I’d originally planned on potty training Annie after we got back from Thanksgiving with Mike’s family. But even though Annie was ready (and has been for a while), I just wasn’t. I knew it had the potential to be kind of gross, and I didn’t want to tax my already-stretched gag reflex. But with the holidays over and Annie asking every day if she could wear underwear, I knew I couldn’t put it off anymore. I looked at our calendar for a three-day period when Mike and I were both available, and it was this past weekend.
We did the three-day method that a few of my friends swear by. I liked it because it emphasizes the child’s importance in the whole potty-training thing. She “threw away” her diapers (into an empty trash bag, so we could then donate them), and then picked out and put on her own pair of underwear. Mike and I would say to her, “let us know when you need to use the potty, okay?” We had to say it a lot – probably one hundred times the first day. But that emphasized that she had to let us know when she needed to use the toilet. There wasn’t any sitting on the toilet every fifteen minutes, or walking around naked, or putting the princess potty in front of the TV (in fact, we didn’t use the princess potty at all! Just the regular ol’ toilet.). I wanted it to be as close to normal circumstances as possible, because that’s what she will have to live with.
Annie did great. She had an accident right away, but that was to be expected and was actually welcomed, because then she understood what she was feeling and all of that. Mike and I were on her like hawks for the rest of the first day, looking for non-verbal cues that she needed to use the bathroom, but she always verbally told us when she needed to go. On the second day we stepped back the “tell us when you have to go” bit because we realized she was sometimes responding to our prompt with “I have to go,” and we wanted to make sure she was realizing it on her own – but we still were all over her. She never left our sight all day. By yesterday, we eased up on just about everything. I could tell Annie was getting irritated with us always being all up in her grill. She likes playing with us, but she likes her solo play, too. We were still staring at her, but from a distance.
This method also does overnight training at the same time, which I was super-down for. I just wanted to do everything at once. My friend Nanette suggested putting a layer of puppy training pads on Annie’s mattress, then a fitted sheet, then another layer of training pads covered by another sheet. That way if Annie had an accident overnight, I could just strip the bed and pads and there’d be a fresh sheet right below. Freaking genius! Luckily, Annie only had one accident and it was right in the morning when she was waking up. I think it might have had something to do with the fact that she slept fourteen hours that night. Apparently potty training is tiring.
My kid is kind of crazy for stickers, so I knew a sticker chart would be a good motivator:
When she fills the whole thing up, she gets the princess doll of her choice. Which will be an Ariel doll, because I already bought her one for her birthday. So, I will be strongly influencing that choice.
Potty training…it’s intense. Like I said, I was expecting a certain level of icky-ness (which it luckily wasn’t), but I was not prepared at all for how tiring it would be for me and Mike. It reminded me of when Annie was freshly crawling and getting into things. After three full days, I wouldn’t venture to say that she’s fully potty trained, but we’re venturing out of the house this week, back to our regular routines, and I feel good about it. It clicked with her. So fingers crossed!
Yay!!! You guys did a great job with this! Congratulations on this important milestone! We don’t do the potty chairs, either. Just the good ‘ol toilet. Like you say, normal circumstances. Keeping it real. Plus, I’d rather just FLUSH it than have to pick it up and clean it out – ewwww! Cannot do that, especially not when pregnant! >gag!<
I thought of you when we were doing it – “Katrina has done this NINE TIMES!” LOL.
Isn’t it amazing how fast your little one trains when they’re ready? She’s a quick learn. I’m happy for her success!! WAY TO GO ANNIE!!!! xoxo
I loved reading this. We just finished doing the exact method with our daughter (who will be 3 in Feb). And yes…totally exhausting. But so worth it. I also liked how you did it ALL (day and night) training at once. And the second day..our daughter went 21 hours without peeing. So now I have lots of faith in her bladder and am not afraid when she goes a couple of hours without peeing. And congrats! One more thing done before her new baby brother comes
TWENTY ONE HOURS?! OMG.
