Early last month I ran out of excuses and finally decided to try again - potty training Audrey, that is. We had started talking to her a bit about it, and when we asked if she wanted to be a 'Big girl', wear panties, and pee in the potty, she occasionally responded positively, which was an improvement over her responses last fall when we had begun our first disastrous attempt with her.
We had been spoiled by Clara, back in 2012, who had potty trained quickly and easily. I had read about the 3-day method which made a lot of sense to me, and I prepared myself fully for three days of constant vigilance. The method suggests being at your child's side for 3 days straight - no babysitters or even swapping parents - giving them snacks and drinks frequently to encourage peeing as often as possible - and repeating the same phrase 'Tell Mommy when you need to pee' over and over and over... In the end, I had to swap babysitters because I was teaching piano and couldn't find a 3-day stretch where I could abandon everything else. I was also babysitting another toddler each morning, and so my time was a bit divided between the two girls. It worked beautifully anyway, though, and I had it in my head that the method demanded a level of vigilance that maybe wasn't completely necessary.
Then came Audrey.
I was convinced that because Clara's experience was so easy, that it was a sign of the effectiveness of the method, and that Audrey was certain to catch on just as quickly. Don't get me wrong - I do still think the 3-day method is a good one, for parents who resonate with it and for kids who are willing. Some friends of ours began their process with their daughter and it started off similarly to Audrey's first attempt - but they stuck with it - for weeks. This little girl had accident after accident and wasn't reliable for probably months but they didn't let go once they had begun. They were diaper free long before we were, but it required a lot of stubbornness on their part. I'm sure we could have done the same, but I got through 4 days with no improvement and decided that life had to go on - and Audrey wasn't even two yet, so it wasn't something we needed to do right then. It was at that point that I got rid of all of our cloth diapers - mentally I was so done with diapers - and I set potty training on the shelf until nearly a year later.
We arrived at the beginning of June, and I was no longer teaching piano or babysitting. We were also running out of time, if she was going to meet the potty training requirements for Awana in September. Three months is plenty of time, but I couldn't wait too long. And although I was hopeful that things would be easier this time - I knew that if she was reluctant again, this time we had to just pull through until it was done.
So we started with Day 1 saying 'Goodbye to diapers!' and spending the day outside so the accidents weren't all over my house. I was relaxed again - not spending every moment by her side - in case this was going to take weeks, I needed to preserve my sanity. The first day was hopeful - she hit the potty once or twice on purpose, which was leagues above where she was last time on Day 4.
By Day 2, she seemed nearly potty trained completely.
We then had a few days of one or two accidents a day, but by Day 4 or 5 she was keeping her panties dry for most of the day.
I was stunned. Shocked, even. And extremely grateful. She got it!
And she cared this time, which was so different from last September.
Almost one month later, we have had a few setbacks. She spent about a week with every poop coming out in her panties, and after her first two weeks of waking to a dry bed most of the time, she started wetting the bed routinely and we have now been putting her in diapers for night. She still won't pee in the diaper once she's gotten out of bed, and makes a beeline for the potty, but so far she hasn't woken to a dry diaper. I'll give this some time - her mattress, and my laundry routine, couldn't handle much more!
This post is delayed, because it's been hard for me to write. Last week Friday, I woke up with the determination to give Audrey one more day. So many encouraging sentiments on Facebook kept me going and hopeful, although still apprehensive. I knew that in so many ways, Audrey was READY to do this - she could hold her pee for long periods of time, she frequently woke up dry in the morning, and she is stubborn and determined to do everything 'by self'. I even struggled to get her to allow me to help her get herself up on the toilet - she didn't want help. She is so independent and determined in so many areas.
Peeing in the toilet, though? She wouldn't do it.
Anyway, here is basically how our 'Day 4' went:
I hired a babysitter for the day because I was scheduled to babysit my friends' daughters, and I wanted to be able to spend the day entirely one-on-one with Audrey, so the babysitter came and did her best to keep all three girls entertained while I spent my day next to Audrey.
8:10am - Audrey wakes up in a dry bed, but refuses to pee in the toilet. We keep trying, but she doesn't really even try.
9:30am - I notice a small wet spot on her panties and take her immediately to the toilet. She pees!!! I was so excited, I probably did a happy dance. I was hopeful for the rest of the day.
10:45am - Huge accident on the living room floor. She doesn't hold back - just lets it all out.
11:30am - Audrey decides she wants to have a bath, and I don't really want her to have the opportunity to pee in the water where I can't really see it, but I like the idea of containing a mess. I fill the tub with shaving cream and cover it in glitter. She's not overly impressed, but after awhile she plays in it a bit. Eventually - to clean both her and the tub - I fill the tub with water and she has a short bath.
At one point during the bath, I think I understand her telling me that she has to go pee. I pick her up and put her on the toilet, and hear water dribbling. I get excited - thinking she's peed, and congratulate her and give her chocolate while she's still on the toilet - but when I pick her up, the water is perfectly clear and so I wonder if she really peed, or if I was just hearing the bath water trickling off her and into the toilet. I guess I'll never know. I may have just confused her completely...
12:30pm - She says she has to pee, sits on the potty, but does nothing.
12:40pm - Giant puddle in the living room. She doesn't seem concerned at all about holding it in, and only the last bit lands in the toilet - because I've picked her up and put her there.
This is where I stopped tracking - I had given up on panties at some point, and for a few minutes in the afternoon we went out to the backyard to say goodbye to the other girls who were heading off to the park. Audrey was disappointed about not going, and so I tried to explain to her that she needed to learn to pee in the potty first. A few minutes later - she lets out a big pee on the cement next to her playhouse. Again, she doesn't even seem to be trying to hold it in.
I'm pretty much a nervous wreck, panicking about the weekend, and trying to decide the pros and cons of giving up, keeping on as we were, or finding some middle ground like continuing at home and putting her in diapers to go out (so we could go on with life!). Brian came upstairs at around 2:30, and after a short discussion, we both agree that the best plan - for now - is to give up entirely and try again later.
It took me a number of hours to get over my failure, and I was really reluctant to admit this to anyone for awhile, but now I'm glad for the decision, and I've had to change my outlook on a few things.
This girl is wearing shorts - because she's in a diaper - and she's doing a happy dance.
