Thursday, July 12, 2007

How's that potty training going?

Well, I'm so glad you asked! We started on sticker charts the first day of our vacation. Here's how we went about our extensive research: A. asked a friend whose kid is 15 months older what she did. And then we copied her.

Actually, we copied her but added "and Z. gets one present when Z. fills a chart." The morning before we went on vacation, Z. and I went to the toy store and chose stickers for the charts (plus some to send to Charming Boy) and she chose two presents that the "toyologists" wrapped for her. I grabbed a handful of finger puppets, too, just in case.

The first few days were miserable. We asked her constantly about the potty. She fought us on everything about it. We did the diaper-free thing for one morning--actually, there was no "we" there. A. did the diaper-free thing while I slept. From all accounts, that was not so very successful, so we went back to training pants. But there were still tantrums and more tantrums.

We had a little parental confab about just which potty victories would merit stickers. We opted to reward more victories because Z. really wanted to open a present, and we thought opening a present sooner rather than later would be good. You can only delay toddler gratification but so long.

We started on Saturday. By Sunday, we were in despair and ready to give up. By Monday, we were no longer so discouraged. By Wednesday, she had unwrapped both of her presents and we were working on chart number three. By the time vacation was over, she was sleeping with the first finger puppet in her special travel bed, and using the potty without tantrums more often than not. She was understanding that there was a routine to the potty visits, and--yes--she was arriving at the potty dry sometimes.

So we're still at it. We're not ready to switch to the trainers that don't have the waterproof layer. But we're getting there.

And we are COVERED with stickers. Because who can stop at just one sticker, really? And if the second, and third (and so forth) are not going to go on the chart, well, what are Mamas and Mommys for? A purple balloon on the belly button does wonders for one's professional appearance.


kathy a. said...

embarassingly enough, it has been 15 years since our last potty training adventure, and every single word you wrote rang true. [this is probably why, when i moved away to college, my dad spent hours telling every other parent he met about that time i mistook his typewriter for something else....]

Phantom Scribbler said...

I'm totally jealous. We have already maxed out our bribery resources on the eating issues, and Mr. Blue is totally not onboard with doing anything intensive along potty training lines, anyway. But... I am very heartened by your potty training success story. Z. is a hero. And mamas and mommys with stickers in their belly buttons are clearly rock stars.

S. said...

kathy a., welcome! There is a similar family story about A. and a pillow that follows her around--I know it, for instance, I met her when she was 25.

Phantom, the thing about cloth diapers is 1) they smell and 2) you have to wash them and 3) they are hugely expensive up front. This last one is the big motivator. We literally can't afford for her to grow out of this size.

I wouldn't say we're at success yet. Last time she was about where she is now she slipped back fast. She was way more resistant to starting with the training pants this round than last round, probably because we did let her slip the last time.

(un)relaxeddad said...

We were fairly lucky with dudelet's potty training, as these things go. It became a matter of independence with him, I think, and self-assertion (though he takes the self-assertion thing altogether too far most of the time!) Of course, karma being what it is, we had to potty training him all over again after the cast for his broken thigh came off!!!

S. said...

Oh, yes, the regression of the cast! With Z.'s arm it was sleeping through the night, walking any distance and climbing stairs; since we hadn't started on potty-training she couldn't regress on that one, but I'm sure she would have if it had been possible.

Magpie said...

Good luck. I think we mostly got lucky...peer pressure and one of the daycare teachers really pushed her along and one day she announced that she was going to wear undiepants henceforth.

About that professional appearance: are you going to work in shirts that show your belly button???

S. said...

Magpie, NO one sees my bellybutton if I can help it. The stickers are on the bellybutton region of the outer garment.

The official policy on potty training support in the infant-toddler room was: "don't get us involved." But in the room Z. will be in this Fall, potty training is part of the curriculum.