YES! I was googling all sorts of stuff. It was a big learning day for us. And she might have a bit of her mom’s stubbornness in her
Yay! I’m impressed Annie is catching on so fast. Sounds like you did the right thing by waiting.
Ugh, I remember training my twins when I was pregnant with my daughter. Luckily one of them was one of those kids that trained himself for poop, pee and overnight once he understood what we wanted. The other – not so much.
When I remember potty training, I remember how mentally exhausting it is. Once you get over the first 3 day hump it’s much easier. Still a process (for most kids) but it’s nice to be on the way with it!
haha, sounds like me and my twin! I won’t say which one of us was into it and which wasn’t…
Don’t worry about overnight, that may take a bit longer. Sounds like she is figuring this stuff out, yay for you and Mike…and Annie of course!
Potty training is sooo tiring.My daughter’s daycare had a “potty training” room, most kids are in there for about 2 months. Well not my Ava, oh no! Going to the bathrm is an inconvenience for her, she apparently has bette r things to do. So the entire class graduated and a new bunch joined her. And she was fine with it, little shit! She eventually made it outta the potty room, but about a month late. And night time takes a while- atleast for us. She wore pull ups until she was four at night. She just turned five and is all good now. Except until she waits until the last possible second to announce that she is about to pee on the floor. ugh! I hope Annie isn’t as inconvenienced by taking 2 minutes to go potty as my Ava was. Or is.
I’m kind of curious why you put potty-training off with all the sickness you’ve had. The ickiness is increased exponentially when it’s a toddler, toddler poo and a toddler butt that’s being changed/diapered. But maybe that’s just my opinion? The clean up is significantly easier (and I would think less retch-inducing) when it’s in a toilet or potty. (Ah, but not in clothes. Cleaning clothes of poo? AGH!)
I had 3 kids – all 2 years apart. And lots of pregnancy sickness combined with toilet-training. It was a vast relief when my kids were toilet-trained. But maybe you didn’t have the wherewithal to consider any alternatives the past few months with all the illness.
Good luck to you guys and Annie!
Well, it wasn’t like the consistency of her poop was going to change any time soon. She’s already a toddler, it’s already gross! But I have very rarely had to handle the (poopy) diaper changes since I’ve been pregnant. But during the first four months of my pregnancy I was throwing up twenty times a day and I just couldn’t handle the hyper-vigilance required for potty training, and I couldn’t put it all on Mike. Now that I’m only throwing up 5-10 times, it’s a bit more manageable.
*Only* 5-10 times a day? Good lord. That is so brutal. You are mother of the year for not complaining constantly over feeling so yucky. Hang in there mama!!! xoxo
I second the motion for Heather to be mother of the year!
We did the same thing recently and I agree, it was EXHAUSTING. I never realized how tiring it was to be that hypervigilant. The first two days for us were awful, and she went through about 15 pairs of panties a day. Thankfully it clicked the third day. Hope it keeps up!
Any tips on overnight training?! I have a 4.5 and 6.5 year old STILL in pull ups at night (both girls).
The book that I read about it suggested not letting them drink anything 2-3 hours before bedtime, and then to be extra-aware of when they stir or make noise. When they do, go in there and wake them to go to the bathroom. I guess that trains them?
I used the same method with all my kids — ages 14, 9 and 4 and it worked like a dream. They were all 2 years and 10 months at the time and we used the regular potty too. Potty chairs are really gross. One tip— when we went out I carried a “potty ring” and wipes in an old messanger style bag so the public restroom toilet wasn’t so big and scary for them.
Way to go! Those are three EXHAUSTING days under the best of circumstances.
OH! Yes, I ordered one via Amazon but I didn’t think about putting it in a bag and bringing it in places with us. I thought I would leave it in the car but DUH! That’s not helpful if she needs to go when we’re, say, in the mall! Thanks for the idea!
If you don’t have the potty ring with you and you are out somewhere, have her sit sideways on the potty. The kiddos don’t feel like they are going to fall into the big public restroom potties when they sit sideways across the seat.
A lot of malls have family restrooms with miniature functioning toilets for the littles, too! My kids LOVE using them.
