Saturday, September 27, 2014

Potty Training!

I think it's safe to say...we're potty trained! Well, I've been potty trained for quite awhile, but my daughter has finally dumped the dipes for princess undies! It was an exhausting process at times (November even fell asleep on the potty once to prove it), but it was certainly worth the effort.

How Did We Do It???

It's been a long road, I must say. It started around the time she was 18 months, if I remember correctly, when she spontaneously used the potty for the very first time. After that, it was just random potty-pees every few months. I encouraged her to sit on her little potty every time I sat on the big one, regardless of whether she was pants-less or not. I tried not to force the issue, bribe or pressure her. Just keeping it casual with a, "Hey you wanna sit on the potty? Sure, no big deal, pull up a seat, it's totally fun," kinda attitude.

But the time came when I noticed she wasn't wetting her diapers very often and they were even frequently dry in the morning. We weren't having much progress with my casual approach, but I felt like her body was physically ready.

So I pulled out the big guns...

Bribes.

I always said I wouldn't do it, but as a parent, never say never! There may be a time and a place for something you've never-ed. I started with sweet treats as a reward. She was barely intrigued but it got us started. I admit, it wasn't always easy and it was really frustrating at times to be patient, knowing she was capable of using the potty, but just didn't want to. I may have experimented with forcing her to use the potty, regardless of her tears of protest. That was very short lived because, even though I knew she could do it, I wanted it to be something she did willingly, something she truly learned, an enjoyable experience even. I felt hopeless for a time.

And then you walked into my life, and everything changed...

Stickers. I love you.

I randomly asked Nova if she wanted to sit on the potty and play with a packet of stickers I had, and she jumped at the idea. I can't remember if she actually went potty that time, but she had a blast sitting on the potty playing with those little princess stickers. The light bulb went off over my head and the next day I purchased a boatload of stickers, cut them out in individual pieces, and put them in a bowl. Every time I wanted her to sit on the potty, I let her pick out a couple of stickers from the bowl to play with while she sat down, and I would give her a gummy bear if she peed. I did it first thing in the morning, and every couple hours that she had a dry diaper. I wasn't always consistent, at first. That's what I had to work on the most, for my part; working the new routine into my life.

It started out with her only actually making "pee pee water" during her sticker party every couple days, then once a day, then more and more often. Over the course of a few weeks, it was pee pee every time! After about a month, she wasn't wetting any diapers. After a couple months, it was undies time! Now, here we are. Aside from poop (she just hasn't figured that one out most of the time), she's only had one accident. I'm so proud of her! There was a time that I felt like she'd never be potty trained! Once I got the routine going, it proceeded to develop naturally. And coming from the mother of a previously high-needs baby, that's a miracle!

But what about the bribes?

It can be a little pricy to constantly stock up on stickers and gummy bears, not the mention the annoying sticker papers all over the floor, and the stickers STUCK to the floor and walls, plus, they started becoming a distraction, and less of a necessity. Luckily, the bribes phased out naturally as well! It started one day when I just ran out of stickers and didn't have time to go to the store for more. Turns out, she was happy to peel off some older stickers from the side of her potty (where she would stick the ones she was playing with after each potty session). I tried to see how long we could go. She seemed satisfied enough with the "we ran out of stickers, sorry. We'll get more later," answer. And eventually, I ran out of candy too. Now, we pee just fine without bribes!

Of course, she isn't always completely compliant. Sometimes I have to remind her that we have to pee before we leave to do something fun/go night night/pee our pants, which is met with a little resistance, but ultimately, she listens. I try to keep it fun, and be patient. Still working on the poop issue though!

This experience has reminded me how far we've come, how much things have changed. My little girl used to be so difficult, compared to all the easy babies around me! I could write an entire post on how much things have changed...

I hope your fall season is off to a cozy start!

What are your best potty training tips?

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