After what has been almost a year long adventure; I think that I can almost say that my oldest daughter (age 3) is potty trained! Read on as I recall the frustration and humor of my first potty training experience…
2008(Fall/Winter): When I first contemplated potty training Kendal I was pregnant with Audrey. I decided to wait until after Audrey was born to even attempt to train Kendal because I did not want her to regress (Kendal turned two around the same time Audrey was born). I have been told that this was the right choice (although making the choice to have two kids in diapers was going to be an expensive choice to make). We did buy a potty chair early on and introduced it to her before baths. She even went in it one time but we still waited to actually pursue the training. She also spent time with kids who were either trained or completely trained; so I was hoping it would rub off on her.
2009 (Spring): After all of us started to adjust to having a newborn in the home; I read the popular book about potty training in a day. I also got a “Baby Signs Potty Training” kit. Kendal absolutely loved the “All Aboard The Potty Train” DVD (and still does). I had my husband take Audrey with him on errands so that I could attempt to train Kendal. I made a chart so that we could keep track of how many times she peed in the potty and how many accidents she had per day. I was going to use the chart for her to put her stickers on. I so excited about getting her trained in one day that I think I totally jumped the gun. I had to drag Kendal to the potty (or the potty to her) because she refused to go near the bathroom. She also screamed & cried every time I tried to put training panties or regular big girl panties on her. So, I ended up letting her run around with nothing but a tee-shirt on. THAT was the biggest mistake of my life because then I was cleaning up puddles of pee in random places! By the time my husband came home; I was ready to throw the potty chair out the window and keep Kendal in diapers FOREVER! So, I gave up and put her back into diapers. I was reminded by a couple of good friends that “Maybe she just isn’t ready yet” and “She will get there!”
Let me go on a tangent for a minute… Around that time I decided that I was not going to push Kendal. From what my mom has told me (and from what I remember); I had bad potty training experiences. I was the oldest of 4 children and there was a lot going on in my family when I was young (siblings being born, severe illnesses, major marriage problems, etc). Throughout my early elementary school years; I had frequent accidents at school and home. I also wet the bed often. Because of my embarrassment; I got into the habit of lying and trying to hide my accidents. I would be sitting in messy pants for hours completely denying it. I would also at times change myself and hide the evidence (dirty clothes) in closets or drawers making it very obvious that I was lying after a few days. My mom eventually took me to the doctor and he determined that I may have had a medical reason for not making it to the bathroom. My mom determined even later that I was probably trying to control the only thing that I had control of in my life. Needless to say; I eventually was completely trained even though it took longer than most kids.
1982 (Summer): I was born.
1984 (Age 2): My sister was born.
1985 (Age 3): My potty training started.
1987 (Age 5): I entered Kindergarden.
1988 (Age 6): My brother & sister (twins) were born.
1990 (Age 8 ): Officially Potty Trained!
I decided that I was not going to make Kendal potty train if she didn’t want too. I didn’t want her to go through the same process as I did. I think that this perspective, although valid, caused me to be lazy about training. So, I procrastinated. I occasionally tried to make her go potty but for the most part if she showed any sign of resistance I didn’t push it. Now on with Kendal’s story…
2009 (Summer): Our family went home to the US to deal with a family crisis. The bonuses to that was that we got to visit family for a few weeks and that everyone got to meet Audrey in person. Kendal by this time knew all of the “potty steps:” going potty, flushing the toilet, washing hands etc. She just generally didn’t want to do them herself. She was happy to dictate to everyone else what they should do next. While waiting in one of the airports we had a layover at; Shane took Kendal into the men’s room to change her diaper. She saw some guy go into a stall then come out and walk towards the bathroom door. She pointed to him and announced loudly “He needs to wash his hands!” Shane said that the guy looked down and walked out of the bathroom quickly. Everyone who was in the bathroom started laughing hysterically and made sure that they washed their hands so that they didn’t get called out by a 2 year old!
