30 December 2010

Renewed Faith in the Potty

Remember when I said I knew we would have better days and worse days? I didn't realize the worse days would happen so quickly. And so roughly.

I've had a lot of requests from people asking me to post updates on potty training, so for those who are not interested - and especially for those who are eating dinner in front of the computer - I suggest you move on. Potty talk isn't pretty...

Day 2 of potty training went really well. For the second day in a row he pooped on the potty and went first thing after waking up in the morning (and, by the way, I haven't had to change a poopy diaper since Saturday - that's worth it!). Then he had a few accidents, then a successful trip to pee pee on the potty. Then more accidents. A total of about 6 accidents. But then, all of a sudden, at 11:30am we hit our stride. He went from 11:30am all the way to bedtime with no accidents. Well, not entirely true - he had half of an accident... He walked into the bathroom and started to pee on the floor but I quickly placed him on the potty and he finished there. But still, 11:30am-7:30pm with near 100% success? I was really excited.

Until Day 3.

Day 3 was rough. R-O-U-G-H. Nothing but accidents most of the day. Only 3 successful trips to the potty the whole day. I was frazzled. I knew we'd have back and forth days, ups and downs, difficult days, but this? It sucked. I started to question my method, wondering if we're ready... I somehow made it through the day. I was whooped by mid-afternoon. Gratefully Gary is an awesome husband and dad - he picked up dinner, swooped in to help me out, and let me have some much needed relaxation that evening. I had no idea potty training would turn me inside out.

I wasn't frustrated with Sheridan, though. But I did start to question if this was going to work. But once again, truth be told, some of those accidents were my fault. Not taking him when my gut told me (thinking he could make it a few more minutes), or sending a quick work email (it'll only take a minute - yeah, and Buddy only needs 20 seconds to flood my hallway, so you do the math). Or, sometimes you wonder if he's doing something and it's a "sign" that he has to go. Sometimes you put him on the potty and nothing, so other times you decide not to put him on the potty and, well, puddle. He's still learning (obviously I am to), so his cues aren't going to be consistent. But I can be consistent - and that's what I decided to do. 

And I started thinking about the silver lining in Day 3: Sheridan understood when he was having an accident. He would freeze, look up at me, stare for a few seconds, then look down and watch the pee, and look up at me. He definitely understands what's happening (when he was in diapers he would never even acknowledge he had peed). This awareness is HUGE in potty training. So I had to chalk that up as a success.

Day 4: honestly, not much better than Day 3. Four successful trips to the potty. Lots of accidents (some my fault - this is really hard for the parents, too!). But I remained consistent. And after a much-needed pep talk with my friend Natalie who's been through this with her boy recently, I decided I would add a couple things to our potty routine repertoire. 

Sheridan LOVES the stickers he gets when he goes on the potty. So, I did a sticker shopping spree at Target. I really wish you could have seen the look on his face when I showed him the cupcake stickers (he chose the pink cupcake after peeing this afternoon). So, stickers are great motivators for him. 

Today, we also added one Annie's Organic Berry Bunny Snacks (gummy bunnies) to the mix. So, when he is successful he gets 1 sticker and 1 gummy. 

I also made a board for him to put magnets on even when he just tries to go. So, every time he sits on the potty for potty time, but he doesn't go, we tell him "Good trying, Sheridan! Good job... we'll come back and try again in a little bit." When he walks out of the bathroom, he goes to the board and puts a magnet in the "Good Try!" area. So, he's rewarded for each step, really.

The magnets are really small, but I guess the fine-motor workout is an added bonus!
We've been using the Poop and Pee areas of the board to track what he's doing. We were letting him put those on, too, as a reward. But decided it was too much going on (his OT mentioned that it might be too much - too many rewards can be confusing). So, he just gets his sticker & gummy when he is successful and a magnet when he tries. 

And how did today go? Day 5 was good. An upswing. He had 5 successful pees/poop on the potty, and only 4 accidents. And you can see for yourself how many trips he made to the potty and gave a good try... it's a lot!

As you can see, little hands on the board all day make it tough to read. So, tonight I will recreate this with permanent markers. This will be our Potty Board for life :)
We are really proud of him - and us. But, at least one of those accidents was our fault again :) We just keep doing the best we can.

And, just FYI, we're not training for nap/night time. He wears a diaper for his nap (he goes to the potty right before nap time, then I change him into his diaper for the nap - as soon as he wakes up we go straight to the bathroom for the potty). For 3 of the 5 days we've been potty training, though, he was woken up from his 2-2.5 hour nap DRY. And he pees on the potty as soon as he wakes up. 

We do the same at bedtime. He goes on the potty before his bath (sometimes he still pees in his bath), then into a diaper for bed. As soon as he wakes up in the morning we start the process all over again :)

So that's where we are. I have renewed faith in potty training, and I know that bad days are inevitable. And I need to not feel defeated and especially not question myself (easier said here than done during the day cleaning up pee). And we just have to keep learning together. 

Oh, and an update on underwear... I had a few people remind me of the fabulous things you can find on Etsy, but because handmade underwear are so pricey, I decided to give a few new store-bought brands a try (although the stuff on Etsy is WAY cuter!). As a reminder, I don't want pull-ups or anything with padding/absorbent material - Sheridan was in cloth diapers and I think that would mimic his diapers too much. So, straight big-boy underwear is what we're after. Size 2T/3T is about all you can find in stores, but I found two brands that run small - small enough that if washed on hot, after coming out of the dryer they are perfect for little man. I found these boxer briefs (by Hanes) and these briefs (by Handcraft) at Target. But you can find them anywhere, and obviously online.


  1. Good luck, sending great potty day prayers your way. We made the switch to undies last week too.

  2. My two older boys were both trained with poo's first - i think there is more warning time for them and with one boy it took a few weeks to get the wees sorted but the other one took 8 months it was very trying ! You are doing a great job - I always found that having the boys put their wet clothes in the laundry themselves was good for their understanding. Love those boxers - too cute.

  3. Lisa these are such helpful posts. I am just starting to think my son might be ready for potty-training and there is so much confusing info out there. It's really helpful to see a realistic account of the day-in/day-out attempts and prepare myself for what it might really be like. Thank you for posting! (I'm Cori's friend by the way, that's how I came across your adorable blog.)