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Friday, January 25, 2013

Potty Training: what worked for us

We are now on the other side of potty training (at least during the day). I know I scoured the web for suggested techniques of getting Ranger out of diapers in a way that didn't stress him out, as well as asked relatives and friends how they made the change. So now that it is in my rear view I can share how we accomplished potty training.

First we tried a minimalist approach, it's there and if you try it you'll get a prize. This approach was combined with repeatedly asking if he was ready to go pee. Our mistake was letting him stay in diapers. As long as he had the "safety net" he wasn't going to change his behavior. Even wearing regular briefs didn't help. He would wet himself and continue on as though he was not wet. Then we added a class to his schedule that is a 3-4yo class, and they wanted him out of diapers if possible. It was time to step up our efforts.

Over winter break we had several nice cold days- no going outside anyway- so we took the commando plunge. Our apartment is usually hot in winter, so it was no big deal to have my 3yo playing in just a long shirt. There were a few wet messes on the floor/rug, but nothing solid. We did two days commando, two days just brief-no pants, then moved to sweat pants. The few solid messes were contained by underwear which frankly I just tossed.

We had gotten a lot of presents during the holidays, so I held back some for rewards. This was key. When he was successful he would proudly announce, "mommy i did it!". We gave chocolate coins for pee, and a toy for poop. The toys were out on a high shelf so he could see them. I made up a song to remind him to go to the tune of on top of spaghetti: don't pee on your brother, don't pee on the floor, just pee in the potty cause that's what it's for. I sang the song with silly verses as badly as I could. Toddler humor is great..

We praised him effusively when things went well or even when there was an attempt that resulted in an accident (it's ok you didn't make it in time, you realized you had to go but didn't get to the potty on time).

Something that worked well was saying, "I would love to ____, but not until after you pee." Eventually he would go to the potty so we could play/give you a snack/go outside.

We wanted to set him up for success, so I put a kid potty in his room. I knew if he suddenly realized he had to go, he was more likely to make it to the nearby kid potty than to race across the house to the bathroom. At the moment that potty is still there and he uses that one primarily.

It's a start. And out of the house-no diapers!

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