Firstly, I was reminded that Clara and Audrey are not the same. When we tackled this with Clara, she was younger than Audrey is now - Clara was under 22 months. Clara was completely on board from the start, and from Day 1, she personally refused to put on another diaper ever again. Audrey hasn't seemed interested one way or another in this whole diaper/panties situation. She likes to do what her sister is doing, but she obviously didn't enjoy peeing on the toilet, and it didn't offend her to be put back in a diaper. In fact, she seemed happy to do it. We chose our timing with both girls for the same reasons - in both girls' cases, something was coming up on the calendar that would make it nearly impossible to put the time into training until quite a few months into the future - and so we chose to get training done first. In Clara's case, Audrey was due in a few weeks, and in Audrey's case, Piano and homeschooling was about to begin, and I knew (and still know) that it would be 6 months or more before we could devote any time to this again. When I planned the time for Clara, I knew she would want to do it soon, and that waiting for 6 or more months wouldn't work out for her. I thought Audrey would be the same, but now I realize that she'll be fine waiting another 6 months. Or 8 months. Or 12...
I also realized that not potty training Audrey now will not have anything to do with whether or not she becomes a lazy adult. This is a great fear of mine, that I intend to combat with everything I am, but I think I've come to terms with the probability that waiting another 6 months or a year for Audrey to potty train will not have much of an effect on her in the long run. I'm ok with that now.
In general, I've relaxed a bit on some of my parental expectations. I still want to be pretty strict about obedience - I think that's important for so many reasons - but when it comes to milestones, I'm softening. My Dad raised me with the mentality that 'if you're capable of something - you need to acheive that something'. I still agree that if a child seeks to perform a certain task, is capable of excellence in that task, a parent or teacher should be disappointed with anything but excellence from that child. However, that doesn't mean that everything a child is capable of doing is necessarily the right thing for them to do 'right now'.
For Audrey - potty training just isn't the 'right thing' 'right now'.
I intended to end my post right there, but I wanted to add a few notes about the things I learned about both of my girls in this whole process. Things I may have seen glimpses of before, but didn't really know until this week. Things I'm really glad to know.
Without Clara at her side constantly, Audrey has a longer attention span. She has a determination to succeed, and an ability to repeat processes that allows her to systematically complete tasks - like doing up a buckle, or completing a puzzle - over, and over, and over, and over...
Audrey is not socially driven. Although she is intrigued by things that other people do, and even copies actions and words frequently, she doesn't seem to have the desire to impress others that Clara did. Audrey wants to do that thing you're doing - but she doesn't care if you want her to, or what you'll think about her if she does it.
She is desperately concerned about getting approval from us. While we were praising Audrey about peeing in the toilet, Clara wanted the same praise - despite the fact that she has been peeing in the toilet for almost 2 years. She seemed threatened by Audrey's extra attention and although she didn't take it out on Audrey, she seemed completely insecure - I heard her say 'Look what I did, Mommy!' more in those three days than I think I ever had before.
She is deeply connected to her sister. On Friday afternoon, after we had given up - and I released Audrey back into 'normal life' - the girls played, and played, and played. And Clara relaxed, because Audrey was free! Clara stopped demanding my approval, and for a few days Audrey was the only person who mattered. "Come here, Audrey!" "Look at this, Audrey!" "Come play with me, Audrey!". She had her sister back, and all was well.
Potty Training Round 2, Day 3.
This marks the end of the third full day of the '3 Day Potty Training method' that, in our case, will NOT be completed in only 3 days. Maybe not even 4, but we'll see. I almost gave up this afternoon, but I think I'll plug through for a few more days.
My photos today are deceptive - I had a really, really, REALLY bad day. I sent a friend a text message today that said "I think I have never felt as defeated and incompetent as I do today". This is the hardest thing about parenting for me - feeling incompetent - and it hit me hard this afternoon. Anyway, here's the story of today...
I let Audrey sleep in as long as possible today. Yesterday was frustrating for both of us, she had a late evening, and in the middle of the night I went in to check on her and found her soundly sleeping in a soaked bed. I woke her up, cleaned her and changed her bedsheet, blanket and pillow and put her back to bed.
9:15am - Audrey wakes up. I'm in the kitchen and I hear a few noises coming from her room, so I know I'm not quite as on-the-ball with getting her up as I maybe should be, but she's still dry. I take her directly to the potty where she sits down willingly, but does not pee. I get a few suggestions about running water and putting her hand in a bowl of water, which I attempt. She thinks it's funny to play with water while she's on the potty, but it does nothing.
9:35am - she has a large-ish accident on the kitchen floor, but then follows up with nothing in the potty. Accident #1.
11:15am - Big accident on the classroom floor - followed again by nothing on the potty. Before this accident, however, Audrey spends a lot of time 'playing' on and around the potty. She goes and sits on it, immediately claiming to be done, and asks me to read books to her while she's on the potty. She either doesn't want to pee on it, or still doesn't understand that this is what she's supposed to do. She seems to be getting more comfortable just letting it go on the floor, though, because she seems not to be stopping herself partway through anymore. This seems to be a step backwards, in my view.
11:45-12:10 - This time period is a bit of a blur for me. We have so far had no successful pees in the potty, and in close succession she suddenly has 3 large accidents on the downstairs floor. Her pattern seems to be that as soon as I reach for the bottle of vinegar spray to clean up the previous accident (that has been blotted up with a towel), she creates an entirely new puddle.
It was somewhere in this half hour that I broke. The vinegar spray bottle wasn't spraying, and I was completely overwhelmed and feeling like nothing was working. I had until the end of the day, because I had to babysit the next day and this potty training COULD NOT take more than the 3 days allotted. And - as stupid as this seems - I had the voice of a few people who said 'maybe she just isn't ready?' in my head, and I couldn't handle the defeat of admitting that maybe they were right. I didn't really believe they were right - that statement kind of goes against my parenting philosophy... I threw the bottle onto the floor, punched the wall and collapsed in a pile of tears on the floor. Clara kept asking Brian 'Why is Mommy crying?', and Audrey started crying also, saying 'Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!' and tried to climb right into my chest.
Somehow I pull myself together - Brian took Clara upstairs and started making lunch - and Audrey and I stayed downstairs and battled. At first I completely ignored my resolve not to stress her out on the toilet and held her there - crying - for a few minutes, knowing she had to pee but wouldn't. Finally, we both calmed down and went upstairs for lunch.
