Potty Training Digest, Part 1

This past weekend, we had a 3-day “Potty Party”. But it was only 2.5 days, and it wasn’t much of a party. Interested? Read below. Otherwise, more entries soon! 😉

01/07/10 — As I mentioned here, we’ve been talking about potties and going (albeit inconsistently) since before the holidays, but we knew that the weekend would come that we actually trained. You know, drop the diapers in favor of underwear, and learn that pee and poop always go in the potty. There have been a lot of things going on in our lives to keep us busy even into this new year, so I started looking at the calendar to get something planned and clear the schedule for those couple of days that we were going to go for it. Then, for the first time in months, we qualified for a P&G diaper study. We would get lots of free diapers AND get paid for it (Meijer gift cards, but still). How could I resist, especially when we desperately need the grocery assistance? Then I began to think. If we participate in the diaper study (beginning next week), we wouldn’t be able to start training until the first weekend in February. Our WDW trip is shortly thereafter, so I’d probably just have to wait until mid-March since I wouldn’t want half-trained girls in the car for 14 hours or traipsing across the park for public restrooms when the urge hit an inexperienced pee-holder or two. I started to see that there will always be a reason not to train, and before we know it our girls would be nearly two – and you know that I think the longer you wait, the longer your kid is going to be in diapers (exponentially longer as they get used to it and learn how to fight you even better)… and where we stand on the issue with our kids (for all the reasons outlined previously, and more). Anyway, it became clear to me that all the temporary temptations and benefits that would come from waiting are not worth it in the big picture. So, back to the calendar…. and the realization that the best (only?) weekend to tackle it is this weekend (Jan 9-11). Of course Kyle is working tomorrow morning, so I’m rather nervous. Pumping two 18-month-olds full of liquid and letting them run around in big-girl panties, catching as many signs as I can and running both of them back and forth to the bathroom (not to mention making a big to-do about it) by myself seems a little overwhelming. In fact, I’m feeling tremendously outnumbered, but what can you do? It’s important to us enough not to make excuses, so we’ll get through it… and I’ll count down the minutes until an extra set of hands comes home to help! 😛

01/08/10 — Hmm…. I lie in bed this morning thinking that it would be infinitely easier to begin our potty party today instead of tomorrow. If the snow causes trouble as expected, I won’t have playgroup, and Kyle might not go in to work (love electives!)). We’d be a day ahead of schedule, which will make Music & Movement on Monday that much easier, and I might have an extra set of hands during the hardest, newest part. Of course, we didn’t figure out our plans for the day until it was “too late” to start (according to my Master Plan). Throughout the morning, I weighed the options of starting after naptime with waiting until tomorrow. We decided to go for it in the afternoon, even though that wasn’t the plan 😉 We’ll make a big fuss after naptime, and see how it goes from there. I’ll keep you posted (though you won’t actually be reading this in real time, because I don’t want the added pressure! ;)). 2:40pm Within 20 minutes, it was clear how hard this was going to be. I was glad we decided to start today, because I might have quit if it weren’t for Kyle adding support. Avery just was totally weirded out by the first pee in underwear, and it just sort of threw her off the rest of the afternoon. 3:35pm I knew this would be hard, we were willing to make the sacrifice in order to make the whole potty-training process a shorter one. THIS is why people don’t bother, because it’s draining, to say the least. The girls have cried some, we’ve gone through about 8 pairs of panties in less than 90 minutes, and I’m admittedly disheartened. Part of the problem, contrary to what you might be thinking, is that we may have waited too long. We talked about it, but couldn’t figure out how to do this during the holidays. Elise is peeing off the toilet but she’s “getting it”. She’s upset when she misses, happy to try again on the potty, etc. Avery – my drama queen who is already in the throes of terrible twos – is just defiant. This is why you do this now, before two, so that you avoid the fights. If only I would have known she’d start this early (and no it’s not related to potty training, she’s been there for 2 weeks – I just didn’t have the energy or desire to blog about it)! 7pm – The girls are in bed, having successfully peed on the potty a couple of times each. They are both running to us crying before they pee (or during), so at least that’s something. ?
