Friday, July 08, 2011

Potty Training 2.0

We've had some major developments in the Jones family. If you paid attention the title you already know. Two words with the emotional value of two million words - potty training.

*Applies cold wash cloth to forehead*

A few months ago Annabeth was going through a phase of removing her diaper when she was in her crib. This drove me to the edge of sanity and eventually led to the acquisition of Escapeejays, which solved our problem nicely.

I wondered if I should start potty training at that point, but I had sat Annabeth on the potty before her bath 100 times and absolutely nothing had ever happened. I was completely unprepared to deal with my strong-headed two-year-old daughter's will if we could not even have the simplest victory first.

So I banished every thought of potty training. Honestly, the six months it took to potty train Jackson were the most humbling and frustrating months of my adult life - really, my entire life. I had many "What good is a college degree when I can't even potty train my child?!?!" crises. I have never tried so hard at something and been so bad at it.

I was also pregnant, which made potty training extra fun! The last six weeks of the process were Annabeth's first six weeks of life. I just try not to think about how crazy I felt. Jackson will start kindergarten next month and, thank You Jesus, He will not be wearing diapers. Which is how many of you comforted me in my time of need. You were right.

Now back to Annabeth. I had heard some friends speak of a mythical "3 day method" and I wondered if I should look into that. What I had done before had definitely not worked, so I was open to something that might have sounded absolutely nuts to me before.

On Tuesday, June 21, Annabeth woke up dry in the morning. This was a first! I knew immediately that I had to seize the opportunity. I put her on the potty right away and prepared to wait her out. Ten minutes later we had victory. Woo hoo! We made a big, huge deal about Annabeth's achievement and then put her in a diaper to go to day camp for a few hours.

When I picked the kids up we went straight to Target and bought a little princess potty that plays music when the child has a victory, lots of candy, undies and pull-ups. It was kind of surreal to be doing this for my baby, but it was also fun and exciting. When we got home I got out a special stool that a friend had given us when Annabeth was born. Both of the kids were given one at the same time and as soon as Jackson started using his, he potty trained. I swore to save Annabeth's magical potty training stool for this big day, as cute as it was and as much as I wanted to get it out much earlier. (It's like this one.) I put the stool under the big potty and I put the princess potty right next to it. She had her choice, and in the days to come she enjoyed doing a tour of potties around the house. Sometimes ever potty would be sat on before the victory came.

Late that night I reached out to a couple of friends who had potty trained little girls in the last year. They had both used the 3 day potty training method and, as it turns out, there's a web site! Here you go, friends: http://www.3daypottytraining.com. The e-book costs $24, but for us it has been well spent. I spent the evening reading the book and realizing that with Jackson, I had literally done EVERYTHING the exact opposite of what it said to do. Wow. My bad. I think I was so afraid of messes that I prolonged our process with the pull-ups. (But at the same time, every kid is so different.)

The book said to throw away the diapers and any contraband pull-ups in the presence of my child. I took a deep breath. Then a few more. Then I recovered from hyperventilating and we dumped it all in the trash. The most painful part was tossing a whole package of brand new pull-ups.

Basically, we stayed home for three days and Annabeth and I were joined at the hip. I reminded her about every three minutes to stay dry and tell me when she had to potty. We celebrated victories big time and kept things really positive. She took to it quickly and I'd say it worked! Two-and-a-half weeks later, we have an accident every few days but I feel very good about how far we've come.

The 3 day method has the child in undies at night. We tried it for a week but Annabeth and I were both very tired and cranky from waking up at night to deal with it. It just wasn't working for us. She was doing so well during the day that I didn't think using pull-ups for nighttime would cause a set-back. (We call them nighttime undies.) So far things have been good. I also use a pull-up when we go to mommy and me gymnastics because I do not need to give the coaches a reason to dread our presence. Have I mentioned that my daughter is head-strong?

What I was totally unprepared for is how grown-up Annabeth seems now. Her clothes fit differently and she looks older. Her independent spirit has also increased ten-fold. That has not been easy but I keep reminding myself that I am raising her, not maintaining her. She seems proud of herself and I'm very proud of her too.

I'm so thankful to God for giving me this do-over. What had been a very exasperating experience the first time around turned out to be a very positive one this time. It was grace.

Last week I caught myself saying, "As long as I'm still changing diapers I will not..." I stopped and realized that I'm not still changing diapers. After five-and-a-half years I'm actually done. It's hard to believe. I'm certainly glad, but I don't think I was prepared for my baby to grow up in three days. "What a big girl!" has come out of my mouth more times than I can count through this process. You can imagine how it touched me when Annabeth started replying, "No! I Mommy's baby!"



Here's AB watching "Punzel" from her sweet new princess chair. FYI, nothing is actually happening here. :)



42 comments:

Wendy said...

