Friday, August 12, 2011

Details on the 3 Day Potty Training Method

I chose to use the 3 day potty training method, as I explained in a previous blog. It's not an easy method, very time consuming & intensive & tough, but it is supposed to shorten the time it takes to get a toddler used to potty training. I know quite a few people who spend months, & some even years, on potty training.

After reading the e-book I could see that it was clearly an "all or nothing" method. Either follow it to a tee or don't bother. And so I decided to give it a try & to follow it to a tee.  I know several people who have used this method with great success.  And I've seen on facebook that many of their friends have also used it with great success.  In all the discussing on FB I only saw one person (a friend of a friend) who said it didn't work out.  But she even said it wasn't a bad method, only that her child wasn't ready yet & she would try again later on.  I was curious as to how old her child was, but she didn't mention it.  On the second day of this method I was starting to feel a little discouraged so I started googling the method to see what opinions there were out there on it.  I found a blog (well 2 blog posts dedicated to this topic on the same blog) where a mother gave it a try along with her hubby, but she deviated a lot from the method (diapering at night & some other things) & at the end of the 3 days she said she was a bit disappointed in the results, but that it was a start at least.  Once again, I am very happy that I refused to deviate from the plan. 

I must say it would be much easier if you could have a second person stay with you those 3 days & also know the whole plan & be able to participate in the training method. That was not possible for me. And of course you need to eliminate as much as possible from your own schedule. (if you have other children the book says to either send them to stay with a relative for the 3 days or have someone come stay with you & have that person just take care of the other children, while your entire focus will be on the toddler that's being potty trained), cooking & any other activities will be very tough to accomplish.  Anything you do, you need to be able to drop at any given moment & be prepared to have it on hold for as long as it takes in the bathroom, which can sometimes be VERY long, especially in the early part of the training.

On Monday: I ran some errands to make sure we didn't run out of any groceries during the 3 days (& even a couple of days beyond just in case) since I knew I couldn't leave the house while doing this.  On Monday night I made a pretty big dinner & warned my hubby & stepson that they would be eating those leftovers for a few days. (I made a Mexican chicken & served it as tacos, but told them it could easily be turned into burritos or salad, etc)  I had expected that cooking would be impossible to do during this & I was correct.

Tuesday, Day 1: I got up early, wanted to shower BEFORE Lil J even woke up. I was able to do so & planned to do so for the next few days (how on earth could I leave him unattended while I shower while potty training?? Surely he'd be peeing all over the house!!) Then I got him up, bathed him, put him in undies & proceeded to breakfast. Well, he did protest the undies a bit, but I put a pair on Osito as well & he seemed to get over it pretty quickly. I told him a million times to tell me when he needed to go potty. The first day was REALLY tough I have to say. Obviously Lil J has no idea what's going on. His entire life he's worn diapers & just peed & pooped freely without any thought at all. So of course he was peeing like every 2 minutes, which I'm sure is exactly what he was doing in his diapers. We had a ton of accidents, where he would tell me "potty" right as he started to pee. I would rush him to the potty & sit him on the potty & then clean him up & put on new undies (and then go clean up the mess he had made). The biggest problem I had on day 1 & most of day 2 was that he did NOT want to sit on the potty at all. I would sit him on it, but he would jump up immediately. The book said to not force him to sit on the potty, so I didn't. I just kept praising him & telling him the goal is to keep his undies dry. I was very happy that he understood to tell me "potty" each time, that part he had down from the get-go. He pooped standing up in the bathroom, right next to the potty. During his nap he peed all over the bed.  At bedtime my hubby asked me "overnight diaper, right?" And I told him "no!" He looked at me increduously. I know he thought I had lost my mind. Now I must explain that Lil J pees A LOT. Most days he floods his diaper & leaks all over the bed during his 2 hour nap. And at night he wears the huggies overnight diapers & frequently floods those as well. [I must also say that as a kid I was a bed-wetter & it was horrible. My sister & I were both bed-wetters for A LOT of years, although my brother wasn't at all. I find this odd because everything says that boys are far more likely to be bed-wetters than girls are. But I have been preparing myself for the possibility of Lil J being a bed-wetter. I had planned to keep him in pull ups or to wake him up during the night to take him to the potty as needed in order to keep him from waking up in a wet bed, like I did for so many years. The uncomfortableness of it & the embarrassment of it was horrible. I remember always wanting to go to camps or sleepovers & being too afraid that everyone would know I was a bed-wetter. We used to go camping a lot in our motorhome when I was a kid & every morning my mom would strip my bunk & wash the sheets & hang them on the back of the motorhome to dry & I would be soooo embarrassed, convinced the whole campground knew I was a bed-wetter. It was bad enough to me that my own family members knew, much less the rest of the world. Anyways, all that to say that I do not want my son to have to wake up in a wet & cold bed, & I have already been planning to find ways to avoid that & hubby is very aware of that. BUT I decided to follow this plan for the 3 days & after that I was planning to put him back into a diaper at night--& possibly nap time.]  So hubby & I were sure he would be swimming by morning. We were both totally blown away the next morning when we found him totally & completely DRY!! (of course we had both gotten up a couple of times during the night to check on him & were already amazed to find him totally dry)