During our trip; Shane and I left the girls with his family for a week while he and I took a much needed time with just the two of us. While we were away; Shane’s sister got Kendal to pee on the potty several times but not consistently enough to keep her out of diapers. During our trip; Kendal got a pretty good sized second degree burn on her thigh (from leaning against hot Harley pipes) which required extensive care. With all of the traveling (Iowa, Michigan, Delaware, & Virginia) that we did and the burn treatment; another potty training period was unsuccessful.
2009 (Fall): Kendal started pre-school still in diapers. We stared to encourage her to go potty whenever we were home though. Sometimes she went and other times she kicked and screamed as we carried her to the bathroom. We also started giving her candy and a sticker every time she went to the bathroom.
2010 (Winter): Kendal turned 3 and we switched to pull-ups during the day and diapers only at night. I think I even attempted to spend a day really focusing on training; but it didn’t work. We encouraged her to go potty even more frequently. We also asked her teachers at school to try and get her to go potty there.
2010 (Spring): Down to the final countdown (hopefully)!!!
April 1st- 7:39 am I posted the following on Facebook: “I am going to attempt to focus on potty training today…I wish that I didn’t have to drag her to the toilet because she knows all she needs to know. She just needs to start doing it.” 😛 At 9:22 pm I posted: “Potty training (again) was completely unsuccessful. She really does not care at all about it 😦 I’m going to keep her in pull ups but still make her sit on the potty throughout the day then try again when she is on spring break.”
April 14th (Wednesday)- I put Kendal in big girl panties for most of the day. She had a couple of accidents throughout the day but for the most part did better than usual. There was one time that I told her to go to the bathroom and she promptly walked over to a empty suitcase, sat inside it, and peed–a lot. That was not an accident! I gave her M&Ms every time she went potty–on the potty. I also praised her over dramatically.
April 15th (Thursday)- Kendal did even better on Day 2 of big girl panties. I still had to practically drag her to the bathroom but she went potty every time. I put her in a pull up for her quiet time (in case she fell asleep) and she went in the pull up. One accident for the day was cause for major celebration in my book!
April 16th (Friday)- Day 3 of big girl panties: Kendal had NO Accidents!!! She even stayed dry when she had her pull up on for a short time. I still had to frequently walk her to the bathroom because she never said that she had to go. She went every time that I took her! When I put her to bed in a diaper; she got up (before she actually fell asleep) and took her dry diaper off and went potty. I was super excited!!! Of course this would be the evening that our dog Keenan would pee inside the house in a long trail from the hallway, to the dining room (on carpet), to the kitchen (on a comforter that was on the floor near the laundry room and on the refrigerator), back to the dining room (on the carpet next to my desk and all over the stuff in the bottom of my desk), to the front entry way of our house. I was completely mad about pee and it wasn’t toward Kendal this time!
April 17th (Saturday-TODAY)- Kendal has been in big girl panties all day; so far with no accidents. She doesn’t tell me when she has to go yet; but she did go once all by herself without my prompting! ***YAY!!!*** Shane has off today; so we are planning to actually taking her out of the house later. I honestly expect her to have an accident because it will be new for her to be in panties somewhere other than home. But after 3 days of being home; I think that we are ready to try the next step. Of course, after today, there is church tomorrow and back to school on Monday.
If nothing else; God has been teaching me how to be patient with this process (as frustrating as it has been). I think that Audrey will be a lot easier. She is already constantly flushing and playing in the toilets 😛 She wants to be like big sister so I think that once Kendal is officially potty trained that Audrey will follow in her footsteps soon after. I am still not going to push it with her though if she doesn’t.
“And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.” Colossians 1:10-12
I read about the frustrations of potty training Kendal and thought of your brother, who is now a 1st Leiutenant Officer in the Air Force. If you recall, I potty trained him differently than I trained you. I waited until he was over 3 years old before I ever mentioned the idea to him or his twin sister. I decided that it should be loads of fun, so we made up the Potty song. We marched to the bathroom singing to the tune of the familar military march song……..”We go potty, Yes we do!!! First pee pee and then poo poo!!” You marched with us at age 7. It must have worked for him. He marched his way for four years of Caesar Rodney Marching Band and ROTC in high school; then four years of military training at The Citadel. Love Mom