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Friday, March 9, 2012

potty training part 2

So from where I left off on April's post potty training part 1 (22 months old)...Little Man (which is what I'll be now calling him in this blog) did not last long that day.  After his nap he started to have a lot of accidents.  We kept trying with just underwear for a few weeks but he did not seem interested.

We took another break until our vacations in August (26 months old) in Dordogne, France.  Dordogne is famous for their Medieval Castles so we bought him some toys Knights and Horses as positive reinforcement prizes.  This was just ok...he did earn all of his knights and horses eventually.  It took him over 1 month to earn all you can see he was not really going often.

The major reason for the PUSH to be potty trained is...
1. We were expecting our baby girl "Little Miss" in October
2. French Preschool (which is free) starts at 3 years old and they have to be potty trained to attend

We tried and tried...then Little Man got his "Big Boy Bed" in September (27 months old) and this was a big transition.  It took a few weeks until he was staying put in his bed.  We did not want to add the pressure of potty training.  After he seemed to be doing well with bed we introduced the potty again.  And kept at it until the birth of Little Miss in mid October (28 months old).  At this point we did stop...we wanted him to adjust stress free with having a baby sister and honestly I did not have time nor was I totally rested to deal with it!

Fast forward to just after Christmas holidays (30 months old).  Little Man was picking up speed on the potty.  We started him again with just underwear and PJ pants.  He had many accidents of all sorts.  But he was holding "it" for a long time now.  He just didn't know it was time to "go" until it was too late.  Sometimes he would have mini accidents and then finish in the potty.

January (31 months old) we all took at trip to Florida to visit family and friends for 2.5 weeks.  He did not like the potty my dad had bought and basically refused to sit on it.  He did however sit on the big toilet and had a few successes.

In mid February (32 months old) his school had noticed that his diapers were staying dry.  And they inquired if he was using the potty at home.  I said yes at home he only wears underwear...diapers at night and nap time only.  But he has many accidents (but generally finishes in the potty) and he will go when I remind/ask him to use it.  She told me that since they noticed his diaper was dry they had asked him to sit and use the potty there but he did not go.  They said that he is probably getting close to being potty trained.  Because when they can hold it for more than 4 hours its a good sign.  But we need to move away from asking him to go to him going on his own.  She said what they recommend is to wear pull up type diapers and their underwear on top.  So they have the protection and also feel like they are wearing their underwear.  At first I thought this was not a good idea.  He was wearing underwear at home...why would this work?

That weekend (18th) we tried it...because of a few frustrations of poop accidents in the underwear.  Having diapers would be less of a mess to clean up.  So we tried it pull ups with the underwear.  After a day or so wearing them like this he was telling us he had to go to the bathroom before he went (maybe he did go a little but he figured out the urge all on his own).  At first I thought it was a fluke but by that Monday he was officially going on his own.

Tuesday at school (he only goes Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday mornings) he used the potty.  They were very impressed because 1. he went on his own and 2. he undressed himself and redressed himself.  They said at that age none of the children do that!  By that Wednesday (22nd) the school said he could come to school with just underwear!  Because that day he also went poop at school (which is unheard of she said...most kids prefer to do that at home or in their diaper...and they felt he was ready!).  I said let's give it a week or so just to be sure since he was just going poop in the potty by himself for 2 straight days.

That Friday (so far 3 days in a row with poop success) he started having poop accidents everyday until the follow Friday.  Then 5 days of successes and an accident again.

Now we are current to today (March 9th) is the 2nd day in a row without an accident!  Let's hope we are on our way to accident free.  Today he also went to school without a diaper and did perfectly!  She said he is really good at going on his own.  She gave him some water at 9:30am and she asked him to go around 10:30am.  He said he did not have to at the time.  But went on his own at 11am!

Another thing is that none of the other kids we know who are preschool bound (6 in total going to his particular school) are not even close to being potty trained.  So 6 months from now he will be a pro while some of those other kids will still be struggling ;-)

We are very proud of our Little Man he is growing by leaps and bounds!

Lessons learned for when it is Little Miss's turn:
  • We will not try too young (i.e. when our OLD French doc told us to start at 13 months...we will not do this UNLESS she is interested in it).  2 years old is a good age I think
  • Positive Reinforcement doesn't really work for children under the age of 2 years old (probably even a little more older than that)...really offering the item beforehand is what does not work.  Offering a prize for a success does but not hinting at it before...then they are only focused on why they can not have the m&m now
  • Pull ups will start earlier
  • Pull ups with the underwear over them will also start early on 
  • I think it also helped to have a baby in the household.  He really wanted to be the BIG brother and be a BIG boy.  He says that babies wear this helped.  I think for Little Miss she will want to be like her Big Brother any way so I believe she will be potty trained less than 32 months 
What's your story like?  How old was your child?  What worked for you what didn't?  Did your child have more accidents through out his/her adolescence?  Anything I should be preparing for in the future?


