Okay. I have been blessed with 5 wonderful children. Truly I feel so blessed, and yet I can't help to feel sad right now. My baby is growing up. She is two now. Two. Where did those two years go? I have watched 4 other children grow up and been in awe but yet this little dd is taking the cake. Somehow she seems more mature, less baby, so much more independent, less needy for mommy (although she is still nursing...I'll keep that going as long as I can ;). I know it is no different than the others - each of them had a baby sister or brother by the time they were her age and of course they seemed big then. It is just that she's my last. It all seems so final. Do I really have a right to feel sad?
Okay - so about potty training. This was the big leap in to twoyearoldhood and certainly part of why I feel sad - I know, I know - I brought it on to myself. I have trained all my children at this age and lots of people have asked how, so I am going to lay it out for you. I know I am considerably narrowing my audience with this introduction but hey I probably already lost them on the title - I'll catch them on the next post perhaps. ;)
A disclaimer - I use cloth diapers. I therefore HATE two year old poops. I would much rather deal with a week or two of messes on the floor than in the diapers. So - you will see this is MY motivation. It is very important for mommy (and or daddy) to have a motivation. If she is not committed to this than it is not going to be successful. So as much as I might like to think I have brilliant little children that potty train themselves at 2, I know that 80 percent of it is me getting them there. You must be committed. Think of the money, the landfills, whatever gets you moving.
Another disclaimer. We have hardwood floors. Virtually no carpeting - just in the basement. It has been the same for the last 4 kids although for my first we were in an apartment that had carpeting and I used the same method - but I didn't care as much about that carpet as I would my own.
Step one : Choose a treat. This is where friends have chosen things like smarties or other candies but I just can't use a treat like that for my baby to put in to their little body so I choose raisins or dried little fruit of some sort or whatever you can come up with. The key is to not allow the baby to get that treat any other time of the day other than when they sit on the potty or pee pee on the potty or whatever with the potty. You can't be dishing out raisins to them at snack and expect them to get excited about getting it again when they go pee pee. It MUST only be allowed in this relm.
Step two: No pants. I know that sounds so scary and risky, but this is for good reason - My experience has taught me that as soon as a child of this age has 'something' on their little bum bum, they pee in to it and drench it completely. They don't stop, they just go ahead - they figure they are in a diaper. As soon as they go 'pantless' that triggers something different in to their brains and helps them to control their bladders. As a side note I would never use pull ups. What a waste. As soon as you put that pull up diaper on them guess what happens? They pee in it - except the only difference is that it cost you a dollar instead of 30 cents - or whatever the cost difference would be - I really have no idea cause I haven't bought them recently. The only use for them would be for later when the child is already potty trained and you are going on a long trip or for overnight or what have you. By using them at this critical potty training time you waste your time and effort and will not experience success anywhere near as quickly.
Step three: Make it fun. Don't let them be afraid of the potty. You sit on the big one, get a book, invite them over, offer them their favourite treat - and when they just sit down - give them the coveted treat - make it a really big deal at first when they just sit down! That's all you want at first, just an introduction. (even the first week could be spent this way if all they are doing is sitting and not peeing) And then when they just sit down and you give them the treat, you praise them for how amazing they are and wow wow wow...who can resist such royal treatment? At our house everyone gets involved - brother, sisters, daddy - Horray for baby for sitting on the potty - of course she wants to do it again!
Step four: Set the timer. The first few days you will be figuring out your baby's bladder - unless you have already taken note (I never do). They will follow a cycle. She will go pee pee at 8 am and then suddenly again at 8:30 but then not again until 10 am. Watch her, write it down if it helps. When she does make a little pee pee on the floor, don't scold her - just say oops and bring her to sit on the potty again reminding her that that is where we go pee pee. The first few days you will have lots of messes but as you figure it out you will get ahead of that cycle and just before she is about to go pee you get her on the potty and she suddenly goes and so the fan fare begins again...if she doesn't 'go' when you think she should need to go then you put her on every 5 minutes until she does go. Most of my babies need to pee about every hour in the morning but every two or so in the afternoon.
Step five: Be consistent. You go out to the mall, you go to a friends - are you going to leave her naked? I don't. I diaper (unless she is starting to get it) But when we are at home and unless she is having a nap or sleeping at bedtime, she goes underwear free and we keep doing the same old thing. When the baby gets to the point where she starts to pee on the floor and stops herself that is when you are very close to completing this project! She recognizes how to control that bladder and there is no limit to your success now. Next thing you know she is telling you when she 'has to go'. Oh and NEVER ask a child if they need to go - instead you say "okay honey Let's go to the potty," and you just pick them up and go. If you ask them you will inevitably get a big "No- I don't need to go!" Just don't set yourself up.
My two year old learned this within two days and is now (one month later) completely trained. No, she isn't dry at night - I don't find that to be a determining factor. I put diapers on at night and soon I will start to get her up at 10 when I go to bed, put her on the potty and then put a diaper back on her just in case. Once that is dry for a week or two, then we will be done, but I find that usually takes a little longer than I expect. My babies go to bed at 6:30 so that is just too long to hold it for little ones.
So there you have it - I know it is contrary to some practices out there but that's okay - I love that I have no more muss and fuss anymore! Perhaps you would like to join me? Please let me know if you have any questions or comments!