Thursday, December 6, 2012

Potty-Training a 17-month-old? (Why yes - yes, I am!)

You probably think I'm crazy.

What pregnant lady in her right mind would potty-train a 17-month-old?

This one right here.  Although being in my "right" mind is open to discussion, since I am entering into the third trimester and everyone knows babies eat your brains (just not in the zombie way).

Anyways.  I'm sure I'm not alone.  In fact, I found this handy little article here about a woman who (successfully) potty-trained her 18-month-old, and Gwen's not too far behind.

My Reasons
I promise you -- this isn't just a pie-in-the-sky endeavor.  The more I read about potty-training, the more I realized Gwen was ready.  And there's just another little event happening in March that makes me feel a slight race against the clock.

Reason 1: Gwendolyn's Readiness
Gwen is actually displaying a number of the signs of potty-training readiness, with the exception of maybe one.  She's incredibly independent, learns very quickly, has been interested in the potty, has had long-ish dry times during the day, and has the ability to sign to us when she needs a diaper change (she doesn't always tell me, though).  She's also known the sign for "potty" for months now, and sometimes just likes to sit on it for fun.  Since she seemed ready, I figured it was worth attempting now.

Reason 2: My Readiness
Baby2 is set to arrive the first week of March, and I'd rather not be diapering for two if I can help it -- not to mention doing two sets of cloth diapering laundry each week.  Also, I am just entering into the third trimester, so I still have a general ability to move around and keep my energy up (a general ability, mind you -- I'm still wiped out much of the time, but I figure this is only going to get worse).  Plus, this week has been incredibly mild (two days ago, it was 68 degrees here!), so having a little girl running around bare-bottomed isn't such a terrible thing.

Reason 3: Why Not?   
Ultimately, I figured: why not?  If she's ready, it'll stick, and that would be great.  If she's not, then it will take a while and we'll give it another push after she gets used to the baby.  Either way, I figured it doesn't hurt.

My Method
Method 1: No Pants!
I've read in many places that having your child run around without underwear for periods of time is very helpful in this process, so that's the route we're taking.  Apparently, kids are more aware of their bodies and bathroom-habits when they are naked, and for some reason, it helps the potty-training process go much quicker (also, if your kid is anything like mine, it's a sheer thrill to be naked -- which makes for a VERY happy baby during the potty-training time).  Now, some swear by the three-day training program, but I just wasn't up for the challenge (no diapers ever for three days straight, plus a three-month prep period of no diapers in the house)So we just have a few hours each day when she is diaper-less (at least four, maybe a little more).
Method 2: Easing Into It
Here's the reality: my daughter is 17-months-old.  I do not want to pressure her into anything, or push something too hard that it backfires.  This is a big reason why I decided against the three-day-push.  Another method recommends putting the child on the potty every 30 minutes.  I tried this on day one, and she quickly grew frustrated and hateful towards the potty.  So I stopped that immediately.  The reality is that she's a smart girl, and I figure she'll catch on in her own time.  If the child grows to hate the potty, then you basically have to wait a few more weeks and re-set.  I don't really want to do that.

Method 3: Realistic Expectations   
Again - I know the girl is young.  I'm not expecting her to be trained in a week or a month or whatever.  But maybe she'll be on the path to being trained within a couple months.  Maybe she'll even be trained by the time Baby gets here.  Maybe she won't.  I don't really care.   But it's worth a shot.  And I figure -- even if it all backfires and she regresses when her sister arrives, at least we'll have some sort of foundation.  We won't have to start from scratch.

The Progress
Day One: Gwen displayed a lot of animosity towards the potty (which is why I stopped putting her on it every 30 minutes), and had two accidents.  I was very calm about cleaning them up, and explained to her that it's not good to "go" on the floor, and we have to go in the potty.  Later that night, I asked her where the poo and pee goes, and she signed to me: "Potty."  So I knew there was some progress.  We went to the library to get potty-training books, and she got really into them.  I also explained to her the sticker/sticker book rewards thing: "If you go in the potty, you get a sticker."  She got really excited about having a sticker NOW, but I explained that she doesn't get one until she goes in the potty.  Likewise, I've decided that she can't pump the soap into her hands to wash until she goes in the potty.  She loves washing her hands, and we do it after she goes, but she is SO anxious to actually use the soap pump, so I thought I'd use it as a reward -- a thing that "big girls" do when they learn to go in the potty. 

Day Two: Still nothing in the potty, but she did have an accident NEAR the potty, stopped herself, ran into the room I was in, looked concerned, and continued to have the accident.  This showed me: 1) That maybe she was trying to get on the potty to go, but didn't get there in time (and I wasn't in the room to help her); 2) That she is able to stop herself from going (since she stopped to come "tell" me that there was an issue).  

Day Three: That's today!  It's colder today, so I might have to have her in pants without the diaper. We'll just see how things go.

  • What were your methods for potty-training?  How did it go?  
  • Be honest: do you think I'm crazy? :) 

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