01/09/10 – Last night was a really hard one for me, even after the girls went to bed. With other stuff going on (mostly job search and money related), I just couldn’t pull myself out of a funk – and the potty party was the last thing I felt like continuing. Still, here we are this morning in big-girl panties and plugging away at Day 2. Yesterday, between the hours of 2pm and 7pm, we used 15 pairs of underwear. Ridiculous, no? This is why many people opt for bare-bottomed kiddos instead! 😛 I am confident that at some point during this weekend it might “click” as it does with many kiddos whose parents are diligent. Here’s hoping I have the patience to be one of those! 🙂 8:04 Today I already sound like a broken record. The chorus of clapping after “Are your panties still dry?” receives a (truthful) yes (x2) and the “Pee-pee and poo-poo go in the potty” mantra are already irritating me. The smile on my girls’ faces though (Avery especially) when they receive praise for a job well done is keeping me sane. Of course, we’re only an hour into the day, and I’m still alone for several more…. 🙂 8:45 first accident of the day was right after Elise told me she didn’t have to go (and I KNOW she knows). Avery said yes she wanted to try, which is good…. but there was no pee, so I’m sure it’s coming. Probably on my floor, any second. (How prophetic am I? It was less than a minute. Have I mentioned that this is hard?) 10:05 – We’re going to stick with this until bedtime tomorrow night, because I KNOW they are big enough. Beyond big enough. And I know it takes a few days for some kids, and I have heard time and again that it’s just like a light switch that’s turned on … so the apparent lack of progress isn’t supposed to be so discouraging. And, if it doesn’t work out in the first round, at least we’ll pick up free diapers on Monday, and get paid for a survey! (Trying to look on the bright side, here!) 11:00 – a potential change in plans really threw me off, but I reread something I had heard before – “take a no-returns/no-takebacks policy on the weekend”. I still have no idea if this is going to work for us at this time, but I know that we are going to see it through until the end. And if it doesn’t work, we’ll see it through to another end in a few weeks, because I still wholeheartedly believe in a) their ability and b) the concept of not dragging it out and conditioning the child to pee in diapers any longer than they physically need to. Boy, am I hoping it works though. I think I might have done fine in a different month, but with everything else going on with our schedule and my Thirty-One business and Kyle’s (fruitless) job hunt, I’m just overwhelmed. This certainly isn’t making my stress level any lower, though somehow I remain (the slightest bit) optimistic. 11:30 Elise was so close! After her cup of milk with lunch, I knew that she’d go. We tried very briefly, but I didn’t push the issue immediately after since I felt like the more they sat on the potty without success, the less likely they’d want to do it (seeing no point). Within about 10 minutes, she cried out and ran to me, and I could see she was trying not to pee. We got her in the bathroom with just a tiny spot of pee on the panties, and I praised the heck out of her for keep her panties dry, and reminded her (as she was sitting), that pee pee goes on the potty. Well we sat for about 10 minutes, and no pee. I knew she had to go (considering she had done the best she could to hold it and still dripped a little), so we stayed on as long as possible. After I milked all the toys and games and songs I could, she was finished. Of course, within a minute of being off the potty she cried out again but it was too hard to hold, so she peed across the floor as she ran to me, telling me she needed to potty. Boo! It’s SO frustrating to watch this take place (when she’s demonstrating so clearly that she can hold it, knows what to do, etc) … and yet I’m trying to see it as encouraging. I mean, holding it instead of peeing the first time was big, right? 12:15 Naptime couldn’t have come any sooner. We sat on the potty before (just out of habit, knowing that they had both recently peed and likely wouldn’t need to), then donned diapers. Now I’m sitting, doing nothing. And waiting for Kyle to come home 🙂
