Thursday, December 6, 2012
Potty Party Weekend
Diapering longer than necessary didn't make any sense to me. Why would we teach our kids to go pee and poo in their diapers for a few years and then suddenly expect them to change their behavior for the rest of their lives? It made sense for me to do potty training early, if possible.
When I say "potty", I mean a regular toilet with a little seat on top of it. We used a stand alone potty seat briefly, but, we quickly transitioned to the regular toilet. Less cleaning for the parents and other caregivers!
During these early stages of potty training, I was a stay at home mom. Star and I were together most of the time, so I could focus on her potty training and she began to quite consistently use the potty! We brought her potty seat along to friends' houses and to airports. We had an awkward moment on an airplane when Scott was walking down the aisle with the potty strapped to the outside of his backpack. He turned a bit, causing his backpack to also turn, and the potty seat brushed against a man's face that he was passing.
When Star was 15 months old, I went back to work and she started school. This totally stalled her progress - in fact, it regressed. Her school didn't believe that children her age could be potty trained. I thought their view was nonsense (I still do!), but there was nothing I could do about it. We had a meeting with her teachers and the principal which didn't help.
During this time, Star used diapers and the potty. Sometimes, she was better at using the potty than other times, but it seemed like there was no real incentive to go to the potty if your diaper was always there.
A few months after she turned 2, she moved into the next classroom at her school. This classroom was supportive of potty training. So, we waited until the Jewish High Holidays had passed, and got a weekend on the calender to do a Potty Party Weekend (let's call it a PPW for short.)
Here are the details of the plan we followed. You start with a PPW over a long weekend. The kid wears no diaper and no underwear and is with one or both parents all weekend. After the PPW, the kid continues to wear no diaper and no underwear for about 3 months.
The theory behind not wearing underwear is that underwear feels too much like a diaper. If the kid wears no diaper and no underwear for 3 months, then they get used to it. You introduce underwear at the end of this 3 month period after the kid already knows how to consistently use the potty.
On the Friday of the potty party weekend, I stayed home with Star. If I make this story sound like the whole process was easy, I'd be lying, so let me tell you that day #1 of the potty party weekend was awful. I was following Star around cleaning up after her the whole day. She wasn't used to interrupting her play to go potty. It was a horrible and messy day. By the time Scott got home from work, I was so exhausted that I retreated and for the rest of the night I was noticeably absent.
Since then, she's been diaper free and underwear free during the daytime. (At some point, we have to figure out nighttime potty training, but we're not there yet.) She wears "soft pants" like leggings or loose soft pants, but no jeans or anything with buttons or zippers. We want to make it as easy for her as possible to get to a potty and then pull down her own pants. (Sometimes, she pulls down her pants and then walks to the potty which is super cute, but not always socially acceptable.)
During the 3 months, there have been "accidents". Honestly, I don't like that term for a variety of reasons, but that's a whole other blog post. Accidents aren't a huge deal; when they happen, we put her on a potty so she'll start to connect going pee pee or poo with sitting on the potty, then we clean her up and get her dressed in clean and dry clothes. Looking back over texts between Scott and I over this time, there are a lot of updates about potty time. "Poo Poo disaster." "No accidents!!" "Pee pee accident right before we got to the potty."
The 3 months have now passed. Star did wonderfully. She goes poo poo and pee pee on the potty nearly all the time. Last weekend was my family's annual trip to Morro Bay. During this weekend, we presented Star with underwear. She is so proud of herself. She was jumping up and down and proudly wore her underwear around the house. After seeing her cousin's underwear, she said, "Ellen has kitties on her underwear. I have stripes."
When we got home from the Morro Bay weekend, she took off her pants so that she could show off her underwear. Bathtime has now become a bit of a struggle because she doesn't want to take off her underwear at the end of the day. In the past few days, she's decided that she's now big enough and can sit on the regular toilet without the aid of a potty seat - this is a totally fine move except for when she fell in the potty. I wish I had caught a picture of that.