Congratulations!!! Huge Mama Accomplishment! I am hoping when I start next year on potty training my little girl that it goes much easier than it did with my son. You gave me much encouragement.

Siesta OC said...

'I keep reminding myself that I am raising her, not maintaining her.'

I love this. How awesome to know that we are raised and not maintained.

Well done!

Jess said...

I have been doing the same thing with olivia- i hope your training continues to go smoothly. O has been promised the purple tangled dress from target when we are all done. when did our babies get so big?

Church Lady said...

She does look so grown up.

Bourg Family said...

So sweet! I did the 3 day deal & was pleasantly surprised. I did not actually throw anything out though. We used pull ups aka night night panties for a while but she was always dry in the morning so those are gone now. Woohoo!

{Thirty} Little Piggies said...

Is she the cutest little thing or what?! Look at that grin! Congrats on the potty success. Another Mommy Merit Badge well earned! We're just starting the process with our little lady and this will be the first girl I've potty trained. My boys were easy to train but my little feisty girl is proving to be a bit more trying! I keep reminding myself that it'll eventually happen. Thanks for the encouragement you've shared here today. :)

Hayley said...

Awesome! We have the same potty and did the 3 day thing about 2 weeks ago! It went much better for my 2.5 yr old girl than it did for either of my boys, and I had the book then too. Like you said, everyone's different! Congrats to you and AB :) I'm pumped about the "raise" from not buying diapers!!

jst said...

I have 3 kids so 3 adventures on P training. My oldest is a girl. Actually she is a Senior this year and let me say times flies is just an understatement. She trained herself in about.....1/2 day ! I let her wear big girl panties...she wet them...was not having any part of that...and she never wet again. FOR REAL! The 3rd one is a girl too..wet the bed until about 6 months ago! The middle one is a boy and that says it all! For a small period of my life I thought P training was no big deal. But I had a reality check ;)

Ashley said...

I have got to do this with my now 3 year old boy, who has decided to become the most strong willed child ever. I just can't bring myself to dive in...but this is encouraging. I think when the others go back to school in a few weeks, we shall ditch the diapers and go for it.

Marla Taviano said...

Oh, she's beautiful. And my heart is rejoicing with you. Potty-training was my least favorite part of motherhood hands-down.

Cummings Family said...

I have boy/girl 2 1/2 year old twins and set out to do the three day method with them at the same time. I knew my son was definitely ready and prayed my daughter would just join in on the fun! The three day method worked wonderfully for him!!!! My daughter had to be put back in diapers. She just wasn't ready. After four days there were still no successes for her. It was madness doing it times two! That first day was probably the hardest day of my 2 1/2 years of parenting! My daughter is her brother's cheerleader and fine with that role! Now, when do I start again with her? (heavy sigh)

Gerry said...

What goes around, comes around. I have to laugh because my now 38 year old daughter was trained in 3 days using a book that I found at the time. She is my firstborn and I was clueless about mothering, especially this aspect. But it worked then and looks like it works now. Happy day!

Maggie Elizabeth said...

Congrats!! Going through PT was easier than I thought at my house. I had decided that it was all or nothing during the day. My sweet Sophie Clare was just ready and was fabulous. We stuck to NO DIAPERS!! We still wear them at night just because she drinks a lot of water before bed. I will deal with that later. haha

crgolden said...

Ok. I'm going to have to check out this book. My first that is fixing to turn 5 was easy, basically training herself. My second, who is about the same age as AB, says she wants to go potty, but then does nothing. Thanks for the renewed hope!!

Robin said...

What a cutie! And my girl calls it punzel, too. :) I found your site from Kristi Morgan's site...your blog is really cute.

Kirsten said...

You go, girl! :)

Tara G. said...

My 3rd (a girl) was also ready before I was! I think I would have snuck those pull ups back out and returned them! ha! A pastor we heard while back in the States said that children are children, but they need to be brought out of childhood- akin to your maintenance statement...so true and such hard work, but well-worth it! Annabeth is darling, by the way, as she sits on her throne!!

fuzzytop said...

I love your heart Amanda! So happy you had a do-over!

Hugs,
Adrienne

Mari Bryant- Marks said...

I'm so glad this time has been a better experience for you! Go Annabeth :) (go in the toilet, that is) We're doing the same thing right now with my two year old son... God grant us an extra measure of patience! Can't believe my last baby is, well, not a baby anymore. :( We use a similar method, but I do the same thing at night with the "night undies."

Timsha Coleman said...

Congrats on the petty training. I think I will be trying the 3 day training also. I just hope I have as good of luck!

Mrs Lemon said...

I potty trained Zachary from February-May from diapers to complete independence, so I don't feel at all bad that it took the better part of 4 months instead of 3 days haha! Took a 2 month break and now I'm starting on Gracie because as I live and breathe, I'll never diaper two babies at the same time again, so help me God. I'm extra motivated to train her before I get big and pregnant with our 3rd.

