September 5, 2011

Boot Camp

Day 1
It was quite the bittersweet, anxious moment today when I put away all our cloth diapers for “the new baby.” (I’m not announcing anything. That was just our explanation to H.) They are all gone. All the wet bags, the diapers, the wipes, the liners, the diaper pail, and the changing pad. We have big girl panties.

In fact, at this moment, at the end of Day 1 of three-day potty training boot camp, there are many pairs of panties spinning in the dryer. We got a decent portion of pee at least mostly in the potty. This is pretty much what I expected. We have been working on the other for a long, long time, but pee is a new thing. It’s understandable that it might take some time to click.

We’re following the three day, get rid of your diapers, panties only method (kindly sent to me by a friend). I’ve heard several people attest that it does work. I’m waiting another two days until I pass judgment. The level of focus it requires is rather exhausting, but I just keep hoping that it will pay off. I’m going to be really bummed if I have to break those diapers back out.

Day 2
At the close of day 2 I am ready to throw in the towel. We caught one more pee than yesterday, but that’s still only 7 out of 13. She still hasn’t told us one time that she needs to go. I’ve just gotten a little better at spotting the signs.

This is supposed to be a three day system! If we’re two-thirds of the way through, shouldn’t she be picking it up by now? I called the friend who sent me the method and while she was very reassuring, her little one “clicked” basically on day 1. I am still determined, but so nervous. H is a child who does things at her own pace. She cannot be rushed. This doesn’t mean that she doesn’t show every single sign of readiness (except maybe night time dryness). Why is potty training not a logic problem? IF child shows signs of readiness, THEN child will train.

I am so frustrated that I totally understand why someone would just want to throw in the towel at this point. For some reason as parents we expect potty training to magically happen right when we want it to (probably because it’s so messy). What else do you teach your child that takes only a few days? It took her days to learn to fist bump. It took her 15 months to learn to walk. It took her most of a year to build up a vocabulary. Why would she learn to pee in the toilet in mere minutes? It’s crazy for me to expect her to get it so quickly. But I hate cleaning up pee ever so much.

This is how I know it’s time to cut everyone some slack.

Day 3
Things have vastly improved today. By no stretch would I claim that my child is now potty trained. My good friend, Ashley, a partner in potty training boot camp, sent me a great link today to the Mommypotamus blog. She talks about her adventures in the three-day method. Turns out it took close to two months for her daughter to be fully daytime trained. And as of the posting, was still not 100% at night. I have to say, reading this made me feel so much better. Especially when I read the comments and saw other moms writing in and saying that it took them more than three days as well.

This isn’t a race. If it was a race, it would be a marathon, not a sprint. And learning to pee on the pot when you’re awake and learning to let your bladder wake you are two very different skills. It’s a nice thought that you can do it all at once, but I’m not sure it’s going to work for us.

H still hasn’t really said she needed to potty. Once today she did run into the potty to go (without announcing her intentions), and we had some success with her acknowledging that she was going pee in the potty while she was up there. She was happy to pee in the pot, and she let me take her in when my spidey-sense started going off. It was a 9 out of 12 day, a big improvement for sure.

Naptime, however, was an utter disaster. My amazing husband took naptime and let me get some sleep undisturbed. He had to change the sheets twice, and H never actually got any sleep. Who can sleep in wet sheets? Her endless companion, Puppy, got not one but two baths today.

I am willing to give it the rest of the week for naptime and bedtime to see if we can get some improvement. She has woken from naptime dry on more than one occasion in the past, so I know it’s possible. H rarely goes straight to sleep at naptime, however, which gives her ample opportunity to pee before falling asleep. Same at bedtime. It’s a mystery, wrapped in pee soaked sheets.

Worst case scenario we break out diapers for naptime and bedtime. Not the perfect ideal I envisioned, but then, what part of raising a child turns out exactly as you thought? As always, I favor the solution that keeps everyone happy and well rested. Nobody (or almost nobody) goes to college still wetting the bed, so H will certainly figure it out. It’s more my issue of relaxing and letting her do it then it is her ability to learn.

Day 4
I have been reminded once again that I am not the brains of this operation. Those honors go to H. Today we had an even better day. She woke up dry from her nap and had very few accidents.

At 2:40am we were woken up with crying. H woke up because she had started to pee in her bed. At least this time she woke up. Before this she’d sleep right through it. Daddy rushed her to the potty, and she was able to finish in there. A change of sheets and she was dry when she woke up. Of course, we had checked her at 11:30pm and taken her in to try to pee. She was so out of it that she just wanted to get back in bed.

While we were thrilled that she was dry this morning, the idea of waking up in the middle of the night again is not so appealing. At naptime I tried to put a diaper on her and she said, “No.” She wanted to keep her panties on. Of course, she followed that up with a big girl performance of staying dry, so I couldn’t be more pleased.

Tonight at bedtime I asked her if she wanted to wear panties or a diaper. She said, “Panties!” You can’t argue with that. So much for me agonizing over whether we’d try nighttime diapers. H made the decision for us. In truth, we’ll have to see how she does over the next few nights. If we don’t get some improvement, we might have to go to diapers despite her protests. I don’t relish changing sheets every night at 3am.

While the past few days have had their difficult moments, I am glad that we decided to go this route. H may not be telling us she needs to go, but it’s becoming more and more obvious to us when she does need to go, and she’s getting used to the rhythm and routine of going to the potty (most of the time). It will probably be weeks or even a few months before I feel confident saying that she is potty trained, but I feel we’ve given her a good foundation.

PS: As I finished typing this, I heard Daddy rush upstairs and the sweet sound of pee tinkling in the potty. H yelled out for Mommy and was still dry when Daddy came to the rescue! Fingers crossed, people. Fingers crossed.

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