Sunday, July 15, 2012

Lazzy Potty Trains - Day 1 (Complete with Top 10 Tips!!)

Potty training your child is a lot like childbirth. The first time around, you have no idea what you are doing but hope for the best. You're shocked and even appalled at how hard it is at times, but eventually, it's over and everyone moves on. The second time around, you're much the wiser and are able to tweak your plan accordingly. The flip side to that is, AHH! You have to do it again?! NO!!!!!!! But it hurts so bad!!! Can't I pay someone else to do it for me??????

We've survived potty training once. The boy learned to go where he was supposed to, but not without a few bumps in the road. Now, he's four and the dinging timers and loads of laundry seem life times away from us. I'm so proud of him and the little man he has become. Ahh, hear that? No more dings. Just one mini-me, independently taking care of his business. Only problem is, we had another kid! He's spazzy and crazy and cuddly cute. Not only that, but he's reaching the tender age where I believe the small window of opportunity lies: 20-26 months old.

We anticipate a call from the foster agency at any moment. In order to prepare, I've cleared my schedule (minus my one doula client who will deliver any day now) so I can be ready at the drop of a hat. Yesterday, I found myself at home with the boys and realized "What am I doing with all this extra time?? I should be potty training Lazarus!".

I promptly took off his diaper and threw on the undies. There we were, setting the timer every 10 minutes, much like the boot camp I put Eli through just two years ago. We had a few accidents and Lazzy never went on the potty, but that's to be expected. It was just a practice round.

This morning, after sleeping soundly for 12 hours, Laz woke up dry. Hallelujah!! Then, he peed on the potty. WOO HOO!!! I guess we're doing this again. Here we go!

Top 10 : Tips to Potty Training a 1 yr old:

1. Be committed. No matter what path you choose, it is the parent that must first be trained. Do not give up on your system. Like everything else we train our children to do, it takes repetition and consistency to get the lesson learned.

2. Have a system. Whether it's a boot camp or you take your time, make sure you have set rules in your mind and follow them rigidly. Use treats or don't. Undies or camando. What matter most is that you don't switch things up in the midst of the training period.

3. No more diapers. Biggest mistake you can make is put a diaper back on your babe. Even at nap time! They need to know you are serious. If you're not quite ready to give that up, you haven't been trained and should not start potty training (see #1).

4. If you must, use cloth pull ups. "Pee pee goes in the potty, not your underwear. Oh, but here's a diaper to wear for convenience. Really, what I mean is, between the hours of 8pm and 7am, noon and 2pm, and while we are at Target and the playground, you can do what you want. But day time is potty time!". CONFUSING! Disposable pull-ups are just. like. diapers. If you absolutely must use something more reliable, cloth pull-ups will feel a lot more like underwear to your child. They need to feel when they are wet. It helps them to learn quicker. Just get a few for going out or bed time.

5.  Train in warm weather. If you can, try to train during warmer months. Spend time outside and let your little ones learn the feelings and signs associated with needing to go potty. Really, that's all you're training them to do anyways. Plus, you can sit outside and eat ice cream all day :)

6. Start young! Like I mentioned above, I believe 20-26 months is the perfect window for potty training your tot. Most kids this age are beginning to communicate clearly (my standards are low. you know this if you've ever had a conversation with Laz!) but aren't flat out defiant yet. Have you ever tried asking a 3 year old to something? It's worse than herding cats!

7. Keep it simple.  Who knows. Maybe you like the extra work of coercing your child to sit on the potty and then actually clean it out each time. I sure don't! Especially with the second child, just keep things simple and it will be less steps for you.

8. Have back up. Back up undies, back up towels, back up babysitter, etc. Be prepared and hopefully, things won't spiral out of control.

9. Give it time. The first thing kids need to learn is what it feels like to pee. What it feels like before, during and after, that is. When you potty train a bitty one before they've ever had a seat on the porcelain throne, the entire experience will be new. Give it about 6-8 days before baby is accident free.

10. Day 1 will suck! It just will. Because #9 is true, this means there will be nothing but accidents. If you already expect this, you will be more prepared (#8) and will have more fun (#5)! I definitely didn't know this with Elijah and the day ended in tears. Don't sweat, but don't give up and you will be surprised!

After a long (but fun!) day, Lazzy had three successes and 11 accidents. He's already doing better than Eli did! Pretty good for our first official day on the potty! Best part is, I'm not in tears.


  1. couple opinions from this mama here...I actually agree with you on most of this though. But, I actually think the window can start at 17/18 least it did with my kids and we jumped on it. Also, I get what you are saying about the message that they pee on the potty during the day but at night it is okay to use the diaper, but I do think some kids are very ready for 100% daytime training but not night yet and I don't think that not thinking they are ready for the night is not a reason not to start yet (run. on. sentence...sorry!). I don't think the message is so confusing that they cannot master one without the other. And, in our case, when night time readiness came there were no confusion issues and it was a smooth transition for both kids. I do see the point that if they have enough accidents at night they will learn, but this mama does not want to wake in the middle of the night to strip a layer of the bedding off if I don't have to! Okay, unasked for opinions done...good luck in the boot camp and I hope you enjoy some diaper-less days before diving back into it with a little girl!

    1. Yes! I thought about training Laz at 18 months, but I was still recovering from my surgery. I've actually been putting it off for a while, now because I haven't had the time to stay home a few days in a row. You're right, the window is more like 18-26 months. Really, I don't think they can ever be too young (in Malawi, moms train their babes around 10-12 months!!). I really think a child can be too old, though. Meaning, a child can reach an age where it becomes a power struggle and they use their bodies to fight their parents (have a dear friend who's almost 3 yr old WILL NOT go poo in a potty!! He can't start his pre-school class until he does!).

      About the diapers, yes, we use a cloth diaper at night for the first few days while baby is learning to control their bladder. We are on day two today and I'll do a diaper free nap time. You're right though, waking in the night to strip a bed is horrible!!! and I'm actually re-thinking my own plan because I'm not sure I'm up for it, ha! Good to know that your kids never got confused :)

      Piper, I ALWAYS want to hear your opinions!!!! You've taught me SO MUCH!!

    2. oh, I am glad! I try to be cautious of unwanted mommy advise and sharing my opinion because I know no matter how well it works for me or I think it's "right", it is just opinion. My children def. went into undies at naptime right away, I just didn't do night time for quite some time after. For Áine we used to wake her before she went to bed and that would help her be dry through the night, but it was too disruptive to her and I didn't want her having a memory of being woken up and crying every night, so we went back to diapers for a very short period of time and then she just did it on her own. V. just recently "informed" us he no longer wants to wear diapers at night and has been doing great without them. So, maybe longer than I would like but we all slept well through the night for those extra months :). And yes, for sure you can def. miss the window...I nannied for a kid that missed that window and he was totally cool to keep playing Thomas in his dirty undeies! Hope Laz did great today!

  2. oh, almost idea to go along with #9. Want them to feel what it is like to be peeing...get a cup of warm water and pour it on them until they start peeing (and they will), then stop and tell them that is what peeing feels like. As soon as I did that with V. I immediately saw that the times after he was using the right muscles to try to go on his own. Got the idea when I poured water on him in the bath to rinse of soap and he immediately started peeing so I filed it away for when we potty trained, gave it a try and it worked great!