Mission: 3 day potty training bootcamp
Goal: A more empowered little man.
Bonus: No more diapers (except at nap time and night time)
Ok, I never thought I would get emotional about potty training, but I am now one of those moms. We are on day 12 of potty training (first three were the intensive bootcamp/kickstarter approach outlined below) and I am in awe of how much more confident and enthusiastic Quincy is!
My own little John-Boy!
Q is doing awesome. I know there will be more accidents in the future, but he's really and truly being so good now.
Before I go into our approach, I should explain how I knew Q was ready:
1) He had started to HATE diaper changes, especially poopie ones.
2) He was going longer in between diaper changes and would often wake up from nap with a dry diaper (indicating he was starting to be able to "hold it")
3) He had started talking about why things did the things that they do. He is fascinated by traffic lights and signs. How water makes things wet and then the sun dries them, etc. Basically he was communicating at the level we needed in order to explain the causes and effects of pee, poo, toilets, and accidents.
The Potty Training of John Quincy Athayde, Age 28 months
Strategery (not misspelled) employed:
1) I started promoting "POTTY WEEKEND!" two weeks in advance complete with enthusiastic arms raised above the head with jazz hands. Then I would chant: "no more diapers - no more diapers - no more diapers!" Quincy got really into my ridiculous theatrics and pretty quickly joined in the chant whenever I would say "Potty weekend!" I also previewed what would happen by saying he would learn to use the big boy potty like his role models Daniel Tiger, Elmo, and Daddy and that he would get cool big boy underpants to wear.
2) The night before day 1, I decked out our (thankfully large) master bathroom with balloons, new books, and his favorite toys so we could camp out in there for most of the day (I wanted to avoid the carpet).
3) I also downloaded two potty training apps: Huggies Pull-Ups "Time to Potty" app and "Potty Time." Time to Potty is a glorified timer but has short interactive games for the child to play when he successfully uses the potty. Potty Time is an app by the people who produce "Signing Time" a favorite in our household. Q adores "Miss Rachel" the adult host of the show so a cool feature of the app is that you can "call" Rachel when you have a success or an accident and she gives an appropriate response. There are also short, relevant videos and digital books to help your child pass time while sitting on the potty. Downside: "It's Potty Time" the song is on constant repeat in my head now.
4) Day 1 - Rushed Q down to our bathroom and made a big show of throwing away his night time diaper and chanting "NO MORE DIAPERS!" as we sat him on the big boy potty. Nothing happened that first attempt, but we took that time with his rapt attention to read a few of our favorite potty books so he understood what was happening. Then I set the Time to Potty timer for 20 minutes and we played. Naked. (Him not me!) We tried to go on the potty every 20 minutes, but kept my eye out for readiness AT ANY TIME. We had two accidents before Q and I both figured it out.
5) Day 2 - Naked but we experimented with Thomas the choo choo pull-ups. Day one we hung out in the bathroom for easy cleanup but played outside a lot too and took the little potty out on the back deck so he could use it when he needed to. This worked great but his pristine baby butt got scratched up from doing boy things and he felt like he couldn't slide or swing. So we tried pullups, but I regret this as his only two accidents all day were in pullups and I swear it's because they feel like diapers.
6) Day 3 - BIG BOY UNDERPANT TIME! Quincy could now roam the house with big boy underpants on but the key is that I had to watch him like a hawk. After the first two days I was getting the hang for the signs. I had bought him Mickey Mouse, Thomas, and Lightening McQueen underpants and told him "Now we don't want to get Lightening dirty, do we? We want Lightening nice and dry!" Q holds all three of these characters in high regard so this worked well.
7) NO GOING BACK. We are on big boy underpants all the time. Q doesn't even want to wear diapers during nap and night time now but we make him as he obviously needs more time for that. (I might have played up "No more diapers!" a little TOO much)
8) I bought M&Ms to reward Q when he tinkled or pooed but since he's never had candy before he wasn't interested. Uh oh, mama and daddy ended up eating all of them instead. I resorted to chocolate chips, a more familiar Athayde household staple. Sometimes we would have to lure Q to the potty with the promise of chocolate or to play on a phone app, but we avoided that as much as possible.
9) Day 4 on - Other than a mandatory potty break first thing in the morning and first thing after nap (if his diaper is dry), I just set an every 30 minute reminder on the "Time to Potty app" to simply ask Q if he needed to go potty and also keep my eagle eye on him to see if he's showing any signs. He is doing great!
Q all tuckered out on day 8:
(I think the fact that I let him sleep on my couch without a diaper says a lot.)
Hope this is helpful to someone else. Heaven knows every kiddo is different!