Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Great Potty Train

Today is Day 26 of officially potty training LL. It is going well, I think, though slowly (by design). Our approach:

Stage 1: This stage was all about awareness, not really training, and it started sometime around 2 years old, maybe earlier, I don't really remember. We bought a simple plastic potty (the Bjorn one that everybody has) and put it in the bathroom, without comment. If he asked, we told him that he could sit on it if he wanted to. He often sat on it while S or I went to the bathroom, usually keeping his clothes on, but sometimes asking us to pull his pants down, rarely asking us to remove his diaper as well. When he was in the bathroom with us, we narrated what we were doing ("First I pull my pants and underwear down, then I sit on the toilet. Now I'm peeing!" etc.) We bought him a potty book (this one, which is nice and simple and funny). We let him flush the toilet for us. And when he was in the bath, we pointed out to him when he started peeing. Eventually, he started trying to pee in the bath, until he was able to do it whenever he wanted. Then he started occasionally asking us if he could sit on the potty to pee, and when he did, he almost always managed to go a little, and when he did, we all clapped and exclaimed over it. We even called Grandma a few times. It was all very cool and laid back.

Stage 2: This (short) stage was about immediate preparation, for about a month. When S or I took LL into the bathroom with us, we started asking him if he would like to go potty, too. If he said no, we dropped the topic for the rest of the day. (Side note: while watching me pee one day, LL suddenly realized that I have different plumbing than he and Daddy have. He pointed dramatically to my crotch and said, "Uh oh, Mommy! Where did that part go?!?" And thus LL was introduced to the difference between boys and girls, along with names for anatomy that we hadn't gotten around to yet. Fun times.) We talked about how we pee in potties or diapers, but not in underwear or pants. He was able to be naked in the house for periods of time, during which he would tell us about how he was not going to pee on the floor. (He was very fond of not peeing on the floor.) We talked about poop a lot. I took LL with me to Target and let him pick out Big Boy Underwear, and we talked about how he would wear it when he was ready. There was much general excitement.

Stage 3: Home potty training! This is the stage we're in right now. We started on a Saturday. When LL woke up, I asked him if he wanted to wear underwear instead of a diaper. Then I set the alarm on my cell phone to go off every 15 minutes with a gentle chime, and he would go sit on the potty. Some of the time he peed, and some of the time he sat for 10 seconds before telling me that he didn't have to go, maybe he'd go next time. A few notes about how this stage is going:

- The morning went great -- no accidents, lots of success -- but at the end of the day, he had three accidents all in a row. No big deal, it was his first day, but I got the sense that he didn't quite have the energy and attention span to do whole days yet. So, we started doing half days of potty training for the next week, either mornings or afternoons, depending on what else was going on that day, working our way back up to full days.

- On the second day, I started seeing LL dancing around a bit between those 15 minute intervals. When I asked him if he needed to go pee, he told me no, he would wait until Mommy's phone rang. We tried for two days to convince him that he could go whenever he needed to, he didn't have to wait for the alarm, but he didn't believe us. Thus, we had to discontinue the use of the alarm. We loosely kept track of the time, and asked him to go sit on the potty every 20-30 minutes. By Day 5, he was occasionally initiating it himself, and by the end of the week, we had stopped asking him to go, letting him go when he felt that he needed to.

- He still runs to the bathroom whenever my cell phone rings. That Pavlovian thing happens fast!

- He will not poop in the potty. (I hear this is common with boys.) When he needs to poop, he asks us for a pull up, then lets us know when he's done so that we can change him back into underwear. Each time he does this, we ask if he would like to try pooping in the potty instead, but so far, the answer is always no.

- After one week, he decided that he wanted to pee standing up. I think that he learned this at daycare, because S had been sitting down to pee when LL was around. So, we have a little stool in front of the toilet now, and LL pees standing up every time. He has very good aim, so it has been less messy than I feared, and S taught LL to wipe up the edge of the toilet bowl with toilet paper, so not too bad.

- LL has become an underwear fashionista. He likes to change his underwear several times a day, to try all the different designs. Telling him that we only change underwear during the day if they get dirty seemed like setting up some really bad incentives, so we've been going along with it.

So, here's where we are:

- If he's at home and awake, he wears underwear and goes to the bathroom on his own.
- When he needs to poop, he wears a pull up.
- When we go out, including when he's at daycare, he wears a pull up. (He can't wear underwear to daycare until he masters the pooping part, and I'm hesitant to bring him out even to the grocery store in underwear until that happens as well.)
- When he's sleeping, he wears a pull up. I don't see this changing any time soon. The kid pees a whole heck of a lot in his sleep.
- He has an occasional accident, but they're getting less frequent.
- We did not do sticker charts or M&Ms or prizes or anything like that, but we do have a potty song and dance that is performed every time LL (or his bear) successfully go potty. It ends with a high five. LL is very fond of the potty dance.

The next stage is going to have to be pooping in the potty, but we're waiting until LL lets us know that he's ready. I'm in no particular rush, and his progress so far is fine with me. Amusingly, we hadn't talked about potty training in front of LL, just sort of did the steps that we wanted to do. Then one day, he heard us use the phrase "potty train," which apparently conjured up for LL all sorts of images of choo choo trains filled with potties, and he has been much more enthusiastic about it ever since. He really does love his trains.

1 comment:

  1. We are having problems getting Elizabeth to poop in the potty too. She thinks it is a barbaric custom and can't figure out why anyone would want to do it.

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