Wednesday, February 1, 2012

How we did it - potty training

Last Friday, 27th of January, it was an historical day for us. After almost 3 weeks of hard frustration, on that day I've spent few hours of my life by singing: "Bravo, bravo, Ilaria a făcut / Bravo, bravo, pişu în zăpadă." ("Bravo, bravo, Ilaria did it / Bravo, bravo, she did pee on the snow."). And Ilaria danced happily on my composition:

We still have some little accidents every now and then, but I declare myself happy with the results and I consider Ilaria potty trained for her wakefulness hours. And she is 2 years and 2.5 months old.

Here is how we reached our goal.
We started at about 10 months of old, by setting Ilaria on the toilet adapter for kids, after every meal, hoping that we would catch something. The toilet adapter choice is more convenient than the potty, as the child simply cannot run from it. Ilaria read lots and lots of books and magazines there. And she learned fast the reason why she was going there and then, soon after she was able to speak, she was requesting herself for the "big business". So, as simple as that, that was the easy part of it.

The real problem in our case was with the pee. At 2 years and 1 month old exactly, Ilaria and the potty met for serious. And she immediately fell in love with it. I think she spent 1/2 of her wakefulness time on that day by sitting there and trying to impress us by producing something, no matter how little.
Children are so clever! They learn so fast. But us, the grown-ups mess up sometimes. So we did back then. We were training her for indoor and then, when outdoor and she was requesting the potty, we were telling her: "It's OK to let it go. You have a diaper on." We didn't even realize it back then, but it proved to be a BIG MISTAKE! Sometimes we spent more time outdoor than indoor, so, pretty soon, the potty's magic disappeared and she forgot the lesson. So, we postponed our potty training for pee plans, thinking "she's still too young for it"...

3 weeks ago, after reading Sarah's testimony, we decided to give it another try.
I've heard before that potty training could be one of the most (if not the most) frustrating challenge of parenting, as not much control is in our hands, but in child's. And I can relate: it really was frustrating for me. I had some hard times, as I was home alone with the girls over the day and one of them is just a baby.

We adopted the recompense method. We started with chocolate, but Ilaria was deserving so much of it, that it soon became harmful for her little body. So we changed to raisins.
We stayed glued to our home for 3 days in a row. Then we decided it was enough and we restarted our daily walks. And I'm sure I washed daily 1 load of laundry for the passed 3 weeks.
But our efforts were recompensed last Friday, when Ilaria decided that -8 Celsius degrees was the perfect weather condition for letting it go on the snow and for coming back home with her clothes dry!

I am so proud of this girl!
And her friends are amazed too on her progress:
Here she is showing them some evidences, while asking them: "Vezi?" ("Do you see?")

And because I plan to print my blog on paper, and to refer to it in the future, for Maria, I list here Sarah's full post on potty training. It was of great help for us.
Once again, many thanks for the share, Sarah!

My Thoughts and Tips on Potty Training

First, I have to tell you what I am offering up to you by answering this question. I have ONE more child to potty train and I have a great easy no-pain system that has worked for me with the first four. But you know, now that I'm going to say, "this has always worked for me", I have forever jinxed myself and #5 will test my entire theory.

SO here is my gift to you all:

Between 2 years 3 months and 2 years 6 months, I potty train. It is some sort of magic age for learning and by that time, I've had enough of buying diapers and changing really gross poopies. They are old enough!!! Why does anyone wait longer? We were all potty trained much earlier! If you are waiting for your child (and most especially boys!) to want to get out of diapers, you might wait forever. Yes, it takes time and some schedule changes but just get it over with!

I plan ahead when I'm going to start. Make it an easy week, and don't do it right before a vacation or a new baby or any major change. Wait till things are calm and regular. My plan is the second week of June.

Get out potties or potty seats or whatever you want to use. Doesn't matter. Set one in your upstairs and downstairs bathrooms and just let them get used to it. You are introducing it, totally casual.

Go shopping for new undies...I use the thicker trainer kind at first.

NO PULL UPS! Pull ups are the invention of a bunch of diaper executives to extend their profits as long as they can. If I put a diaper on YOU, and then a Pull-up, could you tell the difference? Then how do you expect your child to? They need a change...the sensory aspects that trigger their brain to make them realize...oh boy, here it comes, I don't have a diaper on anymore, I've got to GO! They don't have time to ponder, 'diaper or Pull up'? They also have to feel icky. Feel very wet, or very poopy.

So you are ready to begin. Have diapers for night, but hide them. No more diapers is the die hard rule. NO MORE DIAPERS.

Once that diapers are off and those big boy or girl pants are on, that's it.  Don't put one on when you go somewhere, take it off at home, back and forth.  How would you like all that confusion?  It's impossible to learn that way.

Keep the child as naked as possible...just undies, or very light easy to pull up or down shorts. Naked even. They have to see for themselves what happens and why it happens and what it feels like and they have to LEARN what to do after all those things.

Don't go to Target. Don't get a babysitter. Don't do anything for that week or maybe 2 weeks if it is taking long. If you have to go somewhere, pack an extra change of clothes, or wait till your husband gets home.

You will change maybe 4 undies, maybe 15 undies those first days. (Abbey took 2 days, Andrew took 2 weeks.)  Be prepared for major laundry and don't stress out about it.  I know I will be doing a load a day during that time.

NEVER EVER GET MAD!  Do you really think they are having accidents on purpose to make you mad? Of course not. (If they are, you've got more problems than potty training.) Have patience...if you do anything, have patience. Bite your tongue, keep your face frozen, don't show frustration. If they go in their undies, say, "Oh icky wet, now we have to change." Maybe have them sit on the potty right after and explain that they need to put their pee and poop in the potty.

Think from their perspective all that they have to learn. They have to recognize and tie their body and brain feelings all together and then take action. This is all new and they have to make that connection.  Don't expect it to be all done in one day or two days.  It's a process.

Ask them tons if they have to go. Have them sit off and on all day. If they go, freak out with joy! Sometimes stickers, charts, rewards work. I think I did those with the first two. Whatever works.

So after they get it during the day, you will find that they naturally get it at night too! It will take a couple more weeks than the daytime, that's why I put a diaper on at night. When they wake up with a dry diaper, you know you are done! BUT, be very very careful of the fluid intake in the evening. You might want to work on that habit right away. A little glass before bed, some sips if they are thirsty. You will know if they've had too much!

Some kids like to go in the big potty...that is the easiest. There are little cushiony rims that make the opening smaller and less scarier. I used those (although everyone else hated having to move it!) with Andrew and he did great. Some others, including boys, used the training potties. I taught all my boys with the "tuck in" method, not the stand up's just too hard at this age...eventually when they are tall enough, they will get it.

If you need more help, I think I developed my method after reading Dr. Sears's Baby Book. Click here for a synapsis of what he suggests. It's an excellent article...the weekend method is what I based my training on.

Most important points:
1. Gear up!  Set aside a week or two for potty training week.  Go all out.  All or nothing is so much more consistent for the child.  Don't confuse them with haphazard training or it will be a pain for months and months.

2. Do not get frustrated.  Think developmentally what they need to learn!  The sensations, the muscles it takes to "hold" it, the co-ordination it takes to pull up and down clothes, the sense of time management...on and on.  Put yourself in their place.  Be patient.

3. Have a plan and know what it takes.  Lots of laundry, a big dose of patience every day, constant reminders, your presence.

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1 comment:

Adrian said...

I have to face it that the training was mainly held by Ralu and she did a good job. That good that Ilaria is now so willing to pee when we are out that she is asking me to allow her the "business" on supermarket's floors.

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