Poop, pee, rinse, repeat

Thanks, Ninjabetic!
On top of a 40+ hour per week job, some philanthropic pursuits, plus some measure of family time and a social life, I took on another job this past summer – potty training our 2 year old. Now, my husband has stepped up for his share of duty (doo-dy) as well, so thank goodness I’m not alone in this, but sheesh, it’s been intensive. And now I’m pooped. (Beware: potty references and more puns may be forthcoming.)

Our daycare had sent home info about potty training in 3 days – the http://www.3daypottytraining.com method was suggested, so that is what we did. My husband and I read the booklet two or three times each in preparation for the planned potty-training-bootcamp-weekend, and each time we were like, “Really? This is supposed to work?”

Now, for some background….a couple of weeks before we broached potty training, our little Penny girl was VERY interested in going to the potty, would follow us into the bathroom, tell us each step as we should perform it (like WE were circus monkeys for her – “Pee….wipe….flush…wash hands,”) she asked to go potty by herself several times over the course of a couple of weeks (and we would take her and wrangle her out of the diaper, etc), and daycare started implementing some potty-time as well.  We knew she was ready, but we had travel plans every weekend, and couldn’t take the time out to do the 3 day potty training method as they suggested. Because (the booklet says), if you want to be successful, you almost have to quarantine yourself at home, with no excursions, no friends over, no distractions, no nothing. It was brutal. Especially for the social and on-the-go family like us.

The summary of this method: Go cold turkey from diapers. Get rid of them, let the kid see you throw them away, and talk about how from now on, he/she is a big boy/girl and will wear big boy/girl underpants. Let’s keep them clean and dry. Say, “be sure to tell us if you need to go pee or poop in the potty” to give them a sense of control (instead of asking a thousand times if they need to go potty.) Praise and give a reward (M&Ms, stickers, etc) when they successfully use the potty. Tell them over and over how proud you are of them. Praise praise praise when they do well, do not scold or punish if they make a mistake, just go on and say how they can try to do better next time.

The 1st day, we had a success rate of 4 out of 7 times making it successfully to the potty. The 2nd day, it was a whopping 13 out of 16 (we had to encourage her to drink more liquids by offering up juice, just so we could have more “learning opportunities.”) A few times on the second day, she actually told us she needed to go and led us to the potty on her own. By the 3rd day, we all had cabin fever, we’d done 8,000 loads of laundry, and we were all sick of hearing, “if you need to go pee or poop, let mommy or daddy know, ok?” The last day she was 6 for 7, with her only “mistake” being that she pooped in her pants. Yeah, gross. We are also not counting that she peed a little while napping. I’m not faulting her for that one.

Throw your hands in the air, like you just don't care!

Victory! (sort of)

Fast forward 3 months to the present. Our girl has always some some pooping issues (lots of constipation, withholding, etc) but we have come to manage it well with probiotics, diet, and Miralax (per pediatrician’s advice.) Once the initial potty training period was well underway, we would go several days without any sort of accidents, and those days started stretching into weeks. The thing that didn’t really sink in (to the toilet) for me when we first started this exercise in parental patience was that while it was a 3-day potty training method, it really isn’t over in 3 days. Or 3 weeks. Or 3 months. I think it lasts forever. OK, maybe I’m exaggerating a bit, but really it IS an ongoing training exercise…don’t let any “3 day” method or whatever fool you. No one, not even your Mensa kid,  will be *completely* potty trained in 3 days.

This past weekend was the 1st time we let her go all night in her big girl underwear and NOT in a diaper or training pants overnight. Yeah, the training method frowns on letting them wear anything except underwear – even at night – but honestly, we didn’t want to be changing bed sheets and clothes every single night, and she wasn’t ready for it until now. She went 3 nights dry, and just had her 1st overnight accident this morning. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we can head this off at the pass, and convince her she is able to go potty in the bathroom on her own in the middle of the night if she feels the need.

I’ll go out on a limb to say potty training has been “successful” for what it is – an ongoing exercise of poop, pee, rinse, repeat, combined with lots and lots of patience. Daycare has been very supportive, and except for some explosive pooping accidents there and at home, and the occasional peeing accident because she got too busy playing and forgot to go potty, MOST of the time, I would say she is potty trained. Or should be, by the time she’s 18 for sure.

9 thoughts on “Poop, pee, rinse, repeat

  1. Yeah, don’t let anyone fool you with those super quick methods. I think every child’s potty training journey is an individual one. Some kids master it very quickly, but most do not. Ours was a particularly long and painful process with many ups and downs and relapses, including a phase where she used pottying as her way of being defiant. I called it the “purposeful accidents” phase. Dreadful. It was a major power struggle and when she didn’t like something or was made she would pee herself. Lovely. So every time she had a tantrum or a timeout, we’d have a big mess. Knock on wood, it’s been better lately. But it is a PROCESS

    • Uuuggghhhh. We have seen some defiance with her already, but it’s usually because she’d rather do something other than go potty at that moment. 9 times out of 10, she’ll go potty on her own after we let it go, before it becomes urgent, but the times she doesn’t, there’s an accident. It’s a process, for certain!!!

  2. My daughter is 15 and a couple of weeks ago she peed her pants. It never ends. Great post!!!

  3. Nice to read a comedy on potty training. Our daughter recently turned 6 and was still soaking pull-ups at night. Just never clicked for her. Sound sleeper? IDK…but I did feel a bit guilty about “letting” it go on and on. She was finally ready a few months ago, meaning interested enough to do something about it. We bought her a ridiculous looking beeping/vibrating wet panty alarm from Amazon and it totally worked (in about a month’s time)! To each kid their own I suppose 😉

    • I’m curious to see how Penny ends up doing and if we go back to pull-ups. She’s a heavy sleeper, too, and also likes drinking tons of water when she brushes her teeth, so it’s an accident waiting to happen. A lot of my friends have 5-7 year olds that still do pull-ups at night. VERY common, so I’m trying not to worry about it. Yep, every kid is different!

  4. My granddaughter turned three a few weeks ago. She’s done quite well, but it’s been a long process. A new baby in the house has delayed training because my DIL just didn’t have time or want to deal with it. Fortunately very few kids go to college in diapers…. Nice No D Day post.

  5. I’ve been holding this post in my queue until I had some time to read and absorb it (and thanks for discussing it!). We’re going through this right now with my younger son, who will turn two in just under a month (my wife believes in training early, and because of our marital vows, so do I).

    It’s been tough. For the longest time, he just showed no interest in it. Now, he runs to the potty after he starts to go, and sometimes mumbles something so quietly before he goes (as if he’s embarrassed) so I think we’re making some progress. That said, there were two accidents on the floor in the past hour.

    My first kid was really interested, and he caught on fast — at home. But at day care, either because there were more fun things to do or because he wanted to be like his friends, it took a full year longer. I finally had to convince him that when he turns three, he’s not a baby anymore and there should be no more accidents. That’s what did it — setting a milestone and saying that things change on that day. The day before his birthday, there were plenty of accidents. The day after, there were none.

    Everyone’s different — kids as well as parents — and there’s no “right” way. But for those of us who are going through it, we are desperate to find *every* way, so we can figure out which one is right. Thanks for talking about this.

  6. Pingback: Potty Training: Let It Go - The Kimkovitch : The Kimkovitch

  7. Pingback: 3 Day Potty Training: Days 4 and on... - Fit Foodie Mom

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