Monday, February 1, 2016

Potty Training: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

I knew this was a task where I had to be "All In," and with everyday being nothing but unpredictable this past year, it wasn't an option for the longest time.

As the holidays began to approach, Brian and I started talking about this possibly being the right time to try. We had no plans of leaving town, making this the perfect opportunity to really kick potty training into gear. 

So, we started taking baby steps to prepare ourselves for the big commitment. First, we needed to cancel the diapers. In mid December, when I received my subscribe and save confirmation email from Amazon I deleted the order of size 6 diapers from my shipment. We were going with the mindset, "No diapers = No turning back!" 

The second step was to set a date. We decided on the 26th. We knew between going to church on Christmas Eve and spending the day at my parents on Christmas, it made sense to wait until we had absolutely no plans and could spend the entire day at home with nothing on our minds but getting G to pee in the potty. 

Well, the 26th rolled around and I was EXHAUSTED! I could barely keep my eyes open all day and had dreams of laying on the couch and propping my feet up. Not a great start for my "All In" potty training philosophy. So I secretly hoped Brian would forget about our conversation and we could revisit the idea the next day. Nope. No such luck. Comatose on the couch, I could hear Brian putting Graham on the potty all afternoon. I was pretty sure this was his attempt at potty training, but I wasn't about to join in without some background knowledge.

(Actually, that's not completely true. I did sit with Graham one time while I was getting the bath prepared for the babies, and little did I know at the time, that this moment would later be crucial in Graham's potty training success.  All afternoon, I heard Graham acting goofy and pretty much doing anything but peeing while he was on the potty. So I'm sitting in the bathroom with Graham, running the water for the bathtub. I'm still pretty tired and a little impatient when Graham decides to stall by saying, "Oh, look! a waterfall!" when he sees the bathtub faucet running. I quickly turn off the "waterfall" and say "no more waterfall." If you want a waterfall, you can make your own waterfall by going pee in the potty. I'm pretty sure he never made his own that night, but the next day, "waterfall" would become his new favorite word and eventually his keyword for needing to pee.) 

But other than that moment, I let Brian do his thing through the night knowing tomorrow we were going to have a plan in place. And that plan I had been holding onto in the back of my mind was to order a book our neighbors had told us about on Amazon. So, here I am, 12 hours before it's time to start potty training, hoping to use a book, I don't own and haven't read. Being too tired to really worry about it, I fell asleep early and decided I would think about it in the morning. And like most good ideas, 4am rolled around and I realized I had just signed up for my 30 day amazon now trial so why not put it to good use and see if they could deliver the book first thing in the morning. Of course not. The book I'm looking for isn't an option, but there's another one that is available. So I checked out the reviews and they happen to be great. I also decided if Amazon Now is willing to stock this book, it must be something parents would want, NOW. By 5am, the good ideas were really starting to click, so much that I realized I could order it as an ibook and read it right then. So sure enough, I did. I relocated to the couch in the living room and literally speed read through the chapters relevant for the first day. 

By 7:30am, I filled Brian in on the plan, and by 8am Graham was up and we were full speed ahead with our first official day of potty training.

Based on the book I read, the overall theme of Day 1 was to let Graham roam around the house naked while I watched him like a hawk and rushed him to the bathroom every time a "waterfall" was coming. By the end of the day he was telling me "let's go!" and running to the bathroom. This day ended up being a breeze. Graham made it to the potty every time he needed to go. He even pooped in the toilet.

You know you're in Texas when it's warm enough to ride around on your scooter naked in the backyard the day after Christmas. 
So the next day we moved on to phase 2. This meant Graham was fully clothed except for underwear. He was going "commando." This day didn't go quite as smooth as the first. Brian went back to work and I continued to watch Graham as closely as I could, but every time I had to tend to the babies (putting them down for naps, getting bottles ready etc.) Graham conveniently peed in his pants and on the floor. At one time during the day we were 0 for 4 at making it in the potty. The day ended with 2 out of 6 times. I was teetering on throwing in the towel, but the book warned that this was the hardest phase. So we continued our work the next day. I also remembered that Daniel Tiger had an episode about potty training so we watched that on Netflix and sang the song, "Stop! and Go Right Away! Flush and Wash and Be on Your Way!" all throughout the day. Graham was pretty excited about flushing and washing his hands that it was suddenly starting to click. "Waterfall coming!" was happening on his own, and then when he would sit on the toilet he would say, "Waterfall here!" I could hear him reciting Daniel Tiger's song under his breath as he completed each step. By the end of day 3, he was pretty much fully daytime potty trained. Graham finally left the house on Day 4, and I was pretty certain he was going to have an accident while playing at a friend's house, but he proved me wrong and did great!

Our one hiccup (as expected!) was the poop. (I feel awkward using this word and hope this is the only blogpost I ever write containing the word poop, but I'm at a stage in life where it's undeniably a large part of our day). Graham was going in his pants every single day. (Thank heavens for sweatpants with elastic bands around the ankles!) I read and reread the sections of the book about this part of potty training, but since it only happened once a day, I think we weren't getting enough consecutive practice. Finally, after six days of accidents, it happened in the toilet! and it's happened in the toilet every time since!!

Last week marked a month since we started potty training and I'm happy to say he's only had two day time accidents, both of which I blame on myself. One was at a restaurant, and it was a little too early for me to not check and see if he needed to use the restroom while being contained in a high chair for so long, and the second was at a friends house. The first thing I need to do every time we are somewhere new is show his where the bathroom is. He had gone so long without any accidents that I forgot we are still technically in the learning stages. I pretty much hound him everywhere we go now. Better safe than sorry for the next couple months.

The nighttime update: Since we were "all in" we decided to go ahead and rip the bandaid by training Graham at night too. We try to give him his last drink at dinner time and if for some reason we give him more to drink afterwards, the book suggested giving it in a cup so he couldn't sip it down super fast. We started with a lot of accidents. To make it a little easier, I took the mattress pad off so there's one less thing to wash, and fortunately he's in his toddler bed now so the sheets aren't that much of a pain to change.  After about a week or two we finally reached the point where Graham was embarrassed and hated waking up in the middle of the night wet. Now he's doing a great job getting up in the middle of the night to "make a waterfall" when he needs to. The only problem is, he wakes me up every time he needs to go. Since I'm used to waking up in the night, I'm letting it slide right now. However, next month, he's going to have to do it all on his own. We have a nightlight in the bathroom that gives him plenty of light and he's completely independent with going to the bathroom during the day so he should't really need me.

It feels great to have a pretty big milestone crossed off our list. 

Next up, learning to swim. 

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