Saturday, February 6, 2016

Toddler Boy: Potty Training

Between my being pregnant and William potty training, at least one of us is using bathroom at any given time. And my hands are cracked and raw from all the hand washing. But I remain thankful for the progress he's made so far.

We started potty training William on New Year's Day. It was a Friday and a long weekend and Chris and I were both available all weekend long. It was a messy weekend to say the least, but now, five weeks later, I'm so glad we started when we did. But let me back up.

At William's 18 month appointment, his pediatrician recommended we get a potty chair for him to get used to. Have him sit on it a couple of times a day and build a routine. So we did. Every night before bed we had him sit on the potty. We'd read a story or sing a song and that'd be it. Sometimes he would go, other times he wouldn't. Then we added another time in the morning, before breakfast. By the time he turned 2, he would go more often than not whenever he sat on it. And the doctor recommended upping it to five times a day. But by November, he was refusing to sit most of the time. Crying "no potty, no potty" with thick tears rolling down his sweet cheeks. I backed off.

By Christmas, he was ready again. We had read a lot of library books and his cousin told him about her potty over Skype. We were now removing his diaper and having him sit on the potty 4-5 times a day with fair success. Removing the cloth diaper was getting a little old, and I was admitting that I was feeling tired of diapering (knowing I had a new baby on the way and was basically starting over was not helping!).

So, by New Year's Day, I was motivated. We introduced William to underwear (thanks Grandma!) and showed told him how he needed to head to the bathroom whenever he felt the urge to "go." We stuck to our normal schedule of having him go just as we had when he was in diapers, and added a few more (especially after he drank liquids!).  We basically stayed in the house all weekend long. He did really well when we were watchful. It was when we let our guard down that we had an accident to deal with. It scared him to feel so wet. He requested to wear diapers a lot during that first week, and I obliged, but learned that if I distracted him long enough, he'd put on his underwear without fussing.

After the first couple of days, I put together a sticker chart for him with star stickers, he got one star for every time he used the potty. If he was wearing underwear and went to the potty, he got two stickers! That motivated him to basically do without the diapers.

Going #2 remained a challenge, and still remains a challenge. To help, we brought out the super special dinosaur stickers I had been saving for just such an occasion. If the poo made it in the potty, he got a special sticker; this worked well at the beginning, but now we just can't seem to get the timing right. (any tips?)

The other challenge we've come up against, is that he now wakes up from his nap screaming if he has to go potty. Even though he's wearing a diaper, he rarely lets himself use it. And he gets really worked up about it. I had not heard of this happening to others, and was worried at the beginning. Now, I just try to help him go to the bathroom and calm him down enough to try napping again, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Thankfully night time waking was only an issue once or twice.

I can't say we are fully potty trained yet, since the #2 just isn't clicking, but he hasn't worn diapers while he's awake in nearly three weeks! He can tell us when he has to use the potty, although his verb tense is all wrong, "William peed!" or "You peed!" he says. He successfully goes potty in public bathrooms: the park, church and at my office. So, yes, I'm very thankful for his progress and glad we started when we did! Its a process and takes a lot of energy for all of us. But, no more energy than washing diapers three times a week!

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