Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Potty Training: Impromptu Lessons From Bear

Some of you may remember that we attempted to try and potty train Olivia several months ago, a month or two after that, and a month or two after that.  Our last major attempt was over the summer, which failed spectacularly with Olivia having a major meltdown any (and every) time we mentioned trying to use the potty, let alone get near one.

We've tried (not in this order) using the regular toilet, those insert things that make the toilet toddler-sized, and stand-alone toddler potty seats.  But to no avail.  This kid hates the potty.  Yes, I used the H word.

Diapers: LOVE
Potty: HATE

Then something funny happened.  Olivia's friend Ellie came over for preschool yesterday... wearing panties.  (Can you see where this is going?)  Ellie held it like a pro and after we finished preschool her mom rushed Ellie upstairs to use the potty.

Being the nosy, desperate parent I am, I rushed Olivia upstairs to watch.  Which, by the way, Ellie wasn't too keen on (I don't blame her), so we left her in peace. But I had accomplished my goal anyway: Olivia saw Ellie sit on the potty.  Victory.

Well, once Olivia saw Ellie on the potty, naturally what followed was,

Olivia: "I want a turn on the potty!"
Me: "You want to sit on the potty?"
Olivia: "No!"
Me: "Okay."
Olivia: "I want to sit on the potty!"
Me: "You want to sit on the potty and wear panties like Ellie?"
Olivia: "Yeah."

So once Ellie was done I helped Olivia into some panties and onto the potty.

Did she go?  No.
Did I still consider it a success? Yes.
Even though she only wore the panties for about five minutes and then insisted on putting her diaper back on.

Mostly I was just relieved that she didn't scream and cry when she got near the potty.  She actually sat on it, which--for her--is a big deal.

Baby steps, guys.  Baby steps.

When she got up this morning I decided that I didn't want to push her too far too fast since that tactic failed so miserably last time.  If she's not really ready until she's 3 or something, fine.  But I at least want to get her comfortable with sitting on the potty and wearing panties so that, when she is ready, it's not such a big deal to just go.

So after we changed her diaper first thing this morning, I told her she could have a candy (an M&M) if she wore panties and sat on the potty for 1 minute.  It took some persuading (and me putting on my biggest happy/excited act), but eventually she was convinced.

She picked out a pair of panties and I helped her put them on.  Then I grabbed the kitchen timer and told her which buttons to push to set the timer for 1 minute.  As an afterthought, I grabbed a book to keep her busy while we sat there.

After 1 minute the timer went off, but we weren't done with the book.  I asked her if she wanted to get off and she said no, that she wanted to finish the book.  Well, twist my arm.  So she stayed put for the entire book.

She didn't actually go, but, again, it was a positive experience with the potty.  Which was my goal.

She actually kept the panties on (and dry) until after breakfast when she had a little accident.  We rushed to the potty, but of course she was done by then.  Oh well.

Then it was time for preschool, so I put her back in a diaper, partly because we have carpet downstairs where we do preschool and partly because I figured we both needed a little break.  I didn't want to overdo it.

After preschool she was still wearing her diaper, but the bathroom door was wide open.  (I left it like that on purpose.)  I was busy doing something else, but Olivia got the idea all on her own that her bear needed some panties and a turn on the potty.  I had read a lot (when we were trying to potty train her before) about how it's good to model the whole process with a doll, so I jumped right in.  Anything that helps, right?

So we got the bear some panties (ones that are loose enough for Olivia to pull on and off the bear by herself) and Olivia gave the bear a turn on the potty.  She was really cute about it.  She'd pull the bear's panties down and sit the bear on the potty.  She'd wait a minute and then pull the bear off to see if the bear had gone potty.

"Hmm.  Not yet."

I figured it would be golden if she could actually see some potty success, so while Olivia was distracted in the other room (and the bear was still trying on the potty), I got a small glass of water, poured it in the potty seat, and put the bear back on top.

Me: "Olivia, should we check to see if the bear went potty yet?"
Olivia: "Yeah!"

She was so excited (and--haha--I think a little shocked and confused) when she picked up the bear and saw that it had actually gone pee pees in the potty.  We clapped and danced and congratulated the bear.  "Yay Bear!"  "Great job, Bear!"  "You did pee pees in the potty!  You get TWO candies, bear!"  I pretend-fed the bear two M&M's.  Meanwhile, Olivia was beaming.

Then she helped me wipe the bear and pull up its panties.  I dumped the "pee pee" into the toilet and Olivia flushed it.  Then I pretended to wash the bear's hands and dry them on the towel.

We made it a big and exciting ordeal.  And Olivia loved watching the whole process and telling the bear it had done a good job.

Of course, after something as fun as that, Olivia wanted the bear to go potty over and over again.  Ha.  I helped the bear go potty (without Olivia seeing the cup of water) a couple more times.  Repetition is good, right?  And she totally loved it.  And I think--to some degree--it worked.

After the bear's success, Olivia was all about sitting on the potty.  She still hasn't gone yet.  With walks and naps and stuff she's still been in and out of diapers.  And I know that all the experts will tell me that that's the wrong and evil way to do it, but whatevs.  I'm just happy she's getting comfortable with the idea of going on the potty again.

Maybe one of these days she'll be completely potty trained.

*Please do not pin or share this picture.  Thanks!*

And then I'll get to have these cute little bums in panties all the time.  :)

P.S. For those of you who may be curious, I am still (very slowly) working on the pattern for these panties (like the ones she's wearing in the picture above).  A couple of the sizes are ready, but not all.  Now that Olivia's interested in potty training again, it's re-sparked my enthusiasm for working on the panties pattern.  I'll keep you posted if/when I ever get it finished.  :)

Double P.S. Today's the last day to submit your shop/blog/business to be a sponsor.  There are still some spots available.  Be sure to read over the sponsor info and e-mail me if you're interested.  Thanks!


Kathy Haynie said...

Wow - that is one efficient bear. Sounds like good inspiration from Ellie and Bear.

Polly @ Pieces by Polly said...

Good luck! Becca has gone potty in her toilet 2 or 3 times...but then had a couple accidents that totally turned her off the idea. We'll try again when things have settled down.

Lisa Lou said...

wow! way to go bear!! that is the cutest thing.

Megan said...

We're thinking about starting potty training soon, so it's great to get any ideas, advice, experiences! Good luck!

Kendra said...

Go Olivia!

Brittany said...

I feel so honored! But you failed to mention how Ellie proceded to pee on your carpet downstairs just after her attempt...practice, practice

Lauren said...

Ugh! I hate it too! Just rest assured that she will most likely be potty-trained before my 3.5 year old son. He went ONCE for his PRESCHOOL TEACHERS...but apparently I don't hold the same clout (is that a word? hopefully). I'm hoping they will just potty-train him for me :)

Kristie said...

We did it slowly ourselves. Try, quit, try again. But it seems like my kids hit 3 years old and something clicked and they could just do it on their own.
Keep it up, one day it will be a reality.

Kristie said...

We did it slowly ourselves. Try, quit, try again. But it seems like my kids hit 3 years old and something clicked and they could just do it on their own.
Keep it up, one day it will be a reality.