“Get used to it now, your life will revolve around pee and poop for most of the foreseeable future. And let me just say, newborn poop has nothing on watching your toddler drop a man-sized turd in the toilet. THAT? Might make you gag.”
Those were my encouraging words of wisdom to one of my BFFs who is loving life with a tiny baby right now. Clearly, I was a tad traumatized by our current potty training adventure, and yes, I could have offered up more cheerful, more optimistic advice, but why sugar coat shit?
We’ve been in the slow process of potty training Kendall since the beginning of the year, although it really only started out by dipping our toes in the toilet water- getting him familiar with the potty, reading him potty books, letting him try out big boy undies or free-ball it (against our better judgement) and subsequently fighting off the dogs when he’d drop a log on the playroom floor.
We didn’t get serious until late in May. When we were on our Sonoma vacation in late April my mom was able to get him to poop on the potty multiple times, and he continued to do that for us when we got back. I took that as our window of opportunity. And as much as I really didn’t want to dive into potty training in the first trimester of pregnancy, I could only imagine how much worse it would be when this second baby is on the outside. So after getting a ton of advice from friends who’ve been there, trained that, we decided to rip the diapers off and get down to business.
We started with lots of naked time. During this first hardcore week, we just stayed home (it was during his early summer break from his Mother’s Day Out program). He ran around without pants on for the first few days and I took him to the potty every 30 minutes. It. was. exhausting. And I, frankly, sucked at it in the beginning. So much of potty training, I think, is about training *yourself.* It’s a lot of work in the beginning, and a lot of cleaning, and a ton of reminding.
So we would take him to the potty, and if he went at all, he got an M&M or two. I even rewarded him if he went a little on the potty after having an accident because I wanted focus on rewarding the positive. The M&Ms were huge. He loved them, but oddly, he eventually started asking for a walnut, too. So we would give him one M&M and one walnut. Whatever, it worked.
After about a few days of letting him run around naked, we put the big boy undies on. This actually helped cut down on accidents because he could feel himself start to go (I guess he felt the little bit of wetness on his undies) and would stop. Now, *sometimes* he would tell me he had to go potty, but most of the time he would just freeze with an “oh shit” look on his face, so I had to constantly watch him and take him to the potty when I saw that. By this point in the week, I was taking him to the potty about every 45 minutes.
We finally ventured out of the house after a week. It was terrifying and a lot of work, but he did great. We started with small trips to Target and Chick Fil A, places I knew had decent bathrooms. I would take him to the bathrooms the minute we got there and right before we left. Now, some of my friends don’t even bother with public bathrooms at this point and, instead, have their kids go on portable little potties they keep in the back of their vehicles (with removable, disposable baggies). Kendall would never go on the small potty we have here at home, though, so I didn’t even bother trying that. I just take a pack of hand sanitizing wipes with me everywhere we go (along with extra undies, shorts, a plastic baggie, and lollipops for bribing) and wipe off the seats before he sits down.
The hardest part, and when he has the most accidents, is when we’re on the highway and he informs me he has to go. It’s not always feasible to pull off to a bathroom (though we have, many times), and he doesn’t quite grasp the “we’re almost home, hold it!” concept. I keep one of these on his car seat, and it’s really helped with cleanup.
So, at this point, I wouldn’t say he’s potty trained, he’s definitely still in the training process, and I feel like we will be in it for a while. He has a few accidents a week (or sometimes he has a bad day and has a few accidents in a day), but most days he’s pretty great. WE still have to be on top of it, though. He’s not to the point where he’ll remind us all the time. So if he hasn’t gone in the last two hours (or less if he’s been drinking a ton of fluids), we have to remind him and take him. That being said, though, we are diaper free while he’s awake and have been for a while. He even wears his big boy undies to Mother’s Day Out and has never had an accident there.
Now, nighttime and nap time are a totally different story. I don’t think he’s at the point where we can expect him to sleep in underwear. He never wakes up with a dry diaper, and lately he’s been pooping at night. That’s NOT a mess I want to deal with right now. We’ll look into potty training at nap and nighttime as he gets closer to 3, I think. Until then, he’s wearing some Bum Genius 4.0 and Flip diapers and a FuzziBunz, since they are big enough to accommodate a 37 lb kid. I LOVE them. Bum Genius hooked me up with the new 4.0 and a couple Flips at Blogher to test out on Kendall and they fit SO much better than the 3.0s. Plus, the snaps are perfect. And Gina, who represented FuzziBunz at Blogher, gave me a one-size pocket diaper to try out, and I’m equally impressed. I double stuff all of them at night with hemp inserts from Artsy Fartsy Foo Foo.
It was tough in the beginning, and a ton of work, but I’m so glad we seized the opportunity to potty train when we did. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that come December he’s going to be nearly, if not completely trained during the day (and, yes, I do know to expect a bit of a regression when the baby comes, but we’ll get through it). From what I’ve heard from friends who waited to train until the kids were 3 or 3.5, they basically just train themselves and it’s a quick process. So I think at this age, it requires a lot more work on the parent’s end, but it’s worth it to me. I’m not saying I’ve got it all figured out, but feel free to ask any questions and I’ll at least tell you where I found the answers.
Kendall is 2 1/4 and I’m 23 weeks pregnant.