I have half-heartedly been potty training Phoebe this summer. Potty training in the past has always been prompted by the strong desire not to have more than 2 babies in diapers at a time. She will be 2 on August 2, so I know I’m a little early, and there is not yet a baby on the way to force the issue, hence the half-hearted attempt.
She is the 5th child (so 4 older brothers and sisters to watch use the potty, plus Mom and Dad), and she has been informing me of her bodily functions before they appear in her diaper, so I figured now is the time. And after she has told me, if I have not done anything about it, she will bring me the diaper wipes and lay down on the kitchen floor for me to change her because “she’s stinky,” rather than walk to her bedroom for the changing table (which she loves because she loves to look out the window and see if the “goggies” (doggies with a “g”) next door are in the yard.
Here’s my method, and it really takes my whole attention for a few days (again, hence the half-hearted attempt, as my attention is split 6 ways):
1. Start the training as soon as the child wakes up. Juice, flavored water, whatever the prefered liquid drink is that will prompt them to pee so much. Normally, these things are not kid-drinks in my house, so they are extra special. And we have a special doggy cup with a straw that is only used by potty trainers.
2. Bottoms off. We have hard wood floors, which are beautiful, and easy for cleaning. Given the amount of liquid being taken in, I can predict a few accidents will happen, so I am always prepared to wash the floor, and spot clean to boot.
3. Frequent “potty breaks.” Whether or not the child acts like they have to “go,” I sit them on the potty every 15 minutes or so. The first few times may warrant a candy (of their choosing… Gummy bears for Phoebe) just for sitting. Usually the first day or two we’ll watch a movie while sitting on the potty and drinking. If something ends up in the potty, the first time everyone (all kids and I) celebrate by doing a happy potty dance and everyone gets some candy. Subsequent times, only the potty training child gets the reward. I will adjust the frequency of potty breaks once I get a sense of the child’s rhythm. I still remember Ethan had a 20-minute-40-minute cycle. And he has a bladdar I’d steel today.
4. Add clothing of layers slowly once the child recognizes the need to “go to the potty.” This can be the most difficult step, or at least the most time consuming. With Naomi, each layer (training pants, then pants, then switching to panties and not training pants) was a month setback…
I don’t do diaper-like training pants, but the cloth extra-thick undies. Each child has their own undies, but the training pants are re-used from child to child. They’re not cheap…
That’s about it. I don’t consider night time when considering if a child is fully trained, so nighttime diapers are used for a while, but usually stop around age 3 sometime.
My family seems to deviate from the standard “girls are easier” myth… Ethan and Daniel were way easier than Naomi and Olivia. Naomi was the first, before Ethan, to sleep through the night without a diaper, but it took her 3 or 4 months to be potty trained to the point of wearing underwear under her pants. Olivia had a different sort of journey, but that is a long story… It took almost a full year for her to be fully potty trained, although she was sleeping through the night with no diaper before she stopped having potty accidents. Ethan and Dan, however, were done in about 2 weeks each (not counting nighttime)
Last night, Phoebe had PJs on and it was almost bedtime. She took her PJ shorts off (by herself) and Olivia told me Phoebe had to go potty. I noticed her droopy diaper, so I took it off, and let her run around a bit before putting a new one on… And she sat and peed on the potty for the first time!!! Completely unprompted by me, as I was putting Zeke to bed and I had no part in it at all!
This morning, she woke up as I was getting in the shower, and her diaper was dry! She went potty in her potty… And received candy at 7am. Then, she asked for more candy, and I told her she had to pee in the potty to get more cans… So she did it again around 7:15!
Potty training will now be in full effect since I now know she can do it… So if you stop by my house, don’t be surprised to see a half-naked little lady running around.