The P Word Feared by All Parents: Potty TrainingBy natashamiller
February 21, 2018
The biggest milestone every parent dreads: potty training! We decided to potty train shortly after our son turned two. Some people would say this is too early, but we decided to go for it. So, our next step was choosing a method. Man alive, there are a lot of potty training methods to choose from! A good friend of mine was using “Oh Crap! Potty Training. Everything Modern Parents Need to Know to Do It Once and Do It Right” by Jamie Glowacki. She mentioned some of the principles in the book and I thought it was great so we went for it!
So prior to starting, I familiarized myself with the method outlined in the book. I loved the concepts, I thought the process was reasonable. Our nanny at the time read the book too and, although she was more skeptical, she agreed to follow the method. My husband was supportive so long as the nanny and I were okay with it (since we would be doing most of the training). The author does emphasize training early. Reason being, younger toddlers are more inclined to do things that please the parent. So off we went…
Well, I quickly learned that what seemed perfectly reasonable a week ago when I was simply reading, was hell on earth! Now, full disclaimer: our wonderful, patient nanny did majority of the training which I will FOREVER be grateful for. This potty training method was the only thing we ever disagreed on. I decided we should push through though. I felt if we backed down, we would struggle even more due to my son sensing our weakness and taking advantage of it J.
Just a quick note: my favourite line in the book is about the myth that boys are harder to train. There is no real evidence to suggest this is true. Just like everything else, it depends on the child. She mentions that boys may in fact be easier to potty train. For one, they can pee anywhere they need to, and two, at least with using this method, you can clearly see when they start to pee. It’s not just a trickle down their legs.
So the author presents the different stages of potty training: I peed, to I’m peeing, to eventually, I need to pee. Simple enough, right?! Well, the process behind these stages is extremely aggressive! The first 3-5 days is running around without underwear, pants, or a diaper. You are essentially training yourself to see your child’s cues to get them to the potty. Our potty was stationed in the living room for quick access.
Honestly, it was torture! We all felt house bound and trapped by this potty training method. Everything had to be extremely well timed and quick errands only. The pant-less stage was about 4 days for us. For some it’s longer, for other’s its 3. But the nanny got him back into pants pretty quickly. The author does mention that you don’t want your child pant-less for too long either.
The upside to the way we did it, our son got used to peeing in public bathrooms. We would go to the toilet when we first arrived at our destination, and then pee before we left. We had to toe a fine line between forcing him to go when he didn’t need but also making sure he wasn’t going to pee in the car seat. (Looking back, car seat pee is pretty bad but the worst for me was high chair pee accidents – there were 2 :S). Basically, you dance around prompting often but not too much. Potty training can be power struggle that you will never win so go in with that mentality and you should be okay.
After running around in pants with no underwear, they are supposed to progress to wearing underwear. This process can take months. It took us roughly 6 months before our little guy would wear underwear. He was kind of forced too since preschool required that he wear underwear. Thankfully he accepted it!
About a month or two after we started potty training, we would hear an incoherent mumbled followed by the word “GEEEE” as he would start running to the toilet. I can’t tell you how many dinners were burned on the stove or oven because of this. But “GEE” is “GEE” and it quickly becomes a priority!
Our reason for choosing to train so early was because we knew we were moving and were afraid potty training while adapting to our new life would be asking too much. We had a few months of stability so we trained him. After we moved, we expected to see a lot of regression. Our son blew us away and, instead of regressing, started taking himself to the toilet. I was cleaning in the kitchen when I heard a door close and the toilet seat clang. I went in to check on him and he was on the toilet, by himself! This was 5 months after we started. I was so proud of him!
Shortly after this huge step, we started preschool and, since starting preschool, we have seen some regression but we’re not sure if that’s more to do with being “too busy” to make it to pee on time. Our transition to preschool has been so smooth and so fantastic, he truly loves it. Which is why we think it’s more a case of waiting too long.
So we still see accidents about once a week or so. They are tied to distraction (as mentioned above), waiting too long in general, when he’s overtired, and when he is starting to get sick.
Poop, Poop, Poop!
The author dedicates a whole chapter to poop. This is because poop is really terrifying to kids for some reason, but we lucked out! He was pretty comfortable with poop from the get go. I think I can count the poop accidents on one and maybe a half hands. So regardless of how many pee accidents we’ve had, I cannot complain about poop.
As I mentioned above, I don’t have much to comment on her poop chapter since, to be honest, I’ve never read it. I never needed to *touch wood*.
Potty Training Paraphernalia
So quick note on some of my favourite products we bought. Most of it I bought off of Amazon, and the potty chairs from Toys R Us and Walmart (but they’re on Amazon too).
- We just purchased a generic potty that our son liked. I believe we had a Paw Patrol potty downstairs and a toilet replica potty upstairs, a Summer Infant My Size potty.
- Car seat protector pads. We had A LOT of these. We used them in the high chair too. They were pretty useful in capturing most of the pee but some would still seep through. We purchased the Britax Seat Saver Liners but there are multiple liners to choose from.
- We purchased a Primo Folding Potty with Handles. This was a bust. It wasn’t very stable and we didn’t use it for very long
- My favourite purchase was the Kalencom 2-in-1 Potette Plus. This is a folding portable potty chair that we left in the car for emergency purposes. It can also be used as a seat on a public toilet. You can purchase the bags but those are separate. But you do need to use some bag to capture the pee and/or poo. We purchased the liners and we still have some in the car. Now, you’re probably thinking that I have a boy so what’s the point. Well, we’ve had a few poops on the go so this was a lifesaver. I strongly recommend this product!
Night Time Training
Full disclosure: we have yet to start night time training. This is in part due to transitioning to a new environment as well as a toddler bed. He has always loved being swaddled and has always slept in a sleep sack. I was hesitant to take away the comfort/security factor of the sleep sack but I will be looking at night time training soon. The other reason for the delay – our son doesn’t get out of his bed. He will just sit there until we come get him. We have a GREAT thing going and I am a little too selfish right now to encourage him to leave his bed.
Once we pull the trigger on night time training, I’ll give a breakdown and review of what that process was like. I’m sure we’ll regret not having done it sooner and that there are pockets of people judging us for training so soon/not night time training at the same time. But we did what we thought was right by our family.
I have extremely mixed feelings about this method. Looking back, it didn’t seem that bad but writing about it brings back that dread and misery. I have no other method to compare it to though and looking at our results, I can’t really complain. Will I use this book again? I don’t know. I think the fact that I only did a small percentage of the early training and hated it may speak volumes but the logic in the book isn’t wrong. She does stress early potty training which is what scared me into this method. So if you read this but your toddler is older, the logic is still useful – I’m peeing, to I peed, to I need to pee. You may just have a few more power struggles along the way.
If you used this method, I would love to hear about your experience. I would also be very appreciative of any tips going into night time training. So if you have one or other magic wand or elixir, I would be more than happy to send you my shipping address! Otherwise words are good enough too. If you’re also living this right now and want to share, please do in the comments below.