So not only did I successfully get my child to wear pigtails in her hair for longer than thirty seconds (which I am extremely proud of by the way), I can now officially state that she is well on her way to being potty trained. I was a little nervous to write about this on here, as I didn't want to jinx anything, but we've been gradually getting closer and closer to a diaper-less existence. So for those of you who are childless and uninterested in the details of potty training a two-and-a-half-foot person, feel free to skip this one. For the rest, you may read on at your own risk and I warn you that I will use words like 'pee' and 'number two' pretty frequently:
Now I have to be honest and say that I have assumed more of a support role in the potty training process. Being a first time parent, I honestly had zero expectations of when Violet would train on the potty. (Well, I did assume by age three as my niece and nephew both were trained by then, but that seemed like a long time away). The real bulk of the work has been done by Violet's sitter. She encouraged me to start the process (I really hadn't even considered it other than letting Violet sit on the potty and use toilet paper for fun - she likes to do what her mama does) But serious and actual down and dirty training? The thought hadn't even crossed my mind.
That all changed when Violet's sitter wrote a question in the journal that she sends home each day - "So when were you thinking about starting to potty train Violet?" Suddenly it was before me in all of its toilet-glory, and I decided to go for it. She had shown interest in the potty, enjoyed the potty for pretend play, and I figured it couldn't hurt to harness that enthusiasm.
Sooo here we are. Yesterday my daughter peed twice on the potty at the library (yes a public restroom!) and informed me not once, but twice at home yesterday that she had to pee. She can now pee within seconds of sitting, unlike at the beginning where we sat. And sat. And saaaaat. She is going to be 21 months old tomorrow and I'm amazed at her potty abilities.
Now I realize that every child is different (the sitter's boys trained much later than her daughter who was trained by 20 months!) and the methods that have worked so far for me may not work for you. But for those of you who don't have an amazing babysitter who walks you through the joy of potty training, I thought this could potentially be helpful. So here's how we went about it (in all of its glorious detail):
1. Make sitting on the potty a part of your daily routine
We started out by sitting Violet on the training potty whenever we would normally change her diaper. We'd take her wet diaper off, place her on the potty for a few minutes, and finally wipe and put the new diaper on. That way we weren't wasting a ton of diapers and she just got used to sitting on it routinely. (I'll admit I was kind of annoyed by this extra step initially. Extra work is not a welcome phenomenon in my world). If she peed, great, if not - no biggie. The point was to get her used to sitting on the potty on a regular basis.
2. Test out training underwear with scheduled potty visits
After about a month of this, we decided to go for it one day and put her in training underwear. We sat Violet on the training potty every 20-30 minutes, unless of course she asked or seemed to need to go sooner.
One hiccup I ran into is that Violet's enthusiasm for the potty came to a sudden halt at home. At the sitter's there are two other potty trained children and I'm sure the potty was a fun group activity, but at home when I asked if she needed to sit on the potty I started to get a decided 'NO!' Thanks to my mom this issue got resolved in a really easy way. She babysat Violet over the weekend and simply put her on the potty without asking or telling her first. Problem solved (and why didn't I think of that!)
3. Keep it positive & fun
There were some accidents during this time, but we never treated them negatively. Just cleaned up the mess and moved on. (Which is way easier when you have mostly wood floors and not carpet by the way!) Now the successes? Those we celebrate! We clap, sing silly songs, and of course tell Violet how much of a 'big girl' she is and how proud we are of her. She is always thrilled and claps right along with us - so cute.
We also inform everyone and their mother of her potty-training successes ("Violet peed on the potty TWO times today!!!") Whenever we do this she gets such a happy and proud look on her face. It's pretty freaking adorable. (Oh and sorry to all our friends and relatives who have to hear about my daughter's bodily functions - and thanks for making it seem like the most exciting news you've ever heard!)
4. Don't push too hard
As far as number two is concerned, that's still hit or miss. We've had two successes, but she often gets pretty upset about doing it on the potty, so I've let her use her diaper when she chooses. We're really trying to associate potty training with positive feelings and not negative ones, and I feel like she's on the younger side of things as far as potty-training is concerned. Maybe she's just not completely ready for that part yet - and that's okay.
5. Encourage self-awareness
Just recently, Violet took the next big step and started informing us when she has to go. Usually she comes up to me and says, "Mommy...pee pee!" and off we go! If she doesn't ask within half an hour, we usually will go and try anyway. Sometimes she gets so into what she's doing or playing with I worry that her mind is on other things than her bladder (I'll admit that her bladder isn't always the first thing on my mind either!) She's also woken up from most of her naps dry, which is pretty awesome, although at night she still goes in her diaper. (At least for now).
Overall I'm pretty happy with how things are panning out, and if all goes well, maybe she'll even be fully trained by the time we go to Australia (it would be amaaaazing not to have to lug too many diapers along! I know this probably all sounds excruciatingly slow and everything, and I know that some people go cold turkey to underwear, or use pull-ups, or a billion different methods that I have no clue about, but this slow gradual process has worked really well for us. I'm going to admit that it's more work than just changing her diaper, and requires a lot of time and patience, but it will pay off in the end. Slow and steady wins the race, right?!
And Violet's favorite part? FLUSHING of course! She even has a method - close the lid, flush, open the lid, watch, then re-close and clap. (You cannot flush while the lid is open apparently. Where do they come up with these ideas?) So there you have it. And if you have survived this post I applaud you and wish you much luck and a babysitter-fairy who magically appear to help you with all of your anti-diaper endeavors.
*update: we used this potty in white - I liked the height of it, the fact that it had a backrest, and the simple design. It's working great!