Well, we did it. We started potty training Henry. I have been debating when to make the jump for a few months now, and have been reading Oh Crap! Potty Training by Jamie Glowacki (self-proclaimed “Pied Piper of Poop”). It basically condenses a year’s worth of traditional potty training WAY down. Here’s the general idea behind the book/theory:
Your child is probably ready to be potty trained EARLIER than you think (ideally, between 20–30 months), and it can be done FASTER than you expect (most kids get the basics in a few days—but Jamie’s got you covered even if it takes a little longer).
Henry has been “ready” for awhile now, but I haven’t been ready to jump in with both feet yet. So over the past couple weeks we have been doing traditional potty training where he sits on his potty chair whenever he wants and we take off his pants and diaper and he tries to go while we read him books or chat with him. He has been fairly successful doing it this way, but I didn’t see a good way to completely ditch his diapers (and come on, this could go on forever!). Since the “two-day method” really condenses potty training time down, I decided to just go for it. Overall, it has been going extremely well. I don’t think I had unrealistic expectations going into it, and Henry is very smart and caught on quickly.
The hardest part for me was choosing a start date. This method requires you to clear your schedule completely for at least two days (3-4 is preferable). I finally settled on two days when I knew I didn’t have much going on because Geoff was out of town and my mom was there to help me (there was no way I was doing this on my own!).
We started out as soon as my mom arrived in the morning. We brought Henry over to us and calmly explained to him that he is a big boy now and doesn’t need to use diapers anymore. Instead, he is going to go on his new potty chair!! HOORAY! We also explained that when he feels the pee or poop coming, he should say, “MOMMY! POOP/PEE IS COMING!!” and that we will help him get quickly to his potty chair so he can do the pee/poop in there.
Block one requires your child to be pantsless all day long except naps/nighttime (all the faster to make it to the potty), so we removed his diaper and began our day. This consisted of literally doing nothing but playing and paying attention to Henry so we could make sure to watch for his “pee and poop signs” (also known as the potty dance). Oh, and it also involved watered down juice. Lots and lots of watered down juice.
We colored, we played with his cars and castle, we read books, we watched Frozen for the bazillionth time, and we prompted him to use the potty every 15-30 minutes or so. Overall it was a huge success. Henry did have two minor accidents where he started to go potty, then said “PEE COMING.” When we said “Try to hold it!” or “Hurry to the potty!” he was able to stop peeing, go to the potty chair and then finish up. He did SO WELL.
One tip if you are just starting Block One: Don’t ask your child if they have to go potty. Simply tell them that it is time to go potty (or at least try). I can guarantee that if I ask Henry if he has to go, he will almost always say no (and then I’m screwed because I don’t want to force him). This is weirdly hard to do, and I still don’t have the hang of it, but we were much more successful with getting Henry to sit on the potty chair voluntarily when we told versus asked.
Naps and nighttime
As I mentioned before, we are still using diapers for naps and bedtime. The book says that it is perfectly fine to do all potty training at the same time, but that it can be overwhelming for some parents. That’s why we decided to tackle daytime potty training first, then naps and nighttime training later.
For now, we have Henry try to go potty right when it is time to go to sleep. Then I clearly explain to him why the diaper is going on and when it will be coming off. Here’s what the book says to say:
I’m going to put a diaper on you for nap because you’re still learning. You’ve done such a good job today, and your nap is a long time. You may not remember to pee when you’re sleeping. When you wake up, we’re going to take it right off.
I don’t always get that quite right, but I do some variation of it. You did a good job… you’re still learning… nap is long so you might forget… diaper is coming off when you wake up. Clear and to the point. Henry usually just says “kay” and then climbs in bed, so it hasn’t been an issue for us. Then when he wakes up we immediately take off the diaper and have him try to go potty again.
Block Two is exactly the same as Block One except for one thing: PANTS. Kids go commando (meaning no undies/pullups/diaper), with the goal of going pee/poop on the potty with or without prompting. Henry did SO WELL AGAIN. He did have a small accident where he was able to stop himself and get to the potty relatively early in the day, but after that we had a great time playing and hanging out. Grandma took him outside to see some trucks on our block, we played with playdoh, and tried to do activities other than the ones we had done the day before to keep things interesting.
Henry was so wiped out (haha) from all this potty stuff that he actually asked me to take a nap around 11:30 and then slept until 3:30! When he woke up I made the rookie mistake of taking off his diaper without immediately putting him on the potty, and you can guess what happened… PEE. And he was so tired from coming out of his four hour nap that he didn’t even seem to notice until I said “Oops! Pee is coming in your pants!” Needless to say, we didn’t make it to the potty on time, but I’ll take the blame for that one. I’m sure he would’ve been successful had I prompted him to sit on the potty right when he woke up.
After nap and a few more little activities, we decided to do something really fun and bake some peanut butter cookies! I’m not a big baker, so Henry hasn’t had any experience with this (at least at our house), and this was a huge hit! He loved to dump all the ingredients into the bowl and helped us mix them all together. Then we made a couple cookie balls and put them on the baking sheet so he could use a fork to make the cute little marks in the top. He watched while we put them in the oven and was very patient while we waited for them to bake (10 minutes is a long time to wait for a toddler!). Once they were done we let them cool for a few minutes and then ate them right up! It was a great way to end the day.
We are very lucky and have a wonderful in-home daycare provider who is open and willing to help us with this newfangled potty training method. And guess what, you guys? On his first day back at daycare HE HAD EXACTLY ZERO ACCIDENTS. I mean, I sent four pairs of pants with him and he came home in the same ones I dropped him off in!!
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m fully expecting accidents to happen as we continue with this (and – spoiler alert – they totally did on the second day of daycare). But come on. You have to agree that my kid is pretty amazing. And when I was putting his diaper on last night and explaining to him why it was going on and when it would come off, he said, “No, mommy. Diaper off.” (I said no and explained that he was still learning so he needs to wear one while he is sleeping for now, but OMG how about the fact that he just asked me to sleep without a diaper?!)
We have a few things coming up that I have no idea how we are going to handle, including training daddy when he comes back from out of town so that we are all on the same potty page, plus a long road trip next week to visit my family for Thanksgiving and Henry’s second birthday. I’m trying to take things one at a time and do my research so I’m prepared, but this can definitely be mentally draining at times. And after we get daytime training nailed down then we have nighttime training to look forward to, and then there’s the whole “you’re getting a new baby sister” thing that might throw a wrench in the works… As stressful/draining as this can be, I count myself really lucky to have had the first few days be as successful as ours were. I know it isn’t like that for everyone and I am grateful for my wonderful, intelligent son who is pickup up on this so quickly. Now Geoff and I just need to stay strong and committed and I’m sure we will all have this potty thing down in no time.
Have any of you done this shortened potty training method? What worked best for you and what tips and tricks do you have for me and other mamas who may be in the same boat?