Whenever I thought about becoming a parent, potty training was always one of the things that freaked me out the most. I mean, how on earth do you train a toddler to go from wearing diapers constantly to knowing how to tell you that they need to go to the bathroom?
And when I first mentioned several months ago that I thought I was going to start potty training Raven soon, I got so flooded with advice that I was scared off completely.
But now, here we are, with a naked toddler running around the house and feeling, all in all, like it could be going a lot worse.
Of course, I’m only a couple days into the (real) process.
The truth is, we’ve had her little toilet training potty in the bathroom for ages, and we’ve been encouraging her to sit on it before bathtime and such for months. While we had one surprise success doing this (read: one time of her going pee on it), it was not overly a stellar start–it’s not like she all of a sudden understood what to do and demanded to use the potty from then on.
(Hindsight is 20/20, but I now look back at that and think…well, DUH.)
So I waited until we were back from vacation and had several unscheduled days ahead of us before I started this week. I planned to start gradually, with having her sit on the potty 4 times on Tuesday, about 6-7 times on Wednesday, and go from there.
I started noticing, though, that right before she was about to go (I could tell because I’ve started paying more attention to the signs she gives right before she goes), she would start whining and crying that she wanted a “fresh and clean diap.”
Sometimes, I was able to hold her off and she went in the potty, but sometimes, she held off for 20 or 30 minutes and I thought I’d misread the signals, so I would put her in her diaper and she would sneak off to a corner and go immediately once my back was turned.
So, I figured I needed to nix the diapers for good—no fallbacks, baby.
This morning, I told Raven there would be no more diapers and that she would be wearing big girl pants from now on.
However, after doing a little informal research of my own online late this morning, I decided that it would probably be best if I even let her run around naked today so that there would be nothing that even FELT like a diaper on her to fall back on.
(Big thanks to reader Kirby for giving me a potty training tip-off on her Goodreads account, which led me to find this very helpful info, which informed a lot of my decisions today.)
Before ten o’clock, she had one and a half accidents and one and a half successes, with both accidents (luckily) happening in (or very close to) the bathroom, with minimal clean-up and minimal wreckage on carpets and such.
For each definite success, I allowed her to put a sticker on her chart and a sticker on her arm (because that’s her thing lately), and I give her two chocolate chips every time she sits on the potty without putting up a fuss, five for a successful pee, and ten for a successful poop. I’ve been super consistent on giving the stickers but not as consistent on the chocolate chips because I’m now second-guessing whether I should have done that at all.
You live and you learn, I guess.
Then I proceeded to watch her like a hawk for the next 3 hours (remember, she’s running around in her birthday suit, so there’s nothing to catch ANYTHING), and I finally get the sense she’s about ready to for sure need to go again. She puts up her usual fight, but I just sit there against the door in the bathroom, calmly waiting…
And she finally just went right over to the potty and peed immediately upon sitting down.
Now, I’m not so naive to think that this means she’s potty trained by any stretch of the imagination, but I can definitely see that we’ve made some headway today, and I’m for sure not using diapers to fall back on, even during naps or at night—I don’t want to give her mixed signals.
She’s supposedly napping right now, so…
We shall see what surprises I have waiting for me upon her waking.
From hereon out, my plan is just to let her be naked for the rest of today and maybe tomorrow, and then I might try her going commando (which is how she’s napping right now—I at least wanted SOMETHING as a buffer) for a couple days. Once we’ve got a pattern established, I’ll try adding on the big-girl panties again and praying that church on Sunday doesn’t end up being a disaster (which will probably be her first really long outing away from home, requiring that she use an unfamiliar bathroom).
Wish us luck!