I’ve put off potty training long enough, so with having the next 4 days off and Mila being 3 & a half, I knew this was the perfect moment to train her. It was a humbling experience (AJ was so much easier) and I have learned that each child is very different and no methods work the same.
I gave Mila a pep talk days before, telling her she was no longer going to have diapers, and that she was a big girl and she would have to go in the toilet. She had gone in the past a few times but was never consistent. At first, she was hesitant, but I made a big deal of her first one, jumping up and down like a super happy crazy person! I kept asking her if she needed to go every 20-mins to half an hour, and at the end of the day, she had 5 successful pees, 2 poops, and 2 accidents. I thought she was doing rather well for the first day, especially since one of the accidents was simply because she couldn’t pull off her underwear quick enough, and I couldn’t help her because I was feeding Keira.
Day 2 was a COMPLETE mess. It was the exact opposite of day 1 and couldn’t have gone more horrible. She had about 5 full blow meltdowns (screaming and crying) because she was over it. She didn’t want to wear underwear and screamed to have a pull up / diaper. It seems like she would hold it and not going for a couple hours (which freaked me out). She peed in the toilet only twice. It seemed like she hated me for what I was putting her through. I felt terrible for “forcing” her & am not proud of losing my patience with her multiple times. Her crying out of pure frustration (no matter how much I tried hard to remain positive for her) nearly broke me. Towards the end of the day, I remembered a book that my coworker had given to me for her, Princess Potty. It comes with a reward system of a paper crown and stickers. I told her she could be a Princess too, and that every time she used the potty, we would put a sticker on her crown.
Unfortunately, day 3 was Christmas Eve, and we weren’t home for most of the day. She was in her pull up, and she went there because I wasn’t making her go to the bathroom every 20-30 minutes. I felt like a failure for not sticking to it when we were out, but at the same time I reminded myself that it was a process, she was just a kid, and she needed a little break from the stress she went through the day before.
Christmas Day. As soon as she woke up, I put underwear on her. She was a little distracted with the opening of presents, so I tried a different tactic: I didn’t force her to go every 30 mins. I wanted to see what would happen, even if it meant another accident. Sure enough, towards lunchtime, she told me “Mommy, I gotta go”, sat on the toilet, and went. She did that again after lunch. I think she did better not feeling the pressure of constantly going in the toilet but rather taking it upon herself to go when she needed to.
Today was the real test. It was our first day back to work and the first day of her in underwear not at home. I warned my in-laws that she wasn’t in pull-ups. To my awe and surprise, my brother in law texted me shortly after I got to work that she had already gone once all on her own. I know she’s getting it.
I’m so proud of her (and me) for getting through it these past few days. She may not be 100% and we still have to work on nap times and nighttime, but she’s this much closer to being fully potty trained. Here’s some advice I can give to you other mamas:
- Not every child is the same. Some can do it magically in 3 days, while others may take a couple weeks. You know what will suit your child best. Do not set a time limit based on someone else’s experience.
- Do it when you can be home for a few days straight. Having them in their comfort (where they can have as many accidents as necessary) makes all the difference in the world.
- It takes a lot (and I mean a lot) of patience. You’re gonna really need some caffeine and support. I felt an all-time low when I was sitting on the bathroom floor, trying to comfort my crying toddler, thinking to myself “what am I putting her through?”
- Have a reward system. My child is very strong-willed and curious (like most children) so everything has to have a purpose. Indicating that she was a big girl wasn’t enough for her, but getting stickers on her crown to get her to be a real princess was plenty of motivation for her. There are lots of reward charts I found on Pinterest that you can just print at home; these are some of my favorites:
What about you other mamas? Any suggestions for naptime + nighttime training? Comment below if you do!