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The verdict after Day 1 of potty training

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

And Day 1 was actually yesterday.  The potty train is chugging along at a decent speed.  No tears, no smears, looking good!  So I decided that I shall share the method I’m using – I know what a nightmare it can be to embark on this journey with the joy of your life.

Let me start from the beginning.  My initial aim was to start potty-training Divya when she turned 30 months old.  The date came and went and I still was not mentally prepared. 

Attempt No. 1

After about a month from the initially designated date, I decided to give it a go – starting with the pull-up diapers – FAILURE!  In the hubby’s words, Divya and I looked “beaten up” when he came home from work – tempers flared, lots of tears were shed and Divya and I were not exactly on talking terms.  So I decided (with the advise from the Internet) to postpone it for a couple of weeks.  Maybe she just wasn’t ready. 

Attempt No. 2

This time, I read online that pull-up diapers just feel the same as normal diapers to kids so it was advised that training pants should be used – almost like normal underwear but with a little extra absorbency.  So I rushed out excitedly and stocked up with a bunch of these miracle undies.  The next day, I made the new undies seem so exciting and special to Divya that even I was tempted to get some for myself!  She put them on, and within 10 minutes, she had wet herself and even pointed me in the direction, proudly remorsefully, of the puddle she had left on the floor.  This was just her first attempt, I thought – patience after all was my middle name.  But when her 7th pair of undies had been rinsed and tossed into the washing machine before noon that day, my middle name had been changed to “pure frustration”.  It wasn’t just the cleanups that got to me – it was Divya laughing each time she did it, and proudly may I add!  Enough was enough – I threw in the undies towel for the day at 3pm and decided that she just wasn’t ready.  Call it mother’s intuition.  Did I mention that even a little bribery (with sweets) was involved?

Following Attempts 1 and 2 came a whole lot of travelling – so potty-training was definitely out of the question.  Then about 2 weeks ago, we signed her up for preschool – what I like about this preschool is that there is no compulsion for the child to be potty-trained.  That’s the way I think it should be!  But I decided anyway that it would be good if she could at least use the potty – less supplies to be carried every time we go out and lots of $$$$ to be saved.  So here came……

Attempt 3

…..which started yesterday.  And Miracle of Miracles, Divya is doing exceptionally well!  She only had 1 “accident” yesterday and none, so far, today!  Which leads me to believe, that waiting for a child to be “ready” is extremely important AND it makes it SO MUCH easier on the potty trainer and trainee!  As cliche as it may sound, parents have to always keep in mind that every child is different.  So the method and timing may differ for different children.  But here’s my story of what I did (you never know, it may help someone).

1.  If your house doesn’t have any carpet, then lucky you.  If it does, try to line it with some waterproof cloth as much as you can.  The only thing I did was to line my couch with a plastic tablecloth (you can buy it at the dollar store).  And I also folded a towel and placed it on top of the plastic cloth – told Divya that it was a magic mat and that she had to sit on it if she wanted to watch TV (yes, she indulged in a lot of TV so that the training went smoothly).

2.  I put another plastic mat down on the floor in the bathroom and placed the potty on it (makes for an easier cleanup).  And I obviously chose the bathroom that was closest to the living room/kitchen.  You can’t expect a child to run a marathon to reach the bathroom.  If you are comfortable placing the potty even closer, that’s even better.  But it was easier for me to be able to flush down the pee & poop and wash the potty each time in the bathroom.

3.  I placed a toilet roll, wipes, plastic bags and spare clothes within reach of the bathroom.

4.  I started off the day by letting her go bottomless – YUP – nothing at all except a T-shirt – I thought that maybe she would not like the feeling of being wet. 

5.  I set the reminder on my cellphone at 30-minute intervals.  I tried to make it sound exciting that whenever the alarm went off, it was “peeing time”.  After about 3 hours, she was telling me when she had to pee – so we didn’t always keep to the alarm but we tried to as much as possible.  She even did her poop in the potty (although, I must say that she was rather traumatised when she looked at it because she hasn’t really seen it much before).  I even reminded her and asked her between the intervals whether she needed to use the potty – I think kids tend to forget when they are busy playing.