12:45pm - She has a small accident on the floor, stops herself, and then releases the rest into the potty. A lot of pee lands in the potty. I could have cried with relief. She gets some mini M&M's for this.
1-3pm - Both Audrey and I nap. I'm emotionally exhausted, and I'm feeling it in every muscle of my body, and she's not in a really good space today either, so both of us really need this time.
3:45pm - Poop. In her panties. After she repeatedly told me she didn't have to go pee or poop.
The girls make up their own little game here - they were tossing these little links around the house and Clara was yelling 'Sling Shock!'. Then they'd pick them up and yell and throw them again. I was impressed by this action shot of them... It was pretty funny.
4:30pm - She has a pee accident on her bedroom floor, shortly after this picture was taken. It was around this point that I give up on panties, since it slows me down to have to stop and remove them before putting her on the potty and I want to increase the chances of getting her on the potty before she's done.
4:50pm - I have a brainwave - because I have to pee, I decide to call Audrey in to watch (I figure I'll cheer myself on, and let her hear the pee falling). She stands and watches me intently and as I start peeing - so does she. All over the bathroom floor.
Brian is finished working at 5pm, and just before he comes upstairs, I'm formulating my decision to give up. I have to babysit the next day, the day after the girls were going to hang out all day with Daddy - out of the house - so I could get my piano curriculum and homeschool room all ready to go for the next week. Sunday is the kick off for Sunday School, and there's a pancake breakfast planned - I really don't want to miss that, and then next week everything starts. Homeschooling. Piano. Gymnastics - which I intend to actually enroll Audrey in herself!! I can't enroll a 2-year-old who will pee all over the mats! Regardless of whether or not she is ready, or whether or not she WOULD get it eventually, I'm running out of time.
Then I watch her determinedly climb 'by self' onto the toilet, after stubbornly refusing help. She hates having help doing anything, and I think she's not ready to use a toilet? I also know that our modern trend to wait to potty train really is just that - a modern trend - made possible by disposable diapers and pull-ups. In the early 1900's and previously, almost all children were potty trained at or before Audrey's age, so to say 'she's not ready' is very unlikely to be true. Not to knock anyone who makes the choice to wait to potty train - I'm close to that decision myself - but it won't be because SHE'S not ready. I'm sure she is.
I do realize, however, that there are a number of requirements that the 3-Day-Method lays out that we have not been able to comply with, and maybe that's what is getting in our way. The biggest thing is that I have 2 children, so I really can't spend ALL of my time focusing intently on just Audrey. I'm ignoring Clara enough already as it is, and it's causing all sorts of problems - I'm doing the best I can in our situation. I've also been a bit lazy - because the girls typically keep themselves occupied, I've been letting them lead playtime quite a bit, to keep things as normal as possible. I've also been letting them watch tv to give all of us a chance to just sit. Because this is creating so much laundry, I've also had to leave occasionally to throw in a load, or sort through for clean panties.
It's also possible that because we've been using our entire house - and both bathrooms - that things haven't been consistent enough for her, and that this is confusing her. No idea. It's possible.
5:35pm - Brian has come up from work, and because my decision has wavered, I haven't spoken to him about it yet. Before I can, Audrey has a small accident on the floor - and then finishes up in the potty!!! Maybe she needs Daddy to be around... Anyway, this is accident #10, which still does look better than the last two days, although it's also only success #2 - and I'm being pretty loose with the word 'success'.
6:00pm - She has a small accident in the living room, and then again the rest lands in the potty! More chocolate for Audrey!
6:25pm - During supper, Audrey dribbles a tiny amount on her kitchen chair and then pees a LOT - probably the rest of what is in her - into the potty. The day is looking up, and I'm encouraged.
I sit next to her in the bathroom at one point, encouraging her to enjoy being on and around the potty, and while I'm trying to get her to actually sit on the little potty seat, she gets off it and sits next to me, crossing her feet like mine. Little mimic - she does this kind of thing a lot. She even got up from here and pushed her feet right against the wall like mine.
7:00pm - During playtime with Daddy before bed, Audrey has a surprise pee on the girls' bedroom floor. She seems genuinely stunned, and manages to hit the potty with the remainder. Success number 5 - we now have as many successes as yesterday, and her accident number is only #13 - much lower than yesterday.
7:40pm - Puddle in the hallway after her bath, nothing in the toilet. She was proudly displaying her Monkey jammies to me at the time, and so we remove them - even though the shirt would still have been ok - hopefully to make a point to her.
8:35pm - She gets up from bed asking to pee - sits on the potty for a long time, but doesn't produce anything.
8:50pm - We hear a 'thud' and a moan, and find her standing next to her bed in a puddle of pee. Accident #15.
She's still awake - probably because I decided she needed a nap this afternoon. At 5 successes and 15 accidents, I'm going to sign off here and call today an improvement over the last two days, despite the disappointment and defeat I felt for most of it. I've arranged for help tomorrow while I'm babysitting, and hopefully tomorrow will show definite improvement...
Yesterday I documented our first day of potty training, and explained what we're doing and why... here is a play-by-play of Day 2 in our '3 Day Potty Training' journey.
8:05am - I wake Audrey up and discover that although at first she seems dry, as I walk her to the bathroom I notice a stale pee smell and check her panties again as I'm removing them to put her on the potty. They are damp, and smelly, but I can't tell if they are freshly wet or if she peed awhile ago and they are just drying (grossest thing ever...). I go back to her bed while she's on the toilet and check it over, and change the blanket and sheets, but the mattress is dry and smell-free.
8:15am - I notice a spot on her panties, and take her to the toilet. She sits there for a minute but does nothing.
8:30am - Dribble on the living room floor. Again, when placed on the toilet she does nothing. Clara is becoming increasingly challenging at this point - wanting to be applauded for peeing on the toilet also. Whenever I suggest that Audrey might need to pee, Clara runs to the toilet also 'needing to pee', but then says she 'can't' and 'needs help'. I try to explain things to her, but unfortunately I'm preoccupied by Audrey and don't have as much patience as I know I should with her.
8:40am - Dribble on the living room floor - produces nothing in the potty.
