Happy Monday friends! Our little hobbit just turned two years old last week (sobs) and we are getting ready to take potty training to the next level. I’ve struggled to write about this topic for a while now because 1) The first time I told someone I was potty training it felt like everything went south, and 2) It hasn’t been completely successful. I am, however, trying to look at the positives as we take the next step, so I wanted to share what has worked and what hasn’t.
We started potty training our son the week before he turned one. I was super determined (clearly) and our doctor had told us that some cultures were successful in training children by 15 months of age. I wanted to be that parent. And things, surprisingly, went very well from the beginning. We had used sign language with our son from a very early age and he had picked the signs up fairly quickly. The potty sign was no exception. It’s easy to start the association early on because babies don’t hide the fact that they’re going. So every time he would start turning red like a tomato or make pushing sounds, I would acknowledge the sounds he was making while signing for potty. After a few weeks, he was signaling to us whenever he needed to go. It was seriously the coolest thing ever until he started manipulating us and using the sign (and sound effects!) to try to get out of his highchair or nap time or anything really. Actually it was pretty hilarious but that’s beside the point. Anyways, the only problem was that his signing to go only covered pooping, which is where we are still at today. I think it’s just that peeing is so effortless, he doesn’t give it much thought or know how to make the distinction yet.
It certainly has been nice not needing to change poopy toddler diapers (with the exception of a few accidents) but now that we’ve been going to the potty for almost a year, I really want to get him fully trained in the next few weeks. I try not to be too hard on myself but I do put the blame on me for not having fully trained him. I think what he really needed (and still needs) is a few days in just underwear so that he can make the mistake of peeing and learn not to. I was unable to give him that opportunity when the fatigue started kicking in during my second pregnancy and it’s hard now that I’m juggling life with another baby. I’d have to be constantly on top of him so he doesn’t pee on any rugs and with a 8-month old in my arms, that’s difficult to do. All this is not to say that we didn’t have any success at all. Many people don’t start until 2 or 3 so I’m happy with where we are at now. There are some things, besides the signing, that I know have made this journey much easier so if you’re thinking about starting to potty train you might want to consider these things.
- Create a happy space. This is something we try to do everyday in our home but we very consciously made an effort to create a comfortable space he could feel was his. Even though it was just a small corner of the bathroom, it was his potty haven complete with his own colorful hand towel and bathroom mat
- Make it fun. This goes hand in hand with the making of the space. At first we would keep and rotate a few special toys in the bathroom. That way, he was always excited to go to the potty so he could play with those specific ones. We would also play DJ and let him listen to a song of choice, which basically turned into “Ants Go Marching” on repeat all day, everyday. When he turned 18-months, my mom got him an Elmo and Superhero Potty Book which we have kept in there as well. Now he enjoys going to the potty because he loves being read a story. We also had a special soap dispenser just for him and he enjoyed using it to wash his hands after a successful go. These small and simple touches have made for a smooth potty training experience for all of us.
- Give encouragement and rewards. Stickers can be your best friend. We definitely didn’t want to bribe our son with sweets or toys but we did want to give him recognition that he was doing an awesome job. The potty book he received came with a sticker chart and stickers that we hung up behind the bathroom door. Each time he would successfully tell us and go in his potty, he would get to put up a sticker on his chart. This somehow grew into sticker collecting and whenever we go out to Michaels or Target, we let him pick out his own stickers to put up. High-fives, hugs, clapping, and calling dada to share in excitement over another bowel movement are also wonderful gestures that have allowed us to express how proud of him we are.
We did make the switch from cloth diapers (little sis is using them now) to pull-ups several months ago so we are hoping there is an end in sight. He does and can pee in his potty but he just hasn’t gotten to the point where he tells us each and every time he needs to pee. As he gets older and his vocabulary expands, we are sure it will be a matter of time before it clicks. We made plans for this weekend to finally remove all the rugs in the living area and have him in underwear for an extended period of time. Our fingers are crossed and we could certainly use all the luck we can get 😉
Have you tried potty training before the age of 2? What tips and tricks worked for you? Let us know in the comments below. And as always..
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