I'm one of these moms who doesn't do a lot of research. I don't spend hours of time digesting data online. Instead, I talk to a few people, find out what works for them, think about what feels like a good fit for us, talk to my husband, and go with it.
I don't have time to scour the Internet and draw up charts and pictures and plans. I think. I pray. I go.
We have now had three simply wonderful potty-training experiences. These were boys and a girl. These were biological and adopted children. All variables were covered with the same result each time. We potty-trained Isaac and Sidge at the same time (2.5 and 2 years old) an Abigail just recently (2.5).
We decided to potty-train the boys when Isaac appeared ready. Sidge was an afterthought. We simply thought we'd try him with Isaac and see if he got it. (He did!) We waited until they were able to be a main player in the activity. I didn't wan to have to take their clothes on and off for them each time. I wanted them to be able to at least take their pants down by themselves.
We opted for naked potty-training. Technically they don't have to be completely naked. You can put a pair of underwear on them. But we simply go cold Turkey, and a key ingredient to this is that they actually feel the pee when they go. We don't do any preparing ahead of time. We just picked a long weekend where JB would be home with us. We picked a long weekend that we didn't have anything to do out of the house. We rolled up all the rugs. And we went for it!
We gave the kids a ton to drink and watched them like a hawk. As soon as they started going that first time and felt it coming down their leg, we ran them to the bathroom, put them on a potty chair, and let nature take its course. Because they had been drinking so much, they really had no choice but to pee in the potty. Then, when they went, we started celebrating and brought them into the kitchen where five M&M's were their reward!
We would ask them frequently if they had to go, but more than that we watched them. We watched for a look on their face that signaled something was happening.
We spent the entire long weekend continuing this routine.
At naptime and bedtime we put them back in a diaper. Naptime and bedtime training come much later. Once they are consistently staying dry at either of these two events, you can start trying to not put them in underwear to sleep. But I don't think you should even cross this bridge until they are very completely daytime potty-trained. There is no hurry when it comes to sleeping.
Not only did we spend the entire long weekend at home, skipping church and anything else that might be suggested during the weekend, I then spent the week that followed very close to home. I limited trips from the house as much as possible. I felt that giving up a week of my life was well worth the money I was going to save in diapers.
Number one was easily conquered during that first week.
Number two varied for each child. Some of them got it quickly. Some didn't. We would often use Miralex during this time. The reason we used is that each of the kids started holding in their number two. Making sure it stayed soft meant that they were less likely to panic when they finally went. Keeping the experience a pleasant one helped assure that constipation (and ultimately refusal to go number two because of this discomfort) would result.
Also, I did use pull-ups when we left the house only after I could tell the child understood what the sensation was and that they were intent on trying not to go in their pants or in their pull-up.
So, in a nutshell, here are my tips:
- Go cold Turkey.
- Celebrate successes.
- Explain failures but don't punish or get upset.
- Spoil with tons of their favorite candy or treat.
- As successes become more regular, begin cutting down on the treats.
- Don't even think about naptime and bedtime.
- Expect it to be a bit messy.
- Eliminate all other items for your schedule.
- Use pull-ups only after the child is consistently using the bathroom.
Here are some links to past entries on my blog that followed our potty-training adventures:
The Pee-pee Diaries Part I
The Pee-pee Diaries Part II