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!