Back in February we introduced Vivian to the little potty (omg she was so small and had so much less hair). She was extremely interested and did a great job peeing when we set her on the potty and read books for the first week. Then she hated the potty and didn’t want anything to do with it so we just let her be and forgot about the potty but left it around for her to see and offered it for her to sit on (with or without clothing) if she wanted which more often than not she didn’t.
During the spring Viv had been getting really good at telling us that she has to or just went “poop” which is both pee and poop in her mind. So we decided that since we were going to need to start using the cloth diapers for Conner that we’d get more serious about starting potty training after our Michigan trip but also introduce the more regular idea while in Michigan and outside all the time.
Outdoor potty time at the lake.
When we went to Michigan it was a great opportunity to let Viv run around without any bottoms on while we were outside. She did pretty good but after a few days started stressing out about the potty and probably our inconsistency. So we let up a bit.
When we got home we decided to really get serious. Saturday (7/19/14), after Tyler healed from the plague that was Hand Foot Mouth virus and could help out with Conner and Viv we let Viv run around bare-bottomed at home all day. She peed in the potty once that night because the other time she went was in a diaper while we were at the store.
Pointing to her mess.
Sunday Vivian again got to run around home without any pants and did a great job in the morning! She peed in her little potty the first time telling us she had to go and went to sit down. The second time she just peed in her little potty without telling us. We were so surprised to see it there. However, we only found the pee when she took a poo on the floor near the potty… close but not quite, yet good enough for some praise since it seemed like she was trying to get to the potty. Thankfully the mess was on the wood floor instead of carpet too.
Then a little while later we went for a walk and she had an accident five minutes into it so we turned around and went home. At lunchtime, she also had an accident. Ya win some and lose some at this stage in the game. To end the day Viv peed in the potty before bed.
Monday (7/21/14) Vivian had a great day on the potty! She woke up with a very wet nighttime diaper per usual and was happy to sit on the potty (for routine purposes) even though she didn’t need to go. We went about our normal activities and tried to get her to go potty before we went on a walk to a nearby park but she was not interested. Daring enough, Shelby and I decided to try our luck with her underwear and new waterproof training underpants. We packed up her little potty in the stroller and reminded her often that if she had go potty to tell us. We got to the park and played and had a snack before heading home. There were multiple attempts to sit on the potty but nothing came. I was sure she would have an accident on our way home but she proved me wrong!
Finally when we were getting ready to have lunch I reminded her that she had to tell us if she needed to go and she said “potty” while going to get her potty to bring to the table. While unconventional, she wanted it on the chair so she could eat and pee. I was happy to let her try it out as long as it meant she went in the potty. Boy oh boy did she go! She sat down, started eating and I heard the tinkle success sound.
Fast forward a while and things were going great. After two weeks of potty training we had successfully had no significant accidents (just dribble before realizing she had to go but caught herself and finished on the potty) while on a long weekend trip to Oceanside, OR. Then we also had our first long stretch of no accidents - 4 days including outings and car rides - until we took a trip to Mt. Rainier where she was set up for failure by us unfortunately and she had an accident during the long three hour drive (poor planning as we didn’t have a diaper on the way home). But on the plus side, she was more than compliant peeing on command on a tree log during our hike!
As of August 10th (9 days shy of a month into it), Vivian had gotten so much better about telling us when she has to go potty but we still had the problem with her crying “wolf” just to procrastinate or stop doing something. She really is a clever little girl for figure that out so quickly. So distinguishing when is a true potty need versus a fake-out is tricky but she is getting better at truthfully answering our follow-up questions to verify.
Another month later (9/4/14) and I finally found time to read a short book about potty training. Luckily everything we had been doing per my instincts was exactly what the book recommended except using diapers at nap and bedtime and making sure to use a reward system.
Even on walks the potty comes with us!
So, with my new found knowledge we decided to try our first nap and night without diapers. Naptime resulted in a very wet bed because when Vivian wakes up she plays in bed and I have a sneaking suspicion that she was dry until she woke up and then didn’t know what to do in the pitch black room since we forgot to put her nightlight in - adult fail.
That night she did great! When we put her down we explained that she was in undies instead of diapers, showed her that her potty was available and a bunch of other encouraging words. The book recommended waking her up an hour after she fell asleep to see if she needed to potty. Tyler went down to do the honors. She was dry and confused and sat on the potty but didn’t need to go. The book also suggested waking her up an hour before her normal wake-up time so I figured I’d go down there whenever Conner woke in the morning to nurse.
It was about 4:30am that I went down and she was still dry! She immediately knew why I was there and said “potty” and I helped her stumble to the potty where she successfully went. Then she went back to bed without any problems.
Then at about 6:30am Viv woke up on her own which is wayyyy before she normally gets up (or at least she plays until about 8am). So I went down there to help her potty and she was still dry. She didn’t want to go which I should have known was going to be a problem but in my sleepy haze I just let her go back to bed. She didn’t want to go back to sleep and I knew that she would have an accident while playing in her bed. Unfortunately I was right.
We finally gave in a little after 7am and got her out of bed. I realize that nighttime training is going to probably mean earlier mornings for us adults. On the plus side that means Viv gets to see Tyler before work.
Potty at the park!
For no diaper nap day two Viv did an amazing job! During the day, the treat rewards were helping diminish her resistance to sitting on the potty before leaving the house, arriving somewhere new and during play which was vital. Her “crying wolf” even seemed to have lessened too. For nap, Viv woke up screaming after about an hour so Shelby went in (I was out and about) and Viv was adamant that she had to “poop!” So Shelby assisted her towards her little potty in her room and sure enough she went #2. The only downside - similar to the morning - was that she did not go back to bed which made for a very long and cranky rest of the day and a very early bedtime.
The next few nights were about the same with random nighttime accidents until we finally had a breakthrough on day three (9/7/14). It started with naptime when Viv woke up to go potty screamed until we came down to help, peed, then went back to sleep for two more hours. Then that night I woke her up at 11pm, 2am, 4am, 6am (Conner’s current schedule - unfortunately for me) for potty to try and catch her need to go. I was pleasantly surprised each time I went down when I found she was still dry and I didn’t have to strip the bed and she was willing to pee in the potty. The only problem I ran into was that she was ready to go for the day after her 6am wake-up call. So she played quietly in bed until about 7:30am when Conner woke up and I decided to start the day - also staying dry since she had peed at 6am.
The following day she had a dry nap and another dry night with the same wake-up schedule.
Last night she again had a dry night with only 11:30pm and 4:45am wake ups before her own wake up at 6am. I went down helped her potty and put her back to bed and this time she did reluctantly (read screaming) go back to bed (which naturally was when Conner was up and ready to go despite my best efforts). As of today we have been a full week - Viv’s longest stretch - with no daytime accidents (not counting nap/night).
Here’s to mostly successful potty training at 21 months (tomorrow) - it’s been an interesting road but I’m glad we are going down it because man oh man it is so much easier (now that she isn’t fighting it) than two in diapers let alone simply changing a squirmy toddler!