So despite having virtually zero freelance work over the last week or so, things have been anything but dull around here. My youngest daughter will be turning two next month, and I've been waiting for the perfect time to potty-train her (as if there is ever a perfect time!). My three-year-old was potty-trained a couple months before she turned two, and it went pretty smoothly. Since my workload has taken a nosedive and most of our holiday events have come and gone, I decided now is as good as time as any. So on Sunday morning, I pulled out the underwear instead of the diapers and jumped right in. My method of potty training is intense, but it's over rather quickly (about five days).
I started potty-training my oldest based on the advice of the sister of my brother-in-law, an experienced mother and day-care provider. Her advice came via a Facebook comment. I've gone to her with questions before (Best diaper cream? Triple Paste), and she's never steered me wrong. She said to switch her over to underwear (no pull-ups) cold turkey, have her wear tight stretchy pants (hello, leggings!), and ask her if she has to go potty a million times. Of course, there's lots of praise and a little manipulation going on: Look, you kept Minnie Mouse dry, she's so happy she's smiling!!! Don't get the ponies wet, yuck! It also requires your undecided attention for five days straight. It sounds simple, but it really does work.
I've been through this once before, so I stocked up on underwear and had my stash of tight-fitting stretchy pants ready. There will be lots of accidents for the first two or three days. Day one, was accident after accident after accident. Lots of sitting on the potty and more accidents. Day two, was only a couple big accidents where she fully released her bladder, and lots of little accidents where she would pass a little urine and then sit on the potty. She started having success on the potty on day two. She would pee several times throughout the day, but it would be only a tiny bit at a time. By day three she was definitely having better recognition of when she had to go. She had one big accident, but otherwise it was all just a spot of pee in the underwear before going on the potty. The evening of day three we reached a crossroads. My daughter was doing a great job of not having accidents, but she also wasn't fully emptying her bladder on the potty. She'd let just a tiny amount pass each time. This meant lots and lots of trips to the potty and increasing discomfort for her as she struggled with not wanting to have an accident and not really letting it all pass on the potty. She cried and had the mother of all meltdowns for almost 30 minutes. She even brought me a diaper in tears. At that point I took the diaper in my hands and almost gave in. That's when I realized the potty training was actually working. She understood that she wasn't supposed to go in her underwear; we just needed to help her feel comfortable going on the potty. It was incredibly difficult, but I didn't give in. Eventually, she calmed down and went to the potty on her own and released.
On day four there was only one big accident when she was reading and I had gone a long stretch without asking her if she had to go. On the evening of day four we had a big win, however. She pooped in the potty!!! On day one she had pooped in her diaper at nap time (I keep her in diapers for naps and overnight), but she hadn't pooped since then. I was relieved when she finally went on Wednesday and overjoyed that she did it in the potty. On day five we had no accidents--not even tiny leaks. She stayed dry the entire day. I had some last-minute Christmas shopping to finish up that night and had to leave her with our sitter for a few hours. I had no idea how it would go, but I got a great report when I returned home: no accidents and two nice long pees on the potty! She makes lots of trips to the potty (false alarms), but I'd call a dry 24 hours a success! It's now day six and things are going great. She even told me she had to go potty when she was in the bath and then went went I took her out. And she's now fully emptying her bladder every time (as far as I can tell).
I plan to keep her in a diaper at nap time and overnight until she consistently stays dry during those times. I kept her sister in diapers overnight for a couple months after she was potty-trained. When I finally got tired of "wasting" a diaper each night, I switched her to underwear. She's never had an accident at night.
Potty-training this time around has been more difficult. My oldest never had this bladder-release problem and the grumpiness that came with it. She also didn't have a sibling distracting her a dozen times in a million different ways. And we've got a fabric sofa to worry about instead of a leather one. Also, I potty-trained my oldest when my youngest was just a month old and I was pretty much sitting and nursing all day. I'm much more aware this time around how much focus and time this process takes. But the timeline for success has been much the same. The bonus this time around is that my daughter prefers to go on the big potty, so I don't have to clean out the little potty. In fact, I'm planning on putting it away in our storage room tonight.
So it looks like I'm getting my Christmas wish: no more diapers!!