We decided around Christmas/first of the year to really give potty training a go. We'd been toying with it for months. We both knew from signs that Grant was ready...but Grant didn't know he was ready. And as our pediatrician said, when it comes to potty training...he was in charge. But he was pretty ready.
Potty training is maybe the most frustrating thing we've done to date. At least in my opinion. And this coming from a woman who hated breastfeeding with every fiber of my being. I'm not sure if I've said this before, but I stay away from parenting books, magazine, articles, etc. It's not that I'm above them, it's that I think they're boring and opinionated and I want to be my own kind of parent and not one that a book tells me to be. But I read about potty training and you know what I learned? No one has any idea what they're doing but everyone has an opinion.
Noisy training pottys are distracting; regular training pottys aren't enticing enough; do a potty training "boot camp" weekend; don't put pressure on them; use the regular toilet from the start; the regular toilet is too intimidating; don't use pull-ups they're just a diaper; use normal undies and just let them pee all over
We heard it all. Some stuff was helpful. One thing I read that I paid attention to said that if you're frustrated - or your child is frustrated - just back off. Throw a diaper back on or a pull-up. Give it a day or two and take a break. We had to do that once because I was frustrated beyond frustrated. I was ready to just buy depends and let him go in his pants for the rest of his life.
I honestly can't tell you how we got from that point to where we are today. Where we are today is basically potty trained with peeing and even the pooping is getting better (see THIS post about the poo problems). Grant goes pee when he as to, usually announcing it to us if we're at home but tells us he doesn't want help. We know he's done because he waddles all over the house with his undies around his ankles yelling "I pee! I pee!" He goes in the potty when we're out somewhere, even if he's wearing pull-ups and not undies. Pooping is still an issue but after some success in that department in the last week, I think he's slowly realizing it's not so bad.
What I have learned through this process:
- Grant really was in charge. Nothing was going to happen in that potty until he wanted it to.
- Pull-ups are just glorified diapers...but they were a necessary item.
- One tip we were given was to reward Grant with an M&M for going in the potty. At first, I despised the idea of rewarding with food and I judged myself for doing it. But I have since found out that a lot of people have done it, it worked for us and now Grant doesn't always need one after he goes. So I'm hoping it'll be an easy habit to break *fingers crossed*.
- Not everyone wants to talk to you like they're the superior parent. Some people do want to give you helpful advice.
- After reading that noisy pottys seem more like a toy and are distracting, we bought a "regular" training potty (this one). But, for Grant anyway, I'm not sure the type of potty we got really made a difference. I don't know that one with music and lights would have made a difference. I am, however, glad that we decided on a potty that doesn't require us to change batteries.
- Playing up the "big boy" aspect of going in the potty was key for us. Grant can be very independent and loves to feel like a big guy. So telling him he was such a big boy or telling him that big boys wear real underwear I think motivated him.
- DAYCARE. Bless them. They were ready when we jumped on the potty training band wagon and super helpful. At a certain point they told us to bring underwear and multiple changes of clothes. That way Grant would be wearing underwear, pee on himself, and realize that he had to go potty and how yucky it feels to wear pee soaked clothes. It involved a lot of patience from them and a lot of laundry at our house, but it really helped.
- We had to let go of the "It's ok buddy, accidents happen". If it was truly an accident, it was ok. But if he peed all over and then said "I need to change" without remorse, we punished him (like the time he peed in his car seat after I asked him 100 times to go before we left daycare). Through this whole process we've always been ready to rush to the potty when needed, so sometimes it was just laziness.
- This takes time. I was always under them impression that potty training happened quickly. And I'm sure for some it does. But this for us has been quite a process.
- My least favorite thing learned: someone out there will have done this better than you, had a better idea or system, their kid did it sooner than yours, or they did it in a matter of days or WHATEVER. You have to let it go. POTTY TRAINING is hard enough! Raising a child is hard enough with the pressure you put on yourself. Who cares who did it first?
So there we are. Another milestone...my little guy growing up. I'm so proud of him :) There is talk at school of Grant moving up to the three-year-old's room. That news threw me a little. He's just getting so big.