Saturday, November 17, 2012

Goodbye Diapers: Potty Training

Warning: As the title suggests this post is ALL about potty training. I will be talking about pee, poop, and will throw in a puking story for fun. If that's not your kind of thing pass on by, but if you want to know what 'pine coning' is read on...

We've made multiple attempts at potty training for some time now. I was pretty sure that Riley was ready a few months back. We bought undies and stickers, and printed out a chart, but then she became adamantly opposed to going on the potty. You'd think we were torturing her whenever we would say "let us know if you need to go potty". It did not go over well.

I finally decided that since she clearly knows when she needs to go and has the ability to tell us I was going to try the three day process. We just had to wait for a weekend where we weren't doing anything... which was more difficult than I realized. Even when I finally planned on a weekend a couple invites came my way. I didn't attend them, but that was more about the migraine I had as I could have left Riley home with her dad. BTW, potty training a kid with a migraine isn't nearly the nightmare I thought it would be.

At any rate, I initially planned on us starting this process on Friday since my daughter is home with my husband. I emailed him the three day breakdown to which I received the response "I'm terrified". Apparently, my husband and our daycare provider, Char, were skeptical about pushing potty training at this time. Me? I had a lot more faith that it would work out, but I also had a healthy dose of realistic expectations. I knew it would not be easy.

I finally conceded and agreed that we could start the process on Saturday since Riley is usually the only kid at daycare on Monday and Char was on board to help with the process.

Day 1 - November 3rd

I had been talking about this for some time so Riley would be a little prepared. I was a little worried  that no matter how much I talked about it she wouldn't be game, but turns out she was quite cooperative. We put her in a shirt with nothing on her bottom (not even pants) and headed downstairs to our main floor where we planned to spend most of the day. I put down a small picnic blanket that easily wipes off in case she had an accident, but Jesse was nervous about this and added another larger blanket for good measure. (Side note: later in the day this all became fort material that stayed up for a week. To my husband's chagrin the very material he wanted to protect the floor was now above our child's head.)

We have a stand alone potty and one that attaches to the toilet, but for this process we moved her stand alone potty to the dining room which is essentially the center of the house. I think this was a key factor in this process as she was able to go over, without having to tell us, and potty by herself. All morning she made multiple trips to the potty in which she would earn a sticker each time. I bought a bunch of $1.00 toys from Target and a few other slightly bigger toys as incentives. Per our past experience, stickers didn't seem to be much of an incentive for Riley so I also bought gummy candy as it's a big treat for her. Turns out I didn't have to take one thing out of the bag as she was delighted with the sticker chart, the high-fives, and the general excitement we expressed each time she pottied.

At one point in the day she ran over to the potty, did her business and turned to look in the potty. She asked "what is that?" to which I responded "it's poop". I guess she's never really seen it before. It's not like we show her what's inside her diaper so I can understand her confusion. She proceeded to ask multiple times "what is that" because she clearly didn't believe my answer. After a pause she turned to me and said "it's a pine cone". Huh, yeah I guess it kinda looks like that. Oh kid, you crack me up. Also? Pine cone has now become a verb per our daycare provider who shared with us later in the week "Riley pine coned in the potty today!" I will never look at a pine cone the same and can't wait to share this story with her friends when she's 13.

That afternoon she woke up on the wrong side of the bed after her nap and was the old 'freak out at the mention of the potty' kid I knew. My husband wanted to get out of the house and decided to take Riley down the block to the park. I probably should have pushed more to wait until she pottied before we left the house, but I didn't and this resulted in the one accident we had during the day. After we got back and changed her she seemed in a much better mood and did well the rest of the day.

Day 2 - November 4th

On day two we decided to put Riley in pants, but not underwear. Again, we spent the day mostly in the house and Riley still was incredibly cooperative.

She did have an poop accident this day that was somewhat comical in retrospect. She was playing in our office when she went running for her potty. When I found her sitting there she complained of wet pants and when I looked down I found a little poop on the ground.

