Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Potty training reflection

Bluedaisy asked if after all the potty struggles we had, if there was any one thing that really "worked." Eeesh, that's a tough one.

Now that we have one kid who is officially potty trained, I feel like it was a muddled mess and I'm not ever sure how I would start on the next one. So I can't give a nice neat paragraph about the best way to potty train. But here's a summary of what I learned:

*It's such a trial and error thing. What works wonders for one kid may or may not work for another.

*I do think there's a time when they are ready, and you can put all your effort into training them before that time and you might even be able to be half-trained, but it'll be like pulling teeth. We did one really strong effort and 2 weeks later I was cleaning up more accidents than potty bowls. It was just more than I could handle at that time and for our family, we had to take a step back and go back to diapers. I really don't think it set her back for the next time we trained.

*Depending on the child's personality, it might just be a long process. I was convinced that every child could do the whole "potty training in a day" thing at some point past age 2. And lots of kids can. But also, some kids just struggle, or they're stubborn, or they go through phases where they're in the mood to do it and phases where they're not. Don't feel like a failure as a parent if you do a big potty push and it just doesn't work.

*One thing I am proud of: we got through potty training without purchasing one single Pull-Up. I didn't want to, out of principle, because I think they are SO STINKING OVERPRICED. We used diapers at night before she was attempting to get up and go potty in the night. Then when she was having occassional accidents at night but was trying to get up and go, we started using plastic pants over those thick training panties. We did have some accidents, but now she's dry at night (knock on wood) and doesn't need the plastic pants. But again, I know some kids have a really hard time night training and wear pull-ups at night for years, so that's obviously a different situation and you would have to buy them. I did not do anything at all to train her at night, I can't take credit for it. We were fortunate in that way. (But there's a little part of me that thinks, "Take THAT, Pull-Ups!")

*I do think that I got to a point with Katy where I was aware of her skills, and I knew that her accidents were a choice that she was making. Prior to that, I think she just wasn't getting it.

*I like what my pediatrician told me at her 3 year well visit: "You can force kids to do a lot of things (even come to the pediatrician), but you cannot force them to go potty." Next time I hope I remember this, that it will happen in time, just keep chugging away at it. Not my favorite parenting task.


Weed said...

I couldn't agree more with everything you said... We experienced so much of the same. Sadly, I do have to go the pull up route at naptime and bedtime, because she doesn't stay dry regularly, but I didn't ever use them during the day. Wish you had some good advice for how to keep them dry at night, because I'm sure tired of buying them!

Pam said...

I agree!
We went about 3 months of dry nights so I quit buying pull-ups and within a week had a couple of accidents so they are back on. He does get up to go potty at night on his own and is dry so maybe I'll try again...
By the way, Target brand really aren't too expensive :-)

bluedaisy said...

I especially agree with your points about not trying before your child is ready...I could definitely tell when it really 'clicked' for Michael & that's when we truly potty trained. We did use pull ups at night--mainly because Michael is often in our bed but I wanted him to be able to easily pee on the potty if he woke up (which he did a few times). REALLY good that you pointed out it's okay to take a step back if things aren't going well--I think that is the best option when things are just too stressful. I have a feeling that my 2nd isn't going to be as easy as Michael was so it's good to hear different perspectives! Thanks for posting :)

Mommy Daisy said...

I agree, I agree, I agree. The things they don't tell you about potty training. No matter your experience (you always hear stories from the EASY ones), it's up to that child and each child is different.