potty training

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Nothing has been easy with MacKenna so far in her short lifetime.  Yes, she was a fairly easy baby – didn’t fuss much, slept well, etc. – but she has always been quite a challenge when it comes to teaching her and learning new things.  Seriously, who would have though feeding a child could be so incredibly difficult for TWO FULL YEARS?!

Given that nothing has come easy with her so far, I had absolutely no expectations going in to potty training.  Yes, my short term goal was/is to have her potty trained by the end of the summer.  We have the summer off (except for the 2 weeks we are out of town) and plenty of time to spend at home close to the potty when we need to use it.

We have been talking the potty up for quite a while now.  I bought her a cute pink Minnie potty for her 2nd birthday back in October, just to get her used to having it around and to practice sitting on it and flushing it.  It’s always been somewhat of a toy for her, but she never really showed any interest in actually using it for the right purpose.  But, she was starting to tell us when she was poopy or wet and she also could go several hours in a diaper and still be dry.  So, we knew we were at least close to being ready but that maybe should could use the extra push to actually go on the potty.

We started Monday morning but had talked it up in the days leading up to it.  She would get to wear her new Bubble Guppies underwear and use the big girl potty like Mommy.  She wanted to be a big girl right?!  The one thing we knew was going to be the struggle though was that she had no idea exactly what she was supposed to do on the potty.  So, we went with underwear from the start because I wanted her to feel an accident and being wet so that she knew what she was supposed to do when she needed to go potty.


She went 2.5 hours on Monday before she had her first accident.  I brought her over to the potty and had her sit on it and explained to her that we didn’t want to make the floor wet, we wanted to make the potty wet and that pee-pee was for the potty.  Then, we put on some new underwear and went outside for a little while.

At one point while we were playing outside, I could tell she was getting uncomfortable and asked her if she wanted to go poopy.  She said yes, so I took her inside and sat her on her potty.  To my surprise, I found the tiniest little poop in the potty when she got up!  We celebrated and I gave her 5 marshmallows for going poopy on the potty.  Hurray!  I thought that was definitely a good sign, but I was wrong.

She finished the day with a total of 3 accidents and ended up doing her “big poopy” in her diaper during her nap.  We also had gymnastics that night, so we spent the evening in a diaper, which I am perfectly fine with for now.

Day 2 and 3 were much of the same thing.  She asked to sit on the potty about every 5 minutes, but mostly for the attention.  She never ended up going in it and ended the day with 3 or 4 accidents.  Still not bad, but we definitely weren’t seeing any progress.

By Day 4, I think all 3 of us were frustrated.  She would ask to sit on the potty constantly, but she would only sit for like 2 seconds and get back up.  She also really had to go poop but was scared to go on the potty and just kept asking to go.  But, as soon as I put a diaper on her, within 15 minutes, she had gone poopy.  *sigh*

Matt and I were also going completely stir crazy at home.  The one thing we didn’t want was to spend the summer sitting at home, waiting for our toddler to use the potty or have an accident.  So, we sort of reevaluated our expectations (which weren’t anything really) and where we though Kenna was in terms of actually using the potty, and decided to take a step back.  We are still working on it, having her sit on the potty every couple of hours and she is still asking us to go about every 30 minutes (sometimes sooner), but we still haven’t had any success.

I also gave in and put her in pull-ups.  I really didn’t want to because to her, it’s a diaper.  But, we figured maybe this was a better first step to potty training before we get to a “3-day bootcamp” point.  This way, we can still practice using the potty, we still can pull the “underwear” up and down like a big girl (although they are much harder to pull up than real underwear), but we don’t have to worry about her having an accident on my parents hardwood floor and furniture.

