March 27, 2014

Potty training my 2-year-old

This past weekend, I decided to potty train my 27-month-old son {2 years and 3 months to be more "Jon" friendly"}. The hubby and I had discussed a few times, and on the Friday night, I decided "Let's do this!".
We already had Nicholas' old potty, which had been out for a few months now, and Luca had actually peed in it once or twice on random occasions. My babysitter said he had attempted using the potty a few times at her place, but hadn't been successful. I had also been reading this french Caillou book about the potty for quite some time now, so he was definitely familiar with the concept of the whole thing. Plus {and I don't mean to brag} for a little guy who doesn't talk much yet, he understands PLENTY, and both in english and french! So I knew once we started repeating the concept to him, he would catch on in no time.
I did a quick search through Pinterest for some tips and found that the "3 Day Potty Training Method" {which I read about here and here} was the best option for me. With our first child, he was mostly trained by our babysitter at the time, Saida, who watched him 5 days a week and who also babysat her grandson who was 1 year older than Nico. Nico, being so observant, watched his older friend and basically imitated him. We just had to follow whatever Saida was doing with him during the day. So training my second child was a little intimidating to me... He goes to my Mom's two days a week, but to  the sitter's for the other three days. I felt if I could do the majority of the work over a weekend, he could continue at my Mom's on Monday and Tuesday, and hopefully by the time he went to the sitter's on Wednesday, he'd be good to go!
So, here is what I did in more detail!
1. I went from diapers straight to underwear. I got him a 5-pack of Fruit of the Loom boxer briefs {so cute!}. My husband did not want briefs for our boys, he insisted on this with Nico after I had initially bought him a ton of briefs. So with Luca, I went straight to boxer briefs! {NOTE: I went back to the store on Saturday to get another 5-pack. Lucky for me, I got the last two packs! They are hard to find!} Once I started, he wore only his undies and a top, no pants. For his naps and night time, I used diapers because: a) I still have a lot, and b) I feel the pull-ups might be confusing and blur the line between what he can and can't go in... if that makes sense! Plus, for the amount of pull-ups you get in a package, you get a lot more bang for your buck buying a case of diapers!
2. I set up the potty in the living room and figured we would spend most of our weekend in this space because it was easy to wipe up any messes on the laminate, and we could do a ton of stuff in the living room compared to any other room on the main floor.
3. I kept my eyes on him at all times cause I tell you, the times I wasn't paying 100% attention to him is when he had his bigger accidents.
4. I asked him 2 crucial questions: 1) Are your underwear dry? and 2) Will you tell Maman if you need to go pee or poo? This tip I found especially helpful. It avoids any pressure and allows him to figure out when he needs to go and find his own cues. I especially avoided the question "do you have to go?" I made sure to ask him these two questions {and made sure he answered me} every 5 to 10 minutes, especially the first day.
5. I rewarded him when he did go in the potty. I gave him 3 Smarties every time he peed, even if it was only a few drops, and even if he did most of his pee in his underwear but finished on the potty. If he went poo in the potty, he would get 5 Smarties. If he sat on the potty without any result, I told him good try and praised him but he received no reward.

