Monday, February 14, 2011

Child-led Potty training... Mostly!

I usually try to start potty training at around 21 months. Since this baby is due when Raiden is 21 months, I've decided to do a trial run now, at 18 months. If we find he's completely not ready, we'll put everything away and wait until a while after the baby is born. We'll probably have to wait until after he turns two like we did Ronan. 

First I'll tell you my method, then my experiences so far. I don't use pull ups. For at least the first two weeks we completely focus on training. We don't leave the house. We don't wear any bottoms. We put nothing but potty training videos on TV. We put away all the toys and books except potty training ones. We keep all the bedroom doors shut. 

The week before the official start I take the potty out just for them to play on. When I go, I'll carry it in the bathroom and tell them that their potty and explain what I'm doing. 

The morning of the Big Day, we will take the diaper off and bid it farewell. We will do the same thing with our potty training doll. Then we will sit her(the doll) on the potty and give her a drink. After she pees we will celebrate. Then dump the little pot in the big pot, flush and wave goodbye. Then we get to wash our hands and the dolls. 

I'll put on a video, and watch for signs. Boys are easier for reasons obvious to anyone who has ever seen a little boy naked that needs to pee! I don't make them sit though. I wait for them to start to go. Then I say, "you are going pee pee, pee pee goes in the potty" it usually startles them a bit and they stop. I grab them up sit them on the pot and pray they finish on it. We read a book while they sit. If they do, we do the same thing we did with the doll. If they don't finish but sit for the book, they still get lots of praise. If they don't want to sit, I let them up and we repeat with the doll. We make a huge deal about it when she pees in the pot. I nonchalantly clean up any pee of the floor(thank goodness for laminate). I basically do the same thing with grunting. If they get poop on the floor, I'll pick it up with TP, put it 1st in the little pot. We'll take in to the big pot together, dump, flush, wash. 

If after a few days, if they haven't went at least once on their own. I put them back in diapers and put everything away. 

Joshua was my first. We started with him at 22 months at about 9 in the morning. He had multiple pee accidents throughout the day, but held his poo. At 9 that evening, I was just about to put a bedtime diaper on. He ran over to his little potty, pooped then pee'd!  By the end of the 1st week, he was going on his own with minimal pee accidents and no poop accidents. He also started staying dry through his naps so we stopped the naptime dipe. By the end of the 2nd week he was trained at night too. He was not in a crib at this point though. He did still have an occasional accident at home but never when we were out! 

For Jacobs second Christmas he got potty supplies. He was 21 months. We started the 1st of the year. It took about three days before going on his own but he was having fun learning. He also ended up begin a longterm bed wetter so he stayed in diaper through naps and bedtime. The biggest problem we had with him was he didn't want to poop on the pot, he would go on the floor and then play in it! He wouldn't go in his pants though if we were out.  Then right before he turned two, we left them with my mom for the weekend of our anniversary. She put him in pull ups and he completely reverted. After a week I decided we would have to start from scratch. We put him back in diapers, hid the potty and didn't mention it again for one month. He caught back on pretty quick but we still had poo problems until I decided to try training him to the big potty. He started doing the funniest thing on his own. He would squat with his feet on the toilet seat! Whatever... At least he wasn't playing in it. 

I started Summer the 1st of January the following year. She was 20 months. She did great, just like Joshua. She stayed in diapers at  night until she was out of her crib at 2 1/2, but woke up dry most of the time. 

Ronan completely threw me for a loop. I was pregnant and we were putting our house on the market. He was 21 months. From the very first day he refused to sit on his potty. He would hold it until he couldn't anymore then he would let just enough dribble out to relieve the pressure. When he had to poop he stood clenching his cheeks and cried. The next day he went back in diapers and I packed everything away. We decided to wait until after the baby and after the move.  The baby came 10 days before his 2nd birthday and we got into the new house at 25 months. We had a lot of work to do though, then it was almost Christmas and we were going out of town. 

So once again, we started shortly after the new year. He was 29 months. And he was still defiant, for the first time I resorted to bribery, smarties. It didn't help. I decided my my tried and true method wasn't fool proof. I had to try something new. 

Once he dribbled I sat him on his little potty and hugged him around his neck while he cryed. It only lasted a minute then he calmed enough for me to read him a book. I didn't let him up until he pee'd. I felt sooo mean but I had to show him 1) it was okay 2) it wasn't scary and 3) this is how it was going to be. After a few days he caught on but was constipating himself.   He finally went... Standing over his little pot.  Another quirky pooper! 

He did fine for a while. Then Raiden got mobile and started get into the potty if I didn't get to it quick enough and Ronan started playing in it too. I know... Gross!  So it was time to train him to the big pot. He was almost three. We had a problem because he stood to poo. He was not happy and started peeing everywhere. I started setting a timer and made him go once an hour. At first I had to take him in, then after a few days, I could just tell him and he would go. He started sitting to poo thank goodness. After a week or so I could stop reminding him and he was completely trained except for sleep times. 

Shortly after his 3rd birthday he stopped taking naps. In November when we switched to cloth diapers with Raiden, I got cloth training pants for nighttime. He was 3yrs 3 months. Within a few days he was nighttime trained!

Hopefully Raiden responds to the child led training and Ronan will be my only exception. And hopefully he'll train now instead of having to fool with it with a baby in the house! Fingers crossed! 

All my videos were VHS, which I no longer have. With Ronan I found my favorites, It's Potty Time, Once Upon a Potty, and Bear in the Big Blue House Potty time, on YouTube. They've all been removed due to copywrite. I went on Amazon today and order those on DVD, some new ones, some books, and some gift sets.  He'll be 18 months on the 19th. He has a drs appointment that week so hopefully we can get started by March 1st. I'll be 29 weeks. If he doesn't end up being ready at least it'll be a distraction for me for a while!


  1. Thanks for linking up, best of luck with the rest of the toilet training!

  2. I like that method! When I worked at a daycare, we couldn't let all the kids run around naked (nor clean up all the accidents that might bring about), but we did something similar. We would wait until they were interested in the potty and were starting to use it fairly consistently (it helped that all the other kids were going, too- it made the younger ones want to do it), and then we put them straight in underwear instead of pull-ups. They learned pretty quickly that they really didn't like the feeling of going in their underwear/pants, and it usually only took maybe 2-3 weeks. We did have a couple of tough cases, though, who would have poop accidents for a couple months afterwards... maybe we should have just waited a little longer for them instead of continuing to try. But, for the most part, it usually worked! :)