  1. We are starting with B at 13 months already. He's several weeks into a rather relaxed potty training approach. We don't use rewards or anything like that. Our approach (with Dags too) is just teaching him he is peeing or pooping and that we do those things in the potty. He vehemently dislikes diaper changes so I remind him as he is contorting like a pretzel that we won't have to do this once he starts using the potty. He will sometimes go to the potty and sit down to pee already. He cannot manage his clothes though. He isn't putting 2 and 2 together with pooping yet because I don't let him poop on the floor unless it's by accident, which has happened at least 3 times already. Dagny was fully potty trained by the time she was around 18 months old (we were motivated by the impending arrival of 2nd child also,) peeing and pooping in the potty. She caught on about pooping after only 2 or 3 poops on the floor. However at that age (and even now) she cannot be trusted to wipe herself after a poop. She also could not manage her clothing until much closer to 24 months. Of course, she is a pro now and has been handling everything herself except wiping after poops (and washing hands) for many months. Bode is definitely interested from watching Dags. I think he will pick it up quickly once his language skills improve and with more consistency on my part. Our doc told us Dags would not be capable of full autonomy with washing and wiping until around age 4. I expect her to be fully autonomous sometime between 3-4. Right now she still is a bit scatterbrained with handwashing. She's more interested in playing in the water than washing her hands. For that reason and the wiping, I haven't told the child-watch ladies that she can use the bathroom without them coming to get us (at the YMCA.) I am super curious how Little Man's preschool handles washing and wiping! Is he completely autonomous? Any insight as to achieving it?

  2. I am not sure how they handle it. I assume they do it. The sink is up high. They do have regular plastic potties on the floor but also have a normal ceramic mini toilet it's pretty cool ;-) I will have to ask them. But like your doctor says they won't be able to wipe without making a mess nor wash their hands without resisting to play for a year or so ;-) Little Man dresses himself unless he has troubles with inside out undies/pants.

    That is also one question I will have to ask the Preschool when we go for our meeting this month to register him. If they require for the child to wipe we will have to practice.

    I have a friend who's 3 year old is expected to zip up his coat and put on his own scarf and hat to play at recess. He obviously couldn't and she had nightmares of him running around in below freezing temps without it zipped. No they wouldn't help at all! I was shocked but they live in a different neighborhood and our school does not require that. He puts his own shoes on but I don't think he could manage a coat zipper. They do EXPECT a lot from children around here so I wouldn't be surprised they require this once he is in Preschool.

    I'll find out though!

    But my insight is that practice makes perfect...


  3. Hi, Just sharing my experience....
    I started potty training on my boy when he was 29 months old. He is 34 months old now. We were on a slow pace. We were told by the pedi to start potty training only when the toddler could express himself vocally. My boy is a late talker. We started by diaper free at home but not during nap and at nights. He wore them when he went out. There was never a poo accident but in the beginning, a few wet accidents.
    He went to the potty to pee and even emptied the content in the washbasin a few times without me knowing. Recently, he won't let me look when he was on the potty. I had to stay behind the door. Once he even locked himself in the bathroom and got a big scolding from me. If he needed to do poo, he would tell me he was doing 'caca' so I could get the toilet paper from the toilet. Actually I never wash his hands after using the potty since he did not touch anything "dirty". I think maybe I should educate him on that. But when he does wash his hands, I have to help him.

    A question: He sits on the potty. Once we were at a neighbour's place and he needed to pee. I brought him to the toilet bowl and carried him up to pee. But he got a blockage and could not release himself. I had to help him to sit on the big toilet bowl. Should I teach him to pee standing?

    Since 2 weeks, he took naps without diaper. I wonder when will he be ready to sleep at night without diaper. Should I remove the diaper and tell him to wait until morning? Or should I wait until the day when he wakes up with a dry diaper?
    As for outdoors, he insisted to wear a diaper. So far, I had only tried going to the park nearby twice without putting a diaper on him (he forgot to ask).
    He has a younger brother who is 18months old. He is interested in the potty and started to sit in it just for fun.
    Big brother goes to school this sept. He can wear his shoes but not zip up his jacket yet. We are house hunting now and I hope he can be "propre" before the new transition to a new home and then school.

  4. Sohcool

    I would say to wait till he has dry diapers in the am. He doesn't have a problem with or without diapers...meaning he won't refuse either. Yes you should start washing hands now. It is required at ecole maternelle and if they get used to it now it will be something that will be automatic for them in the future. Because public toilets are gross ;-) which right now they wouldn't understand the differences.

    The books say it is easier for the father or male father figure to show them how to pee standing. Due to they are visual and probably wouldn't understand directions. Nor do I know how to do this or even try to explain it haha! He watched my husband yesterday but did not want to start it yet. So we will just keep waiting. Also we have a potty on the floor...not sure this is the proper height to attempt this. He does have a still for washing hands so he could move that to the big toilet. We will see.

    Yes new home and new school will be stressful so good time to finish up.

    Little man is also starting ecole maternelle in September...all new things to learn about the "French" way of doing this. Excited for him to learn but also scared by what I hear about how they push the kids so hard.

    Around where do you live in Paris? You can email that to me seems our boys are the same age. I have a newborn girl also 5 months.

  5. Our ped told us that in a lot of countries most babies are potty trained before they are even a year old....

    I am beginning to believe that every child is just different. I have a friend who's daughter would tell her from like 10 months on... she's 21 months now and totally potty trained.

    LA went for a few times in December when she was 15 months.... then over the holidays and our trip to Texas she lost interest.

    About a month ago we did naked mornings.... it generally resulted in her going in the potty once and then making lots of messes. Which I would be fine with if I was seeing a connection... she is just SO busy and didn't seem to notice until it happened and then moved on.

    Now we put her on every morning and she generally goes. Now that life has slowed back down to normal more we're going to try putting her on at least every hour and when I go....

    She just doesn't like to sit still so it's a struggle. I got fun books she only gets to look at on the potty so that helps...

    Yeah for Little Man! And Little Miss may be even faster, I've heard girls are faster overall... plus she has her big brother to teach her.