By Thursday of this week, Elijah had numerous attempts at potty-ing on his potty chair with no results, but something inside of him was still very determined to try. While I was getting his milk after nap-time on Thursday I heard him say in his room, “Momma poo-poo.” By the time I got to him, he was standing in the corner scowling at me, because (of course) he messed his diaper. Elijah was noticeably embarrassed and I felt terrible. I quickly told him that Mommy was not mad at him, and that accidents happen when someone is practicing how to use the potty. Nothing really helped until I told him that if he really needed to use the potty he could tell me and then start walking there so he would make it in time.
I saw a light go on in his little head. I asked him if he wanted to try going potty. He said yes. So off we rushed to make it to the potty chair where he squeezed just a few drops out. Both he and I were elated! Back in his underwear, and one accident later, Elijah completely had the hang of it. We had 8 successful pee-pees and three false alarms before bathtime that night. Mommy was completely exhausted from all the ups and downs on the floor, but so incredibly proud.
Thursday morning there were five stickers on Elijah’s potty chart, each one representing a valiant attempt. Before bedtime he had won three hotwheel cars and had a full chart of stickers (for Thursday we gave him two stickers for every successful potty, one for every attempt).
We needed another chart so Mommy went to work getting the new chart ready for Elijah to fill starting Friday morning. This time he would get one sticker for every successful potty only, and a hotwheel car for every 10 successful potty’s.
Friday was incredible. We had one accident in the morning, and then ELEVEN successful pee-pees throughout the day. Saturday has also been great (only one partial accident today) although we are still waiting for a poo-poo. I feel like this shouldn’t be quite as easy as it is, but I am definitely not complaining! Like my mom said to me just this morning, “Don’t expect this to go quite as easy for every child! You’ve lucked out!”
Wanted to share a couple things we have learned so far for those of you who have not started the potty-training adventure:
1. Don’t push!
I wish I would have read Kevin Leman’s book like a year ago and stopped worrying about what my pediatrician thought. I never thought Elijah would bring this up on his own, and I never thought we would realistically be attempting to potty train this early. When we laid off of Elijah, he was free to decide when he was ready to take a go at it. I could have saved myself a lot of mental stress if I would have internalized this one a long time ago.
2. When they say they gotta go – they really gotta go.
Most of the accidents that Elijah had were partially my fault because I didn’t take him seriously enough to move with him to the toilet. I have decided it’s much easier for me to drop what I’m doing than to spend an additional 10 minutes cleaning up a big mess.
3. Encouragement is huge.
Elijah has responded really well to motivators like stickers and the hotwheels cars, but we have found that is not the most important thing for him. I can totally see his sense of accomplishment and pride when we recognize that he did a good job. We’ve already started tapering off on the stickers (and by that the hotwheel cars) because we’re finding he doesn’t care as much as we thought he would. He is good to go on with his day with a little praise from Mom or Dad.
4. Have them sit a little.
I think the reason why we had 8 pee-pees in less than three hours on our first day was because Elijah was so excited he made any pee-pees at all, that he jumped up before he was finished. This led to lots more ups and downs for a very pregnant and tired Mommy. When I encouraged him to sit a little longer, sometimes he would actually go three or four times in one setting (much better)!
5. Recognize when you’re being played.
By day three Elijah has really gotten the hang of this whole thing – especially the part where we drop what we’re doing to help him on the potty. Meal times have been especially challenging because we are learning to decipher if, “Momma pee-pees,” really means, “Momma out [of my chair].” Again I’m trying to limit my ups and downs and needless lifting. 🙂
We are far from over in this journey, but are so happy that things have been going as smoothly as they have been. So far Elijah has not been anywhere but the main level of our house. We haven’t gone outside or even gone in the basement in three days. Yes Mommy is getting a little stir crazy – but Elijah doesn’t seem to mind. Mike and I keep telling ourselves it will pay off for us to be disciplined and do this right. We want to help Elijah really get the hang of this before we add additional complications (and I can think of lots of them!).
So for now I’ll close, but I’m sure there will be more potty training stories to come!