We also had a folding potty ring so we didn’t have to bring the huge one. My son (5) used it for quite awhile, but my daughter (2-1/2) almost immediately told us she didn’t like the rings at all.
Way to go Annie and great job Heather and Mike! Hope she continues to do well. Potty training is my LEAST favorite part of parenting!
I just wanted to let you know that Goodnites makes a pad specifically for overnight potty training that sticks to the mattress sheet. You should be able to find them in the same aisle with the pullups…just in case the doggy training pads don’t work out. Doubling up on these and sheets as your friend suggested is brilliant so you don’t have to change sheets in the middle of the night!
It’s funny you mention that because when I told my friend that I tried her idea she was like, “they make kid pads now!” But then I looked at the price difference – puppy pads are much cheaper! But I think I will get some of the goodnight pads for the crib when the baby comes – I remember both of my girls had some leaking issues.
Hey, if the puppy pads are cheaper, I’d use those too! You are about to go back into the world of diapers, so every penny saved counts. Luckily, Sophie didn’t need the overnight pads for more than a month or two and then she quit having overnight accidents regularly. She’s only had maybe two in the last five months. Annie seems like a fast learner! Good luck!
Way to go Annabel! (And her parents!)
Just wanted to say, good for you for waiting until she was ready!!! I was feeling so much pressure from friends when my son was barely 2 to potty train him, so we tried and it was a disaster. So we went back to diapers and waited until it was HIM who was deciding to use the potty, not us reminding him or having him run around naked, etc. like you said. I know those methods work for some kids, but IMO, if the parents are setting timers and doing all the work and putting their kids in pull-ups at night, etc, the kid is not potty trained! When we waited until my son led the way, it was the easiest thing ever. We did almost exactly the same things you guys did (but with trains vs. princesses) , and it was a total success. (Although I had never heard of the 3 day method until after the fact). After two days, he was fully potty trained and never wore a diaper or pull-up again. He was 1 month shy of being 3, but so what?? The moms who bragged to me that their littles were potty trained at 19 months had their kids in pull-ups at night for YEARS, so I’m thrilled we waited until he was truly ready.
Yay for you guys! Go celebrate!!!
ps. Where did you get the chart? Did you make it?? It’s so cute!!!
I googled “princess potty charts” and there are TONS of free ones!
I’d like to offer a suggestion, based on my own experience. First, I was a bed wetter for 11 years. Not fun. When my dad mentioned this to his urologist, he suggested having me start and stop my pee stream. This built my pelvic floor muscles, so I had heightened awareness of my need to go. The heightened awareness meant I woke up to go at night and didn’t sleep through it anymore. It also meant I could better hold it if necessary.
I started having my kids (a girl and a boy) do this during potty training. It reduced potential nighttime wetting and made travel with them easier since we didn’t have to stop every 15 miles for a bathroom break.
Annie sounds like she’s doing great. I know she’ll get her princess doll, easy!
Now you will get to see the inside of every single public toilet within the travelling distance of your home!
Even if Mea didn’t really have to go, she always said she did whenever we were somewhere new, just to check out the potty situation.
Just a friendly word of advice….If you are out somewhere and they have the toilets with automatic flushers on them, cover the sensor with your hand while she goes. Mea would get scared to death of self-flushing toilets, especially if they went off while she was still sitting on it.
My 9 yr old is STILL afraid of the autoflushing toilets. Tear off a few sticky notes from a pad of them and put them in your wallet and in Mike’s wallet. Then you always have them on hand to stick onto the wall and cover the sensor.
From much experience, I know that it is hard to hold your hand over the sensor plus help support a little one on an unfamiliar potty (especially when you don’t want her touching the seat all over). And there isn’t much room in the bathroom stall to be able to reach over and hold your hand over the sensor…especially when preggers or when holding a baby. The sticky note trick worked wonders for me!!
