Today was Day 1 of a billion of potty training Baby Ary. She started showing signs of readiness about 3 weeks ago, and now that we’re back from California, and the 4th of July is behind us, I have no other excuses for putting it off. So I rolled up the area rugs, set up a rewards system on the dry erase board, pleaded with God to give me strength and patience, and let Ary run loose sans diaper today.
Here are my potty training rules:
- No pull ups. They are exactly like diapers, pulling away from the skin when wet. In my opinion, this teaches the child nothing because they still can’t tell when they’ve gone. I go straight to panties (or bare bottom in Ary’s case, as I couldn’t find panties small enough for her), so when they go they know that they’ve gone. It’s messy and gross, but in my opinion the only way they will ever learn.
- Keep the kid on hard wood or tile to the best of your ability. This is really hard to do all.day.long. But you don’t want to be cleaning pee out of carpet if you can help it.
- Keep kid indoors. Until they start to get it, you really have to stay as close to a bathroom as possible.
- Make the kid sit on the toilet for 10-15 minutes every 30 minutes. I have a special Elmo book about potty training that she can only read while sitting on the toilet. I also will let her watch her kid videos from YouTube on my phone, but again, only if she’s on the toilet.
- When they have an accident, take them straight to the toilet so they connect the sensation with sitting on the toilet. (Kind of like you do with dogs)
- I let them wear diapers or Pull Ups during dinner, nap time and bed time. Night training takes a lot longer because they can’t consciously stop themselves from peeing. And let’s be honest–after an entire day of potty training, you deserve to eat dinner without getting interrupted by another accident to clean up.
- Set up a rewards system that has a visual aid. Every day she goes without an accident, she gets a smiley face and a color bath. Every time she fills up a week’s worth of smiley faces, she gets another reward. I will only take away a smiley face if she has an accident the same night that she got said smiley face. If she has an accident the day after earning a smiley face, she just doesn’t get a new smiley face, but she gets to keep any previous ones she’s earned. Because of this, it may take two weeks to earn the title of “1 week accident free”. Even after a kid is fully potty trained, they’ll still have accidents from time to time. You have to be realistic and set them up for success.
Everyone seems to have different definitions of what it means to be potty trained, so I’ll be clear as to what my definition is: a kid is potty trained when they will tell you when they need to go potty. Not to say that you won’t have to remind them from time to time to go (like before leaving the house to run errands, for instance). But I would not call a kid potty trained if the only time they go in the toilet is when their parents take them; that’s just the parents being trained, not the kid.
Once you establish your method, then you get the pleasure of being on lock down for 2 months. Nothing would be worse than having the poor kid pee themselves in the middle of Target. Until they are potty trained, your life consists of playing on the hard wood floor, keeping them entertained on the toilet so they’ll sit there, and cleaning up pee puddles. Day in and day out until the job is done. It’s hellish, exhausting, and hands down the worst part of toddler-hood. Add to the equation that I have a 3 year old to take care of & am 6 months pregnant, and you’ll understand why I’ve been putting this off.
I spent the whole day waiting for Ary to pee/cleaning up after she peed on the floor/letting her watch Elmo on YouTube so she would stay on the toilet. The good news is that she was completely distraught every time she had an accident, so I think she’ll potty train a lot faster than Eowyn, who took 10 weeks. But it was awful being holed up in the house all day when it was the most perfect summer day outside. Tyler took Eowyn out for a bit after dinner because she was going stir crazy, but then poor Ary was standing at the sliding door crying, “Outside! Outside!” It absolutely broke my heart. I finally was able to distract her by reading to her.
My poor back is aching like no other from all of the floor time on the hard wood. But I successfully kept all accidents off of the carpet. And Ary was kind enough to poop in her diaper this morning before we started, so we avoided that catastrophe today.
There was one point today where I was cleaning up pee again while Ary was crying on the toilet and I kept having to tell Eowyn to stay away so she wouldn’t step in the pee. “But Mom, sissy dropped her shoe in the toilet!” I finished cleaning the floor and went in the bathroom to clean Ary. Sure enough, her sandal was in the toilet.
While I was cleaning the sandal, Eowyn yells, “NOOOOOO!!!” I turn around to find that Ary had ripped out half a story from their Bible.
While I was hot gluing that back together, Ary went into the bathroom and started opening up my sanitary pads.
When she wasn’t dropping sandals in the toilet, she was doing this to the toilet paper:
There was no break at nap time either. No sooner had I sat down, put my feet up and read 2 pages of Game of Thrones when I hear Eowyn yelling, “MOOOOOMMMM!!” I hobble upstairs to find Ary mid-air, straddling her crib & Eowyn’s bed. She looked up at me and let out a distressed, “AHHH!” Of course today would be the day that she is finally successful in climbing out of her crib. So on top of beginning potty training, we also had to switch her crib into a toddler bed so she wouldn’t kill herself. Needless to say, nap consisted of the girls messing around for an hour before I finally threw in the towel and let them get up.
And I can’t even have a glass of wine, because I’m pregnant with another baby who will eventually put me through this hell that is potty training.
Thank God they at least fell asleep without any trouble for bed time. Now I’m off to steam all the germs from my floors and wash the pee soaked towels in preparation for them to get peed on again tomorrow.
Cheers to Mommy-hood and all it’s glory!