Friday, January 24, 2014

Three (or more like six to seven) Day Potty Training Boot Camp

I did my homework. I Googled, I read blogs (and more blogs and more blogs), I talked to mom friends. After all that I decided JJ was ready. It was time to ditch the diapers and spend a long exhausting weekend indoors with life centered around one thing... the toilet.

There are a number of methods used to potty train, but being a working mom, it seemed like the three day hard core approach would work best for us.  

The idea of the toilet was nothing new to JJ. He's had his little potty seat out for months and topics such as pee and poop are nothing new in this house. He's watched us pee and we've read books and watched shows about using the toilet. He is just over two, so I knew it was early (his doc said to try between 2 1/2 and 3), but he is very verbal and he has been telling us when his diaper is wet or poopy, so I felt like he was ready.  

My only concern was JJ wanted nothing to do with underwear. When we tried putting underwear on him, he would kick and scream and eventually roll them up in a ball, throw them, and yell, "NO UNDERWEAR!!" 

So I started with the naked approach. Here's how the "three" day potty boot camp went down.

Day One (Friday)
I knew JJ always peed shortly after he woke up, so as soon as he rolled out of bed, I set him on the little potty seat in front of the TV. While he watched a show, I went up stairs to make him a waffle (and by "make" I mean throw a frozen waffle in the toaster). When I returned with said waffle, there was pee in the toilet. This was good and bad. Good because he peed in the toilet. Not good because I don't think he even realized he was doing it. Nonetheless, I showed him the pee and we celebrated like it was 1999! We high-fived. We jumped up and down. We clapped and screamed. We ran upstairs and told Daddy. I can confidently say I made the point that peeing in the toilet is awe-some! We also introduced the box-o-gifts at this point. Since we recently celebrated his birthday and Christmas, JJ is really into opening presents. I hit up the Dollar Store and bought a bunch of gifts that I wrapped up for incentives (many of which did not even survive the weekend, but they served their purpose).  

I kept him naked from the waist down all day. Yes, in the middle of winter. But don't worry, we own this thing called a furnace, so he didn't freeze to death. The motto for the day was, "Where we go, the toilet goes!" And I stuck to that. That little seat was never out of arms reach. Any time I saw him start to dribble, I threw him on. We tried the timer approach, but he had no interest in going when the time went off. He never fought it when he started to dribble, so we just stuck with that approach. 

We kept busy with activities and making treats.  
JJ discovered he LOVES Rolos, so we added this in at times as an incentive. We also used M&Ms, but JJ's love for M&Ms is nothing new and one M&M is not enough for him, so we didn't always go with that or he would have gone through about 17 bags in one day. Looking back, I'm not sure the incentives helped him that much. He definitely liked opening the presents, but I don't think he ever really connected that with wanting to go on the toilet more. For him, the celebrations were way more effective. 

At the end of day one, he was starting to squirm when he needed to go, so I was very confident, but knew we had a long road ahead.  

Day Two (Saturday)
The best thing about Day Two is that Jeff was also home, so I got some breaks! After a long day of constantly watching and waiting for pee, I was already worn out. Early on, we developed the hour on, hour off approach so we each had some free time to get things done other than just waiting for JJ to pee.  

JJ had a great morning and made it in the toilet a quite a few times. We still kept the little potty seat close by, but also used the insert for the regular toilet at times. Letting JJ choose which he wanted seemed to get him more excited and invested.  

After nap, we decided to try putting underwear on him - the part I was most dreading. The days leading up and since we actually started, our mantra was, "NO MORE DIAPERS!" JJ loved saying this and really bought into it. When I pulled out the undies, he didn't even fight it. I just said, "No more diapers; now you wear undies," and he put them right on.  

Having said that, I will now voice my complaint to the underwear companies. We wanted to use those thick training underwear so they soak up more when he has an accident. However, the three pack has one with dogs, one with stripes, and one that is blue. For Christmas, his grandma got him a big pack of Spider-man underwear. Guess which ones JJ wanted to wear? In the end, I don't know that it mattered much, but seriously training underwear creators - make the underwear fun - they are for two year olds!

