Here we go again. The evil potty training monster rears its ugly head.
We are deep in the throes of potty training with our second child. He is only 2 years, 2 months, but I wanted to give it a go. We potty trained Mia first at 18 months, then took a break because it didn’t stick, and started back up on her 2nd birthday. She was SO difficult to potty train. She wet her panties for months before she finally learned to empty her bladder fully and get to the bathroom on time. It goes with her personality though; everything is long and dramatic with that one!
With Graham’s arrival, I was already anxious to get Lincoln out of diapers. Especially when you change a breastfed baby’s poopy diaper (which is only slightly disgusting) and then go change a two year old’s poopy diaper (which is ridiculously disgusting). I mean, he’s basically a little man at this point. That kid needs to do his business on the toilet where I don’t have to touch it. Am I right??
So when we ran out of diapers on Sunday, I half-heartedly decided to start potty training on Monday morning. I knew it was coming, so I had already bought him some “Jake and the Neverland Pirates” undies and we had a potty seat, but that was pretty much all the preparation I had done. I hadn’t thought through any kind of tactics; I didn’t stock the house with salty foods and juice, I didn’t have sticker charts printed out and ready to go – in fact, I hadn’t thought about a reward system at all.
I guess the more kids you have, the less thought and preparation you put into things…
So that morning, I threw some undies on him and told him this was happening. About an hour in, I finally found and printed out a sticker chart. Much to my delight, I found a free pirate one which made him pretty excited (you can find the free pirate sticker chart here).
He is such a different child than my first; she didn’t really care about the stickers at all, especially after putting a couple on the chart. But this kid is all about it. If he doesn’t want to go to the bathroom, you remind him about earning a sticker and he runs to the toilet with a “wahooooo!” (literally, he shouts “wahoooo!” and “wooooo!” for everything that excites him).
My reward system slowly developed as I went… One sticker for trying, two stickers for peeing, three stickers for pooping. Once his chart is full, he gets 3 gold doubloons (can you tell we watch a lot of “Jake and the Neverland Pirates”?) – which are actually just pennies. Once he gets 12 gold doubloons, he receives $5 to go toy shopping. I basically made up this logic in about 1.2 minutes while waiting for him to pee, so it’s pretty solid and well thought out…
When we first began, he was peeing literally every ten minutes through his undies and on the floor. We went through six pairs of underwear in 1 hour. I almost cried twice before 11:00 a.m. Why did I decide to do this on a day when my husband was at work and I had a baby attached to my breast every few hours? Because I’m crazy, that’s why.
Imagine me trying to lift Lincoln onto the toilet with one arm, while holding Graham (who is breastfeeding) with the other, while simultaneously yelling at Mia not to step in the pee puddle on the floor. All this while I was unshowered and sweaty. This was my Monday morning.
Around 11:30 a.m. when I sat him on the toilet, he peed on his own for the first time. I think he finally figured out how to make his body go. Breakthrough!
Ever since then, it’s a race against time. If I can get him to the potty and make him go before he pees in his pants, then we are good. Otherwise, I hear “mommy, I peed!” and have to go running to clean up a puddle. But as the week has progressed, he is going longer without accidents and stopping himself when he goes in his undies until we get him to the toilet. I call it a minor success. He managed to fill 4 sticker charts and earn all his gold doubloons for a toy, so I guess this weekend we’ll be going out to cash in his reward.
We still have a long way to go. I recall with my first that it took forever before she was able to recognize the feeling of needing to go and being able to tell me. So we’ll be running to the bathroom every 30 minutes in this house for the next few days, weeks, months…. who knows?
Oh, and so far I’ve only had to clean up one small man poop in his undies. Unfortunately it was while I was making homemade chocolate pudding (I couldn’t make this up).
Don’t you just LOVE potty training?