Wednesday, Day 2: I was hoping for more improvement than what actually occurred this day. I was starting to feel a little a little discouraged, but hubby kept telling me he was AMAZED at how well Lil J was doing. He kept reminding me that since he was able to stay dry all night he was totally physically ready to do this. (Initially hubby had thought he was too young to be potty trained, & I honestly had no clue, but we both agreed that worst case scenario we just start over again at a later time.) We had a lot of accidents this day, still struggling a lot with the fact that he didn't want to sit on the potty. I tried offering him the big adult potty, with his smaller seat on it & his current potty chair as a stepstool to the big potty (that's how his potty chair is designed), he tried it, but he didn't like that either. During his nap he again peed in the bed, although it was less than on day 1. He once again pooped standing up, right next to the potty chair. My greatest moment of this day was at the end of the day when hubby got home & hubby was able to get him over his fear of the potty chair.  (My hubby to my rescue!  :) )  And again, he stayed dry the whole night.

Thursday, Day 3: His first words upon waking this day were "potty". It took a little while, but he did finally go. He's still learning to control his body functions it seems, starting & stopping his stream. From there on out we were on a bad streak. He kept forgetting to tell me until the last second, or not staying on the potty chair & then peeing on the floor. He had  really hard time starting his stream while sitting on the potty.  He wanted to stand up in order to start & of course pee on the floor, & then sit back down to finish.  I was really starting to feel discouraged......and then suddenly I found hope. When he FINALLY peed in the potty while sitting, with no peeing on the floor, he grabbed my hand & led me to the toilet. He pointed at the toilet & said "bye bye!" & waved. I suddenly understood what he was asking for. I dumped his pee into the toilet & flushed & made a big deal about it, waving good bye. He was LOVING this!! After that we had several totally successful pees on the potty with no accidents whatsoever. He was totally excited to say good bye to his pee & watch it flush away. I have a few sticker books & initially when he was able to pee without wetting his undies I would let him pick a sticker as a reward. I ended up expanding that to just peeing in the potty, even if he did wet his undies during the process. He was pretty excited about the sticker, but not enough to make him really WANT to pee in the potty. The excitement of the flushing was just what we needed. Part of this program is that you keep the toddler in nothing but a tshirt & undies. Of course at night I put a pair of pants on him & socks, to make sure he didn't get cold. So I started to wonder if the pants were somehow helping him to stay dry overnight, so on this day I put pants on him for his naptime.   And it totally worked.  He stayed dry for his nap & continued to pee perfectly on the potty with no accidents the rest of the day. 

Friday: So we're finished.  I am sure there will still be occasional accidents.  But overall I am thrilled.  He still pooped standing up this morning, but since most people say potty training for poop is very hard & that their kids just poop in their pants I am thrilled.  It's just one small step away from him sitting down on the potty to poop.  I did deviate from this plan in one way--on day one you're supposed to pull out & throw away all the diapers with your child.  I went into this not convinced that it would be a success, so I skipped that part.  This morning I removed the diapers from the diaper bag & changing table & bagged them & put them in the garage.  I still won't get rid of them completely for at least a little while, just to make sure.  And when I do get rid of them I will give them to someone who needs them, not throw them away.  From now on the "diaper" bag will have extra changes of undies & bottoms & wipes (& still snacks of course!). 

