Thursday, June 20, 2013

Potty Training Update...the Dirty Details

So, most of you know, we have been potty training.  Eli has had a lot of good success at home, with few accidents (though the ones he had were because of distractions). We have been daytime diaper free for quite a while, though. However, because of the policies of Eli's school, he has had to wear pull ups there until he was accident free for two weeks. Yesterday marked the first day Eli was allowed to  wear underwear at school - and he was successful!  No accidents! My friend, whose un-potty trained child is a year older than Eli, is drooling with envy.

Because we started when Eli was so little, the process, from start to where we are now, was probably longer than it would have been had we started when he was a little older, but the time we've taken feels worthwhile. Eli was ready to start and very interested in the potty at 19 months or so. From that time, until just after Eli turned two, we had Eli sit on his potty whenever we went to the bathroom, and celebrated every success with a high five. When we noticed that Eli needed to use the bathroom, from his posture or his facial expressions,  we would immediately take him and pull off his diaper or pull up, and put him on the potty. Our emphasis was on HOW to use the potty, but we did not pressure Eli to use it every time. I just wanted to make sure that when it came time for Eli to use the potty instead of a diaper that he understood how to do it. This method did, however, save us a lot of, um, "messy" diaper changes. At school, he joined the group of potty trainers last fall, where his teachers, a few times a day, have the children go to the bathroom, practice removing pants and pull ups, sit on the potty, etc. The teacher would give the children stickers on a chart for every time they completed the potty routine, whether they actually "went" or not. Again, with kids so little, the goal was to teach them "how" in a no pressure, but rewarding, format.

Around the beginning of April, we noticed that Eli was really ready to move toward using underwear.    So, a few hours a day, we let Eli strut around in underwear to try them out. EPIC FAIL.

Eli thought the underwear were just really cool diapers. Egad! After going through all of his underwear quicker than my carpet cleaner would like to remember, we put him back in pull ups. But, Eli knew very well how to potty, and had the ability to recognize when he needed to go. So, Patrick and I decided to try the 3 day method with Eli, starting Memorial Day weekend.

We had fabulous results. The method we used suggested that Eli wear nothing below the waist for several days, receive a small reward for using the potty (we used chocolate chips) and that he participate in cleaning up accidents. This meant we were definitely at home for a while. We even got Eli a new potty seat for the occasion (it fits the regular toilet) and he liked it much better than the toddler potty he had previously used.  The first day was riddled with accidents, and I was almost ready to give up. But, after hearing what some other bloggers have said, I decided to press on. The second day was not much different than the first. Sometime during the third day, something clicked in Eli's mind. He had only two minor accidents that day. He only had two more accidents that week, and both were in new situations. I do owe a large volume chain store a sincere apology for the puddle on the floor. And, for all of our sakes, I declined to post the picture of said puddle that my husband snapped on his cell phone while laughing hysterically.

Success!

I am glad that I keep wipes and a wet bag, with a change of clothes in the car, (just in case), but I am very proud of Eli. He has figured out that when we are out and about, restrooms are everywhere, so training outside the home was a snap.  We still have certain times Eli must try to potty....when he first gets up in the morning, before/after meals, before/after nap, etc. We did learn the hard way to make Eli stop and potty every hour and a half that we are out at a playground. Luckily, the other parents thought our son's waterworks were quite funny. But other than that, we try to let him tell us. We do realize that if it has been more than two hours or so, that he probably should go,  but he has been pretty good about either asking us for help or taking himself potty.

As a result, I redesigned some parts of our hall bathroom to be more accessible to Eli. Eli got a new step for the adult potty, along with the new Elmo potty seat. He also got a new step to help him reach the sink on his own. We laid out all of his things-hairbrush, toothbrush, toothpaste, etc, on the counter, well within his reach. Eli even picked out a new decorative towel....one designed with the characters of the new monster movie. He had a tough choice between that and a B@tman towel. B@tman is really big around here these days. We still do help (and supervise) Eli in the bathroom .. But mostly for safety reasons...and because I would really rather Eli not have his personal water park in there!

Eli is very, very proud of himself. I was really concerned about using chocolate chips to teach him to go potty. I was afraid that he would always want a reward for something that I knew he would soon master. However, after the first few days, Eli said that he needed to potty, and that he didn't want a chocolate chip. He asked for a chocolate chip for going potty last week, which I did give him, but he rarely thinks about the external reward. He is more focused on the fact that we call him a "big boy" for using the potty. He loves that title, and does not hesitate to correct anyone who accidentally calls him a baby...he squares himself up to his full 2 ft 9 inch height, puts his hands on his hips, and declares " I A BIG BOY".

Lol....heaven help us with our "big boy".... I think we will need it : )!



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