Potty Learning Update

So how is our potty learning going?  It’s going great actually!  I was getting worried at first and lots of people were telling me that he isn’t ready but I felt differently.  We went on holidays for a week and I went with a casual approach.  We did pull-ups in the car during long trips and camping but training pants at the cottage.  He started to catch on at the cottage and went in the toilet a few times and even told me before hand he had to go a couple of times but the cottage is small with the bathroom close by.  Now we’re back home again and he’s figured out what to do on the toilet but since our only bathroom is upstairs he’s not really telling me before hand or in enough time.  He’s still going in his pants most of the day because he won’t stop playing and refuses to sit on the toilet most of the time but since I’ve realized he will go when he is on the toilet, I’ve resorted to bribing him.  Yea, not very Montessori, but it works lol.  He gets a jellybean (not very healthy either, it’s what I’ve had on hand) if he’ll sit on the potty.  Sometimes as a mother dealing with a screaming tantrum throwing child while another child is demanding something and you have other children you have to watch, you just have to do what works.  So with the success of the jellybeans I’ve been pretty excited.  If I get him to sit on the toilet regularly he has less wet pants.  He’s so proud when he uses the toilet it’s really cute.

I think taking a causal approach to potty learning is the best.  No 3 day methods or forcing things.  If he really doesn’t want to use the toilet I don’t make him.  I don’t want it to be a power struggle and you can’t make a child go if they don’t want to.  Keeping calm and not stressing keeps him from getting upset and keeps it enjoyable.  To do this you may have to alter you house a bit – roll up rugs or cover them, have a potty nearby, do more laundry, buy training pants and covers.  But you want it to be something positive.  Also I don’t think there’s really such a thing as “being ready”.  If you see it as a process like learning to feed themselves and learning to talk, rather than a goal you achieve, then you can start introducing them even as infants to sitting on the potty.  Also giving them the chance to become aware of their body by putting them in training pants really helps things to click even for young toddlers.  If I ever am blessed to have another child, I think I’ll start introducing the toilet early.  I highly recommend the book “Diaper Free Before Three“.

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I also think though, that you have to do what works for your family.  If that means jellybeans, so be it.  If that means waiting until they’re older, then that’s what you do.  The only thing is to not scare or punish or belittle a child over potty learning or to allow it to stress you out or become a power struggle.  If you feel this is happening I’d say to take a step back, put them back in diapers and just enjoy their short toddler years.

Pumpkin 2 has really enjoyed these two potty books.

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Potty Learning

So this is not a post about how to potty train your child.  There are so many ideas, theories, methods out there and every child is different, responds differently and every family situation is different so I really don’t think there’s one straightforward approach to potty training.

What this is, is me sharing what’s happening in our home, our frustrations, our joys, items I’ve found essential.  Hopefully it’ll encourage some who are struggling with what can be a difficult time.  Hopefully it’ll make some of you laugh to remember your experiences.

So Pumpkin 2 is 25 months.  With Pumpkin 1 I was a first time, gung-ho with lots of time Mom who did Elimination Communication.  It was wonderful.  From about 7 months she started pooping on the toilet every morning and I never had to change poopy diapers again.  Pee kinda went out the window when I got pregnant with Pumpkin 2 and was sick so I toilet trained her for that around 25 months.  I put her in underwear and jogging pants and she peed in them for 2 days and then was trained.  She didn’t start telling me when she had to go until she was about 3 but as long as I took her regularly she rarely had accidents.

With Pumpkin 2 I was doing daycare and just didn’t have the time it takes to do Elimination Communication so this is a very different ball game.  Pumpkin 1 already knew what to do on the potty when I started training her.  Pumpkin 2 has no idea.  He sits on it, says, “Psssss” and then “All done” and gets off.  So for the last week and a half I’ve changed soiled underwear and he’s peed on the toilet 1 time.  1 TIME in over week.  You can imagine how discouraging that can be.

I’ve had a lot of people tell me he’s not ready but I disagree.  He’s very excited about sitting on the toilet or potty, he holds his pee for long periods, wakes up from naps dry and wants to wear underwear.  I really feel once he catches on what he’s supposed to do he’s be trained.  I think without the accidents, he’s not going to learn.  They’re part of the process of understanding his body.

So what I’ve been doing is putting him in underwear during the day, encouraging him to go to the potty but not forcing it and cleaning up messes.  I see every wet pants as a learning moment as he realizes how his body works and the sensations that go with it.  He’s now often telling me right away when he pees and poops.  A little victory yesterday was when he told me he had to pee just seconds before he did.  And he did the tiniest drop of poop in his potty and was absolutely elated and proud of it.  He loves to sit on the different potties we have and on the toilet.  The key I feel with potty training is to not let it become a power struggle.  You can’t force your child to pee and poop on the toilet.  It has to come from them so you need to allow them to be in charge of it.  Get them to do as much as they can like pulling up and down their pants, flushing the toilet, washing their hands.  If it becomes a power struggle you’re going to lose.

I find putting him in underpants with training pants on top absorbs most of the mess with maybe a small puddle but leave him soaking enough to make an impression.  If I want less of a puddle I’ll put jogging pants on him as well.  If we go out I’ll put waterproof covers on him.  Night time he wears a diaper and nap time he wears a cloth diaper.

These are the items I’ve found invaluable.

Training Pants:  These have been super hard to find in Ontario.  I have some Gerber Training pants that were my daughter’s and my mother ordered some from Amazon.ca but they’re expensive to get.  I haven’t been able to find any Gerber ones anywhere.  Walmart has some George ones but the crotch is so narrow it’s pointless.

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The only other training pants I’ve found that are absorbent but not waterproof are Osocozy.  They’re mostly cotton and are quite well made.  The legs are a little more snug on my chunky monkey though who is wearing size 3T.  I recommend having lots and lots of training pants and underwear.

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Waterproof Covers:  I love the Motherease covers.  The can be pre-snapped and pulled up like underwear, they’re breathable, they’re bulletproof and they’re affordable.  And they also have cute prints.  I put these on when we go out and over cloth diapers at nap time.  Pumpkin 3 is wearing size Large (he’s more than 30lbs).

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I also love their Sandy’s fitted diapers, they can be used as super absorbent training pants if wanted but my son doesn’t notice he’s wet in them.  If you’re looking for a cloth diaper for a new baby, these are great – durable, absorbent, never have blowouts, and really affordable.

Potty Chair:  We have several.  We have the Baby Bijorn which is really nice.  It has a nice high splash guard which is great for boys.  We also have the Becco Potty.

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I used to use it for Pumpkin 1 for EC.  It’s nice and small for babies.  Pumpkin 2 has taken a liking to it.  I believe they’ve changed the design of it but the one we have is nice and low and squatting is known to help release the bowels.  It’s also biodegradable and can be put in your garden when finished with it.  But it’s still durable.  Our is 3 years old and is still like new.

Toilet Seat:  Pumpkin 2 likes to sit on the toilet like the big kids.  It has been a problem though finding a seat with a high splash guard.  It turns out the cheaper seats are the best.  This one has a nice high splash guard, handles, and a hook to hang it.  It’s nice and soft and comes apart for cleaning.

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Other things you’ll need are a stool, rags and cleaner for messes and maybe a portable potty.  Also a wet bag or something to put soiled clothing in.

A great book to read about potty training is “Diaper Free Before Three”.

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I do wish that I had started with potty learning earlier.  It’s not so much about “training” but learning about the whole process.  If I were to go back I would have started putting Pumpkin 2 to sit on the potty in the morning and a couple times during the day.  But hopefully without pressure and with patience Pumpkin 2 will eventually be using the toilet regularly in a few months.