8:50am - I notice another spot on her panties, but when I take her to the toilet she again produces nothing.
9:00am - Another dribble on the living room floor. I take note at this point that she's had 6 accidents by 9, when yesterday her first accident didn't happen until after 9... I'm feeling a bit discouraged.
9:20am - Another spot on her panties, but she does nothing on the toilet. She's clearly holding it in, and only leaks when she lets down her guard. I'm so frustrated - I just want her to get it out when she's sitting on the potty, but she refuses. I know that forcing her to stay on the toilet will only make her hate being there worse, which will work against me, but I want to pull my hair out. I have laundry in piles all over the house (no time to put it away) so finding new panties for her becomes a bit of a scavenger hunt, and remains one throughout the day.
9:30am - We go downstairs, and I start the girls painting on paper towel (I used this same simple activity when training Clara - it's just pictures drawn with marker on paper towel, and they use water on brushes to spread and blend the colours). Almost immediately after this picture was taken, there is a deluge all over the classroom floor. This is accident #8, which happens at the same time accident #2 did yesterday.
9:50am - I play lazy parent and let the girls watch some tv ('Movies!!', Audrey says), and flip the chair around next to the tv so I can face the girls who are sitting on the couch. I use my phone to read some personal accounts of other families using the '3 Day' method of potty training (I'm looking for encouragement here), and come across one story that encouraged their child to enjoy their potty time by giving her books. Audrey had begun really stressing out about sitting on the potty, so I thought this might be a good idea. I offered her some time on the potty with a book, and she happily complied, and even sat there for 10 minutes, but still didn't pee. At least she was relaxed...
10:15-10:25am - After returning to the play area, she has a large-ish accident on the floor. I set her on the potty again with a book and she sits there for about 10 minutes. Just as I was about to give up and ask if she wanted to get up, I hear splashing! She has had her first successful pee on the potty!!! Despite the fact that it was preceded by 9 accidents, I try to take a bit of encouragement from the fact that this success came more than 4 hours before her first success the day before. This is an improvement!! I cheer her excessively and give her a piece of chocolate.
11:00am - She pees - lots - on the classroom floor, and then sits on the potty for awhile but produces nothing more. I know she still has pee in there, and I know it will probably come out as soon as she's off the toilet, so I struggle to hold her on the potty until she pees. I fought with this all day long - but in the end I knew I had to listen to her 'all done's, so she wouldn't stress out about going on the potty again.
11:15am - Another big accident, but again nothing in the potty.
11:30am - The biggest accident yet on the kitchen floor upstairs, but again nothing goes in the potty. This is accident #12. She's actually almost on par with yesterday at this point.
11:50am - I see a spot on her panties, so I run her to the bathroom. She sits on the potty for about 10 minutes - with a book - and then FINALLY pees!!! She's really excited to do it, too, but seems to get distracted and stop frequently. I'm sure she hasn't peed enough yet..
A friend stops by to pick up Clara for lunch. Poor Clara has been so neglected the last 36 hours, and she's so excited to be going out on her own. She keeps telling Audrey that 'You're not coming, Audrey', which hurts Audrey's feelings momentarily when Clara leaves. This will give me a few hours to focus on Audrey without distractions.
12:15pm - Another accident on the kitchen floor, and then immediately finishes (I think) in the potty. This is three (mostly) successful pees in the potty before lunchtime. I count this is progress! By 'successful', I mean that she deliberately let her pee lose while sitting on the potty. At this point I don't care that she didn't give me a warning, or that she always had some kind of accident prior to being on the potty. I'm celebrating the small wins here.
I suggest a nap (she seems really sleepy, and I'm exhausted, despite only having one child at the moment) but this time she says 'no'. I'm sitting at the chair in front of my computer, and she asks to be picked up and it sounds as though she asks to watch 'Let it Go'. So, I pull up a YouTube video of that scene in Frozen for her. She zombies in front of my computer for about half an hour, watching Elsa sing that song repeatedly. She seems to have a much longer attention span when Clara isn't around. After awhile, I sit her on the potty again for about 10 minutes, but she does nothing. I suggest we go downstairs to watch movies there. (Lazy parent).
2:00pm - Audrey suddenly gets up and runs to the bathroom, and wants me to read one of the books I've set out for her, but she doesn't pee. She does this a few times.
2:30pm - After one instance of sitting on the potty, she gets up and wants to wash her hands. There is a small stool in front of the sink that she is standing on, with her hands in the cool running water, and suddenly there is liquid running and splashing down her legs. By the time she gets to the potty she does nothing else.
3:15pm - The piano tuner is just leaving as Audrey starts throwing a tantrum. In my frustrated state, I give her a soother to keep her quiet until the tuner leaves, and of course she goes to her bed and falls asleep almost instantly.
I take advantage of this time after the tuner has left, and spend some one-on-one time with Clara. I cuddle with her, and complain together with her about how much potty training Audrey is not fun - for her or me - and remind her how much I love her. She tries to coerce some candy out of me, which fails, but I hope spending even a few minutes reassuring her is worth a lot.
3:50pm - I decide to wake Audrey up, because she typically doesn't sleep at night if she's napped, but I must have picked the exact wrong moment to do this. She wakes up saying something repeatedly - I wish I could remember what it was... 'All done', maybe? Anyway... She begins a crazy tired tantrum and I take her to the potty. She can hardly walk, and stumbles to the bathroom (She's going to be one of those people who needs coffee to function someday...). I notice that her panties are wet, but I had checked her bed as we were leaving it and I had thought it was dry. I leave her (tantruming) on the potty and go back to check her bed again. It's fine. When I return to her (She's still crying) on the toilet, there is a yellow hue to the toilet water and her bottom is dripping. I can't believe she didn't even waver in her tantrum, but I count this is a successful pee!
She periodically (and voluntarily) sits on thep otty throughout the rest of the afternoon, but immediately claims to be 'all done' and asks to get off. If I hesitate at all, she cries and steadfastly refuses.
6:05pm - She suddenly crouches over - like Clara used to do when she was so constipated - and Brian runs her immediately to the toilet. The first poop since potty training begins lands safely in the toilet! I'm so relieved!!
This marked her fifth (And last) success of the day.
6:10pm - Accident on the floor. She then produces nothing in the potty.
