In much the same way I do everything in my life, I began the quest for the best way to potty train by READING and making a PLAN. And I don’t just read books, I read blogs. Lots and lots of real life blogs from moms and dads that are doing all this same stuff right now. And then I talk to my friends and family. Then I read book reviews – lots of reviews for top rated books on a topic. Then I decide on a book, order it and speed read. I like to research my subject so I know it, understand it and from that, make an informed hybrid plan. (It takes time upfront but I usually end up with a better result faster. Plus, I LEARN, sounds annoying, right?? At least that’s what my husband says… 🙂 but in the end, I usually make a semi-intelligent decision about things). I take snippets of things or ideas I like from my research and think will fit my situation, note it, and incorporate it into the master plan. Plan in hand, I then prepare. That’s just what works for me. I approach recipes for my cooking the same way. (And party planning, gardening, selling a car, losing weight…you get the picture…) Then I like to write about it here as partly a journal I can look back on and reference but also in case anyone else wants to gain some insight into all the CRAP I spent time researching and then trying out; the work is done and it’s a quick blog read for you! (read: you’re welcome 🙂 ) So this is my Starting Line-Up, or all of the things I felt would be crucial in assisting Mattelyn to get the most out of her potty training experience so that our plan worked and she was SUCCESSFUL. With the hope, too, that it wouldn’t take a whole lot of time. Some children potty train for a year. I can’t do that – I just don’t have the time.
1. My mom, Mattelyn’s grandma, is staying here with us helping out with the twins in their infancy and helping me greatly during the day with Miss M. She offered to help potty train her so that when I am on my own with the three of them here within the month (God help me), she is at least out of diapers. So I naturally took her up on the offer, (I’d be crazy not to!) That’s not to say I am not 100% involved, because I am. But she is leading the charge and I am on twin duty, clean-up duty, follow-up duty and playing the resident “Chef du jour” while this is occurring. Ha! Mattelyn is 24 months to the day when I determined it was her time, I had the help here and available, I needed to GO FOR IT. I decided to train her using the Three-Day-Semi-Naked-Method. I ordered the book, “Potty Train In A Weekend,” by mom of four, Becky Mansfield.
I did A QUICK speed read of the book after reading the 50 or so reviews from satisfied readers who also chose this route. This seemed like a no frills, no food, no extra incentives, matter-of-fact way to potty train. (Okay – just what I was in the market for. Or SO I THOUGHT).
2. I purchased a Minnie Mouse potty chair that claps and cheers with a “flush” (I really could’ve just gone with a plain potty but this one I thought was a good idea to get her interested back when she was 18 months old. Now I think it’s not necessary if you’re thinking about a potty chair. Simple and plain is perfect. And the more sturdy they feel, the better).
3. I bought the chair when she was 18 months old – so it would sit in the bathroom and she could get used to the idea of going potty when we would go. Pulling her pants down and mimicking us. The one good thing I like about this potty chair is we can remove the seat and it SNAPS into place on the big potty so she has a choice of going on the little chair or the big chair. And when the lid is down, she can use it as a step stool to wash her hands. (The snapping into place was a big deal after all as some of the other seats we tried don’t snap into place and she didn’t feel secure), like this Minnie potty chair seat we bought to keep in her bathroom upstairs for use directly after naps and when she wakes first thing in the morning. Instead of another potty chair, this one just sits on top of the toilet seat. It slips and slides though because it doesn’t lock in place. However she likes the handles.
4. My mom ordered her some Baby Leg, leg warmers (super cute idea for boys and girls and a novelty at that; Mattelyn thoroughly enjoyed “dressing up”). These worked well as she would wear them while wearing no pants (and no undies or Pull-Ups, just naked), along with a tight shirt that you can easily see if an accident starts to happen and socks with these cool slippers with grippers that I think are a must-have called Skidders. Mattelyn’s are little pink Mary Jane Skidders and are adorable…This way, if an accident occurs (and they will) shoes don’t get peed on (lesson learned!)
