Over the months, Brayden would sometimes ask to sit on the potty. He would sit and try and ask me to help him pee. He wanted to do it, but just couldn't seem to figure out how to let it out.
At the beginning of May, I decided to try something different with him. I told him that on his birthday, he wouldn't wear diapers anymore because 3 year olds don't need to wear diapers. He would wear underwear like a big boy. Daddy was a big boy and didn't wear diapers. His birthday is toward the end of May.
At first he was resistant to the idea. He told me he loved his diapers. After a couple of days, he started to embrace the idea. He started telling me when he turned three, he wouldn't wear diapers. Two nights before his birthday, he asked to go on the potty. He sat and peed! He did that for a couple of days while still wearing diapers.
The morning of his birthday, my husband went into his room to get him and Brayden ran to his drawer and pulled out some underwear. I was a bit nervous about that because he had his party that day, but I certainly wasn't going to tell him no after three weeks of warnings. He went outside with his dad and ended up having two accidents that morning. I was not too excited about this process again. But he did great.
I would now consider him fully pee trained, and still working on poop. He is improving in that area, but would sometimes hold it for a couple of days then have problems. He has had a few days of good improvement, and some of great success, so we are getting there. He has made it through 3 hours of church in his underwear with no problems. He makes it all night clean and dry, and he makes it through his naps. I don't worry about taking him out to the park or shopping in his underwear.
So what has gone differently this time? Last time, we went through almost two solid weeks without movement toward full training. Sure, we had few accidents, but it just wasn't clicking with him. This time, a couple of days passed and he was really trained. (see the other potty training posts for more about the process). I have of course analyzed the situation and come up with some answers:
- Readiness. That is what it really comes down to for us. This time, he was ready physically and mentally. There was no way for me to know that for sure last time without trying it. But this time he was ready.
- Game plan. We tweaked the game plan a bit. I thought about the how vs. why idea. I knew that if he was really ready and things we were doing weren't working, we needed a different how. If things aren't working, try something different. The last time, I had tried going sans underwear. That wasn't good for him. He hates to be naked. This time, fully clothed, and he liked it that way.
- Personality. I thought about my son's personality and changed my approach to better suit his personality. For him, lots of warning is great. It helps him think things through and mentally prepare.
- Allow accidents. I knew I needed to relax and let the accidents happen. Last time, I felt stressed with every accident because I worried it wasn't working. This time, I told myself I needed to be nonchalant about the accidents. I knew they would help teach him. Through mistakes, we learn. I had to allow him to make those mistakes so he could learn from them and make progression.
- Remove my emotion. My son is so dutiful and such a pleaser that if I am disappointed in something, he starts to get stressed about it. I had to remove all negative emotion from me. It isn't as though I showed my disappointment last time, but kids are so in tune with their parents feelings, often more so than we are. I had to change my heart so he wouldn't get stressed.
- Removed myself. I have always known my son is the type to go to the bathroom in private. Last time, he didn't want me to leave him alone on the potty. This time, he didn't want me to leave him, either, but I knew he would do better if I did. So I always sat him down, then left. He would go to the bathroom within seconds of me leaving. If I was in the room with him, he could sit for 10 minutes with nothing.
- Removed distractions. Last time, I would let him look at books or watch TV, hoping he would be distracted enough to just go to the bathroom. For him, this doesn't work. He can have no toys, no books, and no TV. Just him and the potty.
- Been there, done that. Since we had been through two weeks of training already, he went into it knowing what to do.
As you potty train, or do any other training, be sure to evaluate your approach. If it isn't working, try something new.