Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Potty Training: A Day of Success!

Panties in the photo were made using the panties pattern I've got in the works.  Hooray!
She finally did it!


I just want to shout it from the rooftops.  I am so happy.

I'm definitely no kind of expert on the subject, but I'll tell you how it all went down in the hopes that it might be of help to some poor soul out there getting peed on and feeling desperate.  Haha.

Ramp Up, Calm Down
Why I chose to break down and give in

First thing when Olivia got up this morning I got her diaper off and took her in to the potty.  She resisted a little (this is typical for her), but she settled down after I distracted her with some treats (bunny marshmallows seem to be the ticket for this girl of mine).

Something I'm learning with Olivia lately is that, once she's hit tantrum mode, there's no getting through.  In other words, it's worth it for me to try a little harder, be a little more fun, give in on a treat here and there, and do what it takes to keep her out of the tantrum zone.  I'm not talking about spoiling and giving up.  I'm talking about parenting and give and take.  When she's not in tantrum mode, I can reason with her and talk her though things.  When she is in tantrum mode, she's a wall.

The same has held true for potty training.  It's been a little scary and intimating for her to try and use the potty and I keep having to remind myself of that.  Until you've actually gone in the potty, it's a big unknown. So as she started ramping up toward freak-out tantrum mode this morning, I started doing anything I could to calm her down.

Olivia: "I don't like it!  I all done!"
Me: "Do you want to have a marshmallow?"
Olivia: "Yeah!"
Me: "Okay, what color do you want?"

Tantrum avoided.

Not that this is rocket science.  But there are so many potty training experts that go on and on about rewards and the underlying message seems to say, "Make sure treats are special!  Reward them frequently, but don't just do it for nothing!"

Well, when you're scared and you're sad and you're only 2 1/2, just plain sitting on the potty and not freaking out is not nothing, but it sure feels like it to parents (i.e. me) sometimes.  I was worried the treats after going potty would suddenly be ineffective if I ever gave her one when she hadn't "earned" it.  Potty treats are holy treats, after all, and cannot be given out lightly.  Well.  I don't know about your kids, but my 2 1/2 year old is happy to have sugar any time, whether she's earned it or not.

I'm still careful about not handing out the sacred bunny marshmallows any old time, but if I can tell she's on the verge of a melt down, it's time to give the kid a mallow and do what I can to keep her calm.

Please do not pin this image.  Thanks!
 Let Well Enough Alone
Some kids might just need a little privacy

There was this climax of total frustration this morning.  I knew Olivia needed to pee because she had peed (just a teeny tiny little bit) twice in a row in two different pairs of panties within about two minutes.  So, naturally, I got her on the potty.  She was okay for a minute or two.  And then she freaked out.

It was not one of those happy, loving, "Oh, you look scared and sad, what color marshmallow do you want?" moments.  It was one of those, "GO POTTY!" moments.

She was in tantrum mode and so was I.  I knew she had to go and it drove me crazy that she wouldn't.  Meanwhile, I was already really tired of sitting in the bathroom and the prospect of spending the entire day in there made the moment all the more dismal.

Bryan was getting ready for school, but was still at home.  He gave me my laptop to help keep me company with a tantruming 2 year old and, out of desperation, I did a Google search for something like, "how to make your kid pee in the potty."  I don't remember which link I read it on (I just tried looking and I can't find it), but something I read mentioned that some kids just need privacy.

I gave up on that failed attempt and she calmed down.  But after Bryan left for school, we went back in for another try.  I thought about the whole privacy thing.  After Olivia was situated on the potty, I told her I'd be right back.  Then I left the bathroom and went upstairs to do something real quick.  I left on purpose to give her some space and some privacy, if that was what she needed.  And, what do you know?  While I was upstairs I heard a little cry of...


I rushed downstairs, and, much to my amazement and relief, she had filled her little potty seat at least half way full of pee.  She went in the potty for real.

After watching Bear have so many successful runs on the potty yesterday, she knew just what to do.  We got some toilet paper and wiped, dumped the pee in the real toilet and flushed it down, and washed and dried her hands.  And then she got a bunny marshmallow.  Yay Lala!

Then she played with some toys on the carpet (I know, at some point you've just gotta have some trust, right?) and then about 10 minutes later we repeated this whole thing.  A tiny bit of pee in her panties, me rushing her to the bathroom.  Getting her all set on the potty.  And then me going off to do something else while she does her business.  Followed by another "Yay Lala!" and much rejoicing.  And, of course, more bunny marshmallows.

Between being in a diaper for her nap (that's a whole other story) and then being in a diaper while we went to the store to buy some Pull-Ups, she only went in the potty one other time today.  That time she went with me sitting in the room with her.  So maybe after she went a couple of times on her own she won't always need that?  I'm not sure.  But it was definitely the jumping off point.

