Saturday, June 11, 2011

Potty Training

It's official. I can say that my girls are actually potty trained. Sure, there are some accidents here and there. That's normal, but I think we're over the hump. The first thing was making sure that they were showing signs of potty training readiness. Once I decided that it was time to start, I had to make sure I had the supplies we  would need. Those included two potty training chairs, stools to reach the toilet, wipes, a timer and lots of M&Ms. Oh yes, and of course panties.  It's been an interesting 4 months. Lauren and Brooklyn could not have been more different in how they handled and approached it.

Brooklyn left the gate at full gallop. In our "pre" potty training days, she already showed an interest in just sitting on the potty. That made it easy to start her off on our regular toilet.

iPhone...better than a magazine.
This toilet has two seats. One that is adult size and one that is child size. It's all built into the lid and is very useful, since children are so much smaller than we are.

One for us
One for them
Note: Up to this point, this post had been sitting, unfinished, in my "drafts" folder, since last February. In finishing this post, both girls have been potty trained for quite some time.

Anyway, I originally puchased this toilet seat when Max was potty training. I installed it in our main bathroom. Since that time, I have purchased a second and installed that in the master bathroom. We had been using one of those padded seat inserts, but they are messy and cumbersome. I highly recommend these seats. You never have to fumble around for it and they are really easy to clean. They also provide a lot more stability.

In the beginning stages, we just let the girls run around "commando." No bottoms. That way they were ready to go whenever they needed to. At that point, they were not quite able to pull their own panties down. This worked well with Brooke, because she would loudly announce, "poo-poo-potty!" That was whether she needed to poop or pee.

Brooke was a breeze. She liked to sit on the potty and we had many false alarms, where she just sat there and never produced. Fine with me.

Lauren was a challenge. And she was the one we really needed to get trained. She had turned into "Poopcaso" and taken to smearing the walls with the contents of her diaper. There were also incidents where she had ground it into the carpet with the use of a few toys. Fun stuff. She was much more comforatble using one of those little training potties, so that's what we used until her confidence grew.  The main problem we had with Lauren was that she would not alert us when she needed to go. She would quietly slip away to do her thing. In the beginning it was fine, but soon enough she started to dump her own removable basin. You can imagine what a mess that was. Not only that, but because she would not alert us, she was un-wiped.

Eventually, we had to make the girls wear panties. Not only for sanitary reasons, but for modesty reasons. With Brooke, no problem. We just pulled them down for her when she needed to go. Lauren, on the other hand, would sit down on her little potty, without anyone the wiser, and go right through her panties. This lasted for a painful eternity. We would either discover that she had wet panties or she might come walking out, doing the side-to-side shuffle. Eventually she learned to pull her own panties down. But we still could not get her to tell us when she needed to go or to quit dumping out her own basin.

In the beginning, I would squeal, clap, sing, jump, march and anything else, resembling the production of a one-man parade. Scott did the same and I even enlisted Max into our Oscar winning, theatrical production of praise. When that started to get stale, I tried M&Ms. This was short lived, as I ended up doling out M&Ms to anyone in the vicinity of the victory.  This meant both of the other kids, but truth be known, Scott and I were dipping into the till as well. Then I switched to bubbles. This was one trick I had never heard of and it worked like a charm. Any time there was a successful potty encounter, we blew bubbles right there in the bathroom as a reward. And that was what took us through the rest of our potty training journey. At least to an acceptable point. Both girls still sleep in a pull up at bedtime. This is really the last hump to overcome.

The girls have been such a different experience from potty training Max. One thing in common about Brooke and Max was that I had to give both of them glycerin suppositories (a recommendation by our pediatrician) to get them over the hump of actually pooping in the toilet.  In Max's case, he was preschool age and was still requesting a diaper to be put on him for no other reason than to poop. He would not go any other way. If I tried to hold out on him, there were plenty of tears and I just didn't want to push that hard. I didn't want to make it an emotionally devastating experience for him. In Brooke's case, I  did not wait very long before resorting to it, because I had such a success doing it with Max. The sense of immediacy that it gave them, left them with no other choice than to go as soon as I set them down on the toilet. After they had done it once, they both had the confidence to do it the next time, without hesitation.

If I were to offer any potty training advice to another, I would definitely recommend the two sized installable seat. Also, the use of bubbles and, if necessary, glycerin suppositories. And finally, carrying a training potty around in your vehicle. I use this a lot. Not only is it convenient (they can use it right in the van) and the right size, but it is usually a more sanitary option than using a public restroom. Additionally, I carry a collapsible potty in the stroller when I go to an amusement park, the beach or a park for the day. It's compact and can be set up in a flash. It also doubles as a seat insert for setting onto a regular size toilet, which I also use in public restrooms or at at friends and families homes.

So there you have it.

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