she did it, was actually first thing in the morning on day 1. She was sitting on the potty and she said “I toot on the potty” and I told her to see if she had any more toots and she ended up going poo-poo in the potty. It was by accident, but I think it has helped her with the feeling and the concept. She is still having accidents, but I know that this is something that will take a while to get the hang of.
– When she goes pee-pee on the potty, she only goes the tiniest little bit at a time, so I try to remind her frequently to go sit on the potty. When she has accidents, it tends to be a lot, so I know that she is not fully emptying when she’s on the potty (with Raley, this came with time, so I’m not too worried about it.)
– She still has not fully caught on to telling us when she needs to go potty. She knows how to “let it out” when she’s sitting on the potty, but she doesn’t recognize the feeling of needing to go. I think that if we continue to encourage her to go frequently, then eventually she will catch onto this feeling and will begin to go by herself. I’m sure that with practice this will get better.
*My biggest pieces of advice for parents as you’re tackling the beast that is potty training are:
– Try to carve out a few days in a row that you can dedicate to potty training. I know that most people don’t have the opportunity to stay home Monday-Friday to work on it, but if you can find a long weekend, then this would be a good start.
– Find a reward system that motivates your child
– Have patience. Know that accidents will happen
– Prompt them to go frequently
– If your child is stubborn (like mine), let them do as much as they want to on their own.
– Know when to call it quits. We tried the weekend method with Raley and she just was not ready. She didn’t want to sit down on the potty, she’d fight us when we told her to go, and she didn’t understand the feeling of letting it go. We decided to wait until she was a little older (she was almost 3 when she finally caught on) and it went much more smoothly the second time around.
Going into this week, I was hoping that we would be a little further along in the potty training process. I was hoping she’d be telling me when she needed to go and we could wear panties all the time (except to bed) but in reality, we are about where I was expecting. Hope and expectations are two completely different things, but either way, we will keep working and I know this smart, big girl will get it before we know it!
If you have any questions, send them my way! I am by no means a potty training expert (obviously) but I will try and help in any way I can. If you are about to embark on this adventure yourself, I wish you luck!
What rewards work for your child? How long did it take your child to potty train?