Again, I'm no expert, but I don't think I need to be an expert to have a good guess at why she went after I left the room.  When I was there, there was all this pressure on her to go potty.  I of course tried not to be a stressful maniac, but, honestly, I was.  And I'm sure she could tell.  I think once I left her on her own and let her have the bathroom to herself, she was able to calm down, get comfortable, and do her business.

The Wait
Are your panties still dry?  Are they?

I think once she finally went pee in the potty, the hardest part was trying to guess when she would need to go again.  For Olivia (at least today) it wasn't consistent.  I know a lot of parents are all about setting timers.  I tried that and it didn't seem to matter.  At least for today, the best indicator was to keep checking her panties.  If they were dry, I left her alone.  If I saw a little wet spot, I knew it was time to take her in to the potty.

Though she has when we've tried potty training in the past, Olivia didn't have any big puddle-on-the-floor accidents today.  She was a good girl and held it in like a champ.  And when she did wet her panties it was only a teeny tiny bit.  Hopefully soon we'll work our way past using pee in her underwear as an indicator, but today, it worked.  I didn't punish her for wetting her panties.  We just put on clean ones after she went potty.  No big deal.  She was plenty aware of the fact that the soiled panties were dirty without me having to tell her, so I'm not overly worried about it.

Soon she'll get it.  We're both still figuring this whole thing out.

Shout It From The Rooftops
Call Daddy!  Call Grandma!  Tell everybody you see!

As soon as we finished washing her hands and the bunny marshmallow was being devoured, I got on the phone and we called anybody I could think of.  We called Grandma (my mom) and left a message with Olivia telling her, "I went on the potty!"  Then we called Daddy and he praised her for going on the potty.  Then we called and left another message for Nana (Bryan's mom) telling her that Olivia went potty.  Probably the only person we saw today who I didn't tell was the cashier at the grocery store.  Though, if the topic had somehow come up, you better believe I would have been telling her the good news.

But being ecstatic about Olivia's success wasn't the only reason I kept telling everybody we saw, "Olivia's wearing panties!  She went pee pee in the potty three times today!"  By saying all this and showing my excitement to family and friends, it not only made Olivia feel like a hero, but it showed her that her accomplishments today were important, even to grown-ups.

We're fortunate enough to have other friends Olivia's age working on potty training right now, so when we told them the good news they went nuts, clapping and hollering and congratulating Olivia.  Positive reinforcement from family and friends--especially those people who your child values the most--can go a long, long way.  So milk it for all it's worth!

My Potty Training Rockstar
On the road to a diaper-less life

Today was our first real day of potty-training success.  And I hope hope hope I won't have to eat my words and put her back in diapers for some reason later on.  But I think she really is catching on and learning how to use the potty.

She is all about wearing her panties now, so I think today really might be the last day of diapers for her.  Which is just crazy to me.  But so, so awesome.  After a bit of a nap time diaper fiasco this afternoon, we went ahead and bought a box of Pull-Ups to use as her "sleep panties."  I think once she can wake up dry in the morning and after naps we'll switch over to using panties for sleep times.  For now I just want to focus on getting her potty trained during her waking hours.

Wish us luck!  :)
And, of course, please feel free to leave any helpful tips of your own in the comments!


Jess@craftiness is not optional said...

yay! That first time they use the potty is so exciting! I don't want to scare you though, but you've got a long road ahead of! Sadie's 3 1/2 and we started at 2 1/2 and we're still working with her...she's pretty good, but in spurts. Plus she holds it for SO LONG. That bugs!

That tip about privacy is good, we do that with Sadie. (well, she screams at us to leave haha)

Just try and stay patient-heaven knows I don't but it's probably better to be. ;) Good luck and congrats!!

Jenn said...

Congratulations! I agree with still have a long road to go, but those first steps are so important. Expect some setbacks, but don't let it send you backwards. Personally, we never used pull-ups - several people told me they were too hard to use. Once our daughter started getting the hang of it, we just stuck to panties and used diapers for nap and nighttime (plus pull ups are expensive!). We have eliminated the nap diaper, but still have a night diaper. Accidents should be expected...I have extra clothes stashed everywhere (car, grandma's, etc). Good luck!

Kathy Haynie said...

Yay Lala! Yay Mama!

Chris said...

Hi Katie, just stopping by to say how delightful your blog is. Thanks so much for sharing. I have recently found your blog and am now following you, and will visit often. Please stop by my blog and perhaps you would like to follow me also. Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Chris

Sarah Steele said...

Congratulations! This is a big deal! It's nuts how excited I get when Asher uses the toilet...who knew potty and poo poo would become such powerful forces in my emotional state! Way to go Olivia!