We began potty training our twin toddlers this past month, shortly after their 2nd birthday. We had tried a previous attempt this past fall, but quickly realized that they weren’t ready to learn this new skill. I believe that’s exactly what potty training is. It is not watching for your child’s signals to tell you they are ready to start, but rather being confident that your child is capable of learning a new skill!! With time, and seeing how much their communication skills grew, which was a tremendous help throughout the process, I was 100% confident in them that this time they had the ability to be potty trained!
Through researching different potty training books on Amazon, and asking a few friends for recommendations I chose the “Oh Crap Potty Training” book, and decided to follow Jamie’s method on naked potty training. It is proved to be quick, and effective and those are the words I like to hear!!!
Before I read the book Alex and I chose a date that would work best for his farming schedule during a season that would allow him to be off on the weekends! It made such a big difference for us the second time around because he was there for those first few days! We chose a date that was 4 weeks out, so we didn’t have any plans to cancel, but it was far enough out that we knew not to schedule anything on that date either. I ordered the book and made sure I had read it, and wrote down key points about 2 weeks prior to starting potty training. Feeling prepared really helped ease any nerves I was feeling about it!
Around 1-2 weeks prior to starting potty training we started talking to the kiddos about getting rid of diapers, and going on the big potty. Yes, they had been showing some signals of interest in the potty since we had tried in the Fall (telling me when they pooped in their diapers, wanting to be naked, etc) but like I said that wasn’t the deciding factor for us to start potty training. We really started talking about “pee and poop go in the potty” a few nights before starting, and then the night before we reminded them throughout the day that “tomorrow diapers will be going in the trash.”
Day 1 : The kids started out completely naked. When they woke up that morning we let them wakeup a little bit, and then we removed their diapers. They really liked throwing their diapers in the trash by themselves! The first 2 days were spent staring at them. ALL DAY LONG. I didn’t clean, do the dishes NOTHING! We sat together, and I waited for them to start having an accident. I needed to be right there when the accident started, so that I could rush them to the toilet during the accident, and they could immediately start connecting the dots. As I brought them to the toilet during an accident sometimes they would continue peeing, and other times they would stop. As I was rushing them I would say, “Pee and poop go in the potty not on the floor.” I would never yell at them because they are learning, but I did make my voice noticeably upset. I never said it was “okay” for them to go on the floor, because it wasn’t, and I didn’t want to confuse them, but I said “that doesn’t make mommy happy when you go on the floor,” and then I would test them often throughout the day and ask,” where does your pee and poop go?” to which they learned to reply in the potty!
During nap time and nighttime they continued to wear diapers. When we put diapers on during those times for the first week into potty training we told them, “I am putting this diaper on you because you are going to have to hold it for a long time, but when you wake up we will take it off again.” We never ran into issues with confusion there, and almost every nap-time they will wakeup with a dry diaper; however, they will typically wakeup with a wet diaper each morning. Just the other day Myles had his first dry diaper after a 12 hour stretch of sleep. That is something you will learn about your child as the first week progresses – is how long they can hold their bladder for. Harlow can not hold hers as long as Myles can, and he can hold it for 3-4 hours at a time. Figuring that out, and being confident in your child that they will tell you when they need to go was such a huge help for us. Earlier on when we would take Myles to the potty after an hour or so of not going sometimes he would fight it, and we learned that he really just didn’t need to go yet!
Day 3: Harlow had moved onto block number two, and her accidents were less frequent. She was realizing that pee and poop go in the potty, and was taking herself there without prompting almost every time. This step clicked with Myles on day 5. I was letting them lead the way because I was so fearful of over prompting. After it clicked with Harlow where her pee and poop go I was watching for her potty signals, and then that’s when I would prompt. We didn’t use timers, etc. usually if they hadn’t brought themselves in over an hour I would take them, and say ” I noticed you’re holding yourself lets try the potty.” or “Its been a while since you’ve gone potty lets go sit.” We do always prompt them before meal times, bedtimes, and any errand running (which we always plan around their normal potty times). We weren’t pushing liquids those first few days, but I was offering more on the table, and just had it available if they wanted it. Once they were on block two they went back to drinking their normal amount.
Throughout the first week we hit a few different bumps in the road like : pooping, sitting for an extended period of time, getting naked, and a few others. So first lets talks about poop! The first poop was so scary for Harlow and I remember how badly her knees were shaking when that first feeling of poop came on. I can’t imagine the lack of security she was feeling without being in a diaper. We always made a big deal about poops!! High fives all around!! After their first initial poops on the potty I think they were a lot more confident in themselves, and it only went up from there!! We struggled getting Myles to sit for an extended period of time, so I would read to him and make him sit for no more than 20 mins, if he made it that long, but if he didn’t mind sitting there longer then we just kept reading!! Like I said I really just tried my best to let them take the lead, and I didn’t try and push anything too much. It reduced my stress so much, and really took the pressure off of learning this new skill! There were a few times when Myles really wasn’t wanting to sit for an extended period of time, and then he would get up and have an accident. So Frustrating!!!! First I would have him clean up the mess, and say “next time you need to remember where your pee and poop goes.” Then we would just try again later!!! It was really discouraging, and frustrating, but I promise you it will click with them where their pee and poop go. The only thing you can do is move on from the accident, and hope that they will get it the next time around!!! Make sure you’re getting lots of rest, because they need your constant encouragement.
This book encourages no rewards, or over the top praise, but I think you can change this area to fit you parenting style like we did. We didn’t say yes or no to using rewards from the beginning, but rather lets see how they do without them, and they did just fine!!! For their first poops we offered a chocolate chip, and for the first week if there was hesitation or defiance we did use it as a little bribe, and then around 1 week if they didn’t ask we just didn’t offer, and they eventually never asked again.
After a consistent 1.5 weeks of going pee and poop on the potty without prompting while being fully naked we added in pants with no underwear. This was when we really put their skills to the test, and started taking 30 minute test runs. We took them to the grocery store, or for a short car ride close to home. I felt confident in them when we moved onto this next step, but it did bring a bit of a regression. After 4 days of wearing pants they were both having several accidents per day, including poop! The only option I felt that would make any difference was going back to the basics. So we took a step back, and went back to no pants, only shirts. We did this for another week, or so, and gave pants another try! (Around week 3) This time it went so much better!! Accidents were minimal, but I would say one of them would have an accident at least once a day for the first month which is to be expected, so continue carrying an extra change of clothes in your diaper bag! After that any accidents that happened always turned out to be parent error, and we just forgot to remind them in the midst of a distraction.
With each passing week it got easier and easier, and now we are approaching the 12 week mark, and they haven’t had an accident in weeks. We take longer trips out, and bring the little potty with us for breaks in the car. (Just stick a diaper in the potty to absorb the pee for a mess free potty break in the car)
All in all just have confidence in your child’s ability , relax, make it fun for the kids and the adults!! There is truly nothing to be scared of!! Don’t back out if they aren’t getting the hang of it within the first few days(remember every child is different, and there is no real timeline to follow) just hang tight, be consistent, and keep on practicing! I promise you it will click, and the accidents will become less frequent. Remember to cancel your calendar, and stay at home for the first week of learning. Make sure you and your partner are on the same page, everyone is getting lots of rest, and you feel prepared leading up to the big day! I truly hope this post helps you feel ready to potty train your child! Thank you so much for reading!!