Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Potty Training

I've heard people say, "When a child's ready to potty train, it'll be easy." We have been in the potty training mode for well over a year now. Probably close to two years to be honest. Gus was about to turn two when we started the process of becoming familiar with the potty.

I followed all the recommendations, getting a potty for them to sit on, taking them potty when you go, lots of praise if they sit on the potty. We were doing well with everything and Gus was occasionally going pee-pee on the little potty. He was in a diaper and would take the diaper off for a change and we'd stick him on the potty.

While he was at CtK for preschool, they'd have "potty parties" and all the kids would go together to the bathroom and they'd see how it's done. It sounded odd at first, but seeing his friends go potty on the big potty was a motivator for Gus. So about this time last year, we started buying Pull-Ups.

Now, don't let anyone tell you that a Pull-Up isn't a diaper. It is. It's just easier to pull up and down like undies. However, they can pee and poo in one, and it will absorb like a diaper does. A Pull-Up does NOT hold as much urine as a regular diaper does, but it still contains it, unlike undies that don't hold it at all.

We've been in Pull-Ups for a while and Gus has progressively gotten better and better with going pee-pee on the potty. We got him a Potty Time watch, started doing rewards for each pee, but at some point, there has to be individual accountability.

That's the key with potty training. Sure, he can depend on a watch to tell him to go, but he really needs to be listening to his body and when he feels the need to go, that's when he should be recognizing the need to find a potty. Until your child can associate the feeling of needing to go, hold it, and verbalize that they have to go, it's going to be all on mom and dad to get the train rolling.

And you can't really say your child is potty trained if YOU are the one doing all the work, now can you?

Gus has been pee-trained for about eight months. Right when he started school he started getting the hang of it, and would tell us that he had to go pee-pee. Sometimes the Pull-Up would be wet already, but the more time went on, the drier and drier it got.

We were done with daytime diapers (actual size 6 diapers) back in December. We've had some back and forth regression with potty training, but as he's gotten older, once we turned from diapers in the day, he's been only wearing Pull-Ups and refuses to wear a diaper in the day.

However... it's the pooping that's been a problem. For whatever reason, pooping on the potty was not going to happen. He'd poop in his Pull-Up or if he was without pants, he'd ask for a Pull Up, then he'd poop.

This was an on-going frustration for MONTHS. I bought a potty chart to keep track of his pees and poos and it was a great motivator. He loved it. We got one of the new Thomas friends and taped it to the bathroom door and he knew that once he pooped on the potty, he'd get his train. 

He wanted that train desperately. However, he wasn't willing to poop on the potty to get it. He'd poop in his Pull Up and say, "No train today!" 

During Spring Break, he was running around the house naked for the most part. The recognizing the need to pee was definitely there and he'd announce that he needed to go potty. However, pooping wasn't happening.

I went to a retreat at church on April 13th and while I was gone, Steve was watching the boys. Gus was without pants and undies and had told Steve that he needed a diaper. Steve (so smart) said, "If you need to poop, go get on the potty." Gus said, "Oh, okay, Daddy."

However, he didn't go on the potty. He continued to play and then after a few more minutes, he said, "Daddy I need a diaper." Steve told him that if he needed to poop, he had to go get on the potty and poop there. Gus said, "Oh, okay, Daddy."

Then Gus rushed into the bathroom and a few minutes later, he was super excited and said, "Daddy, look! There's poop in the potty!!" Steve went in and looked, and sure enough, there was poop in the potty! He finally did it!!

Right after my retreat, I went to Kroger and while shopping, I got this picture from Steve via text:
I bought some of Gus's favorite two-bite strawberry cupcakes and came home and we all celebrated. We weren't sure if it was a one time thing, but he's now going poop on a daily basis on the potty. 

What's even more impressive is that this weekend, he was playing and we were doing our own thing and he came out of our bedroom and excitedly announced to come see the poop in the potty. When we went, his shorts were on the floor in front of the toilet and there was poop in the potty. He had just gone all by himself without any prompting from us. It was glorious.

Gus is now wearing undies each day. He wears a special night-time pull up to bed, but the last few nights it's been dry, so we may be moving to undies at night too. He wears undies to school (we were wearing undies then a Pull Up on top of the undies) and now it's just straight undies.

I can't even explain how proud of him that I am. I had hoped and prayed that he'd be daytime potty trained by the time he was four. Most boys aren't potty trained until sometime in their third year. With Gus, it's been hard because of his speech and language delays, that he couldn't verbalize his need to go. He's now a rock star and we're gearing up for nighttime training.

Just as we're getting one finished, it's almost time to start working with Hugh on potty training. He watches Gus go and claps when Gus pees on the potty. I'm hoping that with having an older brother to watch, Hugh will be easier to train. 

The one thing that I do know is that when your child IS actually ready, it's easy. Until they're totally ready, it's going to be difficult and painful at times. 

Here are the 10 signs of potty training readiness:
1) Stays dry for hours at a time
2) Awareness of when he or she is going (sometimes kids hide when they're going to the bathroom in a diaper)
3) Knows words for going
4) Knows the difference between wet and dry
5) Shows interest in others' bathroom habits
6) Wants diaper changed when it is wet or dirty
7) Can pull pants up and down
8) Can sit on toilet or potty chair for long enough to go (2-5 minutes)
9) Wants to try potty training (adamantly opposed to training will be incredibly hard)
10) You, the parent, are ready (it's a lot of work and you have to be willing to spend the time and energy)

I'm so proud of Gus and so happy that I can say he was potty trained before he turned four.  :D