Potty training sounded so intimidating for me. I have no idea how it’s going to turn out and whether I could handle it.
I knew she was capable of being potty trained months ago, but I wasn’t ready for it. I mean, it’s going to be a HARD WORK. I put it up a long time ..until I realized the second one is arriving soon, and I don’t think I can handle potty training AND breastfeeding a baby. It just sounds like way too exhausting.
So I asked the nursery and happy to find out that they are willing to work with you, yay! Unfortunately, I have no clear understanding on HOW to do it. There are so many questions such as night time and day care. I know it’s going to be hardwork, but what if drama comes into the picture, and how do I troubleshoot it without regressing the potty training process? I know, I know, it sounds like I’m thinking too much, but to me, if I were to spend 3-4 days doing the hard, exhausting work, I might as well go all out. No problems are going to make me give up and try another time, it’s just going to be just as stressful for my daughter and me. Plus, the last thing I want is to make the process longer and tougher.
So, in search for answers, I did google around and found so many different methods to potty train. I could use treats and rewards system, or I could bring the child to the toilet every hour.
Then, I found a PT book “Oh, Crap! Potty training!” By Jamie Glowacki and I found her method resonates to me the most. Her book made me convince to start potty training ASAP. She covered the HOW-TOs, nighttime, poop, daycare, problems along the way and the troubleshooting. Honestly, I would have trained Sara months ago if I had found the book earlier, instead of waiting to be very very pregnant AND huge.
So, how did I do it?
For training purposes, I gave her extra fluids to drink. She gets free pass for unlimited supply of Milo, Yakult and Solivite. and I also made watermelon juice.
For now I’m only doing the daytime training although, training day and night is the best. Her naptime and bedtime trainng will be delayed until the new baby arrives when I have to get up to nurse the baby. For now, mama needs to rest for labour and get as much night time sleep as much as I can, while I can!
Now, first of all for a potty training to be successful the PARENTS have to be ready for it. If your child is 20months old, they are definitely capable. Second, don’t expect the child to be able to tell before peeing. It is something new for them to learn. They have ‘forgotten’ or unaware of the sensation of their bodily functions since they have been diapered since born. Seriously, just don’t bank on it. It is our job to learn their pee signals. With time, accidents and practice, they will be able to tell and hold longer.
Day One - Block One
We started with block one. (Blocks are just learning stages, doesn’t translate to days. One block may take anywhere from 1-3 days depending on child).
We started the day by telling her that she’s no longer wearing diapers. when I took off her diaper, she cried so hard, saying she wants to keep her diaper on. Which is funny, because most of the times we struggle to dress her up because she refuse to wear her diaper!
Jamie didn’t say about this, but I did get her a picture book on potty training just to explain to her what is going on, and what is a potty chair for. The book also helped me explain to her that diapers are just for babies, not big girls. We just use the cheap potty chairs from IKEA for just RM10. Some people like to buy fancy potty chairs, but I don’t want my toddler to get weirdly attached to a pretty potty chair or anything like that.
For block one, I let her be half naked bottom. She mostly wore a dress without any underwear. And, my job is to do nothing but WATCH HER. No chores, laundry, no laptop, just watch her. When she started her first pee, I quickly ran her to the potty to finish the rest of the pee. Yes, there was a trail of pee (fortunately potty was only less than 2 feet away) and yes, at this time she is absolutely clueless that she’s peeing.
So that was the only accident. By watching her, I get to learn her peeing behavior so I only have to prompt her when I feel like she has to go. Maybe 2 hours after she last peed or around 1 hour after she had that big fluid. At noon, I got a lucky pee by prompting her to the potty. Then, by evening, she started showing the pee-pee dance, aka the signals. Meaning, she’s leaning the pee sensations.
Day 2 – Block Two and then Block One
We started with Block Two, which is with pants on but go commando. Underwear feels snug like a diaper so let’s skip that.
Now, today, she had soooo much accidents. After the first 2 accidents, I realized she may not know how to use the potty with her pants on, so we practiced. Pants, sit, pee. Even so, still accident. By afternoon, she’s had 3 accidents and none gone into the potty! I was like WTF! She just peed right through her pants. So, we went back to Block One -naked bottom. And guess what, no accident! Well, she probably had one out of 3 pees. I just thought she needed more practice before going to Block Two.
