If it wasn't happening to me, I'd hardly believe it was true, but Rohan has started to potty train himself. He's just over 26 months old, and he's POTTY TRAINING HIMSELF.
It started a few months ago, when my mom decided to buy him big boy undies for playing in the sprinklers at her house. His diapers would get too soaked, but she didn't want him playing in just his shorts, so she comprimised and got the undies. He didn't potty train at that time. In fact, he had pretty much zero interest. We've had the baby potty out in our great room for months now, and though he ocassionally would ask to sit on the potty because he thought it was funny, he never did anything while sitting there. Well, nothing aside from getting completely naked, which I hear is a boy thing, this desire to be completely nude to potty train.
We were not worried at all, mainly because I have always heard that boys tend to potty train later than girls and I should not expect Rohan to even be interested until he was closer to 3. Luca was just days past her 2nd birthday when we told her 2 year olds are big girls and big girls don't wear diapers, and for her that worked so well that within the week she had turned 2 and completely potty trained during the day. (Funny side note: she was in the midst of potty training at her birthday party, which was at our house. In the middle of the party, she moved her potty into the middle of the room and proceeded to use it in front of a room full of guests while I was upstairs nursing Rohan.) However, she'd also shown interest at a younger age, telling us when she was wet or dirty when she was only 15 months old, and vocalizing that she needed to 'poop' by 18 months. Add to that me being home on maternity leave and able to dedicate the entire day to running her to and from the potty and it really wasn't difficult. But no one is home full time with the kids right now, which means they move between home with Darrick to over to my mom's to back home, and all that movement means less opportunity to just focus on potty use.
And then, about 2 weeks ago, I took him to Target with me and let him pick out some big boy undies for home (he picked Yo Gabba Gabba), and sometime last week he started saying no to diapers and asking for the 'big boy ungies' instead. Then on Thursday afternoon my husband called as I drove home from work and told me he'd gone pee in the potty all by himself, with my husband not even in the same room. We were excited but figured it might be a fluke.
I no longer think it's a fluke. Since last Thursday, he's been using the training potty to go pee, although he still hasn't quite figured out the 'other' use for that potty. He won't even ask...just strolls over and says, "I need to pee pee" and takes care of business. When he's done, he hops up and points, clapping and saying, "I did it!" or "I went pee pee, mama!" or (my favorite) "I win!!!".
And so it goes. We're crossing our fingers and hoping this is it and he'll soon be fully potty trained. And, as always, we're in awe at how seamlessly our baby is turning into a big boy.
But that's not all. I mentioned Luca's ease with potty training, but what I didn't mention is that nighttime potty training for her just wasn't happening. She's been completly accident-free during the daytime, save for the rare ocassion where she's playing so hard she doesn't make it to the potty on time, for over 2 years. We tried various things to help her potty train at night, including:
- trying not to let her drink much after dinner so she wouldn't go to bed with a full bladder
- switching her to Pull-Ups so she can easily get them up and down on her own
- waking her a few times a night to try to get her to go potty
- putting the little potty in her room so if she woke at night it would be close by and she wouldn't have to go into the bathroom alone
None of these tricks worked. Waking her was the silliest, because the kid sleeps like a log. I would have her go potty before bed and then wake her to go when I was getting ready for bed. After two nights of carrying her sleepy body into the bathroom and holding her on the potty as she slept through the whole adventure, I decided it was madness. Parents spend months and months trying to get their kids to sleep through the night, and here I was waking her on purpose when she didn't want to wake?
So after much discussion about the physiology of little kids, we decided to let it happen in its own time. Which meant, at 4 years old, she was still wearing a Pull Up to bed and waking up with it full every morning. It didn't bother me because I knew it would happen in its own time and the last thing I wanted was to create an issue about nighttime bed wetting. But, in time, it started to bother her and she started to complain about the Pull Up, telling me it was uncomfortable and she wanted to sleep without it.
So, we made a no-pressure deal. I sat in her room one night last week and told her that if she woke up 4 nights in a row with a dry Pull Up, she could start to sleep without one. And if she didn't have any accidents, we decided together she can get a new pair of jammies and some slippers. I don't know why slippers had to be part of the deal, but she insisted so I agreed.
The very next morning, her Pull Up was dry.
Last night, I had to work late at an event so I wasn't here to put her to bed. I got home about 10, and when I went to check on her, she was in a pair of her brother's new undies. I decided to let it go. Her Pull Up had been dry by then for 3 nights, and on that 4th night she woke with dry (although boy-style) undies.
Tonight, she went to bed in her Disney Princess swimsuit. Worst case, she wakes wet. Best case? We're well on our way to saying good bye to Pull Ups and investing in some new jammies and slippers!
I would be remiss if I didn't say this: potty training is tough. Everyone has their own methods for it, but I took the advice of some amazing moms I know whose kids potty trained fairly seamlessly (looking at YOU, Linz). Here's what we did:
- Made a big deal about Luca being a 'big girl', since at 2 hearing she was a big girl was a compliment unmatched by any other. (We planned to do the same with Rohan, but he was actually the one who initiated the 'big boy' thing)
- Told her big girls wear undies, not diapers, and went cold turkey. (Again, with Mo we'd planned the same thing, but he was the one who asked to wear undies instead. With Luca it was easy to push this, since I knew she needed the push and would respond. With Rohan, he didn't show any interest in potty training until HE was ready - such as dry diapers for extended times or asking to sit on the potty or watching us go - so we followed his lead.)
- Kept them both home as much as possible in the early days, allowing them to be naked or in undies all day and providing frequent and easy access to the potty.
- Responded only to the successes, and quietly cleaned up any mistakes without reprimand. We want them to have only positive feelings about potty training, and scolidng or punishing for accidents isn't productive and could jeapordize that. If they have accidents, we aknowledge them by saying, "Accidents happen. Let's clean this up and next time let's try to make it to the potty, ok?" Both of our kids really respond to this positive reinforcement.
- Speaking of positive reinforcement, we give candy early in potty training. The irony of giving chocolates for THAT doesn't escape us, and normally we don't reward with candy for things they are 'supposed' to do, but in the case of potty training, a treat is a positive reinforcement of a job well done. We also make a big deal out of hugging and cheering them on once they used the potty successfully.
- Once they are pretty much accident-free at home, we go diaper-free on short trips in public. Bring extra clothes and wipes just in case, and dress them in something that: (a) contains messes as much as possible (i.e. shorts that fit well for a girl, not a dress) and (b) can be soiled without you caring.
We're not experts. If anything, we are extremely lucky that so far both our kids have been 'easy' to potty train and are interested in doing it. And we're so happy it's come this easily for both of them so far.