I attempted to clean it all up while trying to keep Riley from stepping in the mess. She kept standing up and asking for a sticker. She didn't actually go in the potty so I explained that accidents happen, but she only gets a sticker when she goes in the potty. This led to her 'trying' multiple time to go in the potty. She really, really wanted that sticker.

Distressed about not getting a sticker

During one of her 'tries' I was cleaning poop off of her foot when our cat, Lucy, started puking about a foot away. I would have ignored it except she started eating it. I know that's not the end of the world, but GROSS. I was yelling at Lucy to stop, and yelling at Riley to stay seated while my husband was laughing at me from the other room. Nice.

Jesse finally came out to help, and I asked him to clean Riley up in the shower as she had poop on her foot. Apparently, he missed the part where I said she has POOP on her foot as he told her to go to the bathroom. Luckily, I intercepted that one so we didn't end up with an even bigger mess and made sure he carried her to the shower. So while Jesse washed Riley down I cleaned up the puke and the poop and made sure all was clean.

I went to get Riley a new pair of pants when I found her back in the office where she was originally playing. And that's when I discovered a huge pile of poop about a foot from her. Apparently, this is why she didn't poop in the potty at all - because she already left a deposit in the office. I grabbed Riley and let Jesse clean this one up.

After Riley's afternoon nap Jesse wanted to get out of the house again. He wanted Riley to have a chance to run around. I agreed, but said we couldn't go until she peed. Jesse got tired of waiting and decided he was going to take her to the mall. Uh no. I didn't want to put her in a spot where she would feel bad if she had an accident so instead we walked down to the park. The ice rink walls were set up and the tennis courts were open so we ran around in each. This was way better than going to the mall. And apparently, according to Riley, there is a shark that lives on the far end of the tennis courts so be careful.

After running around for some time we got Riley home, but as we walked in she had an accident. Day two with two accidents, but the kid did pretty well throughout the day.

Day 3 - November 5th

This was a daycare day, but Riley is often the only kid there on Mondays so I knew she would have Char's full attention. This day we put her in underwear and pants and she did great! Not one accident all day long. And the doubt that my husband and Char had? Gone.

Day 4 and beyond

It's been a couple weeks since we started and Riley's had a few accidents, but has had many accident free days. We have to be a little more mindful of her schedule and making sure her bathroom needs are attended to, but she usually tells us when she needs to go without any urging.

One night I was in the midst of cleaning out the cat box and Jesse was in the shower when I heard Riley say "I want to play with bodies". I asked "you want to play with bodies?" to clarify because, you know, that seemed like an odd request, and she responded "yes" while she ran up the stairs. I knew this couldn't be right, but continued on with my task. Before long I heard her screaming the comment over and over with a daddy or a mommy included. I washed my hands and headed upstairs where I found her slightly panicked next to the big toilet. Luckily, she held it until she was on the potty. Apparently, she was saying "I have to go potty". It's an easy mistake. Trust me.

She still wears diapers for her naps and at night, but more and more she wakes up dry and heads straight to the bathroom if needed. In fact she's had a lot more night time wake ups which we weren't sure about at first. "Are you cold? hot? hungry?..." Finally, we realized she had to go to the bathroom and was anxious about peeing in her diaper, but to tired to articulate what she needed.

She is incredibly proud of herself... as are we. I can't imagine this going much better than it did. She really did embrace it. I didn't have to give her a ton to encourage her (we didn't even give her stickers every time she pottied), and she doesn't seem to have the fears I often hear about in other kids (going potty in a strange place, pooping...). I know she'll probably still have some accidents and it might be a little bit before we get rid of diapers during her sleep times, but as far as I am concerned she's potty trained and there is no looking back.

Good job, kiddo!

Stickers went wherever there was room


  1. Wow, that is awesome!!! So glad it went well. LOL at the pinecone comment. Kids are weird.

  2. Yay Riley! This is wonderful, kudos to you for watching the signs and realizing she was ready. I think that's the most important part. :)

    And patience. Yes, that too.


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