Monday, March 1, 2010

Potty Talk

Even with 4 children successfully wearing undies night and day, I consider myself a potty training rookie. My first was trained mostly by Grandma, in the summer, teaching him to pee on trees. My next was trained in one day by our cleaning lady. That girl trained her little sister, also in a day, using the "strawberry shortcake underwear and m&m rewards" method. Training the twin brother was a total disaster and he was in diapers until he was 4! He decided to make a power play out of it, and I lost, big time, he trained when he felt like it, pretty much on his own.

So, here I am again with a two year old on my hands. He takes off his diaper when he naps and in the morning, no matter what he is wearing, so I have been having to wash his sheets twice a day. He follows his big sisters into the bathroom and has even had a few successful visits to the potty chair before his bath. He can take off his pants by himself, and he puts his own diaper in the trash. He follows one step commands with about 80% obedience, and he is fairly verbal. For all of these reasons, I think he might be ready to begin training, but I do NOT want this to be a 2 year start and stop process.

What are your thoughts, ladies -- have you had success with training two year old boys? Should I just wait a year and do it the easy way when he is 3? How much discipline will it take on my part to take him to the potty every hour? Since I am already changing one in diapers, and they wear the same size, would it be easier to just keep him in diapers? If so, how do I keep his diaper on for the nap? Duct tape? And, how do I go about training, do I just let him run around naked for a while and put him on the potty every so often, hoping it works? Do you think this slot machine potty would help?


Kat said...

We reverted to onesies for a while so that Maria couldn't take off her diaper during naptimes. It worked for about a week and then she figured out how to unsnap the onesie - oh well :) She eventually grew out of it.

Jennifer Frey said...

Dear MA:

Boys are hard, in my experience, and potty training is an art, not a science. The only real advice I have is this: wait until YOU are ready. And what I mean by that is that you can't do it halfway; potty training is a full time job; and one that takes extreme patience and dedication to the task at hand. For my son it took 10 agonizing days (it nearly killed me); for my daughter it only took two, and with fewer accidents. But with both kids my husband and I were fully committed to a plan, with no exceptions, and we stuck with it until it worked (even when it *seemed* like it would NEVER work).

As for our method, we just did it the old fashioned way: we said goodbye to our diapers, and we sat the kid on the potty every twenty minutes, no matter what. When there's success, the kid gets an M&M (or whatever his favorite treat is). That's it.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I have used Gary Ezzo's Baby Wise method for naps and night time sleeping for my son with wonderful results. I am planning to use the same author's _Potty Training 1-2-3_ book when I feel that my son is ready (he's only 19 months old right now). This might be a good resource for you to check out!

Christy said...

My son is 19 months and also learned to take off his clothes and diaper, leaving a mess all over his room. He's not really ready to potty train yet so in order to keep his diaper on during naps and overnight we either put him in backward footie pajamas (naps) or forward footie pajamas with a sweatshirt over the top (night). He refuses to sleep in his bed, preferring the floor, and his room is in the basement so it's cold enough for all of that at night. We figure if he's still having problems this summer we'll put a sleeveless shirt over the pjs at night. Good luck!

Elena said...

MA, I have a son the same age and I am waiting until the magic age of 2.5. I am also waiting for finer weather and no more snow suits. However, I have found with the older three that potty training is absolutely futile unless I pray about it and wait for the window of grace in which both Mommy and child are ready. This grace period is usually signalled by a sudden willingness and desire in me to tackle the training without looking back. I'm not trying to over-spiritualise things but I really do find that prayer works even for potty training. Amen.

Karen said...

We have a 3 year old that will sit on the potty, but only with his pants ON. So not sure what to do about that.

I have a lot of success training my older ones with "How to Train Your Child in One Day," which the title is not really what the authors means, but still a good book. Basically you throw a party and learn about potty training all day. The child trains a doll first. She tells you to send your other children away for the day, but I have always kept mine around and it worked fine. I just made sure I have someone to watch them, so I could completely focused on the one training.

Boys usually train around 3, but they are all different. The book mentioned above also gives very clear guidelines to know when your child is ready. The advantage to training him now is that he might not yet be at the stage of not wanting to stop playing to go.

Right Said Red said...

With a typically developing child, I think potty training is more about the mom being ready than the child. If you commit to it, then most children will successfully train. My oldest two children trained very early (girl age 2, boy age 2 and 3 months). I pushed it on them because I use cloth diapers and just hate changing diapers. It was important to me that they train, and so I was willing to work on it for a couple of MONTHS, and they were both trained early. I will not be making this same effort with my 3rd (he also has some special needs so I think it will be a bit different). I don't have the energy to do it right now, so we are waiting until I feel inspired ;-)

I generally think that potty training takes longer the younger the age of the child. I would not expect to train a 2 year old child in one day, but I think a 3.5 year old child can be potty trained in just one day. My husband's grandparents trained all 8 of their children at their 1st birthday!!!! and they claim it was easier to train their child than to wash and fold the diapers. They committed to it and expected the child to be responsible, and they were. Cloth also makes it easier for the child to "feel" when they go to the bathroom, so it lends to earlier training.

As for diapers, I tend to think pull-ups actually drag out the whole potty training process. Underwear has always been the true reward (a little chocolate helps too!), but pull-ups confuse the diaper and underwear. They are useful for overnights and even long trips, but generally, I think it best to separate big boy/girl underwear from babies/diapers. The independence of underwear then lends to responsibility and clear lines exist. Just my 2 cents.

Catherine said...

My way of testing if a child is ready to potty train is to let them run around naked for a morning and see if they have bladder control or not. If they don't seem to get it after a couple of accidents, I put the diapers right back on and don't worry about it for awhile. My older two boys trained in 24 hours this way just after their 3rd birthday; my 2 year old twins still think it's funny to pee all over the floor, so they don't get underwear yet. :)

My oldest always took his diaper off. We used duct tape "suspenders."

Mary Alice said...

Thanks for all of the great advice. I think I am going to try Catherine's method and then train according to the every 20 mins/m&m reward method. I think closer to 2.5-3 is probably our best bet, as I know that I can't stand to work on this for several months. You are all totally right that it is as much about Mom being ready to be consistent as anything, and thanks for the advice to bring it to prayer, honestly, it had not occurred to me, but in truth we should bring all the questions of our parenting life to our prayer!

JMB said...

By the time I trained my youngest I had learned the following:

1. Clear the calendar of any outings.
2. Get rid of pull ups
3. Buy lots of underwear at Target
4. Throw away lots of underwear
5. Elimate drinking anything other than milk at dinner time & beyond.
6. After a few days to week, hire a professional carpet cleaner.

Mary Alice said...

The last time I potty trained I was also cloth diapering, so I didn't have to throw away any underwear, but I think you all are right about the pull ups, it is just sort of pointless. I had forgotten how fun/important it is to go pick out some underwear, we will have to do that as an incentive, and then clear the calendar and work it out, perhaps in the summer, though?

If I put a potty chair outside or in the playroom will I have to fight to get back to the bathroom routine later? In the past we have always lived in such small spaces that it was not a problem to go into the bathroom every 10 minutes.