Thursday, January 19, 2012

And Just Like That...

She was potty trained! The title of this post is more in relation to how fast each milestone has come and gone, rather than how quickly she was actually potty trained. I remember putting her bottles up, then her pacis, and now we have a drawer stocked with big girl panties. Watching a little one grow really shows you how quickly time passes. While each moment of raising a child is not pleasant, they are all fleeting and I am thankful to get to experience this journey! So, for the is her potty training story!

Avery was the very last toddler in her class at school to turn 2. For her this means that she gets to watch all of the other older kids for cues on development. For us, the age difference has brought both good and bad behavior earlier than normal. We are definitely happy about the push it gave her for potty training. Back in May (20 months old), her teachers picked up on when she wanted to go #2 in the potty. She would do this a couple times per week and really liked the praise and silly bands she received as a result. This behavior never happened at home though. We decided we wanted to let her get very used to the idea of using the potty without putting pressure on her to be trained. This led us to buy a ring that fits in our normal toilet and to sit her on it while wearing a diaper. We would talk about how Mommy, Daddy, and other family all wear big boy and big girl underwear and put their tee tee and poo poo in the potty. We decided very shortly after she was born not to buy a separate potty and feel that it was a great decision for us. Our thoughts are that there will never be a separate potty at restaurants, other people's houses, or at sporting events, so why create a dependence on one?

We decided that potty training D-Day would come the first weekend in November (26 months old). Between home games and trips out of town and to conquer it with plenty of time left before baby boy arrives, it was the only weekend that would work. We made a commitment not to travel for at least 4 weekends after the initial training weekend. D-Day for us meant no more diapers (except for naps and night time). So, I ordered gerber cotton training pants that are just a little thicker than normal panties, from amazon. My mom actually used the same ones to train us and we too have been very impressed. Avery likes they way the feel a lot more than just regular panties. They are much softer and she notices the difference. We also had a couple of other packs of regular minnie mouse and hello kitty for back up. Avery's Aunt B bought her a potty stool which really got her pumped. We bought marshmallows and M&Ms for rewards, but didn't buy any other special gifts or treats for training. Lastly, we made a decision to not use pull ups at all. For our household, it is either a diaper or real underwear, no in-betweens. If the training didn't go as expected, we were going back to diapers...

Both Thursday and Friday were spent talking about how diapers were going to go bye-bye and that she was about to only wear big girl panties. We even let her wear the panties over her diaper on those nights. Saturday morning we woke up and immediately put on her panties in preparation for the day. We told her that when she needed to go tee-tee to say it really loud and take off running toward the potty. At the recommendation of a friend, we downloaded the potty training boot camp e-book. Just to document, we also ordered a travel potty for the car (it is basically just a hole that you can put a bag down in if you are at the park or leave open if you have to pull over on the side of of the road) and then a protector for her car seat is there were to be an accident in the car.

She told us a couple of times that she needed to go, but nothing happened. Then she had 2 tee tee accidents in her panties and one with nothing on. After this accident (I think seeing it in the floor really grossed her out) and lots of talk about keeping her panties dry and how awesome it is to put her tee tee in the potty, she started to succeed. Those were the only tee tee accidents we had at home during the three days of training. So, even though it is recommended to stay at home for the three days, we decided to venture out to church on Sunday. I packed her extra clothes and panties and off we went. When dropping her off  in the twos nursery class, I found that she was the only one in there who was starting to train. Because none of the volunteers had any experience with taking little ones to the potty and watching for cues, I had serious doubts that she would make it through church without an accident. Sure enough, she tee teed and had to be changed. Once at home that day, she did great with tee tee the rest of the night and the entire next day

Now on to poo poo! Saturday, she had one accident that night. She went to the bathroom and used it next to the toilet without us knowing. When we found it, she helped us clean it up and we talked about how gross it is when we don't put our poo poo in the potty. Her next accident came on Sunday night in her pants and it was a big one. Again, we made a huge deal out of how stinky and nasty it was in her panties. She helped me dump it in the potty and then since she needed a bath anyways, I stripped her down and put her in the tub so she could help me wash her panties out. Watching the poopy wash off her panties and into the tub really threw her for a loop. She kept trying to back away from the faucet and was worried about it getting on her legs. It was just the event we needed for driving the point home (thanks potty training boot camp). On Monday, SUCCESS, no tee tee or poo poo accidents and when she had her first poopy in the potty, we went for an ice cream cone at Micky Ds! She stayed in her pajama top, but wanted to wear the ballet tutu over her panties! Her eyes are closed in both pictures, but you can see how happy she was herself!

Once back at school on Tuesday, she had one accident and since then no more. The next Sunday at church, she stayed with us during the service and Sunday School and went to the bathroom twice while there. We took her back to the nursery for the third Sunday and she did great with telling them when she needed to go. We were truly amazed at how much she wanted to use the potty. She loved and still loves the verbal praise she gets for going. I am glad we stuck to small rewards (a piece of candy, getting to watch elmo, ice cream cone, silly bands, and verbal praise) as incentive to stay dry. We wanted her to really grasp that this being a big girl means using the potty and to not associate it so much with rewards. We played on the fact that she likes doing what everyone else in our family does.

Our first long car trip was December 15th and she let us know throughout the trip when she needed to go. Between the two of us, I think we stopped about 6 times on the 4 hour drive to Haleyville. Levi was about to lose his mind! Who knows when we will move out of diapers at nap and at night...I am sure it will come developmentally at some point. Our main goal was to have her trained before little guy gets here and that is accomplished. I am interested to see if she will regress once he is here. We will deal with that when it comes!

Levi and I were at home together Saturday and Sunday and wow, did we need each other's support throughout the process. At different times we gave each other encouragement for how big this step really was and to ease up on ourselves and the expectations we had. We made sure to make the house seem as loving as possible and asked God to shower us with grace and strength to help Avery achieve this milestone. We also prayed for Avery. That she would be willing to yield to our encouragement and believe that she could do it. After doing this, we decided that if after three days there was no progress, we would pick it back up at Christmas. We really did try to take the pressure out of the process. In the end, Avery's journey was pretty short and a success. I will be interested to see what it like to train a little boy. We know everything could be different and hope to compare their development as little as possible.

The funniest moment so far came during December. When getting ready to leave for school, she told me her tummy was hurting. I asked if she wanted to go to the potty and she said "no, I want to wait till I get to school." Basically, she was holding our for a silly band reward :) Such a little mess she is!

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