Chronicles of a (Mostly) Potty Trained Toddler
I suppose we’re a potty trained household.
We packed up the diapers permanently over the weekend. Now the upper shelf in the Doodle’s closet is jam-packed with prefolds and AIOs that we’re holding on to just in case we decide to procreate again (of which the likelihood is less than 1%, but for now we’re keeping our minds and options open).
I’m not entirely happy to be out of diapers. Frankly, I miss the Doodle’s squishy cloth bum. I miss diaper covers and oohing and aahing over the latest prints. I miss that my baby isn’t really so much a baby anymore. I had to resist (really hard) putting her back in diapers as keeping her in diapers would mean that she wasn’t growing up. Diapers are for babies, and my baby most certainly is still a baby. Granted she’s a baby that walks and talks and is pretty independently-minded.
The Doodle was ready to ditch her diapers. In hindsight, they were totally holding her back.
Aside from all of the potty readiness signs, there was one big issue that emerged that simultaneously propelled us forward into potty training and held us back: In December, the Doodle began throwing gigantic tantrums every time I tried to change her diaper. It wasn’t about diaper changes, and it wasn’t about me, it was something about the combo of me and the mere suggestion of a diaper change that would set her off.
She’d throw a full on fit, screaming and wailing on the floor, writing around, hitting and biting me. It was the most awesome of temper tantrums to try to get her out of a sopping wet diaper or to clean up a poopy bum. Trying to change a diaper while pinning down a raging toddler was no fun for anyone.
If I were lucky, I could somehow trick the Doodle into thinking that the diaper change was of her own ingenuousness, which was maybe once a day, but then she’d figure it out and I couldn’t use that tactic ever again. My best strategy was to suggest that someone else change her diaper, and she was totally okay with that. She thought that was a brilliant idea. Only then, I was dealing with Bubaloo’s teenage meltdown about the inappropriateness of having to touch girl parts and excrement, or Bella’s huge sigh at being interrupted to tackle such a trivial thing that I should be perfectly capable of handling.
I started to panic at the start of the week where we had circled the Thursday as THE DAY to start potty training. Not only was the Doodle in meltdown mode with me around diaper changes, she started to refuse to potty if I suggested it, but the first day of potty learning was a solo activity for the Doodle and I. Otto had to work. It was going to be me, the Doodle, a potty, and no diapers. I was terrified.
The first day of potty training blew my mind, and it’s only been uphill from there. After a naked day one, we put pants on for day two, and then on days three and four we began to take short outings both in and out of the car. Day three was our first accident free day, and we had two accidents on day four.
Then came daycare on day 5. We were really nervous about this. Not only were we not entirely sure how much follow through daycare would do on pottying (we had talked to the supervisor, and she was nonchalantly supportive), the Doodle had just finished a two-week break from daycare over the Christmas holidays, and she was starting in the senior toddler room with new workers (transition had been done before the holidays without a hitch, but the Doodle is averse to change, and wouldn’t realize that the transition was permanent and she was losing one of her most beloved daycare workers until that very Monday morning).
The Doodle, and her daycare workers, were rockstars! Not a single accident!!! Day 5 was amazing.
Since then, it’s been mostly awesome. We’ve had a couple of days with accidents – usually one or two – and a couple of days that have been accident-free. It’s been a totally normal, uncomplicated, and drama-free process.
Nearly two weeks into the process, I’m pretty confident this is going to stick and we’re going to be successful.
The Doodle is definitely initiating for every poop – “Poop! Poop!” she shouts out. There’s only been three poop accidents thus far. The first one was during the early days, and she just didn’t know it was coming. On the weekend, she wasn’t quite done yet on the potty, and by the time we got halfway up the stairs to empty the potty, she realized she still had to go but we didn’t make it in time. And, today at daycare, we had a poop miss as she asked to go but just didn’t make it in time.
Pee is a little bit different. We’re still doing a lot of cueing, and I mean we’re cueing at home every hour. Sometimes she’ll walk by the potty, pull her pants down, and go. Sometimes she yells out “poop!” and we scurry her over to the potty. I get a little giggle as she shouts out “poop!” She can say both pee and poop and potty, but insists on referring to every bodily function as a poop. Mostly, we’re plopping her down and letting her know that it’s time to go. And, then there’s the pee accidents, which always seem to happen during that insane window of pre-dinner/dinner/post-dinner time of the day.
We’re still using diapers at nap time and bedtime – she’s little and she’s learning!
The one time we let her go diaper-free at nap time (the two days previous she had woke up dry) she ended up soaking her bed. We’ll work on nap training in a few weeks time. She just doesn’t have the capacity to hold her pee if she’s had a lot to drink.
Nighttime is an odd beast. We’re still having sleep issues, and while we’re night weaned from nursing, we often have to give her multiple bottles of milk to get her back to sleep. We pack a little cooler and she has 2-4 3oz bottles of coconut milk at night. Don’t ask me how we got here… Aside from some of her learned hunger issues, she’s working on those two year molars and just loves to chew on a cold bottle top.
The Doodle is hyper aware of her bodily functions in the quiet of the darkness, so we’re woken several times in the night by a little toddler shouting out, “Poop! Poop!” We get her to her potty that we keep in her or our room depending upon where she’s sleeping, she quickly and easily pees, and then it’s back to bed (and hopefully quick) and to sleep. It’s kind of a drag to get regularly woken at 4 am to help your toddler pee, but it’s pretty hilarious to hear her shout out for her needs.
The only new twist is that the dog seems to have, um, taken a liking to the potty, so we need to be sure to beat him to the bowl in the morning. Dogs sure are gross.
Pottying is definitely a lot more work at this stage of the game, but I read that it takes about 3 weeks for a child to regularly self-initiate, and that milestone is just around the corner. I can definitely say that we’re thinking a lot less about pee and poop these days. Pottying is slowing melding in to our daily life and routine. It’s more than a little bit ironic, however, to have a potty-trained toddler who STILL doesn’t sleep through the night.