January 14, 2014

Adventures in Potty Training

Potty training your child is hard.

Potty training the Little Boy has been one of the hardest things that we have had to deal with as parents. Give me a tantrum any time and I can take care of it head-on, but potty training is one of the most frustrating things because it is one of the things that you have least control over. You can pay attention to the signs, but unless your little one sits on that toilet there are going to be lots of wet pairs of pants being tossed in the laundry hamper every single day.



I approached the subject of potty training with my son's teachers at school during the summer of 2013. They encouraged him to sit on the toilet along with the other kids, and he would pee on the toilet, but it was never really consistent enough -- he was just over the age of 2 at this point. They told me that I could give it a try, if I liked. One night I decided to put him in underwear and see what he would do. He peed 4 times in the span of 15 minutes, and I quickly put him back in a diaper. He was not ready.

Just before Christmas 2013, I approached his new teachers -- as he had moved out of the toddler-age room to the younger preschool room in October -- and asked them how they thought he would do. He was consistently sitting on the toilet and going to the bathroom for them every day, but at home he was reluctant to sit for us and would usually only pee in the evening just before we got him ready for bed.

My husband and I talked about it and we thought it was time to push our son to wear underwear and use the toilet on a daily basis. I saw it more as a push for us than for him. While his teachers at school were very good about keeping a schedule for using the bathroom, we did not do so well at home and I thought that we would do a better job in helping him learn how to use the toilet if we no longer had the safety of the diaper ourselves.

We took the plunge again just after Christmas Day, and it started off quite well -- although he was very reluctant to give up wearing his diaper. We ended up having to go to the doctor to get him checked-out for an earache, and it was also where we had our first accident. After we were done at the doctor's office, we headed over to my mom's house to visit with my grandma one last time before she went home -- and we had our second accident. We had a total of 4 accidents that day. Which is not awful at all considering it was his first day of wearing underwear, but we were still having trouble with getting him to sit on the toilet and pee.

A lot of times at work if a child is struggling with wanting to go to the bathroom, we will make a potty chart and provide stickers for them to stick on the chart after they use the toilet as a way to encourage them and make the experience more exciting. I mentioned that approach to my husband, and we decided to print off a chart and purchase some stickers -- we went with Cars stickers. The Little Boy responded really well to the sticker chart, and he would even try to go pee again after getting a sticker just so he could get another sticker. We used the chart until he didn't even mention getting a sticker anymore, and only put a sticker on when he remembers it. The sticker chart worked perfectly for us.

The next step was the elusive #2. It took a lot of coaching, but we finally completed our mission this past Saturday, and it has been smooth sailing ever since.  I am so grateful that he finally took this step.

I know that we are not out of the woods yet. The road to being fully potty trained is a long one, and there can be any time in the next couple years where he might regress and start having a lot of accidents. We're still at the point where we need to remind him about going to the bathroom, especially when he's playing and having a good time. But we encourage him and let him know that his toys will still be there when he gets back, or we tell him that we can pause his movie and go for a quick bathroom break.

Potty training your child is hard.

Breaking our son of the habit of using his portable toilet is probably one of the most difficult habits that we will ever have to help him get through -- God willing -- but with a little persistence, some ingenuity and a lot of patience, we will soon be Potty Masters!



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