Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Potty Training in 3 days...well maybe 4 or 5 days...or 3 months... or however long it takes!

So here is our 3 day potty training journey (that I did when my daughter was about 26 or 27 months old) in a nutshell! Let me first say that I was very intimidated by the idea of PT before I started, so don't let that discourage you! A friend of a friend told me about this method and e-book found at www.3daypottytraining.com.

Even if you don't set up an account and purchase the book, my report will give a good overview of the method to get you started, or you can email me at why_b_messianic@yahoo.com for more info! 

Signs of readiness for this method:

(Author says that 22 months old is her favorite age to start PT, and that it's best to start before 2 and a half)
~Child is able to communicate needs and wants
~Can go to bed without a bottle/sippy cup (no drinks 2-3 hours before bedtime)
~Consistently wakes up dry (which Elli never did before, but she does now)

Preparation: begin now telling the child (in a serious tone) that peeing and pooping in a diaper is yucky (and make them throw away dirty diapers), you will need at least 15-20 pairs of underwear (buy some bigger so you can use them later as well), multiple crib sheets and maybe a mattress protector, lots of treats for the child (fruit snacks, m & ms, whatever they like and don't get often) and drinks (water bottles, juice boxes, and whatever else you let them drink besides milk, make it special. The idea is to get them to drink MORE than usual so that they have more opportunities to learn from), some small toys/presents for going #2 (I wrapped the presents to make it even more exciting), reward stickers & potty charts are good (you can get charts here: http://www.pottytrainingconcepts.com/CTGY/FREE-Potty-Training-Charts.html ), a potty chair or seat that goes on toilet, and 3 days where you can stay at home with the child ALL day and give them 100% of your attention (which means if you have another child, you need someone else to watch that child as much as possible) and a few of you are pregnant and possibly not feeling well, so you probably need help and support no matter what! If your spouse is going to help, make sure they know the method and you both are on the same page before you begin the 3 days.

THE MAIN IDEA of the method is so catch them in the act of going potty in their underwear and running them to the bathroom to finish in the potty EVERYTIME they go, so it takes A LOT of energy at times! :) The point is to show them where NOT TO GO and where TO GO potty. There is NO punishment or negativity involved for accidents (because there will probably be A LOT at first), but you are supposed to remain positive and enthusiastic about every drop that makes it in the potty (which can be difficult at times) and praise them to no end! They get praise, rewards, special drinks and treats for going in the potty... and when they go on the floor, you are supposed to "overreact" to the mess but not talk negatively about the child.

That's the very condensed version of the method, so here's what the 3 days looked like for us:

DAY 1: Wake up (preferably early, so you can shower, etc. before starting the PT) and eat breakfast. Have the child throw away (yes, in the trash) all the diapers that are visible (I kept some because I am not throwing away expensive diapers, but I never intended to use them for Elli. I hid them under her bed in case someone else needs them. I also bought one pack of pull-ups just in case, which is also a no-no according to this method.) So when the diapers are gone, put a pair of underwear on her/him. Show them how to feel to see that the underwear are dry, because you are supposed to give them "pop quizzes" to check for dryness. I didn't do this that often though. Instead of ASKING them if they have to go potty, tell them and remind them to let you know when they have to go potty, so that they have a sense of control over the PT and don't feel coerced. Toddlers loves control! :) And ultimately, they do have control over their bodies so only they can succeed at this. You need to make them feel like it's their idea and their accomplishment. 

Potty training child should wear only underwear and a shirt so that you can see that they’re dry (and socks or leg warmers if needed).  Basically, stay close to him/her, reminding them to tell you when they have to go, and reminding them to keep their underwear dry. You can go about your day playing with them, reading books, watching TV, etc, just as long as you stay with them so you can watch their body language and learn when they’re about to go potty. I jokingly called it “crotch watch” because that’s what I did a lot of to see if it was dry or starting to get wet! Elli began looking at me with a certain look right before she peed, so I knew I had to run her to the bathroom. You will know it when you see it! If they run away and try to hide, chances are they have to go. Follow them! Don’t let them out of your sight.

On the first day, Elli had many accidents (which was expected), but it was easier than I thought it would be. I had to catch her in the act of trying to poop in her underwear and then she finished in the potty (which kind of freaked us both out at first because it's SO much different than doing it in a diaper...) but she was very proud of herself afterward. I gave her a present when she did #2 and other times when she was getting down about it. You have to keep the excitement level up as much as possible. She wet herself during naptime (which you do the same as usual except with no diapers, staying nearby or by monitor so that you can take them to the potty as soon as they wake up ), and was upset about it. The issue that I had with her that got even worse on day 2 was the fact that she would not empty her bladder on the potty, just do a few drops and then 5-10 minutes later, she was wetting herself again, and it was a continuous cycle for about an hour after naptime. This is why she went through SO many pairs of underwear, so be prepared for this. Just keep being consistent, and they will learn not to do that, because there's no way to MAKE them pee and the author says not to force them to stay on the potty for long. That would be like punishment to them. It got very frustrating to me though, and that made her attitude even worse, and she was crying and not wanting to go on the potty, so be careful not to be negative about it, or tell your spouse you need a break so you can focus on the prize and regain your patience! That night, she wet herself, but I just changed her and the sheets and reminded her to stay dry. Also tell them OVER and OVER that big boys/girls use the potty because they loved to be called BIG.