6:30pm - BIG accident on the downstairs living room floor. Then nothing in the potty.
6:40pm - Another big accident in the classroom. Nothing in the potty.
An unavoidable circumstance meant that Brian had to take the girls to a nearby city to return his parents' vehicle to them. It's about a 30 minute drive, and they drive there and back with no accidents. When Clara was potty training, I had made a waterproof blanket with a large button hole for the crotch strap of her carseat to fit through to put on her carseat - just in case. I'm glad we have it, but I'm also glad that today it wasn't used.
8:22pm - She has a small accident on the living room floor. No successful pees since mid-afternoon, although I didn't push the liquids quite as much after about that time of day.
In the end, only 20 accidents - 7 less than yesterday - and 5 successful potty times, which is one more than yesterday. Not a vast improvement so far, but definitely not a step backward. I'm praying for big changes tomorrow...
I apologize for the grammatical chaos of this post. I'm exhausted and potty training, so cut me some slack, please. :)
Nearly two years ago, I embarked - suddenly - on the potty training journey that would have Clara (almost) potty trained in less than a week. We decided to potty train her at about 21 months because she was interested, and her baby sister was due to be born only a few short weeks later and so we decided to get 'er done!! Quite out of the blue, I had received an email about potty training using the 3-day method from Sarah at Nurse Loves Farmer.
It made sense to me, and I'm all about just simply 'getting things done', so getting this email was perfectly timed for me. Now, nearly two years later we begin again. Audrey is a few weeks older than Clara was at the time (and about a year younger, in my mind - will she always be my 'baby'?) and here we are beginning this process with her. This was last night - see that diaper sticking out of her pants? That is the last diaper my baby will (hopefully) ever wear...
Today I began much less prepared than I was with Clara, but determined to fight through the next three days to get her potty training completed before I start teaching piano - and homeschooling - next week.
Here is how the day went...
8:20am - Audrey wakes up, and I ask her if she's ready to get rid of diapers. She looks at me groggily (she's not a morning person) and I ask if she wants to eat breakfast first. "Jes!" (Her 'yes' sounds a bit like it starts with a 'j'). Mommy sighs with relief - I'm not ready either.
She has oatmeal and chocolate milk for breakfast.
8:45am - It's time. I get her out of her diaper, change her into panties and explain that from now on, pee and poop go in the potty. Clara struggles with keeping quiet long enough for me to explain this, and keeps stealing Audrey's attention. I think she finally hears me, and when I tell her to let me know if she has to pee, she runs into the bathroom and I follow, ready to help. She spends a bit of time getting on and off the potty (not peeing), and demanding she pull up her panties 'by self'. This is a bit of a gong show, because she really can't do it, and keeps stuffing both legs into one hole, or getting the back elastic caught on her bum cheeks... Anyway.
9:15am - The girls are playing happily, so I turn my back to send an email. (I know - my own posts about this training method say not to do this!!)
9:20am - First accident - on the living room floor. Change into her second pair of panties. Audrey seems a bit stunned, and she silently steps away from it. I explain that she needs to tell me, and put her on the potty. Nothing else comes out.
9:30am - we go downstairs (we have our classroom sort of set up, and this is the girls' first chance to play down there). We play with some kind of beady foam gunk that I bought at Indigo. The girls have a blast, but of course it holds Clara's interest much longer, and Audrey wanders off to the easel.
9:35am - Accident #2, in front of the easel.
9:50am - Accident #3, also near the easel. This time the girls have been playing with cars and blocks. We lose a foam magnetic alphabet piece to this mess. I bring out the girl's Melissa & Doug magnet dolls and give them more chocolate milk and some Annie's snack bunnies.
10:05am - Accident #4, near the snack/play table.
I take note at this point that Audrey always seems to be standing when she pees. This was interesting to me, because it wasn't something I had any idea about before, so it gave me something to watch for.
10:13am - Accident #5 (Change into panties #6). It occurs to me that it's no doubt my girls always peed right through diapers if I wasn't careful - they seem to pee constantly...
10:20am - Brian delivers the necessary Pumpkin Spice Latte. If I had more children, I would have to demand this for each and every first day of potty training since it would officially now be a tradition. Oh well... there are other excuses for lattes...
10:30am - Accident.
10:45am - Accident.
11:05am - Accident (#8, change into panties #9) This is when I start the first load of laundry for all the wet towels and panties that have accumulated. Audrey is getting pretty frustrated at this point, because she isn't comfortable peeing on the potty, and doesn't seem to enjoy being wet either.
11:15am - Accident.
11:25am - Accident.
11:50am - Accident #11. This is the first accident that happens while she is sitting/squatting. For every accident, I ran to put her on the toilet, but so far she still hasn't let a drop of pee land inside. It's clear to me that each accident is what happens when she loses her guard and then realizes what's happening and stops herself. She's probably doing a lot of holding today.
12:30pm - Another accident.
12:35pm - Lunchtime! Thanks to Daddy, who has gone upstairs and cleaned up dishes and made us some chicken fingers and fries.
12:50pm - We notice her panties are wet, but nothing seems to have gotten on the floor. She is taken to the potty but does nothing.
1:00pm - I suspect an accident, but put her down for a nap anyway. I am exhausted... She falls asleep easily.
2:45pm - I wake Audrey before allowing her to wake on her own so that I can immediately take her to the bathroom and encourage her to try to pee. She groggily walks to the bathroom with me, and sits on the potty but does nothing. I then sit her down at the table for some pretzels and lemonade, and she immediately pees all over her chair - BUT - she stops herself and finishes in the potty!!! This is the first pee EVER to land in the potty!!!
4:50pm - Accident #15 (over 2 hours since her last pee)
5:40pm - Accident #16
6:02pm - Accident #17
6:10pm - Accident #18
6:15pm - Accident #19
6:20pm - Accident #20. Clearly she's doing that thing again where she stops herself but doesn't let herself release the rest of her pee into the toilet (I feel a bit silly using the word 'potty' repeatedly, but hey - I'm 'potty training').
6:50pm - We are sitting at the table eating supper, and she suddenly looks concerned and says 'Mommy?'. Brian picks her up immediately and takes her to the bathroom. There is a small spot on her chair at the table, and she finishes peeing in the potty!!! Yay Audrey!!!
