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 12...so 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)...today 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 diapers...so 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