So, just like that, Meredith is potty trained. And it was easy.
I’m not bragging because I had very little to do with the whole process. Like most moms, I’d guess, I both looked forward to Meredith being potty trained and dreaded the process. I couldn’t stand the thought of having to follow her around all day asking if she has to potty, putting her on there every thirty minutes, accidents aplenty, etc. So I put it off.
Of course we have been talking to her about it for awhile. We got a training toilet a year ago, and Meredith got her first pack of underwear for Christmas (she was 2 1/2 years old). She occasionally wanted to wear them over her diaper but that’s it. We got her a book about it a few months ago that she liked to read. We sent pull-ups with her to daycare instead of diapers, and by the power of peer pressure and institutionalism she began using the toilet pretty regularly there.
I really didn’t have a timeline of when we’d get serious about it at home. I figured she’d let us know when she was ready and she showed zero interest in it for us. But then daycare told us that she couldn’t be moved up to the next classroom with her friends in August if she wasn’t potty trained. That would really bum her out, so I decided I’d plan to just take away her diapers completely one weekend. My hope was that once she wet herself once she’d hate it and realize how to not let that happen. In the meantime I printed out the above chart I found online, told her that if she completed a row she would get a special trip to somewhere she loves (like Chuck E. Cheese or Yogurt Mountain). She didn’t care.
Then, one morning last week, she was jumping on her bed naked when I was trying to get her ready for the day. She just would not put on her pull-up, so I asked her if she wanted to wear underwear instead. Her face lit up, she said yeah! and came to put them on. I figured what the heck? We’ll see how this goes. I enforced to her that she shouldn’t pee in her undies but tell her teachers when she needed to go. And of course I packed lots of clothing changes.
We didn’t need them. She used the potty eight times that day and had zero accidents. Since then she has done perfectly at school every day including nap times. The real challenge was to keep this going at home.
The first night at home she threw an incredible fit when we tried to get her to sit on the potty. I’m talking screaming, sobbing, body going rigid type of fit. We refused to put a diaper on her and she had two accidents (thankfully outside) that made her even more mad.
The second night she still wouldn’t sit on the potty at first but I didn’t try to force it. She had two more accidents, both while sitting on the counter, but then consented to sit on it afterwards.
The third day was Saturday and she held her pee all morning long until she fell asleep, and then she let it go (I had a pad under her because I figured that would happen). The evening was still a struggle.
Then, on Sunday – day 4 of no diapers – it clicked for her. She woke up and said, “I hafta go potty,” and it’s been easy ever since. No more accidents, no more fights. Dry diapers in the morning. I’ve learned that if we ask her if she needs to go and she resists or says no, then she really doesn’t need to. She will agree if she needs to.
I’m sure there will be occasional accidents in the future and I’m not quite ready to send her to bed without a diaper considering she sleeps right next to me, but for the most part, it’s done.
So basically my method was:
1. Put it off.
2. Let daycare do most of the work.
3. Spontaneously go cold-turkey.
Hey, whatever works right?