01/10/10 Kyle came home yesterday afternoon. It didn’t help 🙂 No, actually the day was at least different than the first, so perhaps that’s good? We had fewer accidents, but also fewer “hits” on the potties. Instead, they were just holding the pee longer… which is a skill to learn, after all. I’m looking ahead at the next weekend we can try again (in a few weeks at the soonest – none of us want to do it again too soon!), but still holding out some hope that something will click on Day 3 (or rather Day 2.5 (which of course I’m fretting over! ;)). I’d be lying if I said I won’t be bummed if this doesn’t work out. I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but the best time to potty train (with a lot of things in mind) really seems to be 15-18 months, and the farther after 22 months you go the harder it gets. Period. (You know, until they’re almost 4 and you can just dangle school or some other threat over their heads and have them make a conscious decision that could have been made long before. Then it’s super easy, but I prefer not to go that route. To each their own.) I do wish we would have been more diligent over the holidays (perhaps even just going for it), at the very least keeping them on a routine with sitting on the potty before and after meals and naps. Oh, well, can’t change the past. I know they’ll be potty trained eventually, so I’m not worried about that. As with any parent though, I just wanted what was best for my kids. I suppose it’s just part of life though, that holidays and illness and crappy work schedules and everything else under the sun throws you curveballs – with everything, not just potty training. The best laid plans, and all. Truthfully, I have some reservations about putting them back in diapers tomorrow if this doesn’t work. Nothing like confusing the issue, giving into preferences, conditioning poorly, etc. Alas, real life will get in the way again in the form of work (Kyle) and a very welcome, fun Music & Movement class. This morning we’re focusing on being as positive as possible, knowing that a parent’s attitude/confidence totally affects the child’s. And after all, when they go to bed tonight, it’s over (for now) – one way or another! 🙂 8:30am The morning started out on a couple of positive notes, but it’s barely begun. As soon as I went in their room, the girls wanted to go potty. I knew they would have already peed, but it’s nice that they’re back in the routine (and again somewhat disappointing that they already mastered that step months ago, and we’d let it go). They sat willingly and cheerfully for several minutes until they remembered they were starving, and that was that. A little while after breakfast, Elise ran to the potty several times and tried to pull panties down and get herself on. Each time she would sit for about 0.046 seconds, not pee, and run back out to play. At least she was trying (and probably because she had to pee!), though that’s little consolation. Ok, back to the fold and positivity! 😉 4:00pm Before naptime, we had only 1-2 accidents total, though there was still little to no success on the potty. The girls are consistently holding it though, and bringing to our attention their discomfort every time they have to pee… just generally a bit too late. I’d say we made some good progress, even though we didn’t a) have the full 3 days to commit as planned and b) didn’t see the results I had hoped for. I think there were just too many factors, but at least we made some progress. Here’s hoping it isn’t completely undone in the next few weeks while we have them in diapers again. Maybe with the success in holding it in and recognizing when it’s coming, we’ll still have “hits” simply by taking them regularly.
In other positive news, we had LOTS of good one on 2 or 2 on 2 playtime, and we saved probably 20 diapers! Every little bit helps, no? 🙂 And now we’ll get some free ones and a bit of grocery money with the P&G study. Silver lining, right? 2 more hours until bathtime. *sigh*
(Realtime) So there you have it. Not success in the way I had hoped, but what are you going to do? As for us, we’re going to try again. I’m not sure when with vacation less than 7 weeks away, but as soon as we can. Because I watched my girls learn very quickly how to recognize and show us when they need to go, where to go, how to do the necessary skills to get the job done. For whatever reason it wasn’t a priority, but I know that they’re “ready”, developmentally. We had known this to be true from research and simply watching their eagerness to be big girls, but now we’ve seen it directly related to pottying. They’ll get it, and in the meantime we’re getting back to the rest of our life – starting with Music & Movement in about an hour. And free diapers. 🙂


  1. It sounds like they are going to catch on quickly! Coming from someone who potty trained early, I think if you continued for a week in underwear they would be done. It will take longer than a weekend or 3 days. If we had to go somewhere, I’d put a pullup on them and be back home asap. Like you said, I was afraid that putting them back in a diaper would be confusing, so once I started there was no going back. Good luck!