I did end up buying some Potty Patty training pants to practice with while we are at home instead of the pull-ups (because I hate them).  I want her to feel like she is wearing underwear and I also want her to feel wet.  Pull-ups simply just don’t do that.  Like I said, it’s a diaper to her.  So, I’m hoping that the training pants will help her a little bit more but still contain most of her accidents (and not ruin the hardwood floor).

potty patty

In the end, our long term goal is to have her potty trained by her 3rd birthday or, at the very latest, by the end of 2014.  Having no expectations and taking our time definitely seems to be ideal for us right now and especially with a BIG vacation coming up in the next few weeks.  Like my mom said, no kid graduates high school still peeing in their pants…

How did you finally get your child to use the potty?  What worked for you – taking your time or a 3-day bootcamp?

  • Ali

    Love your mom’s comment. I stressed with Sam for the longest time, then all of a sudden – no problem. He really wanted Santa to be proud of him for tinkling on the potty. Whatever it takes. ; )

  • Sarah

    Sounds like she is catching on! 3 day method worked for us. I credit daycare too with preparing the kids and celebrating when they went.

  • Anna

    Potty training is not easy. I was a nanny for two years and the second year I watched them, we did potty training. They were B/G twins and I learned so much from the experience. Patience is the most important thing and Pull-ups are the dumbest thing in my mind. I didn’t want to use them but their mom did. They are just an easier diaper.
    Small bribes helped me and those came in the forms of stickers, m&ms and other small candies.
    Don’t worry, becoming fully potty trained does take awhile but it will click in her head and it does get easier. I wish you luck all summer!

    • Kristen

      Yeah, I hate using pullups but we are trying to make sure she knows the difference between a pullup and a diaper. Except we treat it like a diaper a little too frequently. The good thing is she is still asking us to go to the potty and if we accidentally say diaper, she will correct us! We will eventually move full time to undies, but not until after most of our summer vacations are over.

  • Jessie

    We waited until Lyric was starting to get really interested in the potty (24 months). She would go with me & ask to flush, would tell me when she needed a change and actually go get a diaper/wipes & lay down. So I just went for it. I taught her wet vs dry by letting her feel the laundry. We did a diaper countdown and I bought 30ish pairs of undies. As tempted as I was to put a diaper/pull-up on her when we left the house I didn’t. Once we started with underwear there was no going back, it would just confuse her.

    The biggest thing for our success (I think) was to celebrate her being dry. The first week it would give treats (a choc chip) for going in the potty. Then, I started giving treats for dry undies at random times. And finally, if she initiated going potty AND stayed dry she got a treat.

    We never take her to the potty unless it’s before bed or we are leaving the house. It’s HER responsibility & I made sure she knew that from day 1. We haven’t started night training yet but she’s getting there!

    Good luck!!

    • Kristen

      Great advice! We stopped asking Kenna if she needed to go and are starting to realize that she will tell us! She also does the potty dance really well, but is still scared to go on the potty. It’s frustrating. We’ve been trying to treat pullups like underwear (we’re definitely trying not to call it a diaper because we want it to be different) but after a weekend out of town, it got treated more like a diaper and she stopped asking to go every 2 minutes (which was actually better for us because we are going on a much bigger trip coming up and were worried that she was going to need to go potty every 2 minutes). We will get there though! We’re not in too much of a hurry.

  • Momof2

    I found my two girls potty-trained when they were ready. For my first, I day trained then night which was difficult and took a long time for her to be completely dry. With my second I day and night trained together with a Conni bed pad which made the process really easy and quick. I think this worked as there was no confusion with wearing a diaper at night but wearing underwear during the day. I also think it reduced stress in the house because I wasn’t worried about the mattress as I knew it would be protected.
    All the best – as you say, people don’t go to college without having been potty trained!

    • Kristen

      Yeah, I totally understand that. I think I’m just afraid we will be up all night if she’s wet! Ha! That’s just me being selfish though!

  • We did the 3 day potty training and it worked, but it was more like 5 days. Good luck! She’s a cutie!
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  • I used this method with my oldest at 2 1/2 and it worked GREAT! He still pooped in a diaper for a good 6 months after and he still wears diapers for nap and bedtime at age 4. My 2nd who is 2 1/2 has no interest at all so we’re waiting. I don’t really plan on pushing the issue until 3. If she shows some interest great, if not I’m not in a hurry at all.
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