Saturday, February 26, 2011

Potty Training: Part 3

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Potty Training: Part 3

I know, I know, I've been talking about potty training for many months. I obviously do not have a "trained in 3 days!" type of kid. She is just too darn smart. She can outwit me! (And maybe I was a little too quick to give up the first couple times? Nah.... it's because she's brilliant.)

This time? We are closer than ever! We have been talking about dry pants and grown-up kids who do not tinkle or poo-poo in their pants. We told Mickey Mouse at Disney World that Amelia tinkled in the potty the night before. I have even shown her my own dry undies a couple times a day.

Sunday night, during their bedtime routine, Amelia began asking Daddy many questions. "Does Mommy tinkle in her pants? Does Daddy tinkle in his pants? Does Cinderella wear big girl undies?" Clearly, she was processing this idea again.

On Monday morning, we had playtime with neighborhood friends. Amelia listened and watched as her friend announced her need to potty and went into the bathroom. She asked me later, "Mommy? Does Grace have big girl undies?" I answered yes, and asked Amelia if she would like to change into a dry Pull-Up or her Minnie Mouse undies. She chose Minnie Mouse.

The afternoon was not perfect. She had two accidents. The last time we tried big girl pants, I left a pile of clean ones within her reach. She simply went in and changed clothes six times in three hours. So this time, the clean clothes were out of reach and she had to suck up her pride and ask me for help. We played silly games like making the wet panties talk. Minnie Mouse said, "Oh no! I don't like being wet! Please don't pee on me again!" Amelia identifies so much with characters, and this seemed to resonate well with her.

Tuesday was a big day. With our limited success Monday night, I made a declaration: NO MORE PULL-UPS. I waffled back and forth on this a couple times, and decided to be consistent this time. My prior indecision probably made this process longer than it needed to be. We had a little ceremony to put the extra Pull-Ups in the closet and the following day, Amelia was at school in her big girl pants.

It felt like an eternity waiting for 4:00 to arrive. I was anxious all day, desperate to hear how she did. I was astonished when I saw her in the afternoon playroom - she had on the same pants I dressed her in several hours prior! She had NO accidents, so big girl undies are here to stay!
I've been thinking and stressing and planning my potty training tactics for many months, and I've come up with some key "rules". Do you have other thoughts? Leave a comment and let me know!

Rule #1) All kids are different. You will experience jealousy and disappointment when comparing to others. All mommies do it, but try not to compare. Know that your kid will get it in his/her own time.

Rule #2) Wait for cues from your child. Let your child show interest. Talk about the potty and "big kid pants". Jump on your chance once he/she begins to ask questions and show desire.

Rule #3) It is okay to try early. Your child shows interest at 20 months of age? Give it a try! Be willing to stick around the house for a few days and accept that you will be cleaning the floor several times. If after those first few days it seems wrong and is just not clicking, then give it up and try again later. I know a few children who have trained very young and in a matter of days. A strong-willed child (like mine) may be easier to train early, before they develop a hard-as-nails demeanor and unwavering opinions.

Rule #4) Free and clear may take a while. Accidents will happen. Convincing our child to go to the potty in the midst of a fun activity will be difficult. Kids hate to stop playing for something as boring as pee. Poo-poo? Still a challenge we need to work on here. But even with the occasionally wet and/or stinky pants, it is really not any more work than Pull-Ups were. And the need is much less frequent.

Rule #5) When it's time, consistency is key. Once you are 100% certain your child is able to go potty and read the body's cues, let him/her choose a day to begin the big kid undies. Once he/she chooses, do not look back. Even with accidents, the child will probably get tired of being wet and changing clothes. Don't be afraid of school days - pack lots of dry pants and ask the teachers to work with your child. I switched Amelia from/to Pull-Ups too many times. As soon as I tightened my grip on consistency, it was (mostly) smooth sailing.
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