If you’re wondering what we’ve been up to this past month, well now you know… The whole month of May was all about potty training… Since then, our life has revolved around whether Alia pees or not – “Has she peed yet?” “Make sure she gets a good pee before we go” “Oh no, not another accident!” :p
I thought that I’d share our experience of toilet training…
If you subscribe to one of those parenting emails or read parenting books, one of the discussed topics of toddlerhood is toilet training. They usually give you a list of signs of readiness for toilet training such as this or this – can walk steadily, remains dry for a few hours, knows words for urine and stool, etc. I started reading such a list when she turned 16 months old and trying to check things off. I also began to read the “how to do toilet training” online. Honestly, the whole thing seemed confusing and overwhelming.
Some parents in a parenting forum that I follow suggested the book “Oh Crap! Potty Training: Everything Modern Parents Need to Know to Do It Once and Do It Right” by Jamie Glowacki. This book has officially become our guide and kept us sane all throughout the process. Jamie (she has become my friend, so we’re on a first name basis now hahah) believes that the ideal age to start is between 20 – 30 months old (although she talks about the how to if you decide to do it earlier or later). She breaks down the process into 6 blocks (I’ll share our experience with some of the blocks later) and the possible drama in each block. She doesn’t believe in using rewards like stickers, toys, or candy during potty training – just a simple “yeah, you peed in the potty” dance or cheer. She also has a whole chapter on POOP. Yes, that smelly poop! Apparently, this is a big thing for kids when they’re in the process of toilet training. She also has a chapter on what to do if your child is in daycare. And another thing I like is that Jamie also teaches parents the kind of language to use with your child during the process (how to prompt, how to reprimand, how to motivate, etc.). I can’t say enough about how helpful this book has been to us! I’m going to start giving this book at a baby shower heheheh…
So back to our experience… These are our toilet training tools:
When I was still trying to decide on the start date, I realized that Alia had started showing several major signs of readiness: waking up dry in the morning and after naps, telling us when she needed to poop, and saying the terms for pee and poop in Indonesian. According to Jamie, one of the major keys to success is us parents. After giving a crash course to my husband about the how to, I asked him several times, “Are you ready for this? Coz once we start, there’s no going back!” :p Both parents have to be mentally prepared because you don’t know how long it’ll take and how your child will respond to this whole process.
Block 1: diaper free all day! For us, it was naked bottom all day. We set up two potty stations (in the living room and the bathroom). Jamie says to do nothing but watch your child to look for the “I need to pee” signs. I literally followed Alia around trying to spot the sign – no Facebook, no Instagram, no reading, no TV, nothing but watching her like hawk. Did I see the sign on the first day? NO! :p She peed on the floor several times (of course), I carried a peeing child to the bathroom leaving a trail of pee behind, and there was a lot of mopping :p The whole idea of being diaper free at the beginning is so that the child makes the connection between “feeling” and “doing” faster than if you take the child every half an hour or so to the toilet to pee. For us, this block lasted for two days since Alia began to associate potty with peeing and pooping. Except for nighttime, she doesn’t wear any diapers or pull ups since day 1 of Block 1.
Block 2: commando style (no underwear, just pants) While we had to stay home all day during Block 1, Block 2 means short trips outside with pants on like a walk around the neighborhood. This also means getting into the routine of peeing before we go anywhere. And this is where drama happened for us. It was a lot of resistance from Alia every time I told her to pee – NO NO NO and running away #sigh. It was very frustrating and I almost quit… But Jamie reminds parents to not overprompt and to respect the child when they say no (perhaps they really don’t need to go). So relax and trust the child. She was more cooperative then. My husband and I always made a big deal every time she peed in the potty by giving her a high five and doing my little “yeah, you did it!” dance.
Block 3: out and about as usual without diapers (still no underwear) Block 2 lasted for 3 days or so, and then I decided to be brave and return to our normal routines – playground, music class, playdates, dining out, etc. We made sure that she pees before we go, and if she hasn’t peed for two hours or so, we prompted her to pee. By this stage, we experienced very little resistance; she learned that at some point, one of us was going to say, “It’s time to pee, Alia.”
Where are we now? We’re confident to say that at 22 months old, Alia is potty trained! *doing my potty dance! 🙂 She now tells us when she needs to go and we no longer use diapers at night. Yes, accidents are still bound to happen, but hopefully we can keep this to a minimum. Bye bye, diapers! 😀 *fingers crossed hoping for no regression…
Some highlights from the past few weeks: carrying a child half peeing to the toilet leaving a trail of pee in the house, having a child do her business at the side of I-93, making space at the back of your SUV so she can comfortably pee/poop, and wiping the slide at the playground because your child just had her first accident in public! :p #funmemories
From this experience, I’d say toilet training is not only about your child’s readiness, but it’s also about the parents. Do it when you’re ready to devote your time and energy – be mentally ready for anything and everything! Come prepared with information – find the most suitable methods and stick to them. Be ready for some resistance and set backs. Good luck to us, parents!!! 😀