The sticky notes are brilliant! My niece has been potty trained for almost 2 yrs but hated using public restrooms for probably the first 18 months!! They were always too loud, too scary, too ugly, too different….too something…for her to use! And auto flushers still freak her out a bit. Fortunately she has amazing “holding” capabilities and I think only ever had 4 or 5 accidents EVER since starting training.
Okay, you have convinced me to try this! I’ve heard of it before, but I didn’t need it for my oldest, who trained so easy. Now I have a girl who will be 3 in March, and things aren’t going as well this time. This method sounds perfect because our attempts to “just try and sit” on the potty were met with an abrupt “NO!” by her. Only when she wants to and that’s that. She definitely wants to be in control, so this is great. And nighttime gets done too? Yes please! Glad you’re having success with Annie!
Congrats to Annabel… You and Mike too! Team effort that’s for sure.
Definitely the no drink 3 hrs prior to bed helps with the night training and accidents.
Love that you were able to do this in 3 days! Instead of disposable puppy pads, go to Goodwill and in the sheets section will be hospital bed pads, usually 3×3 feet or something squares that r reusable. We use those. Buy multiple and layer with the sheets as your friend suggested. They work great and we take them when travelling. Good luck!
My little sister (2 years younger) was a bed wetter until about 12 or 13…sharing a room (not to mention often a bed…ewww the perks of having a baby sis!) and having a sick mom meant that I often helped in middle of the night cleanup-those washable hospital pads are AMAZING!! You can still layer with sheets and they’re cheaper since they’re reusable!!
This a just prefect. I am about to start potty training my son (who is 2) and I had no idea how or where to start. I love the sheet idea. I am so happy for Annabel and for you guys.
GO, Annie, GO!!!
We did the same thing with my two boys and it did work! The sheet idea is great. I also bought a few pairs of the elastic plastic underwear covers that I put over training underwear when I needed to get out of the house the first week or so. It worked in the short term so that they didn’t just have an accident in the middle of the store on the floor. Good Luck!!
We used a similar method (Potty Training in Less than a Day, which, well, I guess with the first kid it was less than a day, but with the second it was three days, kind of), and you would be surprised. Our second kid was like 99% potty trained in those three days. The only accidents she had were when we were at friends’ houses, and she got caught up in her playing. And even then, she made it to the toilet with her pants almost down before having an accident. It’s a really great method. I will take it any day over weeks of doing it with a less intense, more laidback method. I know that works better for some people, but I just wanted it OVER.
Our trick for nighttimes (because that did take a while, with both girls, although nowhere near as long as I expected) was to put a pull-up on over their underwear. They were thoroughly disgusted by how unpleasant it felt when they had an accident, but there was no middle-of-the-night or middle-of-a-hurried-morning sheet change and washing happening.
My standard potty training advice is get in the habit of always using the potty before leaving the house or other location you have been at for a long time. Don’t ask her if she needs to go, just say everyone uses the potty before leaving, and lead by example. Its a great habit and then when she’s older (and potty breaks are less frequent and not a big deal) you just tell her to go when you’re ready to go and it eliminates (or at least greatly minimizes) stops along the way to find a bathroom or a mad rush to find a bathroom when you arrive somewhere. My kids are so used to it they never “rebel” when I tell them to go to the bathroom. Useful at naptime and bedtime too. And after visiting my sister-in-law last week and watching her (unsuccessfully) try to convince her 5 yr old (who had just drunk a big glass of milk) to go to the bathroom before they left for a birthday party I remembered the advice I got when we potty trained our kids (many moons ago) and that was “Tell, Don’t Ask.”
You guys rock!!! Congrats all around on your potty training success!!! Sounds like Annie was more than ready (had you waited any longer she may have secretly done it herself! LOL)
What a big grown up girl she is! Bet she rarely has an accident too…my niece could cross her legs and hold it on long car trips–even when falling asleep–as she abhorred public restrooms. (Glad she’s over that issue! Makes life a bit easier!!)
Well done, Annie!!
(Oh! And freaking brilliant idea to pre-sheet the bed multiple times!! I was smart enough to suggest puppy pads but never crossed my mind to have another set of fresh sheets underneath!!!)