DAY 2: Although she woke up wet, in many ways she was doing much better on day 2. She was signaling to me that she had to go, or walking towards the potty at this point. There were times that she would run away from the potty and pee on herself though, so stay positive. I noticed that once I became more positive about it, she did too. But I think day 2 was probably the roughest day, wondering if it was going to work or not, wondering why there wasn't more progress... but consistency is the key! On day 2, she also begin to rebel against PT altogether and she tried to run and hide more, whine when I tried to put her on the potty, etc. but there was no turning back. She tested my patience and the boundaries this day to see if I was going to keep it up. Don't give up, just keep going forward and they will see that this is how it will be now. I'm pretty sure she woke up from her nap DRY and telling me that she had to go pee-pee, so that was great! But that was when we had the "holding it in" issue again and she proceeded to go through 17 pairs of underwear the rest of the day!! That was rough, and my patience was wearing VERY thin. I had to get my husband to help and be enthusiastic about it, because I was not! Once she emptied her bladder (finally), it got better and my husband caught her running away to poop, and she went on the potty all the way that time, which was very exciting! We could certainly see the progress that had been made, and I'm sure you will too! She was on her way to being potty-trained!! That night she stayed DRY, and woke me up very early telling me she had to pee!

DAY 3: After waking up dry, we were all very hopeful. On day 3, because of the progress she had made, I tried to give her a little more space and remind her less frequently to stay dry. She was consistently getting up quick or looking at me to say she had to go, or simply running to the potty saying "pee-pee," so we were thrilled. She had few accidents, and was allowing her bladder to empty much better. She was still hesitant to go #2, but I knew when she had to go because she would say that she had to pee, but then do nothing on the potty. This happened several times before she actually pooped. I could tell she was holding her BMs in, as well. (And I think she still is) But I just kept putting her on the potty, and then I read her a couple books while she sat, and she finally pooped! It takes patience, that's for sure! :) Because this is so new to her, seeing her poop in the potty freaks her out and scares her a little, but I'm sure that will pass! On day 3, she napped and stayed DRY, and stayed DRY that night too!

I did not expect this PT method to be miraculous and to take exactly 3 days and then, voila!! So on Day 4, we continued it, but gave her more freedom and didn't remind her so often. By then, she was doing really well on her own in knowing when she had to go, and staying dry. We stayed home that day as well, but took her for a walk in her underwear and she loved it and stayed dry. She was so proud of herself! She had very few accidents, if any. Still hesitant about BMs, I don't think she pooped at all that day. On day 5, she was doing even better (no accidents), so we decided to take her to the store in the car and get her something special to celebrate. I put a pull-up on her, and took her potty seat that goes on the toilet into the store with us. When she acted like she had to go, we went to the bathroom and she went with no problem, and kept the pull-up dry. We bought her a toy and chicken nuggets and came home, she refused to take a nap but stayed dry, and we were like, "wow, I think this method actually works!!" That afternoon, we had been invited to a friend's house to watch football, so we went with her potty seat and she was in a pull-up just in case. Because she didn't take a nap, she fell asleep on the way over and woke up when we got there, not knowing where she was and cranky. She was very whiny and clingy, not like herself at all, and she would not sit on their toilet (on her potty seat) no matter how many times we took her to the bathroom, so she kept wetting herself and that made her even more upset. The pull-ups leaked too, so she wet her pants (and I only brought one extra pair, big mistake) so it wasn't good from a PT perspective, but once we came home that night, she went right back to using her potty like nothing happened. So beware of taking them to unfamiliar places that soon in the PT process. We haven't been to anyone else's house yet, so I don't know if she will continue refusing to use other toilets, but if she does, I am planning to get a travel potty to take along. Whatever works! We have an upcoming trip too, so we will see how that goes! :0

We have now made it through day 6, and I can confidently say that she is potty-trained, even though she's still hesitant about pooping. I believe she did have two accidents today, one of those while sleeping, but compared to the other days, it was a breeze! We still give ample praise and stickers on the chart, and occasional treats. I will admit that her appetite was affected during the three days because of all the juice and sugar, but it was worth it because now she goes whether she gets treats or not and she is back on her regular diet for the most part. It was an amazing journey, and I am no longer afraid of potty training! :) The only downside is that my baby girl is growing up fast, and making me feel old, but that's just part of life! I certainly don't miss the diapers, and I'm sure you won't either!!

Hopefully I made this make sense in a cohesive way. If you have any questions (or need encouragement while you're attempting this) , just email me! Your journey may be longer or shorter, harder or easier... either way, don't give up! It's definitely worth the number of days' work that you put into it! 

Update: My daughter is now 34 months old, and is fully potty trained, except for the struggles we still have with her going poop on the potty and not in her underwear. We try to be understandable in part, because she has had some painful BMs and has seen the doctor about it. We try to give her more fiber and get her to drink more water, but that is often a struggle as well. Of course, it's a vicious cycle because them holding it in just makes them constipated and then it hurts even more when it does come out, so next time they hold it in again!! It's been an interesting journey, but we look forward to the day when she is eager to go #2 on the potty! We still run her to the potty if we catch her in the act, and still give her fruit snacks when she goes on the potty. 

Despite these struggles, I still recommend this method to moms preparing for the dreaded potty training stage. The fact that it focuses on the positive and gives the child as much control as possible makes a big difference! I will certainly use it again with my son, who is still in utero at this point, but most people tell me that boys are harder, so it should be fun!! Perhaps I will write another post on PT boys when that time comes! If you are entering that PT stage, then I hope this information is helpful! 

Best wishes! :)

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