Potty-training weekend: the sequel

Almost exactly two years ago, we initiated Lucy into the diaper-free community. This time, it’s Rosie’s turn.

I was pretty nervous when we potty-trained Lucy. I remember having real anxiety and sleeplessness, mostly over the lack of control I had in containing excretory matter in our home. But I feel a lot more optimistic and laid-back this time around, and I think that is going to help the whole process. Not to mention how much it helps not having a nursing infant to take care of while we’re tackling Potty Camp.

Things are pretty different on the trainee’s end this time around, too. First of all, Rosie has a terrific big sister to model — and encourage — proper potty technique. Secondly, Rosie has been trying to emulate her sister in this area for months already. Rosie even got her very own potty as one of her birthday presents this year (the two potties look pretty cute sitting next to each other; see photo).

We’re taking a lot of our cues from the original plan, like:

  • Having fun
    We’re making our first goal to have lots of fun and positive experiences as a family. The secondary goal is to help Rosie learn about staying dry in underpants and using the potty for elimination.
  • Being outdoors
    Spending the whole weekend in the back yard makes it easy to not stress about accidents — not to mention how nice it is to soak up the early summer weather and play in the grass.
  • Providing external motivation
    We think it works to reward potty-sits, potty-deposits, and dry experiences.
  • Chanting and cheering
    Repetition never hurts. Our watchword is one of Papa’s Principles: “Listen to your body, sit on the potty!”

But we’re doing a few things differently, too:

  • Using jelly beans as rewards
    With Lucy, I was pretty vehement about not wanting to use candy as a reward. And, y’know what? Stickers didn’t work. The fact remains: candy is language that toddlers can understand — and a powerful tool for parents.
  • Not worrying about putting diapers on for an outing
    Most of the literature on potty training says, “Once you start, don’t go back!” I really took that to heart with Lucy, but I finally needed to get to a place where Lucy was the one choosing to either a) use the potty or b) wear a diaper. That sense of choice seemed pretty important to Lucy, and I think it helped her to motivate herself to listen to her body. Rosie is already pretty motivated to wear underpants, since she wants to be like her big sister. But if she has an accident or doesn’t want to use the potty when asked, then I’m not going to worry about confusing her by putting a diaper on.
  • Not even attempting to use Potty Patty
    I’m sure this doll works for some kids, but it didn’t help any for us. And since Rosie already has someone to model for her, she doesn’t need the extra help to get the concept. I think Potty Patty is going to find a new home on craigslist pretty soon.
  • Preparing for disturbed sleep
    We attributed Lucy’s sleep issues to the caffeine in M&Ms back in the day. But upon further reflection, I think it was just a part of the learning curve. She had a busy brain and didn’t want to go to sleep. Rosie’s already been a little fussy at sleep times — and perhaps we’ll bypass the full-blown nap rebellions that we experienced with Lucy. But even if we don’t, at least we know “this too shall pass.”

I’m interested to see how Lucy will respond to this event. I predict she will either encourage her sister and be another “mommy” to her, or she will become a “duckling” (her latest in a series of baby animals) and “need” to be potty trained, too. Probably it will be some of both.

I’m sure we’ll have a few rocky moments with this in the coming weeks, but I’m also confident that we’ll end up with another successful potty girl before the year is up. Go Rosie!

7 Replies to “Potty-training weekend: the sequel”

  1. So, is this the big weekend? If so, way to commemorate Memorial Day with an event that you’ll remember for a while!

    Note: I remember hosing off ‘messes’ from our deck during our potty weekend. Thank goodness for adjustable nozzles.

  2. Hi Anne! Best of luck to you in your potty-training weekend. It might be too late, and annoying for me to mention, but have you heard of the book “Toilet Training In Less Than A Day?” It’s old school, written in the 70s, developed by two doctors that found a method for training severely disabled adults. My sister-in-law did it with her two girls with total success so I thought I would try it with Phare last January (two and a half). It totally worked. Phare used the potty on her own—everything from getting herself undressed, wiping, dumping the contents, dressing, washing hands, etc. It sounds too good to be true I know, but it really does work!!! My best friend just did it last weekend, also with great success. Just thought I would mention it in case you had never heard about it. I honestly don’t know why we never learned about this method!!! It’s amazing!!

  3. I can’t wait to hear your success! We’re just beginning the process with Bethany (18 mo) just talking about using the potty and getting her to notice when she’s pooped. She pats herself on the bottom and says “poop”. :) She’s sat on the potty a handful of times, but with no production. Take notes so I can learn from your house! :)

  4. Thanks for the good wishes, everyone! We got off to a rocky start with Rosie waking up for the day at 4:30 am (boo) and Mama ending up in tears after an hour. But thanks to Papa, I got some more sleep, and everyone is pretty happy and enjoying their jelly beans. :)

  5. Rebekah, thanks for the book recommendation! I believe I did read that when I was researching potty training for Lucy, but I felt a little stressed out by the process, so I decided not to try it. But I’m so glad it worked for you and Phare! that is awesome.

  6. Yes—it overwhelmed me too. I would not have done it had I not known someone else who had! Once we were in it it was actually quite easy, but a lot of prep. Best of luck in your efforts! Sorry about the early morning fiasco. So wretched those early wake-ups! Have to say that right now I’ll take potty-training stress over the stress of parenting a teen any day! Best wishes to you! Can’t believe how big the girls are, and sooooo cute!

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