the one where I ask for advice: potty training
Apologies to my dear readers (assuming I still have any) whose eyes will roll at the title of this one. But I am nearing desperation. Please, just click away. Anyone else who has any assvice to share, please do.
There are a TON of books out there, I know. I’ve read a few. I’ve talked to other parents. I’ve tried several different approaches.
We made progress, then regressed, which I realize is completely natural with the addition of a new baby to our home.
I know every kid has their own way, learns on their own time. I know I don’t have to worry about it, really, that she won’t be in diapers by the time she gets to elementary school. Yet all along she’s been told that kids don’t wear diapers to school. She is starting school in just a few weeks, when she turns three years old. She was doing great, trying. Now, not so much.
Ok, this is where we’re at. Last chance to click away.
Jaye has shown interest in the potty since she was about 18-20 months, and started trying to go before she was even two years old. But it was not with any regularity and we never pushed it. We wanted to go at her pace. She’d try every once in a while, and sometimes even pee and we’d all get excited.
Last summer, before the baby came, we started encouraging her to try a little more. It was easy to be naked or just in a diaper. We even took the potty outside when we played. She did pretty well. It was new and exciting. We bought her some cute “little girl” undies, which she loved. But we didn’t bother pushing her to try when Baby Z came home. It would have been too much. It was enough just to get her a nap every day. Eventually though, it was time again. She’s actually outgrowing the largest size diapers that exist. She gets rashes. So we started encouraging her again. And she did well.
Now she can pee regularly on the potty, if and when she wants to (big if). Much more difficult to poo, and most times she won’t even try. Instead she’d prefer to go off on her own and poo in a diaper while playing solo. She’ll even beg for a diaper if she’s wearing underwear.
We’ve tried the sticker chart. This girl loves her stickers (she actually does a beautiful form of mixed media art with stickers and drawing). And though I said I’d never do it, we even resorted to bribery. Every 5 pees/poos she gets a small treat. Not candy, but a choice of three healthy bite-sized snacks which she loves. (As an aside, I never wanted to use food as a reward, but she didn’t need any more toys, and we would have bought her books anyway, plus she begs for these things.) It was working. She was really into it. We told her eventually she would just do it without the stickers and snacks.
Then one day it just stopped working. She has gone a week at a time without using the potty at all. We encouraged but never pushed. We tried the “ok, it’s time to sit on the potty” routine, but she knows when she has to go, and she’d refuse. We tried hands on and hands off, encouraging and ignoring, we’ve tried it all.
I know why she has regressed. At first it was the baby, understandably. Now she is protesting growing up. Some days she just doesn’t want to be a “big girl” anymore (even when I tell her she’ll be a “little girl” for a long time, and she’ll always be our baby). She associates certain things with being a “big girl” — e.g., using the potty, going to school, losing teeth, etc. Some days she just wants to be a baby like Z, so she cries and boycotts the potty and her undies.
I know it’s a control thing. What comes in and what goes out are the few small things in her life she can control. We give her so many choices so she may feel empowered. But this is hard. I don’t want to push too hard, I want to go at her pace. But we are running out of options. She needs more than encouragement at this point.
Perhaps a better reward might have been more stickers, or something exciting that she wants to do. But once she gets those things, she may lose interest again, I think. Plus I don’t really want to keep negotiating about this.
I’ve heard mixed things about pull-ups. Many people say to avoid them and go straight to underwear (or naked in summer). Some people say use them as a transition. We just started using them at night, since she comes out several times to pee before falling asleep. But the real issue now is during the day. We’re out of her diapers and I don’t want to buy another case since they barely even fit. And school starts in just two weeks.
SO, please share your best potty training tips here. Or commiserate with me and share your best story or tell me this will end soon. Because some days we can barely leave the house and I think this is going to drive me batty.