The rest of the evening happened during Brian's watch. I went for a catnap after supper - I know technically the same person is supposed to stay by their side the entire 3 days, but we adapted with Clara, and so I wasn't too worried about doing the same with Audrey.
Audrey has 3 more accidents, plus an incident where she has a spot in her panties but then pees in the potty.
8:35pm - The girls are both in bed. I hear noise and walk in the room. Audrey is out of bed, but is deliberate about walking toward me so instead of taking her back to bed, I take her to the toilet. Good thing, because she has a spot in her panties (I later discover a small spot on their bedroom floor) and she pees again in the potty!!!
9:00pm - Audrey is out of bed again, and there is a small puddle on the floor.
9:20pm - Clara announces that Audrey has peed on the floor. Sigh. Her blanket is a casualty, and there is a tiny spot on her bed sheet, but I leave that and just change her blanket.
Bedtime is obnoxious, because Audrey has discovered that needing to pee is her ticket out of their bedroom, and we don't want to take our chances yet. Every time Audrey gets out of bed, Clara wants to leave the room too.
10ish. They finally fall asleep.
So, it was a crazy day - 28 accidents, 29 pairs of panties would have been needed in total if I hadn't been able to do laundry. VERY different than my experience with Clara, but we'll see. By the end of the day Audrey seemed to be 'getting it', although she still doesn't have a method for clearly letting us know that she has to pee except to look at us intently and run past us to the bathroom and smack her hands on the seat. Speak, Audrey, Speak!
Last week I did a post on how Clara is adjusting to the upheaval in our home with the arrival of Audrey, and outlined my plan to create a schedule for her to at least be a general framework for creating a routine for her, as well as to keep me 'on task' as it were. Being new to the Mom-of-2 'thing', I know it will take me awhile to really figure this out (hopefully less than 18 years???), but here I begin..
This past week wasn't really typical in a lot of ways, because although Brian and I were both back at work (he was out of the house, and I was back to teaching piano), my Mom spent the week with us which made it way too easy for me to slack off. Thanks Mom :)
So, anyway, my Mom and I got a lot of 'prep' work done - meals made, etc. - for the upcoming few weeks, which will help tremendously when I'm trying to reorganize my life, but the schedule for Clara was almost completely non existent. I did manage to actively sit down with her to do at least one activity each day that required my supervision - on Thursday we strung red, green and gold beads onto pipe cleaners and made 'candy canes' to hang on the Christmas tree!
I will keep trying though - keep ya posted!
Over the weeks Brian was off work, we began to experiment with Clara's nap schedule. I had always put her down for a nap in the afternoon, but Brian began to suspect she didn't need a nap. The trade-off was that if she napped in the afternoon, she seemed to spend that amount of time playing and singing to herself in her bedroom before falling asleep at night. If she did NOT nap, she fell asleep instantly at bedtime, but we may or may not have to deal with a really fussy toddler from about 5pm until bedtime (finally) came.
So, I decided that I would rather NOT deal with that fussy toddler time, and considering my situation would really appreciate the hour or two in the afternoon to either rest or get some house work done. So, I will start encouraging Clara to nap again on weekdays. I will not, however, necessarily push her to sleep from now on. I will let her stay in her room for awhile, and if she doesn't actually 'nap', that will be ok. We will also not stress about her having a nap on weekends if there are things going on.
This chair faces away from my desk in the Living Room regularly, I just spin it around to use - and I was just quickly getting something when Clara crawled up behind me and stood there. Brian managed to snap a picture to show me.
Potty Training Update.
Having 'potty trained' Clara so soon before Audrey was born, I knew we were risking some serious reverting after Audrey was born. For the three weeks before Audrey was born, we were having occasional accidents - and often they seemed to happen all at once. It would seem as though suddenly - for half a day - she was no longer potty trained, which could be really frustrating because more often than not it happened when we were busy. On the day Clara met Audrey, she had two accidents - one in the hospital as she was leaving, and the other in the restaurant her Grandparents took her to for supper afterwards.
So we thought, maybe, we would have to watch her a lot more closely for awhile.
This wasn't the case, though. It must have just been a minor setback, which she had experienced before Audrey was born, and possibly had less to do with Audrey, and more to do with the excitement and busy-ness of life at the moment. We still have accidents occasionally, but rarely any puddles on the floor and usually we take some responsibility for not hearing her request to go potty, or not responding fast enough.
She is really doing great for a little girl who is not yet 2 years old!
This morning I heard Clara talking in her sleep - I heard something about Froot Loops, and then something about my younger cousin, who she refers to as 'Big Guy' (he's over 6 and a half feet tall), having gone home. When I walked into her room, I discovered she was still sleeping, but realized also that she had wet the bed and evidently had not noticed it yet.
I gently rubbed her back as I spoke to her to wake her up, saying 'Clara, you're wet!'. She groggily lifted her arm and touched herself in the bum. As she realized it was true, she began to cry. It was hilarious and adorable, because obviously she was stressed about having wet herself but hadn't noticed it happen.
This is still an occasional occurrence. After the first few days of potty training when Clara didn't pee in her bed at all, the first bed wetting came as a surprise to us. Now we know she has good days and bad days, or even just a 'bad' few hours amongst a few straight 'good' days.
When we started this potty training, knowing we were saying 'Goodbye!' to diapers for good, we were determined to not go back to them for any reason - and we've stuck to that. We have had to clean up messes here and there, but we know it would be worse for us (and Clara) if we confused her by putting her back into diapers.
If anyone asks, I still say she's 'mostly' potty trained, but also say that we are entirely done with diapers. She has had accidents at home - on the floor and in her bed. One day, we moved a new dresser into her bedroom - which she will share with her baby sister - and when we opened a giant space in the corner of the room, she excitedly ran back and forth until she peed herself in the corner... just like a puppy. Her night-time accidents probably average once or twice a week, and her random throughout the day accidents often cluster themselves into one afternoon every few days - we assume she is paying less attention now, and maybe getting cocky or just distracted.
She has never yet peed in the car, or when we have been 'out' - either shopping at the mall, or at the park. One day, while we were shopping, she announced to Brian that she had to pee and started trotting off down the mall (I can't imagine she had any idea where she was going), and Brian eventually found a bathroom in the direction she had headed and by the time she arrived there, her panties were still completely dry and she certainly had to pee! We were really proud of her!
