You probably clicked on this post because of the amazing title, right?! So we are in the middle of potty training the second child. It’s also our first experience with a boy. I have read EVERY 3-day training guide that is out there. I’ve asked for tips and tricks from other moms. I have had dreams about Toy Story and Mickey undies and lots and lots of laundry. Then we started!! I was ready. I was amped! I was going to get my son potty trained in 3 days, if not less!! And…… it failed.
So while there are a ton of moms out there who are claiming the 3-day potty training guide works, it did not for us. OK— so I will also admit that I was not FULLY committed. I was not ready to throw away ALL diapers/pull ups in the name of my sanity. Rest time and bed time were non-negotiable times of the day that we used these. Being a military wife and dealing with potty training with a boy on my own, I wanted to keep my limited sanity of not cleaning sheets twice a day (or more) and I’m pretty sure my washing machine is also singing my praises and thanking me for this decision. I can ONLY handle so much bodily fluid in one day. Between dog walks, a 4 year old daughter who still needs some bathroom help, and a potty training 2 year old, I had to set limits!
So, why the post, you ask?! While the 3-day method didn’t work, I have found some success. Are we fully potty trained yet? No, but we are well on our way. He turns 3 next week and I would love to be over the hump before then. So I am going to share what I have done and maybe it will help someone else in the wide world of the internet!
Is your child ready?
This always seems to be the first step. I was told by lots of people that I will know when he is ready to start potty training. Even my daughter, at 18 months, started to show interest in the potty without any attempt from me, so why wouldn’t my second? We had only one indication. It was much like a war zone. He would find a hiding place, set up camp, keep a look out, and defend his territory if we began to advance. All so he could poop in “private.” OK– this MUST be the indication he is ready, so I followed the books and pumped him with water, juice, milk– whatever liquid I could entice him with and placed him on the potty every 15 minutes. HUGE MISTAKE.
Feeling the pressure
He began to feel the pressure of being put on the potty every 15 minutes. I mean, I was totally cool, calm, and collected. I couldn’t imagine why he didn’t want to go on the potty through my screams and cries of pee on the floor that I had to mop up for the 20th time that day, all happening 30 seconds after he screamed to get off the potty because he was done. He clearly wasn’t ready. I clearly wasn’t ready.
Bring in reinforcements
If you have a spouse at home to help, FANTASTIC!!! They can be the one who leaves the house and worries about the grocery shopping or the errand running or the chauffeuring the other kid(s). OR you make sure you are all on the same plan and it allows YOU to sneak away for a short period of time. This step is HUGE. I had my parents in town for a weekend and it was the perfect time to introduce the “no diaper while we are awake” concept. I was able to still run to the store or make sure my poor 4 year old wasn’t house bound for 3 days because her brother was being potty trained. My parents were on the same page as me and it allowed me to always have one adult at home with him so we weren’t tempting fate. Then they went back home and I fell apart. More because I can’t be house bound for a week. My oldest has preschool; I work in the afternoons; we have babysitters. It wasn’t practical and all that progress went right out the window because I immediately reverted back to pull-ups.
The last straw
I’m anxious for my boy to be ready for camps this summer and school in the fall. The whole being diaper free is just icing on the cake. We are back to the idea of wearing undies at all times when we are in our house (minus rest/bed time). We have had HUGE success this time around. I’m keeping the pressure low and the enthusiasm high. He gets 2 M&Ms for each time he pees. He especially loves yellow ones, so this is our incentive. It doesn’t work every time, but it works enough. Wearing his favorite characters is also a pretty big incentive… although having Mickey on the pull-up sort of defeats this incentive some days. When we make some ground on the #2, I will update this post. Until then, feel free to share your best potty training tips— for boys or girls or if you can provide us with a good laugh with an experience, I would love to hear it!
To all the mamas potty training, may the force and the Clorox wipes be with you!