When he turned 2, I bought him a potty. (I highly recommend this potty as it actually has a splash guard high enough for boys, it's cheap and easy to clean.) I had no plans to train him, only to familiarize him with the potty and the idea so when it came time to train him he wouldn’t be nervous. He would sit on his potty and watch DVDs (Elmo’s Potty Time and Once Upon a Potty). He would often go on the potty. Recently he even started telling me when he had to go on occasion. As I mentioned in his 3 yr post, I was sure we were ready to at least try. Now it was a matter of finding the right time. It isn’t always easy with Graham’s therapy/school schedule. In January, we had a break from therapy before school started, but then we moved. Then he started school 5 full days a week. So, we settled on Spring Break, which began at noon on Friday, April 1. We thought it would be a pretty fun April Fool’s Day to put our boy in undies and let him pee all over the house…and that’s pretty much what happened!!
We followed the 3 Day Potty Training Method which goes a little something like this. Throw away the diapers and put the child in undies. Stay within an arm’s reach of child so you can catch every accident while it is in progress and/or recognize cues for when child needs to go. Immediately run child to potty so they can finish on the potty if they have an accident. Praise them for finishing on potty. Remind child to tell you when they need to go potty. Praise child when they tell you they need to go. Check child often to see if they are still dry, if they are, praise them. The method is all about positive reinforcement. There is no scolding. If the child has an accident, you simply say, “Uh-oh, poop and pee go in the potty. Remember you need to keep your undies dry. Tell mama and daddy when you need to use the potty.” What I really like is that the method teaches the child the sensation of when they need to go and puts the responsibility on them to tell you. There is no sitting on the potty at a certain intervals. They sit on the potty when they tell you, or they have an accident. That said, there are a lot of accidents, but that is how they learn.
So, Graham’s Spring Break started at noon on April 1. He came home and took a nap. Wanting to take advantage of the entire Spring Break, we started right after nap time ~5pm. We got him up, threw away his diapers, explained to him that he was a big boy and no longer needed diapers and placed him on the potty. We lined the entire house with painter’s paper to absorb messes. I was pretty much the one on duty to stay within and arm’s reach of Graham and do reminders, take him to the potty, etc. Joel was on clean-up detail. Friday night was a “Pee for all.” He had about 10 accidents. It seemed as though he peed every half hour barely noticing, or caring about all this potty business I was spouting. He would finish on the potty when I would run him to the bathroom, but he didn’t seem to mind going on the floor either. Ha!
After Graham went to bed I re-read the book and realized I was missing a key part. I was doing the reminders, “Graham tell mama when you need to go potty,” and running him to the potty when he had an accident, but I was not checking him in between to see if he was dry and praising him for that. I started doing that the next day and it made a world of difference. “Graham, are you still dry?? You are!!!! Great job! High-five!” He loved it. In fact, he kept walking up to me, putting my hand on his undies and high-fiving me. (Fortunately he is no longer doing this. It might seem a bit weird to strangers…LOL.) Once he woke up from his nap on Saturday, he was practically accident free!!
He was accident free for a couple days. Then we upped the ante a bit. Instead of having him run around in undies and a T-shirt, we put him in regular clothes. Then we let up on the reminders. Accidents went up initially, but then he learned again. We had another adjustment when he went to school, mostly because he was hesitant to use the child sized toilet, as opposed to his potty at home. He didn’t have many accidents, but he would hold himself all day refusing to go! It took a few days and then he had no problem with it. We have even tackled the public restroom. Graham did fine. I was a bit freaked out by everything he was touching, but what can you do? Thank goodness for soap and water!
So, almost a month later I can officially say Graham is potty trained. He still has accidents here and there, but overall he is doing great. He seems to only have accidents when he is overtired or really engrossed in something. Even then, usually he just starts going in his pants, then stops himself and comes and gets us. Sometimes, we know he is bound to have an accident since it has been so long since he went, but we let it happen because we think he learns from it. We do put him on the potty before we leave the house, before bed, etc. He stays dry during naptime, but wears a pull-up overnight. We tried to night train him and we were batting about 50%. After about 2 weeks of that, we were tired of washing the sheets every other day and we weren’t making a lot of progress. We’ll revisit that when we have more dry nights.
So, Graham is WINNING!! In fact he is bi-winning, winning over here and over there! Is it too late for Charlie Sheen jokes??? Would’ve been more timely if I had posted this a month ago as I intended.
Anyway, can you give my boy some props, puh-lease?!! We are so proud of him!!