So that's my update for now - still cleaning up messes occasionally, and certainly more than I'd like (none would be ideal). I'm struggling more to remain patient when she has an accident (shouldn't she know by now?!?!), but so far I'm holding it together pretty well. Especially on nights like last night when she wakes up wet and seems more disappointed in herself than I am - then I know she's doing ok.
I would still definitely recommend the 3-day method, but it's not 'quick and easy' like it might seem - I didn't put the amount of focus into it that I should have, and it affected the results I'm sure. I also completely believe that Clara needed to be 'done' with diapers - it was time for her, whether it was time for us or not.
I am writing this review on our 3-Day Potty Training while it is still fresh in my mind. First, I'll say that at this moment (the end of the 3rd day), I'm not confident in saying that Clara is now 'potty trained'. My husband, however, thinks we can now say she is based on her responses to accidents and her ability to tell us when she needs to go.
As a whole, I would recommend this method, and believe that it was absolutely the best thing for Clara and our family... You can read my summary on this method in my Preparing for Potty Training post or check out the 3 Day Potty Training Website for more detailed information.
The reasons we chose to go ahead with this method (and on only a few days' notice) are:
- Clara was getting increasingly frustrated with diapers, and I think she mentally wanted to make the switch to panties
- She had witnessed closely a friend getting potty trained over the summer while she was being babysat, and was familiar with the process
- She had been using the potty for pooping almost exclusively since she was 8 months old, so she was also familiar with using the potty
- Her biggest diaper-related tantrums happened after she had successfully peed in the potty, and was then put back into a diaper - in hindsight, I think she was thinking 'What was the point, then, of peeing in the potty???' - this indicated to me that she was ready for a bigger challenge, and wanted a greater reward for her hard work. This was the biggest reason why I decided, after reading the 3-day method, that potty training suddenly and quickly would be the best thing for Clara - because she seemed to be expecting a sudden change and challenge rather than a gradual one, and was seemingly frustrated by our 'lack of motivation'.
- Given all of the above - we decided that Clara should probably begin more focused potty training soon...
- Because I am due to have a baby in 4 weeks (TODAY!), I knew that the amount of energy I would have to help her potty train would only get less as the month went on. Also, it would likely be quite awhile after the baby was born before we would be comfortable enough with our new situation and able to find the time to exclusively focus on Clara for what it would take to potty train her. If we were going to help her do this, the best time to do it was immediately.
Here is a summary of how our 3 Day Training went:
- On Day 1, we went through 9 pairs of panties which included 5 serious 'pee on the floor' incidents in the morning. In the early afternoon, she started coming to me to tell me she had to pee - usually as she began peeing. She stayed dry during her naptime, and remained dry from late afternoon on. She had one large-volume pee in the potty in the late afternoon, and she began checking her panties for dryness on her own.
- The second morning she woke up dry, and peed successfully in the potty first thing in the morning.
- On Day 2, Clara went through about 9 pairs of panties again, but only 2 involved pee on the floor and in both of those cases she had announced her pee - unfortunately it was just not before it had started falling. She managed to pee in the potty a number of times throughout the day, and although in most of those cases her panties needed to be changed, it was usually only because of a few drops.
- She woke up dry again from both her nap and night #2.
- On Day 3, Clara went through 5 pairs of panties (I think). Two of those involved pee on the floor, but we share the blame here for 'letting our guard down', since she announced both pees and we simply weren't close enough to respond in time. One of these accidents was in her room before naptime and required her entire bed to be stripped, and the other was standing next to the closed bathroom door as she was asking to be let in.
- She remained dry throughout night #3.
- On Day 4, she wore the same pair of panties (that she had worn through night #3) until she had a leak at 7:15pm. We were at her Grandparents' for supper, which was our first outing since beginning the training.
Some of the questions that arose as we were going through this training were:
- How are you supposed to focus on your child 100% if you occasionally need to be cleaning pee off the floor? The method discusses finding alternate arrangements for other kids - I think it might have been helpful also if I had had some sort of help with me constantly to clean up and do things like this. It was almost a 2 person job.
- How do you handle situations where your child is sitting in a position where you can't immediately see a leak? In our case, when she is sitting in her booster seat at the table, I can't see between her legs to see if she might be having a leak. We partially considered these three days 'party days', because we were giving her snacks and drinks that we wouldn't normally have given her so much of, so maybe it would have been best to have snacks and meals at her kids table, or sitting on the floor? Since we were doing everything differently anyway...
- How do you handle stalling tactics? As soon as my daughter realized that we would indulge her every time she said "I have to go pee", this became a valuable stalling tactic before going to bed. The first night was difficult, and I finally told her that she had to wait 5 minutes before I would take her to the potty again. After doing this two times, she finally fell asleep. I think that after going through this for 3 days, I would recommend indulging the stalling tactic, but make sure it's not a party for them (we won't let her play with toys on the potty any more) - tonight is the 4th night, and she hasn't tried this tactic today at all.
- What if your child wants to change their underwear? It seemed for awhile on the 2nd day that Clara might be leaking in her panties on purpose, because she would excitedly run to her drawer to pick another pair. Too bad they make them so darn cute! It seems now, after a couple of days, that this novelty has probably worn off and no longer seems to be an issue.
Here are some of my thoughts and advice about following this method, if you chose to follow this method:
- I think that it really is better to really jump in and go 'all the way' - no overnight diapers or anything. In hindsight, I'm glad we had the big 'incident' on Day 1 where Clara refused to wear her pull-ups. Funny story, check out the post here. It had occurred to me at one point that if she peed in her disposable pull-ups, she would become (or remain) comfortable peeing while sleeping, and we would have to do an entirely different set of training at some point in the future. This way, we will be done completely now and in hindsight, I will be glad to have gotten it all over with.
- Don't let your guard down for the entire three days - even if your child seems to 'get it' by the end of Day 1. A lot of our accidents happened because we had taken for granted that she had gotten to a certain point when she wasn't quite there yet. Stay by your child's side! In the end, the method seems to have been successful for us anyway, so I don't think this hurt us too much, but I do feel like we could have done better.
