On January 16th, I decided to go all in with the potty training.
Can’t remember what all I’ve written here so far regarding it, but we’ve had the little potty out since this past summer. Back then she loved to play with it, even used it a bit. She’d request to watch the Daniel Tiger “potty one” during her allotted screen time. We even had a couple “naked days” before I got super pregnant (during which, despite the fact that 80% of my house is uncovered hardwood or tile, she managed to hit both my area rug & my runner with pee and poop – fun stuff). However, everyone kept saying how potty training always regresses with a new baby, plus cleaning up daily accidents during my third trimester sounded like unnecessary torture. So I didn’t push it at all. Using the potty was more like a fun game she just played when she felt like it, and I’d say things like “After baby Maggie gets here, we can work together so you don’t have to wear diapers anymore” and “It’ll be so much fun to get to wear big girl panties all the time!”
Then baby Maggie came and the holidays came. The potty continued to come up in her pretend play (she would line up her animals and “send them to the potty” one by one, or tell me all about how the spider she just drew had a big poop) and she kept asking to look at her dirty diapers (um, gross) and then she started waking up dry in the morning. So I amped up the talk to be more concrete “After Christmas, we’ll start wearing big girl panties every day” and “Your teachers will be excited to help you use the potty at school when you get back!”
I actually told Libby we were going to go to diaper-free days the week of New Years, but then we all got so sick with that RSV mess, and the countdown date came and went. Then after she’d been fever-free and feeling better for a full ten days, I suggested that we should try wearing big girl panties.
Her response? “Let’s just throw on a diaper.”
I told her okay, but next week I wasn’t going to give her a choice. After all, I pointed out, she had all these pretty undies just waiting to be worn. Then my friend Lisa came over for lunch. Libby loves Lisa. Lisa is a working mother in sales, so she is always very put together when she meets us for lunch during the week – heels and makeup and clothes that don’t have stains on them, the whole bit. We were catching up on the holidays, and what the kiddos got for Christmas and I mentioned that Santa had brought Libby some really cute Hello Kitty panties in her stocking. Libby overheard this & ran to her room to get them to show them off to Lisa. Lisa is awesome, so she said “Wow, these are so fun! Libby wouldn’t you rather wear these instead of that boring diaper?” and Libby said “I have some with butterflies too, come look” and took Lisa to her room to show off her newly-full pantie drawer. Lisa left, and Libby wore panties the rest of the day at home and had zero accidents.
So I emailed her teachers to give them the heads up and packed her off to school the next day in Gerber training pants with three extra outfits and a prayer.
Came back to get her: “She didn’t want to use our potty, but she also didn’t have any accidents. She just held it all day.”
Seriously? The teachers said not to stress about it, if she has that much bladder control, more power to her. Sure enough, we get home, Libby goes straight to the potty and fills that sucker practically to the brim.
And so goes the next several weeks.
Potty training is a dreaded hard thing that is different for everyone, so here is my list of top challenges with mine so far:
1. Getting her to say it out loud.
I had a really hard time getting her to say out loud that she needed to go to the potty. she would do this thing where she’d come up to me and look at me like she needed to tell me something but she would say nothing. God forbid I then ask “Do you need to go to the potty?” because the answer is always always always “No!” as if she resents me for having the audacity to ask. But then inevitably shortly thereafter, with desperation, I’d get an “I need to go potty” or an “ahh! I’m going potty in my panties” or an “I’m wet there.” So I stopped asking. I only insist she tries to go before we get in the car, before a nap, and before bed. Other than that I’m trying really hard to resist constantly suggesting it because it seems to make her more determined to hold it longer.
2. Getting stuck nursing/changing/soothing the baby.
This is a challenge unique to having a second baby here, but could be applicable of a parent being stuck doing anything – going to the bathroom yourself, hands covered in flour from baking, talking on the phone with your boss, whatever. Several accidents happened simply because I was physically unable to accompany her to the toilet to help her use it. Luckily, at home, she is now comfortable going to her little toilet all on her own and pulling down her pants and going. The trick is getting her to wait for me to come help her wipe & pull back up her pants & wash her hands – she gets impatient and starts to waddle around the house with her pants around her ankles, which, while pretty funny looking & kinda cute, is also a trip hazard and pretty unsanitary, depending on what she tries to do while waddling.
