So, I'm not a fan of diapers. Who is, right? I've talked about our open attempts to get rid of diapers super early on. Nick's co worker told us about the 3 day potty training method and how it worked for her son, who's about 3 months older than Jenna.
We checked it out, and decided to give it a go last weekend. We were mentally prepared to throw away diapers and never look back. (For the record, we had Jenna throw away some diapers, the rest we packed up to pass on to a friend. I know she would've used them had we not done the potty training, but I didn't see the need to waste them before they were used...)
I had plenty of 'big girl underwear'. Princesses, Dora and Minnie Mouse were the ones we chose. I had started feeding her higher fiber foods a couple of days before, and I was all set to try to get her to drink as much water as was possible to allow for more learning opportunities. I took a Monday off of work, knowing I would need to be home for 3 full days before sending her back to day care. Nick was fully on board, and although we both weren't 'excited' to do this, we were both prepared to spend a full weekend at home sans diapers.
Saturday morning, we started off in diapers, ate breakfast. I did some laundry and meal prep to ensure my full and undivided attention would be on Jenna that day once we made the switch. After breakfast, we went up stairs and I told her she was a big girl and she gets to wear big girl underwear. Diapers are for babies. I asked her to throw the diapers in the garbage as we didn't need them anymore (I had packed up the ones we're giving to a friend, leaving ~ 4 out for her to throw away). She threw them away. She was in a tshirt and her big girl underwear for the rest of the weekend. We cranked the heat up (it was a super rainy weekend, perfect for staying in!) so she wouldn't get cold.
We then took her to the bathroom and told her that pee pee and poo poo goes in the potty. She's a big girl now and needs to tell us when she needs to go pee pee or poo poo so we could put it in the potty. We told her to keep her big girl underwear dry.
Of course there were accidents, lots of accidents. The system basically says when you see them going to scoop them up (no negativity at all... the word no was never uttered) and tell them 'yucky, your underwear isn't dry' and try to get them to finish on the potty. If they get anything in the potty, praise, praise, praise! Cheer! Put dry underwear on them and give them a reward (not if you go potty, you get a sticker, but 'good job! Here's a sticker'). We chose stickers as rewards. I didn't want to do anything food related and she's been obsessed with stickers (she's been getting them from Trader Joe's) so I figured that would be an awesome reward. Stickers were similar brands to the underwear... princesses, cars and mickey mouse clubhouse. Yes, we're all Disney nerds in the O household.
There were lots of accidents. Of course. They started getting easier and easier to catch as we were learning her signs (deer in headlights look, then she looks down... by that time, most of the time, we had scooped her up and running to the potty. Sometimes she would stop the stream, sometimes she couldn't. Lots of clean up. But we stuck with it. We were given the warning 'don't get frustrated, stick with it' and that's what we did. We played, we read books. We watched sleeping beauty (quickly becoming her favorite). We read Sleeping Beauty, and I downloaded the song 'Once upon a dream' and we danced to the song. All the while, accidents.
I put her down for a nap in a pair of padded underwear (gerber training pants). She went right to sleep (apparently we wore her out in the morning!) and when she woke up, she was dry! We went right to the potty (you're not supposed to ask 'Do you need to go potty?' but instead remind them that they're a big girl and you need to tell me when you need to go pee pee, ok?') and she went. Again, lots of excitement, lots of praise, BIG smiles from my big girl. At the end of the first day, we had 13 wet pairs of underwear. She didn't go poop this day (I think, my memory is getting fuzzy).
