Last week, I came across an amazing e-book about potty training that inspired me so much I decided to tackle the task the very next day! The author is a former social worker that has potty trained hundreds of kids, so she really knew what she was talking about. You can get it here. (Disclaimer - the book kind of cusses a lot, which I felt was unnecessary & tacky for a potty training guide, but that was just the author's sense of humor I guess. Plus, my kid was potty trained in like half a day so I'm going to shut up now.)
Our backstory: We tried potty training Aubrey months ago, using the method where you do the whole "sit them on the potty every half hour, treats if they go, reminding them to go all day, etc." Needless to say Aubrey was having none of it - no matter what kind of fun book or i-pad game she could play with, she did not want to sit on that potty. No treat or reward enticed her, & she was getting annoyed with me. Whenever she needed to go, she would beg me for a diaper & cry. She was clearly not emotionally ready! I quickly backed off because I didn't want to damage our relationship over having to change a few extra diapers a day.
After that experience, I would just ask her every now & then when she wanted to be a big girl, & remind her of that dusty little potty seat sitting in the corner. She never wanted anything to do with it & would get whiny if I talked about it.
I planned on waiting until after the holidays to give it a go again, until I read this book. This book is AMAZING. This "method" uses no bribery/rewards, no setting timers to go to the potty every so and so minutes, & is simply stress free. I can honestly say the day I potty trained my Aubrey girl was one of my favorite days of mothering so far. We bonded so much! There was no frustration, tears, or tantrums from her whatsoever. (And she is not usually such a chill, easy going little gal!)
Here's the scoop:
The night before we started, I told Aubrey that tomorrow her diapers were going to be all gone. She told me, "That's CWAYZEE!" I hid them all that night too :)
The next morning I put her in a shirt only & completely naked on bottom. She doesn't like being naked (she's attached to those diapers!) but I distracted her quickly with a special breakfast and she was over it.
I put her little potty in the living room and just told her bluntly: "If you need to go pee pee your potty is right here." That was pretty much the only time I used the word "pee pee" or "potty" that day. When I had potty trained her before I think I was annoying her and asking her too often if she needed to go. With this method, you don't ask them AT ALL. You let them make the decision.
The next part is the most important: All day long on the first day, you have to watch them like a hawk. I'm talking every minute your eyes are on them. If you have other kids, I suggest getting a sitter. Make sure you have NO PLANS. You will be home all day. Kate was around on this day but I just made sure she had lots of random stuff to play with (like the tupperware drawer!) If I could do it again I'd get a sitter. Basically, you look for any signs of them about to pee. Any "deer in the headlights" look on their face, touching themselves, etc. etc. As soon as they have their first accident, you quickly put them on the potty. Even if they are in the middle of going, you rush them over to the potty so they can sit and see what it feels like to sit and go in the potty. Aubrey was helping me put away silverware in the kitchen when she had her first and only accident. She said "Uh oh" and I immediately sat her on the potty (Yes, I had a trail to clean up, but it was worth it) She finished going in the potty and was so excited that she "did it!" I told her "great job" and we did a little potty dance.
Throughout the day I would put her potty in whatever room we were in but said nothing about it. A couple hours after her first accident, we were in our master bathroom after bath time & she said, "I gotta go pee pee" and I immediately sat her on there and she went! I was amazed it clicked for her that fast. We of course danced and celebrated & she was so, so proud of herself. The rest of the day she had a few more successes and zero accidents. I didn't put her in a diaper for nap time or bedtime because she usually wakes up dry anyways. She did awesome.
The second day we switched from her being completely naked to her wearing clothes but commando. The book says to slowly transition to panties because they can feel like a diaper to kids, and they might have more accidents. She did great all morning and once it came time for dance class, she got to wear panties for the first time and was so excited. I was a little nervous to take her out for the first time, but she did awesome and I made sure she went before we left. Once we got home we went back to commando. She still hadn't gone "number two" yet so I was a bit anxious to see how that would play out. She is VERY private about this and usually goes in another room in a corner every time. I wasn't sure how she would feel about going in a potty! The good part is it's really obvious when she needs to go, because she will abruptly stop whatever she is doing and run to another room. When I saw her acting a little weird, I had her go in the bathroom (where the potty was) and walked away. She was used to doing this in private so I knew that's how she would feel most comfortable. Sure enough, I hear her cute little voice say, "I did it!" within minutes. I was SO. EXCITED for her! We celebrated and did our awesome "potty dance" and I kept telling her how proud I was.
She continued the night great and still hasn't had any accidents to this day! We took her to Build a Bear the other night to celebrate her success and she picked out a white kitty and named it "Pancakes." I felt like Christmas came early - we were both so, so happy! She hasn't stopped talking about what a "big girl" she is and it's still so exciting every time she goes on the potty. So proud of that girl!