Since it was a 3 day weekend, we decided to use the time to make a serious potty training effort and get Noweo out of diapers once and for all. I was inspired by this mama who was able to potty train her daughter in 3 days. I'm not really offering instructions as much as I'm simply sharing what our experience was, so if you really want advice on this technique, check out her blog.
We prepared for the weekend by picking out a potty (we had one on Maui but didn't bring it with us), choosing prizes (Noweo had a lot of say in her prizes, which ranged from freeze dried yogurt, to simple art supplies to fruit snacks). They were all simple an inexpensive, but you could probably go even cheaper. We also spent a lot of time talking about going to the potty and reminding her that in 3 days (2 days, 1 day,) she would start using the potty. She seemed pretty eager and excited, and we were excited too. We even decorated a little, and Noweo put stickers on her potty.
On Saturday morning I laid out a clear vinyl tablecloth and set up her table on it. My goal was to keep her there with lots of activities to prevent any accidents ending up on the carpet. It was a good sized tablecloth, so she had lots of room to move around.
After breakfast we coaxed her diaper off. She resisted a lot, so I ended up telling her that I was going to change her diaper. She let me take it off and I didn't put anything on after that. Noweo didn't even fuss for her diaper. Seems like she just wanted to fight for the sake of fighting. So we played all day. I made a bunch of homemade paint and let her go to town. We watched movies. We ate. We tried to get her to sit on the potty and she fought and fought and fought. Finally we gave in and let her pick a prize for simply sitting on the potty. That worked like a charm. We also got her to hang out on the potty by all sitting in the bathroom with books. We reminded her over and over that if she needed to pee, to go on the potty. She didn't make a drop all morning long.
Then...lo and behold, when we weren't trying to get her to go, she said "Mommy, I have to go potty." I sat her on the potty and held her hand, and within 10 seconds she was going in the potty for the first time EVER. We made a big deal about it, letting her empty out her potty into the toilet, flushing, washing her hands and then picking a prize. It was AWESOME.
She went again in the evening before bed and we didn't even have to remind her. We put a diaper on her at night, but she didn't wet it. She even asked to use the potty even though she was wearing a diaper. Day 1 was successful with zero accidents, and Keola and I went to bed high-fiving each other.
Sunday was a bit discouraging. In the beginning we felt she took a step back, fighting tooth and nail when we tried to get her to sit on the potty. It was like the potty was on fire or something. She refused. She ended up peeing on the bathroom floor later that day. Fortunately, I plopped her on the toilet and she finished there. That was the only accident we had the whole weekend. We noticed that she really hated hearing us talk about the potty, so we decided to lay off. The next time she had to go, she let us know and calmly went. Again, she only peed twice on Day 2. We also let her wear panties so she'd be a little more comfortable. She picked out Minnie Mouse ones and we told her that Minnie didn't want to get wet or dirty and to make sure she kept Minnie clean by going in the potty. Noweo seemed to get the message.
On Monday we were supposed to stay home but we had to do some shopping, and we ended up spending about an hour at Target on two separate occasions. Noweo went diaper-free and we had no accidents. I carried a change of clothes and brought the potty with us just in case, but she was fine. She peed twice again. By day 3 we were both pretty lax about the whole potty thing and Noweo was good about going on her own and staying in panties all day.
THOUGHTS ON POTTY TRAINING
As a whole this weekend was more successful than I could've imagined. Noweo did wonderfully, and today, she's accustomed to wearing panties and going out without a diaper. My only concern is how long she holds her pee. We're trying to get her to drink more and we give her lots of popsicles, but her drinking has slowed down. When she was in diapers they'd sometimes stay dry all day, and sometimes they were soaked. It's really hard to know when your kid's elimination pattern if they're in diapers. Maybe holding her pee all day is her pattern. If not, my hope is that as she becomes comfortable enough with the potty that she'll relax and go more often.
Noweo enjoyed the prizes when she did go, but the prizes were not motivators. She didn't go more often just so she could get a prize. She held it until she was good and ready and then went. I can't help but be a little proud that she wasn't motivated by external factors.
She has yet to make #2 in the potty, and we decided not to push it, telling her that if she prefers to go in her diaper to let us know and we'll put her diaper on. She did this successfully this morning. I'm just happy that she recognizes that she needs to go and holds it until we can get her diaper on or get her to the potty. That's HUGE for us.
We won't make her go diaper free when she sleeps until her diapers are consistently dry at night. Over the last 3 nights she's woken up dry for 2 so it may not be long.
I know it's too early to say she's officially potty trained, but we're pretty comfortable letting her stay in her panty all day, and even going out. We usually bring her potty with us if we're gone for a long time, and I let her know that it'll be a while before she can use the potty at home. If we're just hanging out at home, I remind her every once in a while. She always says "no," and I've decided to trust her and let her take the lead on deciding when she's ready. I don't really think about it anymore. I know that accidents are bound to happen, but I think we're off to a great start.
Reflecting on how smoothly things have gone so far, I think that Noweo could've trained earlier, because she still showed resistance this weekend and we were able to work through it. The difference I think is that Keola and I approached this as a team, and with a plan, whereas before we made half-hearted, inconsistent attempts at potty training. We also understood that Noweo's a very strong willed child and does not learn well when she feels forced. When we relaxed and took a more hands off approach, she relaxed and eased into the new routine. Now she asks to change from diapers to panties, lets us know when she has to go, and holds it until she gets to the potty. We're so proud of her!
Would I do it this way again? I hope not! With our future children, I really want to get them comfortable with the potty much earlier...placing my small babies on the potty every time I change their diaper and letting them go naked more often. I know potty training doesn't have to be a big deal if babies are accustomed to it early and realize that it's part of life and to be expected. Ultimately though, I think it all comes down to knowing what works for your kid, making the time and working as a team to get it done.