So, we set a foundation for what will hopefully be successful potty training (link here: http://becky-shattuck.blogspot.com/2013/08/potty-training-my-21-month-old.html). What's next?
this point, Joanna doesn't even know what peeing is. I mean, she's
always worn a diaper. So, now that the foundation for potty training is there, our first step in training is teaching her what it is to pee. This will involve wearing underwear during the day and having
accidents. Our goal isn't to punish her when she pees on the floor. It
is to teach her that she peed. So, when Jo pees on the floor, I will
tell her what she did. "Joanna! You peed! There's your pee-pee!" Then, I
will tell her where she is supposed to pee, "Your pee-pee needs to go
in the potty, Jo!" I will show her the potty. Then, we will clean up the
mess together because, as I said, toddlers love helping!
If Jo poops her pants, then I need to remember not to tell her it is gross. If she is ashamed of pooping, she won't want to do it. She will hide it. If she poops, I need to tell her what she did. "Joanna! You pooped!" Then, I will drop as much of the poop as I can in the toilet, so she can see where it goes, and we can flush it together. She can even wave bye. "Bye, poop!"
Once Jo has an accident, I will make note of the time. If she has an
accident at, say, 8am, then I need to be ready to put her on the potty
at about 9:30am. Oliver always had to go about 1.5 hours after the last
time he went. I had to learn his schedule. Joanna's schedule might be
different. So, I will need to learn her schedule. I assume her schedule will be similar to Oliver's, but I can't know until I try! My mom told me kids
often have to go to the bathroom right after eating. It might be a good
idea to give your child his/her meal about an hour after the last
accident. When your child is done eating, then try the potty.
In the beginning, I know Joanna will not use the potty when I put her on it. She doesn't even know what peeing is much less peeing on command. I will base her training on what I did for Oliver. This is how I started actively potty training Oliver, right when he turned 20 months old:
1. I learned his potty schedule. He peed about every 1.5 hours. I learned his pee schedule by taking him out of diapers. You aren't going to know when your kid pees if he/she is wearing diapers! Potty training your toddler involves underwear and accidents. Oliver's schedule was 1.5 hours, but I need to be prepared for Joanna to have a shorter, longer, or more sporadic schedule.
2. I put him on the potty shortly before the 1.5 hour mark from the last time he went. Oliver went like clockwork, which really helped in his potty training. I hope Joanna goes regularly, too. If not, potty training her might involve more accidents. That's OK. I am prepared!
3. I then did my best to keep Oliver on the potty as long as possible without making it a punishment. The potty was his special seat to watch videos and read books. He had a special book just for the potty: Lama Lama Holidays. He only got that book when he was on the potty. He would usually sit on the potty for 30 minutes at a time.
4. I sat next to him when he sat on the potty. Remember how I said the goal is to teach Joanna what it means to pee? I needed to be there with Oliver to tell him when he peed. It would be very easy for a kid to tinkle in the potty and not notice--not realize they caused the sound. I was there to tell him right away when he peed!
5a. About half the time, he peed in the potty before the half hour was over. If he peed in the potty, I celebrated big time! I cheered for him and clapped and gave him a high five. I gave him chocolate chips. He got to help me pour his pee-pee from his little potty to the toilet and flush it. It was such a celebration! He was so proud. It was very important I was sitting there with him. If I missed when he peed, I wouldn't have celebrated him at the right time, and he might not have learned the positive correlation between peeing in the potty and celebration.
5b. If Oliver didn't want to sit on the potty anymore, I didn't make him. I didn't want the potty to be a punishment or a bad thing to him. If he got off the potty, I simply turned off his videos or put his potty books up. He only got those on the potty! Sometimes, he would choose to sit back down. If he sat back down, we continued to read and watch Sesame Street videos. If he didn't choose to sit back down, I would put back on his undies and let him play. This almost always led to an accident, of course. That's OK! Accidents happen. Remember what I said in the beginning of this post: I don't want to punish my kids for peeing. I want them to learn what it means to pee. When Oliver had an accident, I told him what he did. "You peed! Uh, oh! That's supposed to go in the potty!" We cleaned it up together: not as a punishment, but just because it was something we needed to do. We also changed his underwear right away. By keeping him dry, he started to hate the feeling of being wet. He didn't want to pee in his undies anymore!
These first steps in potty training took a solid week. That week, we barely left the house. Potty training a toddler is a pretty big commitment (which is why I've been putting it off with Joanna until now). For an entire week, Oliver and I hung in or near the house so I could be sure to get him on the potty when it was time. I didn't mind if he had an accident outside, of course, but I didn't want to drive around and do errands with him in his diaper. If he had lots of accidents in his diaper, he wouldn't really learn about what it means to pee. I don't think his potty-training would have been as successful. So, if you can, pick a week when you can be home a lot to start potty training. That is what we're doing this week. It really stinks to be stuck at home for a week, but I think one week is worth it to be mostly diaper-free and potty trained during the day!
So, that is the plan I used with Oliver. It is the plan I'm following with Jo. I started our week on Saturday. Tomorrow, I will update on how these steps have been working out for us over these past few days. Will I be tearing my hair out? Will I push back potty training? Will I be happy I started? Will Jo have successful potty attempts? To be continued.