Monday, June 20, 2011

Thoughts on Potty Training

Brandy at Afterthoughts wrote a post last week on potty training which happened to come at just the right time for us here on the Range. Second Daughter, who refused to train while we were under chicken pox quarantine, has made great strides recently. I have therefore been contemplating the subject and decided to make a few comments, much less thoughtfully than Brandy did.
  • A month ago, I tried to get Second Daughter to use the bathroom instead of her diaper. She was interested, but not enough to make an effort to get to the bathroom if she didn't feel like it. Last week, she asked to use the bathroom on her own and we went from there. Waiting for the child was the strategy that worked for First Son and First Daughter (with lots of talking about it and reading My Big Boy Potty and My Big Girl Potty by Joanna Cole). I should have followed the same one with Second Daughter and saved myself the extra work.

  • The good news - I'm washing a lot fewer diapers. The bad news - we're washing the carpet quite a bit.

  • Older siblings are great trainers. Second Daughter seemed much more successful when she was accompanied by First Son or First Daughter than by me. They were also entertained...for a couple of hours. It's been days now and they're not so excited when she asks them to come along.

  • Second Daughter likes being bare-bottomed. She is allowed a piece of candy when she's successful in the bathroom, but only if she puts her underwear back on. She forgoes the candy shockingly often. I'm afraid I'm spoiling her, but she's just so cute running around without bottoms on I can't bring myself to fight her on it. Plus, she's more likely to make it to the bathroom in time.

  • Though she doesn't always like to put her underwear back on, she does like to carry it around the house. She is constantly dropping it when distracted by...well, anything. So we have a disturbing number of pairs of underwear scattered in the living room and the kids' bedroom. Second Son often finds it for me. (At least it's clean since she's not wearing it.)

  • She is fully clothed when we go out, but she often fights me on it. Since she was fighting me every time we went anywhere anyway, I'm almost happy to be able to better anticipate the exact nature of the battle.

  • Second Daughter continues to have at least one accident a day. I'm a bit at a loss with this situation as First Son and First Daughter each had one. Just one. How long will the accidents continue? It's not clear.

  • She has not yet been successful on an outing outside the house. I'm afraid it may be confusing her to keep putting a diaper on her when we're going out, but I'm not anxious to deal with an accident. She tries to use the restroom when we are out, but never does. Then she has a wet diaper. I might be tempted to let her have an accident away from home if she managed a full day at home without one.  (See above.) Again, this was not an issue with the first two.

  • Second Daughter has had a lot of candy in the past week. Eventually we're going to have to cut back on the rewards. First Son received candy for about three days, then stopped asking for it. First Daughter never received any at all.

  • Shall we talk about the fact that I bought three new diapers in the past month to augment our stash which was a bit too small with both of them in diapers? I had plenty of prefolds, but Second Son needs two and they are so bulky! I guess I don't mind so much because now he won't have to wear the purple covers. Oh, who am I kidding? I love buying diapers and the new ones are cute! If I can tear myself away from previewing books for next year's homeschool or having fun writing our plans for next year, I'll take some pictures and share them with you.

  • I'll be glad when this potty-training thing is done completely and I really and truly think I won't miss it. (It helps that I still have one in diapers full-time.) I am not ashamed to admit I'm still captivated by Second Daughter's adorable chubbiness. She'll be three next month and I know that baby fat is going to burn off in the near future.


  1. I remember when Anne was little, she used to take all of Catherine's underwear out of the drawer and give it all a ride in her dolly stroller. All around the house. It was funny!

    I thought Joseph was never going to get trained, but he just decided to one day(at almost 4!), and that was it.

    And now I'm down to one in diapers. Yippee! There were quite a few years there that I had 3 in diapers, so one is always just wonderful.

    So hang in there, she'll get it soon enough! It always seems like absolutely forever when you are going through it.

  2. Hi there! Having just potty trained my first, this may or may not be helpful to you, but I thought I'd throw in my 2 cents anyway.

    You said that you're afraid of accidents when going out w/o a diaper. I was too. Then I talked to a friend of mine who had to potty train her son for preschool or he wouldn't be admitted. She told me the trick was going w/ underwear 100% of the time (except during sleeping), even when they left the house.

    I gave it a try w/ my son, and sure enough she was right. He was/is soooo nervous about having an accident when we're out that he is really good and tells me when he has to go. Sometimes we 'go potty' even when he doesn't have to go, but I'm okay w/ that.

    This has helped us out even at home. That '1 accident/day' we were having, like you, has become non-existent, because he is seeing more success and therefore has more confidence in his abilities and awareness.

    Now, I'm just trying to gather the courage to go w/o diapers during naps and eventually night time! We'll see what happens...

  3. H of B, thanks for the encouragement!

    Naomi, you're so right! I should just put her in underwear all the time, but I'm too nervous. I don't like cleaning up messes like that at home, but at least I know how to handle it. I wouldn't know what to do if she had an accident at a playdate, the library or (Heaven help me!) church. Maybe we'll risk it a bit this week, though. I think we're going to go to the zoo one day and a park another day. Accidents outside I can handle.


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