Louie, or Queen as she's referred to by her older brother and sister, is almost 23 months. With a new baby due around her 2nd birthday, I thought I'd better get her potty trained ASAP. She is my 5th child to potty train, so I'm not completely without experience, but it is interesting to me how different they all are.
Before potty training my oldest, a boy, I sat him down in front of the tv and played a potty video. It had a catchy little tune about "goin' to my potty, potty" that my husband and I couldn't get out of our heads for weeks. I explained to Monk that he had to go in the potty from now on... and he did. He was not quite 2 1/2 when I started training him and it took about 2 days for #1 and a few more days for #2. I never used pull-ups with him because I was afraid it would be confusing. At this point I was convinced that I had the previously unrealized gift of potty whisperer. (At the time I thought it was all me, but looking back I realize it's more Monk's personality. It's also not typical that Monk keeps his bathroom so clean. He's a bit of a neat freak and a meticulous washer of hands, thus his nickname.)
My second child, a girl, was our most precocious child, well maybe until now. She didn't walk until she was 16 months, but began talking in complete sentences shortly thereafter. I've told you before how amazed I was that she planned her 2nd birthday party. I mean she chose the theme, the flavor of cake, the frosting, made the invitation list, and was in charge of decorations. She's always been a girl with a mission. At around 21 months of age she convinced me while out shopping that she wanted panties. I bought them for her and that was that. At this point I was convinced that I was some kind of super genius potty trainer.
My third child, a girl, was not particularly interested in potty training and I was working full-time, but when she turned 2 I felt it was time to embark once again on the potty training adventure. My boss went out of town to China for 3 weeks so I took a weekend and a couple of days off to potty train Measle. I can't remember whether or not I bribed her, but I do remember that she took to it fairly easily. We vacationed in Colorado two weeks later and she made it through the whole trip without one accident. Using the camp grounds outhouse was NOT fun., but my pride in my potty training abilities was still in tact.
My fourth child, a boy, was 2 1/2 when his little sister was born. I tried training him before she arrived, but he was obviously not ready. I had never failed to that degree, so I decided that little boys needed to be 2 1/2 before potty training, so I waited. Then after having his little sister and nursing round the clock, I waited some more. Finally, one day I snapped and told him I just couldn't ever change another one of his toddler- sized poopy diapers. He was probably around 2 yrs 7 months or so. I know you've been waiting for this point in the story, so let me just come right out and say that my 4th child, 2nd son, shattered all my prideful illusions about my possessing any skills whatsoever in potty training. I tried everything with him and he would go along just fine then out of nowhere have an accident. Now maybe it's normal for little boys to have accidents, but it wasn't normal for my previous 3 kids, so it totally unnerved me. I was never prepared for when it would strike. Even now, at 4 1/2, he still has accidents! And we still have to tell him regularly to run go potty because we see that he needs to go before the message hits his cerebral cortex. His hand gets the message, but his frontal lobe doesn't. Strange. He's extremely smart, too, and truly seems sorry when he has accidents. I just don't understand it.
So, imagine my trepidation when I set out to potty train Queen this past Saturday. She's been taking off her diapers for some time now, so I knew she didn't like being wet. I was hoping that would help me, but she's also a wee bit, dare I say spoiled. I was afraid that would be working against me, big time. Since I really needed this to work, I pulled out all the stops. Her first potty experience consisted of sipping a Starbucks caramel frapuccino on the potty while I read her favorite Dora book to her, making sure all the while that the big bag of chocolate candy was clearly in sight as her intended reward. What I didn't count on from my fearless toddler is a fear of the potty. She was so scared that I had to hold her every time for the first day and a half, even when she was sitting on her potty seat! (I don't do those little potties- yuck!) Sometime the second day she realized that she hadn't fallen off or in, yet, so the potty must be relatively safe. I mean, compared to jumping off the sofa and other daredevil stunts she loves to pull, it is safe.
She had one and a half pee pee accidents and half a poo poo accident the first day. (In case you're wondering, half an accident is when you transport them to the potty mid-accident and they finish up on the potty, so it ends up as a partial success.) The second day she had no accidents, but she did have a little bit of a wet diaper in the morning despite awakening me 3 times in the night to go potty! (She sleeps with me and was wearing a diaper, but was obviously aware that she was supposed to be going in the potty. Hey, I get up 4 or 5 times a night these days, so it didn't bother me.) Then the second and third nights she stayed completely dry! She has been an absolute champion the past couple of days! So, despite her initial fears, it looks like she's going to be basically potty trained in 3 days. Don't worry, I'm not about to get a big head over it. I've learned my lesson! I'm grateful to God that she's going to be all trained by the time her little brother arrives on the scene. God is good! It has nothing to do with me!
I have learned a trick for those of you training a little one with big siblings. Give out referral candies. If an older sibling realizes Queen needs to potty and gets her there in time, they get the reward, too. This has kept everyone on the ball! We did run through the bag of chocolate candies in just 3 days, though. I may need to switch rewards. What are your potty training experiences? Were your kids similar or different? Any tips for my 4 year old?
- I'm an on-the-run mom to 6 kids who studied and taught exercise science in a previous life. I love all things running, nutrition, and health-related. I usually run at zero dark thirty in the morning and am often quite hungry before, during, and after my run, but I live a rich, full, blessed life with my children, family, and friends. My faith in God is my anchor, and looking to Him and His promises allows me to live fully even when life circumstances are difficult. While running gives me an appetite, my desire is to hunger and thirst for righteousness more than for physical food.