- To some extent, adapting to your situation will still work. In my case, I could not find 3 days in a row where I was her exclusive caregiver, or I did not need to be paying attention to other things, or we weren't leaving the house. I chose the greatest amount of time where I could focus on her, but she still required a babysitter while I taught piano for a couple hours on Day 1, and I was also babysitting for another toddler each weekday morning which was unavoidable without hurting our financial situation. Also, I am pregnant which means my energy level was somewhat controlled by my unpredictable pregnancy emotions/ailments. It would have been better to have been able to focus more on her without all of these distractions, but it simply wasn't possible for us right now. Despite this, I am very glad we went ahead with it anyway.
- There were times when we suspected she had to pee, and wanted to ask her but the method tells you not to do this. By telling her instead to inform YOU if she needs to pee, you are helping her to learn how to tell for herself and to teach her that she needs to act on the feeling without anyone prompting her. Despite the few accidents that happened that could have been avoided if we had taken her when we suspected she needed to go - I would advise anyone to stick to the 'don't ask' rule, because ultimately - they need to tell you themselves. The only time we will break this rule now, is when we are leaving the house and she will be in the car for a stretch of time where going to the potty won't be an option - having her sit down and at least try seems like the best thing to do in this case.
- Avoid letting potty time be 'playtime' - we used to let Clara have books, or play with little toys while she was sitting on the potty to encourage her to relax there until she peed. It was things like this that made "I have to go pee" such a great stalling tactic before bedtime for her... so we have stopped doing all of these things.
Today is finally over, and I'm already sorting through my thoughts and opinions on how everything has gone and what my feelings are on the '3-day-training' method. First, I'll give you a rundown of how today has gone:
7:30am - She wakes up - DRY! Again! That's 2 nights in a row! Then she has a big pee in the potty and gets a chocolate! Then she crawls into bed with us for our weekend morning cuddle.
7:50am - We go to the kitchen and she watches Saturday morning 'Super Why' while having a drink of milk.
8:25am - Clara helps make pancakes by adding ingredients and stirring. Brian 'accidentally' dumps in almost an entire bag of chocolate chips. Yeah... oops.
8:35am - Brian pulls out the pipe cleaners and colander and Clara shows him how to play with these, while I start cooking the pancakes.
8:45am - A breakfast of VERY chocolatey pancakes...
9:20am - Clara spends a ton of time on Brian's lap reading a book about animals and playing 'Where's the ???' (Insert random animal name). Clara would search for a few seconds and then exclaim 'Bight Dere!' (Right there!). Then Brian leaves to shower and Clara and I play with trucks and lego, and spend some time cuddling while watching videos of Clara on my phone - it's really weird how much she loves doing this...
During the next while, I try to prompt her by saying 'Mommy needs to pee' and having her follow me, but it's typically ineffective. The longer she goes without peeing, the more nervous I get.
10:50am - An almost success - she pees in the potty, but has to change her panties which have gotten a bit wet. No puddles on the floor, though.
11:00am - snack of Jello and Teddy Grahams. This gives Clara energy, so she starts running up and down the hallway chasing Brian back and forth. It's nearly naptime for Clara, so I decide to change her bedsheets (it occurs to me as I'm doing this that it would be just so ironic if NOW was when she decided to actually pee in her bed...
11:30am - Naptime. Well, we thought it was naptime...
11:55am - We hear an 'Uh oh... poop' sound coming from her room but we second-guess what we hear and wait a few seconds until she starts whimpering again. By the time we get in there, her bedsheets and two stuffies are wet. Panties #3 for the day.
12:20pm - We hear "All Done' coming from her bedroom. Brian walks in to discover that Clara has put on a new pair of panties - over her other pair - all by herself, and is standing there proudly. Shortly after this she announces she has to pee, and successfully goes in the potty with no leaking! It was about this time that we gave up on naptime, and decided to go ahead and make lunch.
1:30pm - Naptime - this time for real! She pees on the potty before she goes for a nap.
I take this time to run out to a nearby fabric store to buy some waterproof fabric. My idea is to make a few waterproof 'blankets', just the right size to stick underneath her if we're somewhere we need to protect, like on chairs at someone else's house or church... I bought some PUL fabric and fleece - and wow, this stuff is expensive! No wonder cloth diapers can be so pricy...
3:30pm - Wakes up, and has playtime with Brian. She pulls out some beads and string that I bought for her, and teaches him how to do this. I hear a bit of grumbling about 'What is the point of this?' and 'Why would anyone do this for fun?', but for the most part he's agreeable :) My husband likes Pinterest, but I suppose he's not THAT feminine...
After supper, about 7pm, I go for a bath and Brian starts playing the guitar. I was secretly wondering why he would do this when he was supposed to be watching her, but I kept reminding myself how much I had let my guard down over the last 36 hours and really couldn't blame him. Suddenly Clara is standing next to the bathroom door (which was closed, and shouldn't have been) and has a large accident. Brian runs over, apologizing to her repeatedly, but she doesn't seem too stressed about it.
7:30pm - Brian is running her bath, while I am getting dressed after mine, and suddenly discovers that her bed is soaked. Neither of us noticed it happen, and she wasn't out of our sight for more than a few seconds, so this one was confusing. We are both certain she didn't comment on it at all, so I have no idea what really happened. She - again - didn't seem too stressed about it, which makes me wonder if we're moving backwards somehow. I guess we'll see.
8:00pm - shortly after Clara has been put down for bed, she says she has to pee. This is a typical stalling tactic of hers, but she has had a lot to drink later in the day, so we give her the benefit of the doubt. Good thing, too, because she pees!
Maybe she's getting this after all...?
I'm still processing my thoughts on this, but I plan to post my thoughts and feelings about this tomorrow sometime - including an overview of our successes and failures from the past few days. I will keep you posted...
It is 9:30 on Morning #3, and thankfully my husband is home with me today which will make my life much easier. Clara woke up this morning at 7:30 - way too early :) - but made it to the potty to pee, and she has so far been dry ever since. She even had a little cuddle time with us in our bed after her morning potty time.
I'm feeling pretty zonked, and although I don't remember this from Clara's pregnancy, I think it's normal to start feeling nauseous again in the last stage of pregnancy. The last few days have sent me wretching to the bathroom at least once a day, and this morning it happened again.
I'm really starting to dislike being pregnant... am I done yet?
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