Did you shutter when you read the title of this post? I have been dreading the inevitable need to potty train Grant. I have talked myself out of doing it many times with the reasoning of "he's not ready", which really means I'm not ready. Back in the day (before I had a child of my own) I would have told you exactly how to potty train your child and I would also tell you they should be trained soon after turning 2.
Fast forward to my having a child, a very stubborn, independent, strong willed, child and I had no clue how to train him, and the idea of attempting it soon after his 2nd birthday was enough to make me want to cry.
It sounds crazy, but it's oh so true.
I was at a loss as to how to start and I figured maybe a lot of mom's feel the same, so I thought I'd share how I've been training Grant. I won't say he's trained yet because I don't want to jinx anything but he is doing better than I ever thought he would at this point and I couldn't be more impressed and thrilled.
I started during a week I knew there was nothing pressing that needed done. Meaning I didn't need to be running around here there and everywhere and could pretty much stay home all day every day if it was absolutely necessary. So Tuesday when Grant woke up I explained to him it was time to wear his underwear and he needed to pee in the potty not in his pants. I spent the next 12 hours changing what seemed like an endless amount of wet underwear and wet pants.
After going through 3 pair of pants in about an hour I ditched the pants and let him run around in his shirt and underwear.
I did not get 1 single pee in the potty the entire day and by 6pm I gave in a slapped (not literally) a diaper on his bottom stating "I'm done". I questioned whether he was actually ready. Whether he would catch on and whether I was completely wasting my time and would be spending every day this week changing hundreds of pair of wet underwear and cleaning up pee puddles all over my house. I did have a spray bottle of dish soap and water and a scrub brush for cleaning the carpet after accidents which was convenient, but that was the last thing I wanted to do for a week straight.
I got up Wednesday morning fully prepared to have another day of wet underwear and it started out to be exactly that. After 2 pees and a poop in the underwear he came to me and said he had to pee. He went to the potty and ever since then he's been going on his own. He has stayed dry during nap time and has even been waking up during the night to pee, keeping him dry all night long.
I'm still in disbelief and waiting for the ball to drop. Waiting for him to make it a little more difficult for me but excited at his progress so far. The most frustrating part is when we are out places. The trip to the grocery store (our first outing while potty training) would have been a disaster had it not been for my husband. I took the potty seat from the house and put it in the van because public restrooms grosse me out. We hadn't gotten through half the grocery isles before he said he had to pee. Then no more than Derrick got him back in the store he said he had to pee again. He ended up keeping Grant out there about a half hour and said he peed 4 times. I just kept thinking, there would have been no way I could have done that by myself. I wouldn't have gotten my shopping done at all.
Here are a few things I learned and a few things that helped me:
1. Extra potty seat in the car. It's hard for little ones to potty on large toilets so having their potty seat and having the privacy of a vehicle makes it a little easier.
2. Padded underwear: lets face it, training pants are pricey and who has a bunch of extra money to invest in those and then a bunch of underwear they will just pee and poop in. So I made some "training pants" of my own. During yard sale season last year I bought every pair of 2T-4T underwear I could find then used the old school cloth diapers I had leftover from his infancy days to pad them so the pee wouldn't just dribble out all over my carpet. Here is how I made them. These worked great. I have every intention of making training pants like these for all future potty training.
3. Don't torcher yourself and Stay Home: If at all possible stay home for a few days and soley focus on potty training. The least amount of time your little one is in a diaper or pull up the better. I think this is what helped Grant the most. I know if he had been wearing pull-ups and we would have done the running around we normally do it would have taken him alot longer to start going on his own.
4. Use a timer: The 2nd day I used a timer I bought at the store and set it for every 30 minutes. When he would get up from the potty I set the timer for 30 minutes and he got to the point when he hear the timer go off he knew it was time to try to potty so he would come to me and willingly sit down.
5. If you have stubborn child, Don't Force It: By Don't Force It, I don't mean if he/she doesn't want to potty put a diaper back on and give up for awhile. I mean don't force them to sit on the potty over and over. I started my 1st day telling Grant over and over "come potty", to which he would yell "NO", and it started to become a battle. After a couple hours of this I stopped all together. I reminded him frequently to not pee in his underwear and would ask if he wanted to try to potty. If he said no, I left him alone and didn't force him to sit and try to pee, however he started to want to come and try. I have learned with my stubborn, independent child that if you try to force it or try to get him to do something he doesn't want to do he gets twice as stubborn and it ends up being a lost cause.
6. Don't give up: Even if you have 3 straight days of wet underwear and very few pees in the potty, keep going. If you know your child is old enough and can do it, just keep at it. I'm a firm believer in not using pull-ups except during sleeping hours. To me they are thinner diapers and feel the same to a child as a regular diaper and therefore it's much harder for them to get the idea they shouldn't pee and poop in it. This is why I say to stay home a few days until they get going good, because no one wants to take a child to the store in underwear when they are peeing through every 30 minutes. It only frustrates you and the child.
I, in no way claim to be an expert but I have had some good success so far and maybe this will help some other mother out there with a stubborn child who is dreading attempting to potty train.