Yesterday we finished up our first week of "hard-core" potty training with our toddler. I say "hard-core" because we had put him on a baby potty and even on the big potty with the seat before and he went, but we didn't push it because he wasn't really all that interested.
We have a big toddler for his age (he's about 40 inches tall and 36 pounds). The doctors have also told us he is "gifted" with his "boy bits" so the baby potty never really worked for us because that LITTLE lip they put on to keep boys from peeing on the floor wasn't big enough. I now have a useless $30 "potty" that is just used a step stool in the kids' bathroom. I'm hoping that little princess will get some use out of it in the not-too-distant future so I'm hanging onto it.
The potty seat insert on the "big potty" has definitely been better for our little man. He likes it because he got to pick it out at the store - it has Disney Cars characters on it. I like it because it has a larger lip on the front to keep the pee going where it needs to be & not on my bathroom floor!
Yes, I know boys eventually pee standing up but I'm so NOT ready for the aiming mess that will inevitably follow that & I don't have the "right parts" to show him exactly how to do it. We didn't want to do "part time" potty training when daddy is around to demonstrate. I figure we'll figure it out sitting down first and if he gets that down well enough, we can try standing up when we are out in public (since public potties are just gross).
Anyway, I read a lot of blogs, articles, books on "how to potty train boys" since I only had girl experience before. To me, I didn't think it should really be any different, but I know boys & girls learn differently so I did my research.
After all that reading I knew a few things:
1. giving candy / food as a reward was NOT something I wanted to try (I don't want my kids developing eating or weight issues later on)
2. giving juice CONSTANTLY all day was NOT tops on my list either (I didn't want him sitting on the potty 24/7 and juice isn't exactly HEALTHY in large quantities - see #1)
3. some type of reward system was necessary (so he got positive reinforcement of what he was learning)
4. some way of TRACKING his progress was also necessary (a visual for him to easily see how close he is to his goal)
5. a GOAL for him to "achieve" with his "rewards" (something he REALLY likes)
The "system" we came up with is as follows:
1. his "little" reward for sitting / going on the potty would be stickers (also Disney Cars - he is a little obsessed with those movies)
2. his visual would be a potty chart that we keep right in the bathroom opposite the potty so he SEES it whenever he sits on the potty
3. his "big" reward (for filling up that potty chart with stickers) is a new Hot Wheels car
4. he would get a "little" reward (to start with anyway) just for sitting on the potty
5. he would get 2 for peeing on the potty
6. he would get 3 for pooping on the potty
7. we would phase out the "freebie" reward for just sitting there & not going so he got the concept that the reward was for actually going
8. there would be NO distractions in the bathroom - no toys, no music, no talking (so he would understand that the potty is for going potty - NOT for playing)
9. we would use "big boy" underwear during the day & pullups for naptime & bedtime (to start with until he can keep those dry also - then big boy underwear fulltime) NOTE: he also got to pick out his "big boy" underwear - and you guessed it - also Disney Cars!
10. we would NEVER punish him for accidents (punishing a child for an accident can make them AFRAID to pee/poo and can lead to medical problems including constipation, bladder infections and other bad things)
Here is a blank version of the potty chart I created for him to "fill in" with stickers. Feel free to print it out & put your little one's name at the top. I'll eventually be creating a Disney Princess one for our little girl when she's ready to start using the potty and will add a link here when that EVENTUALLY happens (she's only 14 months old right now so it'll be a little while yet).
My intention was for each row to be for a day (I didn't put days of the week because I didn't know if I'd actually start on a Sunday - in reality we started mid-week and it probably would have confused him to put stickers half way down on the chart at the beginning). It didn't matter anyway because he wanted to put the stickers all over and not in rows. I just went with it.
The first day we had 2 accidents when wearing the underwear. Days 2, 3 & 4 we had 1 accident each day (pee only). Days 2 & 3 it was a "full pee" that soaked his underwear & pants, but on day 4, he caught himself "mid-pee" and finished on the potty so just his underwear got a LITTLE wet. By day 4 we had also phased out getting a sticker for just sitting on the potty - he now only got them when he went pee or poo.
I started those first 4 days with taking him to the potty every hour (during the day) asking him to "try" to pee or poo. I also took him after each meal & before nap & bedtimes - regardless of how long it had been since the last time he "tried" or actually went. Starting on day 5, I began asking if he felt pee or poo coming and he would answer "yes" or "not yet".
On day 6, he started telling ME that he felt pee or poo coming (for example, he'd run up to me and yell "MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY PEE PEE COMING!"). And yes, I did a little victory dance the first time I heard him say it!
Yesterday was the end of the first week and he kept the SAME pants dry ALL day (naptime included)! He also filled up that first potty chart & got a new Hot Wheels car! Here are some photos (my apologies that they are a little grainy - I took them with my cell phone to send to hubby at work):
As if I couldn't be any prouder of him, he FINALLY told me yesterday afternoon that he felt POO coming! That was the very first time he initiated pooping on the potty! And yes, I did a happy dance for that too! (It's the little things in life right?)
This morning, I got the best "potty training present" yet when he woke me up to tell me he had to pee and his pullup was still DRY! He hadn't gone all night and woke me so he could potty!
We couldn't be prouder of our little man! I pray this success continues in the coming weeks because it would be REALLY nice to only have 2 in diapers when our new little boy comes in just 6 short weeks!
If you try this method, please comment & let me know if/how it worked for you!
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