I have been wanting to post about this for a while, but have been completely avoiding it!
Okay, deep breath . . .
We have potty trained Brianna.
This is something that has scared me since waaaaay before I was even close to being pregnant with her. I have just heard so many nightmarish stories about potty training, and no one seems to posses the secret to successful potty training for all children.
However, the real reason I've been avoiding a post on this subject is because the potty training has been going so well. I did not want to jinx myself by getting on here and spouting about how great it's going, only to have it all come crashing down the next day.
I guess I'm in a gambling mood.
So here goes :-).
We began the official process of potty training on Monday, November 28th (the Monday after Thanksgiving). I really felt like she had been ready for a while, but I kept putting it off because I didn't have any confidence in my ability to do it. Plus, I wanted to wait until after our big Thanksgiving trip.
The first day, she did so great. I showed her the panties that I had purchased (Dora and Minnie Mouse . . . two of her favorite characters), and explained that we had to keep them dry.
I guess I really need to rewind a bit. Back when Brianna was about 10 months old, we purchased a little padded potty seat that sits on top of the regular toilet, and began sitting her on it before bath time. I got this idea from my sister (who potty trained her little girl at 17 months old), and she had gotten the idea from our cousin. Anyway, we didn't push her to do anything at first . . . we just got her used to the process of sitting on the potty. Within a month or so, out of coincidence, she happened to actually go potty (combo of running bath water and the cold air works wonders!). We cheered and made a big deal about getting to use the toilet paper, and just made sure that she knew it was a good thing. She was right at a year old when this happened for the first time.
Gradually, over the next 6 months, she started going more and more frequently. Also, she would see me use the potty when we were out and about (and some at home), and would cheer for me when I was successful. So, before we ever began official potty training, she was very familiar with the process and what she was expected to do on the potty. I think this was absolute key to our success. She wasn't scared and the process wasn't new at all because she had been doing it before bathtime for months.
Okay, so back to the first day. I put her in panties, explained that we must keep them dry, and set a kitchen timer for 15 minutes. Then, I spent the whole day taking her potty every 15 minutes. It was tedious and tiring, but she did not have a single accident all day! She didn't go every time by any means, but I felt like we had to try that frequently to catch when she needed to go. I did try putting those plastic pants on her to help contain a potential mess, but she hated them. She wouldn't move with them on, so we scrapped them early on.
She continued to do great that entire week, and before long I began setting the timer for 20 minutes, then 25. She did have just a few accidents, but the only day she even had two on the same day was on Saturday. I'm pretty sure she wet her pants on purpose twice in a row . . . because afterwards she asked for a diaper. I think she was testing us. It was also very helpful that it really upset her when she had wet pants and panties. I know this does not bother some kids, but it did bother Brianna for sure.
After the first two weeks, we did have a major set-back because it was during that third week that we all got sick. Brianna especially was very sick with vomiting and diarrhea, so we kept her in a diaper for the entire week. On Monday, December 19th, I put her back in panties, but I had to start the timer at 15 minutes again. It was frustrating for me (getting anything accomplished is very difficult when you are taking a child to the potty every 15 minutes!), but by the end of the week she was definitely back in the swing of things and we were back to 25 to 30 minutes on the timer. I think we only had 2 accidents that whole week.
Since then, we have stopped using the potty timer altogether. I realized that I was creating a Pavlov's Dog situation one day when I set the timer on a casserole for dinner. The second it started going off, Brianna yelled "Potty!" and took off running to the bathroom. So, we gradually stopped using the timer and just started asking her if she needed to go. She is now really good about telling me when she needs to go, although if it's been over an hour I will usually ask her or make her go "try". She is especially good about telling us when she needs to poo, and I think it's been at least 4 weeks since I've changed a poopy diaper. Hooray!!!
She does use a Pull-up for naptime and nighttime, although she does wake up dry from nap some. Also, she has started waking in the night and telling us that she needs to go (she is just too little to hold it all night). While this is a bit frustrating, I don't want to discourage it. And she always goes when she wakes in the night telling us that she needs to. Chris is really brave about taking her in public in panties, but I am a bit more cautious about it. I do take her on short outings (to the store, to grab lunch, etc) in panties, but for longer outings I put her in a Pull-Up. The other night, we went to a Basketball game and I put her in a diaper. She was really upset about this, so maybe it's time to just let her wear panties and deal with a mess if we have to.
I think it is safe to say that she is for sure house and daytime potty trained. While I am so glad that we took the potty training plunge (hello saving money, less mess, and only one in diapers!), it was a ton of work for me at first. Taking her to the potty in public is a real pain. I've also had several people comment that when Brenson gets here she may magically become un-trained again. While I do understand that this is a possibility, we'll just cross that bridge if we come to it. I didn't want to put it off knowing she was ready just because she might regress.
Overall, I'm happy with how the process has gone, and so proud of our girl! So far, she has done fantastic with big transitions . . . we are so blessed!