I was able to squeeze in an hour today to sort out clothes in the Doodle’s dresser drawers. I purged junk that had been collecting in the dark recesses of her drawers, I moved her clothes to the lowest drawers so that she can now see without being lifted up the outfits she selects, and I packed up a big part of her cloth diaper stash.
Today, at 21 months and 10 days, we’re potty training – officially. The diapers have been removed and we’re in the early stages of learning that pee and poop now go in the potty.
Even though we bought a potty way back in the summer, we hadn’t really been serious about potty learning. Over that time, we’ve casually incorporated the potty into our daily routine. We’ve moved from the potty being a comfy chair to read, to having the occasional successful moment, to having it click that “I’m going to the bathroom and this is where I’m supposed to go.”
The Doodle was ready to potty train back in October. Only we weren’t. I didn’t have a clue where to begin. I didn’t think it was possible to potty train with a child so young. And daycare certainly wasn’t on board to support a pottying 18 month old.
I was also secretly hopeful that it would click for the Doodle and there wouldn’t really be any work involved for us as parents. In my imagination, I was envisioning that one day she’d walk out of the bathroom with a diaper in hand, announce that she was done with those cloth crotch covers, and that would be that. One day she’d pee in the diapers and the next day she’d pee only in the potty. As lovely as that fantasy may be, it’s entirely unrealistic.
After having looked around the internet for potty training direction, I finally caved and bought a copy of Oh Crap. Potty Training in November. It was worth the $15.
What I most appreciated, aside from how Jamie breaks down the windows for and stages of potty learning, is that it held me – the parent – totally accountable for the process. I need to make the time in my busy schedule, I need to give my toddler my entire attention to learn her cues for a short period of time, I need to guide and lead but not control the process. I can’t take a back seat and just hope that she’ll figure it out. I can help her make this big leap.
Having read the book and having a potty-authority confirm that the Doodle was showing the ideal signs of potty readiness, we just needed to find the time to begin the process.
I was in a rush and a bit ancey to begin. My biggest concern is that the Doodle is opinionated, spirited and headstrong. These personality traits only become more predominant as the days pass. Waiting till the spring to potty train (that is daycare’s ideal situation as the kids will be out of snow clothes) wasn’t an option for us. We have a window when the Doodle will be most amenable to this transition, mastering this new skill as if it’s her own idea, and we’re up against the age wall of the terrible twos (and frankly, she’s already doing a lot of the things two-year-olds are notorious for).
And as parents of a toddler who still doesn’t sleep through the night, we’re scared as all hell that if we miss our window we’ll end up with a school age kid in diapers!
We removed the diapers today. It went well. Really well. It was a pants-free u-shaped day that started out with some highs, had some pretty low points, and the ended on a high.
The first pee of the day was priceless. I let the Doodle know it was time to potty and when I went to pick her up, she squirmed out of my reach, grabbed the potty and placed in on the couch beside her brother, climbed up on to the couch and then on to her potty. I had to get my phone to take a photo, and in that photographic instant, she peed and we all cheered.
We had another hit and then some misses. The string of pre-naptime misses while I was slightly distracted during food preparation, still ended up with me getting her to the potty on time.
The first self-initiated pee was equally as priceless. I took the Doodle up to the bathroom to put on a diaper before her nap. I told her she was still learning, and before I could get the diaper on her, she sat on the potty and peed. I cheered, clapped and danced. After that last string of misses, this was a huge success and I was so proud of my daughter. So I asked if she wanted to dump her pee into the toilet (like she’s done countless times before). That’s when she picked up the potty insert – still full of pee – and chucked it across the bathroom. Sigh.
After her nap, a well-rested, non-cranky Doodle had a lot of hits in the potty. I asked her to pee every hour and she did. When Otto came home from work, we had another success, and then another miss on the middle of the kitchen floor. Even with the several misses, on pee and poop, we still managed to get her to the potty on time to get part of it in there.
But the highlight of the day took place just as we wrapped up dinner. The Doodle was running around the table. She zipped into the kitchen, and then back into the dining room.
“Mommy. Mama. Poop.”
Otto and I looked at each other. Frozen. She’d never ever said pee or poop before the action before. Only after. We were in awe, and thank goodness Otto snapped to it and got her on the potty. Her first articulated self-initiated poop was an awesome way to end day one of potty training!