Friday, June 3, 2016

Reflections on Potty Training

Can I just say that I miss diapers? Many of you might think I am crazy, but man, are they convenient. We just starting day five of potty training using the 3 day method. We followed the Queen of Potty Training's version of the 3 day method. And here are my thoughts about the process.

Choosing a Method
I choose the 3 day method because it sounded quick and straightforward. Whereas the slower methods are vague, this method has strict guidelines and rules, which is exactly how my brain works. Plus, it seemed like ripping off a band-aid--better to get it over quick. Finally, it seemed very similar to potty training a puppy, which with my training background seems logical and correct. I did my research and read the book. I choose a date to start it all (Memorial Day) and started preparing.

Sarah loaned me a few potty training books she had: Everyone Poops by Taro Gomi and A Potty for Me by Karen Katz, and I grabbed several from the library including a movie. We started reading the books and talking about it about a week before. Lottie loved Everyone Poops ("I read Poop") and My Very Own Potty by Fisher Price.

Friday before, Lottie and I headed to Walmart to pick out big girl panties and treats for potty training. We got Disney Junior panties (we already had Frozen ones at home - thanks Hattie!)

and several fun sweet/thirst-inducing treats and fun drinks. I put them on the mantle for Lottie to see, and everytime she asked about them, I told her excitedly that they were for when she used the potty starting Monday.

Lottie seemed to be getting excited about it all. Sunday night I prepped everything: washed the panties and set them in the bathroom along with several clean towels and made a special place for Lottie to sit on the couch (I put one of the crib waterproof mattress covers over 2 cushions along with a dog blanket and towel). I prayed for patience and a positive attitude and tried to get myself psyched for Monday.

Potty Training - Day 1
What a day. It felt like there was pee everywhere at some point. Lottie would start to go, so we would rush her to the bathroom where she would hold it and not go any more. Since a big part of the 3 day method is not letting them sit on the potty, we would take her out after a few minutes. Within 5-10 minutes, she would have another accident, and we would start the whole process over. We did this most of the day because she was never fully emptying her bladder. By the end of the day, we were emotionally and physically exhausted.

I need to give serious props to Chris. He would interrupt his studying to take care of the dirty panties, which we ran through so fast that he resorted to hand washing them and throwing them in the dryer. We ran through all 13 panties TWICE. We would not have survived without his help. That night, I got Lottie up at midnight to go potty. She had wet the bed, which Chris and I cleaned up, and got her back to bed (she did not go in the potty).

Potty Training - Day 2
The next morning Lottie woke up dry after 8 hours of sleep! We were so proud. And it was like a fresh start. She peed in the potty first thing and continued to throughout the day. However, she didn't seem to know how to release her urine on command and didn't say when she needed to go potty. I had to watch her for the potty dance. We may go to the potty 3 times before she would finally go, but she did understand she needed to go there. A couple of times, we missed it. She would have a little accident, stop, and then say "Up! Up! Up!" at us for us to run her to the bathroom to finish. She also stayed dry through her nap. It was incredible progress. That night, I woke her up at midnight. She was dry but didn't go in the potty. At 5 am, I heard her moaning and took her to the bathroom where she pottied.

Potty Training - Day 3
Lottie woke up dry again and continued much as she had on Day 2. Still no sign that she could predict/control when she was going to go, but she still did the potty dance, so I could get her to the bathroom. She finally had a bowel movement (she had been holding it for 3 days), which had so much grunting and whining beforehand that I was able to get her to the potty in time. She woke me up at 130 am to go potty and stayed dry all night.

At the end of day 3, Chris and I decided we would not call Lottie potty trained. She went in the potty consistently, but only if I watched her like a hawk and started taking her to the potty every 10 minutes or so after she started the potty dance.

Potty Training - Days 4-5
Twice on Day 4 Lottie communicated that she needed to go to the potty! We still had a couple of acccidents, but that was a huge breakthrough. She had 2 BMs, which we did not catch at all. She even peed in the toilet at the library. Last night, she wet the bed sometime before midnight, but she may given some signs a little after going to bed that I thought were just fighting sleep. This morning (Day 5) at 730 am, I woke up to "Mommy! Mommy!" Sure enough, she was dry and needed to go to the potty. I think we are definitely on our way to being potty trained.

Chris and I have very mixed feelings about this 3 day method to accomplish what we call our worst parenting task so far (there have been very few we minded). It seems like after 5 days Lottie is almost potty trained (only time will tell), so even though it took longer than 3 days, it is fairly quick. I won't say it failed. Lottie was consistently going in the potty in 3 days. However, she was not independently determining when to go, so we didn't consider her trained.

Day 1 was miserable. Awful. Terrible. And I am not sure worth it. I honestly don't know that we will use this method with #2 for a couple of reasons.

1) Why does it need to be done in 3 days? I thought just ripping off the ol' metaphorical band-aid would be the way to go, but now I am not so sure. I looked at some of the slower methods, which take dedication over a longer period, sure, but they require less of an intense commitment by both the child and you. Everything just toodles along at its own pace. And guess what? Every kid ends up potty trained at some point.

2) Why do it so early? The 3 day method recommends doing it at 22 months. Lottie was not ready then no matter what the Queen says. Lottie gave all the signs that she has been ready since 25 months; however, I am not sure it would have hurt to have waited longer for her to be more mature with better communication and understanding skills. Because honestly, who cares if the child is not trained early or by 3 even? No one else is changing her diapers, so they can mind their own business.

I think we are almost there, and maybe in a month or in 6 months, I will recommend the 3 day method to everyone, but as of now, the jury is still out. The next kid may find himself/herself participating in the slow 3-4 month method. As I told Lottie yesterday, "Sorry kid. God made first kids for parents to make all their parenting mistakes." It isn't the first of our parenting strategies I have questioned and definitely won't be the last.

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