Second day she woke up wet. I checked her at 10pm the night before, and she *seemed* dry, but when she got up the next morning, her padded underwear was completely soaked. I vowed to go to pull ups the next night because I just felt terrible. She didn't seem to mind too much. The rest of the morning went really well. There weren't nearly as many accidents, and I was getting a little cocky in that I figured she was almost there. Nap time came around, she woke up wet, and the rest of the afternoon we had accidents galore. Still not nearly as many as day one, but she regressed quite a bit. I was frustrated, but kept on going. If we had gone this far, might as well keep with it, right? No negativity showed with either Nick or I, we just kept praising when she got ANYTHING in the potty and cheering galore. I realized that she didn't go when I was sitting right there with her, so I would stand at the door with my back to her and she'd be able to release... this was a huge breakthrough! This method also doesn't let the kids sit on the toilet and wait to go, so if she didn't go within the first 30 seconds or so, we'd get off and wait until the next accident all while asking (at least once every 10 minutes) 'Tell Mommy when you need to go potty, OK?' I don't think we had nearly as many wet underwear the next day (I didn't count). I felt bad when I put a pull up on her that night and she said 'diapers are for babies'. I told her these were 'Big girl nigh nights'. She woke up once in the middle of the night, I took her to the potty, she didn't go, but I swapped out her pull ups for dry ones. No biggie.
Third day was similar to the second day.... morning went great, afternoon not as good, but apparently I decided to test this out because we went to Target that afternoon. We didn't have many accidents at all this day, she would lead me to the potty after I asked her 'tell me when you need to go pee pee, ok?'. At the end of the third day, I was really pleased with our progress. We caught all the poops in the potty (in that she never once went in her underwear). I understood her signs (the look she gets, where she goes prior to starting to go potty), I did a lot of laundry, and I'm sure our PG&E bill will be higher this month from keeping the heat cranked, but she did really well.
Tuesday, she went back to day care and I was worried. I just was worried that all the work we did at home wouldn't transition. I was worried that Irma would get frustrated (although she was really on board and gave us the encouragement that we needed to really take the leap and do this. She really felt that Jenna was ready, showed appropriate knowledge to give this a go and was excited for this week. She only requested that Jenna be sent in pants instead of shorts or dresses because they soak up more of the pee than the others.
Jenna had a few accidents at Irma's, but she was working on the phrase "Irma, I have to use the potty!!" (It's very cute!) Just like she progressed quickly at home, she's doing much better at day care, too. Tonight while taking a bath, Jenna yelled 'Irma, I have to use the potty!' (lol, we were at home) I pulled her out of the bath, sat her soaking wet on the toilet and she went potty. I was pretty proud as I remember saying to Nick every now and then (before) um, did she just pee? Gross.
So is she fully potty trained? Um, no. I don't know when that will happen. Is she in underwear full time during the day? Yes. On day 5, she's down to 1-2 accidents a day. And those accidents are often with her starting to go, stopping and looking up as to say... let's GO! So from 13 pairs of wet underwear down to 1 or 2 in a couple days, I'm more than pleased.
Also, looking back on our long weekend, it actually is really positive in my eyes. I really enjoyed spending the quality one on one time with her minimal distractions... no computer, phone, internet, just Jenna, Nick and I hanging out together. We were warm and cozy in the house, playing, dancing, reading, singing, watching movies... it was fun! Weird.
I always dreaded the 'real' potty training but this ended up being a super positive experience for me, for Jenna and I'm pretty sure for Nick. Yes. We became frustrated. YES. But it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be. We didn't get cabin fever, we didn't drive each other nuts. Yes, there was a lot of clean up, but going in with a system (clean dry underwear under the sink, throw wet ones directly in the wash, wash after she goes to bed, tag teaming when I needed to get dinner ready, making sure to have a house full of groceries ready for the weekend, 'rewards' in the upper cabinet, potties in both her bathrooms, burp cloths to clean up messes) it all worked out really well. I'll recommend this to anyone who's willing to give it a go. It was a good experience for us.
Do I still expect accidents? Yes. Will I ever go back to diapers? Not until I have a newborn again. ;-)
I realized on day 3 I took no photos of this... She needed my full attention, 100% of the time. But because I'm a photo nut, I had to grab my camera during lunch. She looked like such a big girl, feeding herself SOUP with a SPOON. I didn't want to snap a photo of her in her underwear, but I decided to snap her profile shot. I *love* her profile. Not a perfect photo, but it sums the weekend up in my mind perfectly. I love my bed headed big girl. She makes me so proud.
Jenna is just shy of 22 months and she's wearing underwear.