Friday, August 24, 2012

It’s Official: My son is Potty Trained!


Potty training has been my arch enemy over the last year and a half. Yes, I said year and a half. I have been working on Potty training my first born since before I gave birth to my youngest son.

I have tried a lot of different approaches to potty training with very mixed results and have reached the conclusion that potty training is not for the faint of heart or people with queasy stomachs. Potty training boys is one hot mess and I could not be happier that my son is FINALLY potty trained!

I say he is officially potty trained now because he has spent an entire day going to the restroom without being prompted. He has had zero accidents. He has pooped in the potty {this was a seriously huge milestone for us}. He has woken up from his nap for the specific purpose of using the restroom and then he has gone back to sleep. He can tell me when he needs to go to the potty and he can hold it until he gets there. So how did this happen?


Potty training was not easy and it was a long journey of trying new things and discarding others as we moved along down the potty training road. I tried different style potties, I tried different reward systems, and I tried a couple different methods and in the end no one thing worked. It was a combination of everything. Let me explain…

We tried naked potty training, which I have heard from other mothers is the way to go. I ended up spending about a week and a half meticulously cleaning pee out of my carpets. My carpet cleaner has never been used more than when we tried the naked potty training method.

We tried the timer method where we put my son on a timer and tried to pee and poop whenever the timer went off. This was great-ish, except for when he had to go potty and the timer had not gone off or when we were out in public… then it was a hot mess. It was hard for us to stay consistent with this method.

We tried charts and graphs and stickers and special potty books. None of these things mattered in the slightest to my son. He could care less about the stickers, especially if he wasn’t constantly looking at the chart. And then came chocolate.

Like a boy after my own heart, my son loves chocolate. It started out at M&M’s and then I started letting him pick out which candies he wanted in his potty treasure chest. Yes we have a potty treasure chest. The potty treasure chest is quite simply a step stool that opens up and can store items. Most people use it for when they give their kids a bath; I use it to give my child independence when pooping. That is where our secret stash of chocolate is kept.
potty training

In order to gain access to this secret stash of chocolate and other sugary tasty treats that I would never in a million years just let my children have, one must use the restroom. Breaking it down even further, in order to savor the delicious chocolate that is the magic behind out toilet training success underwear must be dry and clean and ALL potty must go in the toilet. If there is an accident, there is no treat.
Accidents are okay. It is a process and there will be accidents. But there are no rewards for having an accident and I make my son help me clean it up {I know... mean mommy}. Accidents are how my child has learned to time his need for the bathroom versus his need to keep playing with his wooden railway. When we are accident free we get one treat for going pee and three treats for going poop.

Why the big deal for pooping in the potty? Because my son has until VERY recently refused to poop in the potty. He could pee all day long without any problems but for some reason pooping in the potty was so not going to happen. He didn’t want to do it. It hadn’t clicked for him and he wanted to poop in his diaper at naptime and not in the potty. This was extremely frustrating for me. I was at a loss and decided that when he was ready, he would do it. So I took a deep breath and kept trucking along on the potty training road hoping for a pooping miracle.

I took a little trip to New York and while I was gone my mother-in-law and my husband stepped up to the plate and helped out with my son’s potty training. They could have taken the easy road and put him in diapers, but they didn’t. They kept him in big boy underwear the entire time. I think having someone else aside from mommy pushing the whole potty training issue really helped. When I got back from New York my son was going pee in the potty without being prompted. There were still a few accidents, but not nearly as many as there once were. But he was still not pooping in the potty.

It was time to start pushing hard for pooping in the potty. When had an accident and pooped in his big boy underwear he flushed the poop down the potty and helped me clean up the mess. When he pooped in his diaper at naptime I showed him the poop and we went and flushed it down the potty. The big breakthrough came when we were playing outside and he told me he had to poop. He had started pooping already, but he still wanted to go sit on the potty. So we went and he pooped in the potty. He got up pointed to the poop and told me “Mommy, I did it! I pooped out the black stuff! I get THREE treats!”

He got his treats and was so excited about getting three treats that he wanted to try some more. He pooped again and got three more treats. Since then he has been trying really hard to make it to the potty each and every time he has to poop or pee. He has been great out in public {we use the restroom before we leave the house and again before we leave a store}. Amazing!

This week marks my son’s official potty trained status because he pooped and peed in the potty without being told to do it. He was accident free and he was in big boy underwear the entire time!

Yes my son is 3½ years old. Yes my son took a really long time to potty train, but we did it! We made it! It took a lot of patience and a lot of trial and error, but eventually my son became potty trained… Now I am wondering how long I should wait to start working on potty training with my youngest.
toilet training

I would love to hear what did or did not work for you? How was/is your potty training journey?


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