I ended up buying another potty and letting Luca choose which one he wanted, because I wanted my parents to have one at their place. Lucky for me, Luca chose the Fisher Price Froggy Potty that was reasonably priced at $15 {as opposed to the $35 and $40 options that were also available!} He lovingly calls it "Bib-bit" {his version of "rib-bit"}.
6. I kept my comments and my energy 100% positive. And believe me, after hand-washing his underwear at least 15 times the first day, it would have been easy to get mad or frustrated and even give up. But I had read that the first day would know a lot of accidents.
7. I enlisted the help of others. Especially my oldest Nico, who was more than happy to oblige. He understood the process, asked Luca the 2 appropriate questions, and got super excited when he went in the potty and even when Luca told us his underwear was dry. And I made sure everyone followed my "rules" from my hubby {who spent most of his weekend in the basement working} and my parents where we went for Sunday brunch, and especially because they would take over come Monday and Tuesday.
8. I made him complete the process from start to finish when he went in the potty. This included emptying his bowl in the toilet, wiping it with tissues, replacing it, washing his hands, then getting his reward. This is another tip I found helpful because it teaches him from the get-go to pick-up after himself and to wash his hands. Plus, Luca thrives with routine so after I showed him the entire process 2 or 3 times, he was telling me what to do!
9. I made everything exciting! Every time he said that his underwear were dry when I asked, I woo-hood and gave him high-fives. When he said he had to go, we would excitedly rush to the potty. And when he went in the potty, boy did we dance and hoot and holler and high-five! Even when I had to give him a clean pair of underwear, I acted excited about the design on it {from monkeys and crocodiles, to astronauts and monsters!}.
10. I tried to enjoy the process and learn from it. I think this is so important! I got to spend so much time with Luca over the first two days, it was actually really fun and sort of amazing! I got to know him even better. And he amazed me by how quickly he understood and could make himself understood even with his limited vocabulary. And bonus? I found out a few things about him I didn't know! Like the fact that he answers to characters on TV when they ask the audience a question {adorable}!
Here's a recap of the 3 days' happenings:
Day 1: A ton of messes and accidents. He would start his pee in his underwear, and often empty himself before getting to the potty. I would still sit him on the potty every time. He did not receive a single reward as he did not pee in the potty once, but  he did get a lot of praise. Only #1, no number #2 today so he was obviously holding it in. We managed a quick 30-minute outing to the  store to get a second potty and more undies, and he didn't have an accident during the entire outing. In fact, by the time the day was done, he had gone the last 2 and half hours before bed without an accident, so he was already showing restraint.
Day 2: He would start in his undies, but mostly finish on the potty. We would complete the entire process {empty in the toilet, wipe down  the bowl and wash his hands} every time, then he would get his reward. We managed a longer and again accident-free trip to the grocery store. After dinner, he was playing in his room alone {aka probably hiding} which was a big mistake on Jon and I's part because we should have been with him at all times... cause he pooped in his underwear. Surprisingly, I don't even think it bothered him! It was awful to clean up and both my husband and Nico gagged at least once each!
Day 3: By the morning, he was showing more restraint already! Although his overnight diaper was full, I put his underwear on first thing, and within 10-15 minutes of being awake, he asked to go potty and did not let out a single drop in his underwear! He had a great day with my parents with a few accidents, but none the less followed through with what he had learned. Back home after dinner, he had several small accidents {at which point I actually thought it hadn't worked} but then he kept asking to go.

Day 4: His overnight diaper was bone dry! I noticed he doesn't like when we ask him if he needs to go potty when he first wakes up, in the morning and after his night. You really need to give him the time to tell you he has to go. He had a few mishaps during the day with my parents but always finished in his potty... SUCCESS!
{Luca wanted to try his soccer gear... I had to wash it twice after he had accidents while wearing it!} 

Even since starting back at the babysitters' on Day 5, he continues to progress! My sitter says he likes to tell her when he needs to go, as opposed to waiting for her to ask. He only had two minor accidents the first morning, and that's it! Luca is funny in that he has very different routines at our house than he does at the sitter's, and he even has a whole other routine with my parents! So he seems to be developing his separate potty routines at all three places too! Funny little guy!
I am happy I chose this 3-day method. I didn't bother reading about a  bunch of different methods or reading a ton of books and articles. This method appealed to me because it felt quick and painless. And I have to admit, I actually enjoyed it! I got to spend two entire days with my boys, focusing on them, and it was awesome! I would recommend this method to all parents! Obviously the number 2 in the potty doesn't come as easy, but I know I just have to watch him more closely during his "usual" hours. And I know he'll get there.
Who could complain about spending 2 straight days with these two kiddos? I certainly can't!