JDaniel4's Mom said...

We are still working on it here! Hooray for your house!

Kelly @ Love Well said...

You are my hero.

I'm working on a post right now about The Potty Training of Teyla. I think we are done. It didn't go quite as well with my headstrong one as it did with yours.

California Dreamin said...

LOL. I had to laugh because I think I was one of the women who said kindegardners arn't wearing diapers by the time they start school. Now, you can encourage another mother with the same wisdom. :)
Congratulation to you and Annabeth! --Grandmamitz

mamajillian said...

This is so exciting to read! Thank you so much for sharing! My daughter is 16 months old and I'm pregnant with my 2nd child. I've been thinking about potty training a lot, and this post gave me a lot of insight! Thank you and Congrats!

Faith said...

What a cute pink potty!! By the way, I saw that you were going to be at the DotMom event! I will be there too and am so excited! I hope you guys are having a great weekend!

ncmama said...

Congratulations!!! I used the 3 day method with my boys and although every child is different, I would totally recommend it to anyone. Such exciting times for you both!

easternjourney.com said...

We also did potty training in 3 days and had good success.

When we "threw the diapers away" I got out a new trash bag and had our son throw the diapers away. Later that night, I took the diapers out of the new trash bag and tucked them away to pass along to a friend. It was just too expensive to throw away unused diapers!

Barbara Head said...

I believe there are 3 important passages for mothers: 1. When the children are potty-trained & no more diapers. 2. When they start "real" school (kindergarten) and 3. When they no longer need a babysitter. Wow!! A mother really feels free then!! Of course you cry at each passing phase. Ha! Ha!

Nesha said...

Love her hair in that picture! Yes, every child is different in every milestone I think. I have 2 boys and nothing has been done with the same result. Both PT differently (oldest seemed like forever, prob did things wrong, & youngest done in 2days (his strong willed way). Even discipline to this day at 10 & 13 is different, each has their own value and response, that was the hardest for me to learn. Congrats to this stage over!!

Allison said...

Yay! No more poopie diapers is defintiely the best milestone in a mommies life. Congrats!

ThirtysomethingMom said...

My baby is 12! I wish they had 3 day potty training when she was two!!!

Congrats to you both!

Holly Rook said...

Exciting accomplishment for you both! We are in the throws of potty training our 21 month old son. Praise God he is interested right now. We have had some small victories that are encouraging. My goal is to train him by his birthday in 3 months. I am rethinking that goal and need to check out your book recommendation. I would love to be done with diapers very soon. They are so expensive! Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us.

Praying for you and Curtis as you plant a church. I bet it is harder than being pregnant for nine months and then giving birth. From one pastor's wife to another, praise Him for the glory to be revealed and pointed to Him! It is going to be worth it!

http://joyfullyyourshr.blogspot.com

The Shinnicks said...

Oh, honey, we just started our attempts to potty train this weekend, and I'm ready to throw in the potty! Argh! It is so hard for me and humbling. You're right. I'd cash in my college degree for a magic "Poof! You're potty trained!" skill. Congrats! And thanks for the encouragement!

Steve Finnell said...

you are invited to follow my blog

Lori said...

I needed to read this today!! I am attempting to start potty training my 25 month old son starting on Monday. I did the 3 day potty training thing with my daughter, who is now 5 and it worked so well! However, my son is a completely different personality type and I have been dreading it. But reading this makes me feel better about trying it with him. Thanks!

Kim said...

We also did the 3 day method w/ both my kids, but we did not get rid of pull ups at night until they were consistently dry at night. It was not worth the battle. Way to go! Such a great feeling, I know!

Jamie said...

YAY Annabeth! I'm in the process of potty training my little boy who will be 3 next month, and I feel like giving up most days. Some days I feel like he totally gets it and other days he just pees in his undies like that's what you do?! I feel encouraged that you survived 6 months with Jackson, but I'm also nervous that I am doing something wrong!! Potty training is not for wimps! :) Congratulations!

OntheGloryRoad said...

Too many reasons to mention on a blog post, but I believe that you and my daughter ReAnnon, as well as your Mom and me, will one day sit across from one another and be fast friends. Annabeth is simply beautiful. Tell her to remember this name. Jude Paul Higerd.

LaynahRose said...

Annabeth?! That name is beauuutiful (just barely found your blog, I had to take that second to catch up haha) Congratulationsss! I love the raising not maintaining quote, so perfect.

j. w. said...

thanks for posting this. It was really helpful!
http://onerowblog.blogspot.com/

howitallbegan said...

I remember reading this post so long ago and I had a not-even-one-year-old and I thought, alright... When it comes time I'm coming back here and rereading this post.

Well, he's two-and-a-half now. And it's high-time we get this train moving (as much as I am feeling stress about the process). Downloaded the book today and will start soon...

Thanks for posting this!