You're going to hate me. Potty training has been soooo easy for us!
As more and more of Penny's cohorts were potty training, I grew anxious to see what was in store for us. We had a couple experiences with potty interest when she was about 15 months old, and then I got pregnant and *I* lost interest in potty training and resigned myself to the couch. This past summer was also a failed attempt (mainly because, again, I couldn't keep up while having a 3 month old strapped to me). So we relaxed, enjoyed the fall and as the holidays approached, I had no hopes of her potty training because what kid potty trains around the holidays? We're constantly out of the house, out of our routine, the excitement of aunts, uncles and cousins...and how do we deal with public bathrooms?
It all started a couple days before Thanksgiving, where Penny woke up from her naps dry. I decided to give it a shot and put her in some Gerber cotton training underwear. I maniacally followed her around, pestering her if she needed to go potty and within 20 minutes or so she said she did so we got out her princess potty seat and plopped her down. To her great delight, it came and I rewarded her with a chocolate chip from a pretty jar that sits in our bathroom. We continued this for the next 3 days (with diapers during naps and bedtime) and she even stayed dry all through Thanksgiving weekend while visiting my in-laws and running around after all of her cousins.
For the following 2 weeks I would reward her with each successful potty by giving her a chocolate chip from the jar. She knows that a poop = two chocolate chips, a couple Frozen stickers and perhaps a tattoo if I have them laying around. We'd make a big deal out of successful attempts; I'd list of each person who is proud of her and I'd tell her to announce to Ruby that she went potty (because her sister's admiration is already important to her!).
Over the last week I cut out the chocolate chips for going potty. The little stinker was starting to play me and would go potty even if she just had one drop (because any potty meant a chocolate chip). So mama wised up and changed the rules to chocolate chips for poop (and she won't let me forget that she gets 2 Frozen stickers and a tattoo).
If I were to give anyone some tips on how we did it, this is what I would suggest.
- Keep it simple. I'm sure that she could have potty trained when she was 15 months old (not kidding), but the timing wasn't right. I was in my first trimester and exhausted. The following round of interest was when Ruby was brand new and it just didn't work for me to wear newborn Ruby and be standing over the toilet with Penny. So even though the timing wasn't ideal and I didn't get to capitalize on an early potty trainer, waiting until she was absolutely ready made it so much easier and less stressful on each of us.
- Figure out what reward system your child wants, and go for it. Even though we generally stuck to the one or two chocolate chip rule, if convincing her was a little more difficult that time I would allow her to grab more than her allotment. The stickler for rules in me had a problem with this at first, but I remembered that we're dealing with a child and honestly the toilet can kind of be a scary thing. Keeping it upbeat, happy and rewarding is important.
- If you are crafty by any means, sew a panel of fabric with your child's hero onto the front of the underwear. As you can see by my picture, it doesn't have to be perfect. Whenever I would put Penny into her underwear I would tell her "Remember, we're wearing our Frozen underwear. So don't pee on Elsa and Anna!" That was a huge motivator for her! I know that there is Frozen print underwear available, but I couldn't find the Gerber training underwear style and I already had a bunch of plain ones and also extra fabric laying around.
I have to say, after cloth diapering 2 kids for 9 months, I am relieved in the break from laundry work. Penny is now 33 months old. It's a bittersweet transition though, because I miss that fluffy butt of hers. We still put on a diaper for naps and night time, even though most times she ends up dry. It just ensures that she will sleep longer. She's also passed the torch to her little sister is my resident cloth diaper model.
How is potty training going for you? Any tips to share?
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