3. Getting her to go when we’re not in the house.
I refused to alter our normal schedule, I just bring extra clothes everywhere. Figure if she has to leave her fun play dates or uncomfortably change clothes in a public restroom enough times she’ll get with the program. I try not to make her feel bad about accidents, but at the same time I need her to feel the natural consequences of having them. If that makes sense. And I need to not be stuck in the house because I’ll go insane. All that said – She has yet to go in the potty while at school. She holds it every single school day. To make matters worse, up until this past week, every time she’d tried to go potty in public since switching to panties, the pee had ended up on the floor because she kept tilting her pelvis forward and trying to look at the pee coming out. So when we’re out of the house her MO is hold it hold it hold it. This past week however we had a bit of a turning point: On Wednesday, we had been out at the library then My Gym (basically an indoor playground situation) and she practically had an anxiety attack when I made her try to sit on the library potty before getting back in the car and then she had an full-on didn’t-even-get-to-the-bathroom accident at My Gym. Then at school on Thursday, she had an accident at naptime and started to cry, which she hates doing in public, so her teachers said she was trying hard to squelch the tears & then didn’t want to tell her teachers why she was crying. Her teachers finally got it out of her, reassured her it was not a big deal, everyone has accidents, they don’t mind helping her change at all, but she was clearly still embarrassed by it. On the way home from school that day, she started talking about all the times she had successfully gone to the potty in public places prior to wearing panties (this past summer, after watching the Daniel Tiger potty episode and learning that “there are potties everywhere” she used to ask to use the potty, well, everywhere, and while it mostly was an exercise in annoying the crap out of pregnant Mommy, every now & again she’d actually need to pee): “I went to the potty at Calypso and the pee-pee went in the potty there. I went pee at My Gym before too. Right in the potty.” Like she was hyping herself up. Then over the weekend and this week, she has been peeing like a champ at all our places – the library, My Gym, the grocery store, Target. Still didn’t go at school on Tuesday though. Curious if she will ever go at school.
Overall, I’ve had it really easy. We have not done any bribes (yet anyway – I hear multiple regressions can be a thing & I’m not sure how I’ll address that if it happens), just a bunch of celebrating and silly dances when she successfully uses the potty. I also haven’t been in any particular hurry to get it done, her teachers are super supportive and didn’t push it all. Plus I was dreading it and expecting the worse, so I guess I’ve been overall pleasantly surprised & that helps my outlook on the whole situation. Time-wise, because everyone seems to want to know how long it takes, we’ve been talking about it & practicing it since like May of last year or so, but I’ve only had her in panties since January 16th. So despite our relatively few accidents since then, making it seem like she got it really fast, we’re actually practically a year in counting from when I first got the potty out for her, talked about it, and started practicing. And obviously we still wear pull-ups to bed. At first I had her in diapers for bed, but then she started needing to go potty right after storytime or in the middle of the night or whatever and pull-ups are easier for that. So wearing panties at night will be a whole other adventure.
In other news, Maggie is four months old now! She is obsessed with trying to sit up on her own and does baby crunches every time you lay her down on her back. She wants to move so bad. But she has yet to roll over. She’s getting pretty good at using her hands now, practicing constantly. Ugh & teething is in full swing. Did not miss that, forgot how annoying all that drool is. Still cutey cute cute though 🙂 And already idolizes her big sister! So maybe she’ll be even easier to potty train because she’ll want to do it “just like big sister.” Maaayyybeee? Ha!
And I know I haven’t illustrated this post with any pics, but did you really want to see pictures of potty tries & accidents? So here’s the photos from the month, none of which are of bathrooms or poop.
These girls are just beautiful!!! Love your writing so much!
Thank you Layne 🙂 Love you!