It’s been a full 5 days and I still can’t believe it’s actually happening. After more than 9 years, the end is finally in sight. As unbelievable as it sounds, we are on the verge of never buying diapers again.
Yes, we decided this weekend that we were going to focus on potty training Kaylee. She’s showed some interest in doing so for a couple of months now, but two things stopped us from pursuing it until now. The first was that the last time she showed an interest in using her little potty we pushed her a little too hard and for almost 6 months she wouldn’t go anywhere near the thing. The second was that it was extremely difficult to potty her on a regular basis when I had to leave the house every few hours to drop off or pick up boys from school.
I figured that once school let out I’d have more free time to concentrate on potty training her. But then I realized with all the camps and activities the boys are doing this summer I wasn’t going to be running around any less than I did during the school year. So I needed to figure out a way to potty train her quickly in between when Cameron finished pre-school and before Brendan’s first camp on June 10. That gave me about a 2 week window to work with.
We chose this weekend for a variety of reasons. First, because Brendan was still in school. That gave me one less kid to worry about entertaining during the times I’d be in the bathroom with Kaylee. Second, because for once in our lives we had absolutely nothing going on for 4 days. We could afford to be tethered to the house for the entire weekend. And finally because Matt was on vacation from work. While that wasn’t an absolute necessity for this to work, he was an enormous help so I’m glad it worked out that way.
Originally we were going to start on Thursday, but we decided to push it off until Friday because of Brendan’s school picnic. We figured being out of the house for a few hours with no easy access to a bathroom on the first day we’re training her probably wasn’t the best idea. So the whole week leading up to Friday I reminded her that she only had a few days left in diapers, and that she’d soon be wearing big girl underwear full time.
I’d been told before that we could potty train our child over a long weekend. Unfortunately that tactic never worked with the boys. With them it was months and months before we could truly say they were trained. But I did a lot of research online while getting ready to potty train Kaylee and read about Potty Training Bootcamp. It seemed improbable that I would see the results they predicted, but I figured I had nothing to lose in trying.
So Friday morning we got Kaylee up and forced her to sit on the potty until she went. No breakfast or any other activities until she’d gone to the bathroom. This was very similar to what we’d done with Brendan when we were trying to train him. And like her brother before her, she resisted me on that first morning. It took her more than 40 minutes to finally relent and do her duty. But she was instantly rewarded with M & M’s, big girl underwear, and breakfast.
Once she’d gone, the program called for a timer to be set in 20 minute intervals. Every 20 minutes you ask the child if they need to go potty. After 3 times (or approximately an hour) you tell them to go potty instead of asking. That way they’re reminded often and actually going at least once per hour. I won’t lie, having your day interrupted every 20 minutes all day long makes for an extremely long day. Especially when the results of your efforts aren’t that great.
Because the people promoting this program were very up front. They said to expect your child to have multiple accidents on that first day. They recommended leaving the child dressed in nothing but the underwear to save yourself on laundry. In the morning it seemed that Kaylee was going to skip the whole multiple accident thing. She successfully made it to the potty every time and had no accidents between breakfast and lunch.
Despite our success we were contemplating stopping the potty training until a different weekend and starting the process over. Because Kaylee had picked up Cameron’s bug from earlier in the week. This meant the potential for a very stinky runny accident was astronomically high. On the other hand since she was pooping in the potty without any effort or intention it was teaching her that doing so didn’t have to be a scary experience. That benefit was one that I couldn’t pass up, so risk or not we kept going.
Naptime came, and the articles I’d read didn’t go into what to do during naptime except to keep the child in underwear. We decided to go ahead and not nap Kaylee. We sent her to her room to rest watching some cartoons and continued with the potty reminders every 20 minutes. And that was when the first day went wrong. She was so engrossed in her cartoons that she would wet her underwear inbetween 20 minute cycles. Then, even after we got her up from rest, we couldn’t seem to get the timing quite right again and she had accidents the remainder of the day.
We were understandably discouraged by the time she went to bed, but determined to continue with the program. So Saturday morning we started the whole process over. Amazingly things progressed just as I’d read they would. She was much more confident and agreeable to going potty on the second day. We had just 2 accidents during the entire day. She was also getting quicker about doing her business. I think she finally realized that the sooner she did it the sooner she could get back to playing.
Sunday was much of the same. Matt and I decided to switch things up on Sunday and set our reminder for 30 minutes instead of 20. We still made her go every hour, but that meant she got less reminders. It worked out really well, and gave us somewhat of a break as well. The other change for Sunday was that we were supposed to move her from her little potty onto the big one since it’s not terribly convenient to take that little potty with us when we leave the house.
Kaylee was having none of that however. The first time we tried I got her to go on the big potty, but she threw an epic fit about it. Shortly thereafter she had a major accident and thereafter refused point blank to get on the big potty. So we backed off that and she managed to not have any additional accidents that day.
Sunday night we were under a severe thunderstorm watch for most of the evening, and around 1:30 in the morning the tornado sirens went off. Matt and I were still awake as we’d had a friend out to the house and were so engrossed in our conversation that we hadn’t realized how late it had gotten. The three of us roused the kids and headed down to the basement to wait out the tornado warning.
We were down there for at least 45 minutes before we felt it was safe to go back upstairs. We put the kids to bed again, but they didn’t go back to sleep immediately. It was nearly 4 in the morning before we finally got them, and then ourselves into bed. We were very thankful that Monday was a holiday so that Matt and Brendan were both able to stay home.
It was a lazy kind of day for all of us as we recovered from our lack of sleep the night before. We figured Kaylee was in no condition to continue with her potty training, and in any case neither of us were really in the mood to clean up her mess if she did have an accident. So we left her in a diaper for the day and asked her to go potty frequently in the day but didn’t set ourselves the reminders like we had been on previous days. I was afraid doing so might cause a relapse in her progress but was truthfully too tired to care at the time. Kaylee seemed content to have the break as well, and while she did dirty a couple of diapers, it doesn’t seem to have had long term effects on her potty training.
Tuesday I tried to extend her trips to the potty to every 90 minutes, but it seems she’s not quite ready for that. Then finally today we’ve had a breakthrough. First thing this morning she asked to move to the big potty and has been using it faithfully all day. I’ve forgotten a couple of times to remind her to go potty, and she came to me. She didn’t exactly ask to go potty, but the sight of her standing there was enough to remind me that it was time. Both times her underwear was damp, but not soaked. It was almost like she knew she needed mommy in order to go potty.
So after 5 days I’m willing to call my daughter potty trained. There’s still definately some work to do, but having her in underwear all day long is a huge accomplishment for as little time as we’ve spent on it. Matt’s not so willing to call her trained yet. He prefers to call her potty-under-controlled. Well, whatever we want to call it I am looking forward to saying a fond farewell to my children’s diaper years.