Warning: This post contains talk of using the toilet, which means the words “pee” and “poop” will be used.
About three weeks ago or so, we had “No More Diapers” Day. I had been talking with another parent after swim class about how she’d used a potty training method where you set a timer and have your kid sit on the potty for a few minutes every hour for the first few days. There was more to it than that, but I just took that initial idea and decided to run with it. The first few days, we set the timer for an hour and if she didn’t immediately do something, we’d read her a couple of books so she’d sit for a few minutes. Slowly, over the next week or so, we were more lax about the sitting if she didn’t have to go and we were more lax about setting the timer.
Eventually we got to where we are now. Whenever I use the bathroom, I encourage her to try as well. Whenever we’re about to go somewhere (whether it’s from one floor in our house to another or for a drive in the car somewhere), I encourage her to try. Whenever it seems like it’s been a while since she last went, I encourage her to try. Whenever it seems like she has to go yet she’s not saying, I encourage her to try. Basically, my day has gone from diaper changes to frequent potty times.
Why, you might ask, was I so enthusiastic about getting her out of diapers, which are probably a lot easier than remaining constantly vigilant to make sure she has a zillion more potty opportunities than I think she might need? She’d decided that getting her diaper changed was something that she didn’t like and, even though her diaper was soaked, would fight me to let me even take it off. She’d been getting a nasty rash off and on for a while that would start to come back almost as soon as it was healed. We were going through butt paste like the survival of Boudreaux’s depended on it.
In addition, she seemed at least somewhat receptive to the idea of sitting on the potty. We’ve had a small potty seat in the bathroom for a while just to get her familiar with it. Whenever she had nakey time, I’d encourage her to try sitting on the potty or try to get to the potty if it seemed like she needed to use it.
Needless to say, there have been many misses. She either didn’t understand what it felt like before she had to use the potty or she didn’t understand how to communicate that with us. She would tell us that she had to use the potty and we would find that she’d already peed in her panties. A few times she’d run away and hide until after she’d pooped in her panties. On the bright side, this past week, she’s told me at least three times that she was peeing, we rushed to the potty where I’d find her panties dry and she’d pee on the potty. Yesterday, either by coincidence of already sitting on the potty or because she’s figuring out what it feels like before she has to poop or a combination of the two, she pooped in her potty without my having to frantically pull down her half pooped in panties and maneuver her onto the potty. She seems to be figuring it out, slowly but surely.
I’m pretty sure that, for the next six or eight years, it’ll be one of my top priorities to memorize the location of every available restroom, and make bathroom stops part of any outing. I’m also pretty sure that, save for the most awesome and exciting outings that are just too fun to pay attention to anything else (like eating or using the bathroom), I probably won’t have to tell her when to try to use the bathroom forever. I’m looking at it as a change in my parenting responsibilities. Before, it was my responsibility to make sure that I had enough dry diapers wherever we were, and to change her diaper in a timely manner so she wasn’t sitting in a wet, poop-filled diaper for longer than necessary. Now my responsibility is to make sure she has way more opportunities to use the bathroom than she might need, just in case she does need them.
Any tips on how to help her understand the feelings of needing to use the potty? Has anyone tried teaching a young child (probably won’t be able to do this until she’s at least a little older) about kegel exercises and those muscles? I’d love to hear other potty learning/training stories, tricks, etc. as well.