To be honest, I was sooo exhausted and on the edge of giving up today. It was tiring enough having to watch her almost every second to try to catch that pee. By evening I felt like I was going to explode or drop dead. I laid my head on the bed for a second and I dozed off. Then, Sara had an accident. Oh god, help me. For the first time in months, I needed that cup of coffee, and get my shit together.
That night, I put her back in pants. And she peed twice in the potty, yeay!
Day 3 – Block Two
It went quite smoothly. She’s getting better at holding, too! She doesn’t always tell whenever she needed to go- but I learned her signal and timing so it is a lot easier.
Today, she’s also learning that she wants more privacy. She was holding her poop (she refused when I prompted her) so I moved her potty to somewhere a more private and offered her to do her business there. She was holding it for a few minutes until she couldn’t anymore, so she had to go to her potty.
So the rest of the day, it was just prompting (invite her to potty, not ask her whether she needs to) her every hour just to remind her. When I feel like she has to go then I prompted her about every 20-30mins. Prompting, doesn’t mean I carry her to go to the potty, rather its more of reminder. It sounds something like “lets go potty”. Sometimes she will go to the potty without peeing. However, most of the times, she seem to ignore or refuse when prompted. Whenever she refused I will tell her to go to the potty whenever she needs to pee.
So basically today, I still watch for her pee signal and then prompt her to potty. Sometimes she asked to go to potty. She seemed to be able to hold for longer and move her potty to where she’d like to pee. However, that evening, she had an accident. Then, I realized she wanted her potty to be in a very, very specific place. Once the potty is there, no more accident.
Day 4 – Block Three
Block Three is all about solidifying the skills, and by that, long outing! We went to the mall, and I was nervous. I had to take her to the public toilet even without her pee signal all because I was nervous. She took a nap in the baby carrier (we put on diaper). A few minutes after she woke up, I saw her pee signal and told her that we are going to pee. She held it well, and peed in the public toilet, despite having a diaper on! Yeay, good girl! Of course I took off her (dry) nap diaper after that.
To help prepare for accidents, I brought towel to line the car seat (but didnt even end up using it), and a small towel incase of public accident. Of course, I brought extra clothes. The drill: Pee before leaving, and upon arrival.
Tip for public toilet: Always cover the auto-flush sensor with post-its to prevent flushing when your child is seated. It can be traumatizing for them. On hygiene note, I wouldn’t bring her anywhere with icky toilet for now, but I will always wipe the seat prior to seating her and hold her body.
Day 5 - Block four and beyond!
The next day, upon waking up, she had a bottle of milk. I saw her pee-signal but she insist for her bottle of milk first, and since she still had her night diaper on, I just let her take her milk. I prompted her to go pee twice and both times she refused. After she finished her milk, she asked to go pee, and I was very surprised to find her night diaper is dry! What I am saying is, she is getting better and better and holding, and with time, I may or may not need to night train her as she might just outdo bed wetting on her own.
I will still have to prompt her and remind her to go potty for about every 2 hours. I believe that I can relax (a little) and trust her more. Sometimes she refused to go to the potty although it is obvious that she’s holding it. So this is where I have to be creative. I let her bring her favorite book to her potty and she enjoys it. She’s able to tell me that she needs to go now, but I won’t really count on it, and will still prompt her every now and then.
On side note, for night time training: Wake your child to pee 2 times a night to train their body to wake up to pee. Not too soon after she’s asleep or before waking time, though. Just bring child to potty, with dimmed lights.
So, that’s it! That’s how I potty trained my daughter at 26 months. Soon, once her potty skill is solid, she can have her underwear. Maybe in a months time.
The second day was the hardest as a there were dramas that came up, (there were resistance, power struggles and peeing right thru pants) but Jamie’s book gave me enough help to keep me going (and also my husband’s encouragement). Mind you, this is not the complete HOW-TOs. There are big chapters to cover such as daycare (!!), night time training and also poop. Also, this method only works for 20-30months toddlers (generally, the ideal time for potty training), but in her book, there are some adjustments for older or younger kids. I highly recommend this book if you’re serious about PT, especially for working moms.
One tip is to focus on the success. Accidents are learning tools. Also, potty training is can be a great time for you to bond with your child! =)