Potty Training Is Not For The Faint At Heart

Dare I say it?

George is potty trained. It has been 2 months since we started this journey, and the last two weeks have been completely accident free. The last month has been relatively free of accidents with one or two a week.

(Caveat:  He is not completely done with night training. We only make it through the night about 50% of the time without having to change the sheets. I think this will get better once we actually transition him out of the crib. Still holding strong on that.)

We made a personal choice to try to have George potty trained before DC gets here in June. With her, we will DEFINITELY wait until she is ready to start this process. With George though, we figured trying six months out from her due date gave us some time to see if he could handle it, and then time to accept that we may have two in diapers if he couldn’t. We felt we needed to try to avoid that many diapers if we could, so we started training without George being “ready.” Although, do you really ever know when they are ready for the next thing?

We decided to use the Three Day Method. This is where you go cold turkey on diapers and put them straight into underwear. No pull-ups, just underwear. You basically barricade your family in your house for three days straight to start training them. It is all about positive talk and helping them understand the feeling of going to the bathroom. It is not done by a timer or anything like that. You make sure they are really hydrated, and just watch them like a hawk and run to the bathroom when they are making signs/tell you they need to go (or carry them as they are going to try to finish on the toilet). It’s a lot about how you phrase things as well to make it seem like your child has the control in this situation and how awesome they are doing at this new skill.

Here are some general comments/observations about the process and some advice from one parent to another.

  • Buy tons of underwear, and splurge on the character ones. It seems silly to pay that much for kids’ underwear, but it is worth it. George was much more invested in the beginning because he was wearing Paw Patrol. Also there may be times that you throw underwear away because you just can’t deal with what came out of their body. It’s ok. Remember you bought lots.
  • More than likely you or your child will fall in a puddle of pee. I don’t know how many times I almost wiped out the first few days when we rushed George to the bathroom as he was midstream.
  • God bless anyone doing this with carpet.
  • Your dogs will go nuts anytime you say the word “potty,” which is about every five minutes. They think that it is their time to go outside too. It was a loud and messy weekend at first.
  • Every kid is different. The method we used said not to read books while going, but this is the only way that I can get him to go before bed now. We followed her verbatim the first week, but then we made adjustments to fit George’s personality. We read about cranes and like magic every single night, he goes in that damn potty. We may have also bribed him a few times. Him knowing chocolate was at the end of the pee stream was worth it some days, and it did not hinder the process for us. Know your kid and what will work best for them. He was motivated by books, suckers and chocolate.
  • George has been an exception to most training stories, and he only had poop accidents when he got the stomach bug last week, and they were all during his sleep. He has never pooped on the floor and always tells us when the poop is on it’s way. (The stomach bug was the exception since he had diarrhea. We may have had the diaper show back up a few times show because he was basically a faucet out of his butt. Sometimes you have to do what you have to do to survive.) Overall though, George has done better with the poop side of things than pee. We feel pretty fortunate that the pooping part has come easy for him because that generally is not the case for everyone.
  • Have extra clothes in your bag and in your car. Also check that what you have is seasonal. We may have had our kid in shorts when it snowed because I accidentally grabbed jean shorts instead of pants as the back up clothes…whoops.
  • We started off using a potty chair, but after the first week we realized if we ever wanted to go in public again, he would have to start using the big toilet so we have since ditched the chair for the actual toilet.
  • If you have a boy, you will have to physically hold their penis while they pee at times. A whole other level of parenting. Otherwise you have pee everywhere, which I hear is in my future anyway with a little boy.
  • George’s favorite part of all of this seems to be telling us the play by play of what is happening. He loves telling us about his penis, farts, and what hole his poop comes from.
  • Make sure that you pick a time to start this when you don’t have a lot going on. We picked a 4-day weekend to start it where we did nothing but follow George around our house cleaning up pee. I really recommend doing 4 days instead of just 3 with this method, especially if you are working parents. We also knew we would not be traveling with him most of this spring so we could keep his schedule as consistent as possible. These two months were a time where there weren’t a lot of parties or big town events we would be missing if we elected to stay home to contain the mess. No one wants to bring the kid who pees everywhere to a party. We stayed home a lot!
  • You should buy stock in paper towels. We went through so many rolls that first month.
  • You want to curse all the time. That first week I wanted to quit so many times and thought I was the worst mom. All the curses. I was so upset that he didn’t “get” it in three days, I thought we did something wrong when all these reviews were saying this method was magic and no accidents happened after the third day. It’s taken two months people for me to be confident in his bowel movements. Fortunately some sweet mommas brought me down off the ledge with reassurance that we didn’t fail, and poor Tom dealt with my hormonal doubt like a champ..
  • On another note, this is not recommended when you are pregnant. Potty Training is exhausting by itself, but add a growing belly and hormones to the mix-Whew! There is a lot of quick action, bending, carrying, and chasing that happens in the early days. But duty called to get this done!
  • I am pretty sure that I cheered louder for George successfully going in the bathroom than I did for Clemson and the Royals winning their most recent titles. You just get so jazzed about poop you can hardly contain yourself! George and I may have also texted Tom poop in the potty pictures in the beginning because we were so excited.

I am really proud of George because while it didn’t go as quickly as 3 days, I still feel like he picked this up fairly quickly. I am happy that we have had a few months where we don’t have to buy diapers before DC gets here. While it is still a lot of work to make sure he is successful, it has been totally worth it to get him trained before Sister is here.

Every kid is different, and they will go through this training at different rates using different methods. This is a HARD thing for a family to accomplish. There will be tears (from all parties), tantrums (from all parties), and it’s just utterly disgusting. AND it is a whole family effort. Everyone that takes care of your child has to be on board with the method you choose. You know your kid the best, and it’s ok if it isn’t magically done in three days. Some get it right away, some take a little more loving care to learn this. If you think about it, George eliminated freely into a diaper for 2.5 years. I should not have gotten so upset that that wasn’t undone in a matter of three days.

So here’s to all you parents that are in this yucky time with us.

This definitely reaffirms Tom and I’s decision never to adopt a dog that isn’t already potty trained.

3 thoughts on “Potty Training Is Not For The Faint At Heart

  1. Pingback: Year 6

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