Who else is absolutely terrified of potty training??? I swore I wasn’t ever going to actually try, I was going to hire one of those professionals to come to my house and do it for me so I didn’t have to deal with it. I also said there was no way I was potty training before this second baby arrived because I didn’t want to have one more thing on my plate.
I attended MommyCon ATX in June and while I was there I attended a class on potty training. It was the first kind of research I had done on the topic, and one of the main points that was emphasized was starting as soon as your toddler shows interest, because waiting too long can sometimes mean a missed opportunity. So when Reagan started showing interest, I knew I should probably take advantage and I decided to jump in head first. I set aside a weekend, bought supplies, and started talking about using the potty a TON.
I went into this with a no pressure mindset. I figured if she ended up potty trained, great! And if she didn’t, then we would try again another time. I didn’t want this to be a stressful thing for me or for her, so I did minimal amounts of research and pretty much winged the whole weekend.
What we used: I bought this little potty to get Reagan excited about potty training and to put in the bathroom for her to practice sitting on. I also bought a potty seat that fits over our toilet for her to use primarily. The little potty will come with us in the car so she has a place to go at all times, and while we potty trained she liked sitting her stuffed animals on it and having friends to go potty with. Additionally, I bought this collapsible potty seat to throw in the diaper bag and take with us when we left the house in case she needed to go at a restaurant or park!
Rewards: I bought M&Ms and poured them into a clear jar on the counter so she could see them. I also bought some stickers and had them in the bathroom so she could look through them and start thinking about which ones she wanted to use.
Activities: I put a basket with four of her favorite books, crayons, paper, and a couple of toys in the bathroom. This way she had something to do and wasn’t too upset when I interrupted whatever she was playing with in the living room to try going to the bathroom. If she started throwing a fit or getting upset about having to use the potty, I gave her my phone so she could watch videos and that kept her happy.
Day ONE: I went into day one prepared for tons of accidents and non-stop cleaning. Surprisingly, she did really well the first day! I walked her into the bathroom every 15 minutes and would sit there until she told me “all done” or until she peed. She would go everytime we took her if she needed to, the only accidents she had were when I didn’t take her frequently enough or when some friends dropped by and she got really distracted. She received two M&Ms and one sticker every time she went, I think we ended up with 7 stickers that day which I was really impressed with! This day was incredibly exhausting though because hauling a toddler to the bathroom every 15 minutes takes its toll. We did not leave the house at all, and she was naked all day.
Day TWO: I thought that since day one had gone so well, that day two would be even better. Not really the case. Reagan doesn’t pee very much in the mornings, so I was still taking her to the bathroom every 15 minutes but nothing came out for 3 hours. When she finally did have to go, it was poop and she had an accident all over the living room floor. She went down for a nap and I started having a lot of negative thoughts. “She isn’t ready, I shouldn’t be pushing her yet, we can try again later, what’s wrong with staying in diapers forever” and so on. Luckily, she really turned things around in the afternoon! She had a couple more small accidents where she would start peeing, but stop until I was able to get her seated on the potty. At the end of the day we ended up with more successes than accidents so I was feeling pretty good again. We stayed inside all day again and she was naked all day.
Day THREE: Now that I knew she didn’t have to pee very often during the morning, I didn’t push her as much to try every 15 minutes. About every 30 minutes I would ask her if she needed to pee and I’d take her into the bathroom every 45-60 minutes. I really wanted her to start telling or showing me that she needed to go, instead of just going whenever the timing was right. She had an accident in the morning, but went twice successfully so I counted that as a good morning. She went down for a nap and slept for three hours (totally abnormal) so I used this time to relax and collect myself so I could be positive again when she woke up. This afternoon was the first time she started trying to communicate that she had to go. When I asked if she needed to pee she would grab at her underwear and look at me like “yes!” She did this twice AND went poop in the toilet for the first time all on her own. I was so proud of her for communicating and she got two stickers and four M&Ms for going poop. After I left for work she had one more accident and two more successful trips, so another overall successful day! We stayed home again and she wore underwear today.
Day FOUR: I really wanted to push the communication thing today, and wanted to only take her into the bathroom when she told me she had to go. We had a slow morning, and went potty successfully twice with no accidents! Both times she was playing, stopped to find me, looked at me and said PEE PEE. We ran to the bathroom and she went both times! I was so proud of her for telling me with words what she needed. She did start to have a poop accident but I saw it happening and got her on the potty to finish. Since she was wearing underwear, it wasn’t a huge deal.
Day FIVE: She really excelled at communicating today. I still asked her occasionally if she needed to go pee but most of the time she would say “no” or she’d stop to think and then start saying PEE PEE so we would run off to the bathroom! She had a small accident after her nap–I’ve decided to keep her in diapers when she sleeps and today I changed her into underwear really soon after she woke up. She peed through them and didn’t even notice, so I’m pretty sure she was just still half asleep. Now I let her keep the diaper on for about 20 minutes just so she has a chance to wake up, and then I take her straight to the bathroom.
Day SIX: We only had two accidents today! Both were in the afternoon and both were poop. She did really well telling us when she needed to go pee, but she would hide and squat and start going number 2 without telling us. Luckily, we saw what she was doing and were able to get her to the bathroom where she finished up both times. Today was the first day we had her wearing shorts over her underwear, and she did really well with that!
Day SEVEN: I feel like we are officially potty trained! We left the house for the first time today and went to Wal-Mart for about 40 minutes to run some errands. I had her try going to the bathroom before we left, but she didn’t go so I was worried she’d have to as soon as we left the house. I asked her every few minutes if she needed to pee but she told me no and we didn’t have any accidents! I stopped asking her if she needed to use the bathroom while we were at home and she still came and told either Jared or I when she had to go all on her own.
Honestly, I’m pretty surprised this went as well as it did! Don’t get me wrong, the first 2-3 days were exhausting and frustrating, but we both learned as the week went on and I am feeling very confident in her ability to use the bathroom on her own. I think it will be a while before I feel comfortable leaving the house again, but as long as we are in a familiar place I think we both will do fine!
To all of you reading this because you are about to start potty training, my suggestions are to have someone there to help you the first couple of days, to buy a LOT of chocolate to keep your sanity, and to do your best to take breaks and stay calm. DO NOT GIVE UP! SO many times I just wanted to put her back in diapers, but I’m glad we stuck with it so I never have to do those first two days again (until the next baby of course!). GOOD LUCK, you got this!!!