Adventures in Early Potty Training: I'm a big kid now!

FYI: Lucy is 20 months old now but I began this post over a month ago, it's just taken me a while to get around to posting it. Its been a crazy month :-)

I'm calling it. Lucy is potty trained. And I must say, it feels pretty awesome.

We took a break from the whole thing while we were at my parents' for my mom's last few weeks and the funeral and all that. But when we got home and tried to find a rhythm again, we picked it back up and she did pretty well. We were even able to add underwear to the mix. Before then she did better naked, but at that point, she did better with underwear. Without it, she would sometimes just pee, clean it up and move on without batting an eye but she doesn't like to wet her undies.

We were at 2 accidents a day (with 5-7 successes, so still pretty good odds) for about a month. Then one day we went down to about an accident a day. It didn't matter what I did, it was once a day (but different times). Then a few weeks ago, she started making it almost all the time. Part of what helped is that she goes much longer between pees. From what I've read that happens not just from aging but because of the potty training process and it is good thing. It means that instead of just letting urine out whenever, she is holding it in and intentionally releasing it and emptying the bladder more fully. This is healthier and decreases her risk of getting a UTI.

That isn't the only change that prompted the "Potty Trained" label. Other include:

  • She can wear pants now, which is helpful, although she still prefers to be sans clothing general (not potty related, she just a naked-time loving kid)
  • Non-home potties are not evil and will use them if she has too although, like me, she would much rather not have to. This means we don't wear diapers out (I make exceptions for long car trip or plane rides but only until our trainer issue is resolved, a post for another day). We had taken small trips without diapers but yesterday (as in, 3 weeks ago:-) was our first big day out in underwear. We went to a church carnival, out for lunch, then the post office and Wal-mart. I really didn't think it was going to go that well especially after she didn't need to go at church with their toddler-sized potty, the one potty I was counting on her using (she loves that potty!). Luckily she told me at Chick-fil-a and we made it in time (it was kinda busy) so she actually made it through the whole trip dry! Of course, this meant I had to sing "the potty sitting song" in front of a larger audience than I prefer but we met the grandma who overheard us and she gave us a "good job" and a smile. I was so proud of Lucy though, it could have been a 15 year old rolling her eyes and I wouldn't have cared. My dignity is worth nothing compared to dry undies. 
  • She's also been dry at nap times for well several months now so I finally stopped making her wear a diaper then. My main concern there is that our mantra has been "We only wear diapers when we sleep" and I didn't want her fighting me at bedtime just because she didn't have to wear them for naps. She still nurses at night and what goes in must come out so I think night training is going to be a while yet. 

We still have accidents every once in a while and I expect we will for a while. Mostly they occur because she is doing something really fun and doesn't want to stop. I've seen her stop playing Duplos, stand up and walk toward the bathroom, then stop and look back and forth between the potty and the toys. If I'm there, I just walk over, take her hand and say "potty break time." She looks relieved then, as if she wanted to go but couldn't. At 19 months, her self-control is still pretty limited.

I still go with her although she's doing more and more of the dressing/undressing and grooming aspects herself.  And I ask her if she hasn't gone in a couple hours but I'm trying to let her be more independent. I used to tell her it was time, and sometimes I do (like the situation above) but most of the time, I ask now. Although now that she has hit that "no" phase, I've had to change the way I ask. I realized that if she says she needs to go, she needs to go. If she says she doesn't, and she isn't doing anything fun or we are between activities, she probably doesn't. If she says she doesn't but is engaged with something neat, she might very well have to go so now I'll ask if she is dry. She'll pat her pants and say "Yes" and then go back to playing or run off to the bathroom because she wants to stay that way.

Overall, I think this method worked great for us and I'll probably be doing it again whenever baby #2 comes around. It took a while but it wasn't a lot of work, honestly the hardest part was thinking it through enough to write the blog posts :-), and she could either be 19 months old and still in diapers now or free and clean.

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