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Monday, June 27, 2011

Potty training for realz

On Friday Mira started potty boot camp.

I found myself stuck at home again, unable to leave the house, partly because Ellowyn wanted to take multiple naps and partly because Mira said she wanted to stay home.  I'm so tired of being stuck at home most days.  But I figured that if I've gotta be here, I might as well accomplish something.  So when Mira said she wanted to stay home, I responded with, "Ok then it's NO MORE DIAPER TIME!"

That was about 10am on Friday morning and ever since then Mira's been diaper-less when awake.  That's the new rule: no diapers during waking hours.  And for incentive, I'm rewarding any pees/poops in the potty with a chocolate chip or an M&M.  I wanted to make the reward sufficiently small that I wouldn't mind if she had multiple in a single day.  I was hesitant to use junk food as a reward (mostly because I worry about that creating unhealthy habits later in her life), but chocolate seems to be the only thing that she's really motivated for.  (I've tried stickers and little toys and just a lot of praise as rewards for using the potty in the past, but nothing works as well as chocolate. shrug.)

She's spent most of the time since Friday morning either completely naked or wearing only a shirt.  Although we have experimented with several different kinds of training pants, for now it's just easier for her to be bare-bottomed.

Friday was day 1.  Throughout the day, I would ask her to try sitting on the potty regularly, and we'd read books while she sat on the potty.  It went really well, with only one accident and multiple pees in the potty.  But Mira did ask for her diaper back more times than I can count.  In the past, I let her have her diaper back on whenever she'd ask for it, but now if she asks for it back, I say, "You're a big girl now, so we're going to work on using the potty.  No more diapers when you're awake."  And then if she starts to get upset about it, I remind her that she can earn M&Ms by going in the potty and that turns her around and gets her excited about it again.

On that first day, we even had to make a brief trip out of the house to go to the post office.  We were gone about a half-hour and Mira wore cloth training pants while we were out.  She did a really great job and the trainers stayed dry the entire time.  At one point while we were at the post office, Mira said she needed to pee.  I looked all over, but there was no public bathroom.  So I told her I couldn't find a potty and I asked her if she thought she could hold it in the car till we got home.  She said that she could.  I asked her if she was sure and she said yes.  And then she did just that: she held it all the way home and when we got home, she went inside and sat on the potty.  (She didn't go pee right away, but I was still so proud of her.)

On Saturday (day 2) we had some set-backs.  Maybe it was because Brian was doing a lot of the potty work with her that day and he was doing things differently than I was.  Or maybe it was just because she hit some kind of hump where the novelty wore off and she was just not into it anymore.  Whatever the reason, there were a lot of accidents on Saturday and very few successes.  At one point, Brian gave up and put her diaper back on.  Of course, when I walked in and saw that, I took the diaper right back off... and Mira pitched a fit. And then after that she thought that if she just had enough accidents then she would get her diaper back.  So that was an uphill battle.

Sunday (day 3) started off a lot like Saturday.  And I was getting really frustrated because she'd have an accident less than 5 minutes after I had just made her sit on the potty and try to go.  And that's when I messed up.  I waited until I was sure she needed to pee and then I sat her on the potty and told her she couldn't get up until she'd gone pee. BIG MISTAKE. It totally backfired on me and she sat there crying for over an hour and not a single drop in the potty. I felt terrible and I totally lost face with her because it wasn't an ultimatum that I could stick to. It was all wrong. And I know it was all wrong and so I at least can be sure to never do that again. But I felt (and still feel) embarrassed and guilty about the whole thing.  Once she and I had both calmed down, I explained to her that I acted out of frustration and I shouldn't have done that and told her I was sorry. Sweet girl, she said "I'm sorry too mommy." I guess the best you can do when you screw up is to own up to it and apologize and learn from it. So if nothing else, I got the opportunity to model apologetic behavior to Mira.

Thankfully, I can say that I think a breakthrough came AFTER that incident, so it's possible that I have narrowly avoided traumatizing my daughter into wearing diapers for the rest of her life.  Later that same day, she went to the potty all on her own, no one asked her if she needed to go, she just ran over to the potty and sat down and went.

Today, (day 4) has started off great.  Two successes by 10am and no accidents.  So maybe, just maybe the hard part is done.  Also, today has yielded some great potty training Mira quotes: "There is pee inside my tummy, Mommy" and then, excitedly, "Pee is coming out of my butt!  Pee is dripping out in the potty! Yay!"

Throughout this entire time, Mira has always consistently done her number two's in the potty.  We've never had a poop accident.  Which is really great because I hear often that the poops are more difficult for many kids to master.  So we've gotten lucky in that respect.

The first goal is just to consistently use the potty when awake, with no accidents.  And I feel like we might be getting close to that.  She's using a little floor potty and mostly not wearing pants.  So then the next steps would be to try to work on using a big potty (so that she is comfortable doing that when we are out of the house) and to start wearing pants and pulling them off/on when using the potty.


Marcy said...

Amazing how potty training has such a huge potential for being so frustrating, huh?

My friend was telling me how she used m&m's with her daughter. She was worried about having to wean her off it afterwards, but it turned out after the first week or 2 her daughter started to forget to ask for them after going to the potty, and eventually just forgot about them altogether.

Glad to hear it seems like you've turned a corner, hope it keeps up! =)

Marcy said...

Oh, btw (I forgot to include this in my first comment)-- I'm planning on keeping a potty chair in the car at all times,so that we have something in case we end up somewhere with no available bathrooms. (though D, being a boy, also has the added advantage of being able to just stand and pee into the bushes... but still)

Anjea said...

Don't sweat the chocolate - my mom PT'd us with Hershey Kisses! She said we were trained in about three days with those. :)

Mommy Parr said...

Don't worry about giving her won't be forever and if it works that is all that counts! Also, I bet every mom has tried the "you have to sit there until..." and has failed. It won't scar her and at least now you know it doesn't work with her. I did it to Zoe Scout and she seems to have moved past it ok, in fact, I am sure she doesn't even remember. Keep up the good work! Potty training is hard but you are a good mom and y'all will get it!