I must say I am nervous about going out in public.  What if he has to go while I'm driving?  What if he has to go while we're grocery shopping?  At someone's house?  I remember feeling a lot like this in the very early days when he constantly needed a bottle.  It was so hard to go anywhere other than home & yet I had so many errands that needed to get done.  I always felt so nervous back then. 

One more comment I'd like to make: I've seen & heard a lot of people who say to keep no undies or diapers on a child while potty training, just leave them in bare bottoms.  This particular method requires undies & a tshirt & nothing else.  And I personally think this is the best idea.  I have to admit there were 2 or 3 times that I missed Lil J peeing early on & if not for the wet undies I would've missed that teaching opportunity & never have known that he had peed.  And of course if you have more than just undies it becomes really hard to visibly see when they are actually peeing right away.

And one final comment: I recall, in the past, overhearing a coworker saying that a 3 or 4 year old that isn't potty trained has a lazy mother.  While I don't necessarily think that will always hold true I can see why she made that statement.  Despite how annoying diapers can be, they are actually easier, for the parent at least. 

I think that's all I have to say for now...........

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Adventures in potty training

I've known for quite some time now that at some point I was going to have to deal with potty training. It was one of those things where just the thought of it would invoke fear in me.

I guess I was fearful because I didn't have a plan of action, a game plan, so to speak. I'm the type of person that always has a structured plan for things unknown. I do my research & establish a plan. Of course I'm usually flexible if the plan doesn't pan out as expected, but at least it's a starting point for me.  But I honestly didn't have a plan for such a thing as this.  And most people say that boys are much harder than girls, although I've seen plenty of people say that their boys were much easier than their girls, so I firmly believe that it depends on the child, not the sex of the child.

To further complicate matters I would see people talking about potty training & which method they preferred. But on the flipside my hubby kept insisting I didn't need to follow any "method", just let it happen when it happens was his motto. I kept trying to go with my hubby's game plan, but it made me very nervous I must admit.

At Lil J's last checkup at the doctor she asked me if I had started potty training & I told her no, & that I hadn't seen any signs of readiness yet.  She told me to be prepared to start soon, at least within the next 6 months (& this was 4 months ago!!!).  She shared with me her adventures of potty training her twin daughters.

In the past few months I have seen A LOT of people mentioning potty training on facebook. And they all were following a specific method. A lot of them have children close in age to my Lil J, so that was making me even more nervous.

I remember the first one I saw, they said Dr. Phil's method was amazing. I googled it, but really didn't like the sound of it. It said you needed to get a doll that pees & have your child potty train the doll. I suppose if I had a daughter I might give it a try, but since I have a son I didn't want to waste my money buying a doll.  I also just couldn't imagine this working with my son, based on his personality I mean.  

Shortly after that I saw a whole bunch of people on facebook (mostly friends through MOPS) were potty training using the 3 day method. I was watching all the posts closely, intently.  I kept reminding myself that there is no real rush, I don't have daycare or anything else that has a deadline for potty training like some parents do.  I finally started asking questions about this method & one of my friends sent me the e-book that explains the whole method.

It's a 40 page e-book & I read it in about an hour.  I was intrigued to say the least.  It recommended doing it at 22 months of age & stated that some children (though not most) can do it even earlier than that.  What REALLY caught me my attention was the fact that it said it was MUCH harder to do if you wait until 30 months or later.  Lil J is almost 28 months already.  And I needed 3 full days of not leaving the house to do this.  So I had to do this while my stepson is out of school (so I'm not needing to leave the house to pick him up).  I had actually planned to do this LAST week, but then Lil J was sick (with the roseola virus), so I decided to postpone it a week until he was all better.

The one thing that I do really like about this method is that it seems that you can get the potty training down much more quickly.  I have known many, many people who are in the potty training process for YEARS. 

And so, as you can see in the photo, the 3 day potty training method is a go in my house.  (I even put undies on Osito in addition to Lil J!!)  I am currently on day 2.  It's definitely intense & challenging & demanding of your time & attention.  For people who can't dedicate a full 3 days of undivided attention to their child it's not a good choice.  It's pretty much an all or nothing deal.  You either follow it to a tee or don't bother.

I will, at some point, after completing all 3 days, either edit in the daily details here or (most likely) just publish a whole new blog with those details.  Right now Lil J is napping & I don't want to spend the whole time here on the computer, plus it's not finished yet, only half way there.