Potty training: final thoughts.

Those first four days really had me questioning our timing. It was hard to see how all those minute, incremental successes were going to come together. I was actually quite ready to chalk it up to a failed experiment.

Well thank goodness we stuck it out because it really paid off!

On Saturday, we had the most notable breakthroughs, although it started off a little shaky. She woke up with another telltale bump in her jammy bottoms. After taking a quick bath, we refocused and she soon agreed to take a pee on the potty, but unlike the day before, she completely rejected the potty alarm. There goes that idea! My husband kindly took over for the morning while I got some errands done and some much needed breathing room. After the minor success on the potty, Leni had been holding her pee for nearly three hours that morning before having some pretty spectacular accidents. The one benefit of this were some very clean floors when I got home, courtesy of Jose. This didn’t bode well for the planned weekend at my folk’s house, but we put a waterproof car seat cover down and hoped for the best.

Just before we left, we asked Leni to use the potty. She refused until we made it very clear she would have to miss her visit with Gaga and Gramps if she did not sit on the potty. Not only did she sit down, but she also peed! When we arrived she had an accident, but the next time she used the potty she actually had her first poo on the toilet! She requested we give her privacy for that feat. The rest of the day was full of successes like that. Over the weekend, she continued to (mostly) tell us when she needed to use the potty. The extra incentive of some Reese’s Pieces was pretty key, but I think the high praises she was receiving helped too. She has even started to encourage me. “You’re peeing! Good job, mummy! I’m so proud of you!”

A major thing we figured out was that she prefers privacy when she is in the washroom. Go figure! She even likes the door closed now. As soon as she’s done, she’ll wash her hands too! Ok so the last time she was done, I found the entire roll of toiler paper unraveled on the floor, but hey.

On Monday—a week from her first day without diapers—my mother-in-law watched Leni and she had zero accidents and pooped on the potty twice and then once more when I came home. We’re starting to venture out more now, but she’s still adjusting to different environments. We both are. I always have a change of clothes for her on the go and we get on the potty before we leave the house or start a new activity. She’s even peed in public washrooms twice! But once we’re out of direct range of a washroom she’s familiar with, the chances of an accident immediately spike dramatically. This is something we’ll both need to adjust to, but hopefully we’ll get into a rhythm. I’m guessing I’ll know where all the closest restrooms are located within a few weeks.

I took her to visit her nursery school on Tuesday for the first time (she starts this coming Monday!). She had a couple accidents while we were there. I had meant to locate the washroom and bee-line for it as soon as we arrived, but it took me a minute to orient myself in the new environment. I could’ve even predicted the second, as she was pretty caught up with all the new toys in the room. In the end it was kind of a blessing in disguise. It gave me an opportunity to see how the staff there handle accidents and talk to them about potty training. And they were so easygoing about it, which made me feel a whole lot better. I was worried about the transition to preschool right after starting to potty train, but it’s clear they have a ton of experience with kids in this exact stage. I feel confident they will not only help, but be gentle with Leni, which is a huge weight off.

Full disclosure, we caved and decided to keep diapers for bedtime and nap time (for now). I’m just not entirely sure she is physically capable of staying dry overnight yet. We’re continuing to cut off liquids before she gets into bed (at lunch and dinner—and I even start both meals earlier now), but she was still having some wetness and not waking up to let us know. I was feeling like a bit of a failure giving in—the 3-Day Method is pretty militant—but I’ve come to peace with it. The 3-Day Method did not take three days and it’s not written in stone. And, hey, it’s not forever. If she starts to show more dryness at night, we’ll experiment with no diapers again. I am pretty certain she will be ready to go sans diapers at nap time soon.

Fast forward to today (nearly two weeks since we began). We are on day two of zero accidents. She seems to need the potty every hour or so and responds well if I don’t ask more than that. I still help her pull down her underwear and pull it back up, but she knows how to pat dry after a pee and washes her hands without prompting. She often tells me when she needs to go now too and has become comfortable pooping on the toilet. WHICH IS HUGE. We are still figuring out how to handle outings–as I said–but we use the washroom before we go anywhere and time it out so that we’re usually hitting a toilet within the hour. Of course, I’m always armed with a change of clothes should there be an accident.

Speaking of which, accidents are no longer as stressful. I guess you wipe enough bodily fluids off the floor and one little puddle doesn’t seem quite so overwhelming. But really, I think anytime she has one we both learn something new for the next time.

All in all, I am so glad we tackled this and I am SO PROUD of the peanut! There are not even words. Also, I don’t know if it’s the absence of the oversized diaper bum or simply watching her embrace this newfound skill, but she is definitely looking a lot more like a little girl than ever before. Way to go, my love!

So what would I have done differently, in hindsight? Well, it probably would’ve helped if I had discovered chocolate was the best incentive for my sweet-loving mini a few days earlier. And perhaps if I had tried the timer the first day, it would’ve helped give her more potty experience sooner and honed my focus better. Still, who’s to say that would’ve been more successful? The journey was worth it. Will there still be accidents? Without a doubt. Do I regret getting L out of diapers? Hell no! And, you know what? Having to pay such close attention to her bathroom schedule has had the added bonus of binding us together in a whole new way.

As I said, I am one proud mama.

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