Back on track. He didn't fight the underwear, but we regressed slightly. I think the undies gave him the feel of a diaper and we had a number of accidents the rest of the night.  

Day Three (Sunday)
We stuck with the underwear and took regular trips to the potty. JJ still wasn't telling us when he needed to go, but he had definitely figured out how to push and go when he got on the toilet. I was optimistic. The day was going well, so when he got up from nap, he went potty and we did what all the blogs said to do on Day Three - take an outing. 

To stick with the toilet theme, we went to Buy Buy Baby and purchased a portable toilet seat. 
Right after we paid for it, we hit the bathroom and tested it out. It was better than the big toilet with no toddler seat, but these things aren't nearly as stable as the insert we have at home and JJ asked if he was going to fall in. He did not. He also did not pee.

We made it home without an accident and since we were feeling cocky, we also took a family trip to Lowe's. Also a success.  

Day three ended pretty good. I cannot say we successfully trained him in three days, but we definitely made progress.

Day Four (Monday) 
Monday was a federal holiday, so I had the day off. However, I also had a haircut scheduled (yes, priorities!) and I really wanted to make a cornice for JJ's room (damn you, Pinterest!). So, I figured this would be a good way to ease JJ back into the daycare routine.  

I was a little worried because they have eight kids in his room to watch after and they have a pretty strict schedule they stick to. However, when I got there, turns out his friend, Lucy, was also in underwear for the first time, so the staff had already been running her to the potty all morning and the two of them were instantly potty buddies.  

I picked him up early (with my hair looking faaaabulous) and after, of course, completing this awesome cornice.
His day did not go well. He did not pee in the toilet once and had a number of accidents. When we got home, he peed in the toilet, but had a rough go of accidents throughout the evening, too.  

When I was preparing and reading all the potty training blogs, I found myself wondering if this method ever didn't work. I only found success stories. At the end of day four, I was seriously wondering if my blog was going to be the first unsuccessful story. I was starting to hit a wall.

Day Five (Tuesday)
JJ's first full day at daycare. I was not willing to throw in the towel yet, so I took in a crap load of extra pants and undies and wished them all luck. I called during nap time to check in. He had had an accident, but they also got him to pee in the toilet just before lunch. That one pee, totally re-energized me.  

When I got home from work, JJ and Jeff were also just arriving at home. I waited anxiously for the report and was very pleased that his only accident was of the Number 2 form. I haven't said much about Number 2, but it was obvious early on, this could be a longer challenge - the boy likes to stand up to do this business!

The night went well and we forged on.

Day Six (Wednesday)
We are getting this thing figured out! He was accident free all day at daycare and all night at home. He still wouldn't tell us when he needed to pee, but we took him regularly and went every time. I might have a successful blog story after all!

Around bed time that night, we thought we had a breakthrough. Jeff was laying in bed with JJ and JJ told him he had to go potty. They got up and went to the bathroom. Turns out, Jeff just got played. JJ is getting pretty smart with his bedtime stalling techniques!

Day Seven (Thursday)
Another successful day at daycare, but still not verbalizing when he needs to go. But have no fear, the week did not end on a dull note. When JJ got out of the bath (which he took with Captain America and Superman), he was was squatted down drying them off ever so cutely with a towel. I left the bathroom to go get his pajamas and when I returned there was a big ole turd under him.  I don't think he had any idea he'd just dropped a load. When he saw it, he was so happy to announce, "I just peed poop!"  

Clearly, we have a little ways to go, but overall, I call the week a success. 

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  1. Potty training has to be one of the worst/hardest parts of parenting! Good for you for sticking with it!! :) I probably would have given up when he had a day with a ton of accidents. Thanks for linking up. I tweeted it out for you too.

    1. It truly tested me, but we had a great weekend and I think we are definitely over the hump!


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