6.  And since she was able to tell me when she had to go to the toilet, I started letting her wear undies/shorts – after all, she needs to start getting used to wearing clothes without a diaper.  It isn’t always appropriate to go bottomless.

Don’t get me wrong, it is not as easy as it seems.  I must have cleaned out the potty at least 30 times yesterday.  I think bladder control is still an issue!

Here are some conclusions I came to.

1.  TIMING – if you are not in a rush to potty or toilet train your child, wait until your child is ready.  Look out for signs such as the child telling you that she/he has done a pee or poop in the diaper, interest in wanting to use a potty.  Leave the potty in clear sight and every now and then, ask your child if he/she wants to use it.  I think that bladder control becomes better as a child gets older and she is able to know when she needs to use the bathroom.  Forget about keeping up with the Joneses – everytime another parent shows off that their kid is trained, throw a poop-filled diaper in their face.

2.  If possible, don’t take the route of “bribery”.  You won’t always be able to give your child a sweet/treat everytime he/she pees or poops.  So that is going to give them the wrong message.  Resort to it, ONLY, if your child is peeing around the house, laughing in your face and refusing to even try using the potty.  

3.  Set aside, at least, 2 days to fully focus on potty-training your child.  If both parents work, perhaps, sacrifice one weekend for this adventure.  If one parent is a stay-at-home parent, then BAD LUCK, you’re on your own!  It definitely helps if there are 2 people taking turns dumping the pee/poop.  Consistency really is the key – so be serious about it and try not to leave the house for those few days.

6. As soon as the child is able to tell you when she/he needs to pee/poop, start getting them to wear either shorts or undies (something that they are able to easily remove and put on again).  It is important to do this as soon as possible since they won’t always be able to go bottomless. 

So in summary, let your child go bottomless if necessary, and stick to this timing method.

7.  Most importantly, don’t forget to praise your child everytime their attempt in the potty is successful.  DO NOT, however, jump up and down and shout out at the top of your lungs – you may just scare your child back into diapers.

I think I have covered all that I wanted to say – if you have questions, just ask 🙂 – my mind isn’t quite working right, after all, I have had nothing but pee and poop on the brain for the last 2 days!

Good luck to all aboard the potty train!

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Friday, July 10, 2009 7:53 am

    I did the bare bottom thing with the boys, and it worked really well… Though with Josh, Jared helped out a lot. Josh’s main problem was his fear of pooping in the toilet, so I told them that if Josh pooped in the potty chair that BOTH of them would get a new Rescue Hero. You should have heard Jared prompting Josh to go. *lol* …. Alicia was pretty easy, training practically overnight when she was 2 1/2. … Amanda was the stubborn one who didn’t want anything to do with the potty until she was 3 1/2. Then one day we were at the hospital (visiting my Mom who just had surgery). Alicia and Jared had taken turns using the bathroom, and Amanda came to me and said she had to go too. The kids were pretty bored, so I figured that she was just trying to find something to do, so both Joe and I pretty much ignored the request (she was in a diaper). Anyway, she ended up going into the bathroom and shutting the door. A while late I decided to go check on her, and there she was, diaperless and on the toilet, and she had actually gone. Within days she was in undies full time. She trained herself! Awesome! *lol*

    @Julie : Divya is doing pretty well too – I’m just not sure what to do when we go out – like when we are in the car. I just bought a travelling potty – it’s a 2-in-1 which can be used as a potty or as a kiddy seat on the adults toilet. So I’ll have to see how that goes for now.

  2. Bawani permalink
    Monday, July 13, 2009 9:50 am

    yes, “consistency” is the key term here but I’m not ready for that 😦 Still cracking my head on when to start potty training for my girls..

    P.S. Hi Bhavani, not sure from where I ended up in your blog… got a nice blog here and I’m Bawani, too 😉

    @Bawani : Welcome to my blog 🙂 – I thought it was really hard to potty train before – but I realised it’s all about when the child is ready – so don’t feel pressurized to start early – it’s much easier when the child is ready. My little girl is turning 3 in two months’ time – so that may give you an idea. Do visit my blog when you want to 🙂

  3. SPillay permalink
    Friday, July 17, 2009 3:34 pm

    Hello Hello. Long time! Glad to hear that all is well in Boise…. Keep up the good work with the little one. 🙂 xx

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