5. We received a pack of cute playful undies from her older cousin in Florida so we didn’t go shopping for any. But they remained in her room and we talked about them for a good month or two before the day came that we would use them. I read it can be fun to go shopping for big girl or big boy undies – totally your call. Mattelyn didn’t want to have anything to do with them, which made me laugh. Kids are SO SMART.
6. I ordered a potty book for Mattelyn to read while on the potty that was HIGHLY recommended by over 1,000 reviews on Amazon. “Potty,” by Leslie Patricelli.
She loved it in a way that I can only explain was love/hate. We let it sit on a stool in the bathroom leading up to potty training. We read it to her and encouraged her to look at it while in the bathroom with us. She has read it probably 100 times by now. She would carry it around with her during the day and would throw it across the room some days. Other days, we would find it “hidden” or stashed away under other books or in the oven of her toy kitchen set, LOL. She resonated with it and with what the little boy/girl was trying to accomplish. Awesome book – can’t recommend enough!
7. My husband bought her a step stool so that her little dangling legs/feet would touch when she is trying to go on the “big potty.” This would provide her with balance and the feeling of being stationary and secure. It really is helpful.
8. He also bought her special Minnie Mouse antibacterial hand soap that was just for Mattelyn to use after trying to use the potty. He’s so good at recognizing things that would make her feel special and would encourage her softly.
9. We got her a water bottle to encourage drinking water ALL.DAY.LONG. A special water bottle with a straw so she would be excited about drinking water. We also gave her Gatorade and watered down apple juice mixed with some prune juice in her regular sippy cups to ensure her stools would be soft – not loose – just soft so it wouldn’t hurt to push the poop out.
10. I froze grapes as a snack (also would encourage number two to happen) and bought prunes – Mattelyn loves prunes so this wasn’t a big deal for her. They are very sweet and taste like candy.
11. We decided to use the timer that is built into the iPhone and every 20 minutes for the ENTIRE first day, we took her to the potty each time the timer played the song. And she would run excitedly to the potty when she heard it regardless of what she was in the middle of doing.
12. I watched FAR TOO MANY YouTube videos about going potty. FAR TOO MANY. I have been singing the “Poop Song” for days. But I found this to be a REALLY fabulous encouragement piece. It also reminds them what they’re doing but also relaxes them and makes them feel like everyone is doing it and they should too. I will provide links to a few of the videos Mattelyn really liked and two that worked in my next post. Especially the Potty Dance!
You will notice some things that AREN’T part of the Starting Line-up:
1. Pull-ups. As the author of the book mentioned above states, offering a potty training toddler a Pull-up is like giving a candy bar to a person that is dieting and telling them to eat healthy and sensibly. It sends the wrong message, not to mention a confusing message. We opted to go sans undies and let the pee pee flow…
2. A Potty Watch. I was all about the potty watch. I liked the idea that it makes them feel independent. It has a timer that plays nursery rhymes and reminds them in 30, 60 or 90 minute increments that it’s time to go potty which is critical in potty training. However, more reviews I read than not said much like with everything else in a toddler’s world, they are super cool for the first 1/2 hour and then they are old news. Skip the potty watch and save the $20.
3. M&Ms, stickers, charts, piggy banks and money. None of these for incentives. The incentives we use are “Good Job!”, “Such a big girl!” Flushing the toilet and washing hands. A phone call for a quick FaceTime with someone special (their choice) and a picture of her on the potty to send out (via text message) that she designs the background of on smart phone with the pic collage app for first time going potty in the potty chair and for everyone she does number two.
Wish me luck!!! I would LOVE to hear what was included in your starting line-up! Please share and follow this next journey in parenthood with me. I find it to be a challenge that I think Mattelyn and I are BOTH up for. Stay tuned for guaranteed hardships and funny stories….
XO ~ Stephanie