We’ve survived a whole week of potty training Madeleine.
Initially I was listening to the Oh Crap! Potty Training book and I got so burned out on the idea of it. I’m barely keeping my head above water as it is, pumping and bottles and toddler food and diapers and laundry… the idea of that method is that it takes 3 REALLY HARD DAYS – like go nowhere, do nothing but watch your naked toddler, help them get to the bathroom, etc – before your kid gets it and you get it and they’re essentially potty trained.
I ALWAYS thought this would be the method I took. I’ve seen it work for my friends and it makes sense to me. But honestly, sometimes I think I’m 1 hard day away from a mental breakdown. The idea of willingly bringing on not just one – nor two – but THREE hard days in a row? HARD PASS.
So instead, we just winged it and here’s how it’s turned out so far.
THU, FEB 17. When Madeleine’s last diaper ran out, we put her in cloth training pants (essentially they’re underwear with extra fabric down the middle for better absorption) and started taking her to the potty. Every 45 minutes. and every 45 minutes…. nothing. A couple accidents, but nothing in the potty.
FRI, FEB 18. The next day I brought out a Yeah Baby Goods floor mat and set up her little potty on it, across from the TV. I let her get naked and decided okay, maybe we’ll try the naked thing. Nothing. Another accident, though. Well, actually… 5 accidents that day. Nothing in the toilet. The little potty on the floor didn’t seem to be working.
SAT, FEB 19. I broke down. It had been 3 days with nothing in the toilet. Justen works 6 days a week so Saturdays are our ONE family day to do ANYTHING and we weren’t able to do anything. Despite trying to get her to drink more, she didn’t seem to be peeing a lot. She peed 3 times (all in her undies) while awake on Saturday, and I started to feel like it was SO MUCH ENERGY for so little chance to practice. We decided to take a family trip to Target. We got her some apple juice, a new cup for her juice, some crackers to make her thirsty for juice and a potty book.
That night, while looking at her new Elmo Potty book, she got really tense and started shaking and BLESS HER LITTLE HEART SHE POOPED IN THE TOILET.
FAST FORWARD TO TUE, FEB 22. Day SIX. Madeleine FINALLY peed in the toilet.
So now that we overcame that big, huge, monumental hurdle, this is the rhythm we’re in:
- Pull ups for sleeping and over undies for car rides (for now)
- Sitting on the toilet after waking up, before going to sleep, before and after meals, before leaving and after arriving. No longer than 1.5ish hours without a toilet trip while awake.
- We have a chart with 35 squares outside of the bathroom for attempts that yield nothing, the book we got her had a reward chart as well so she gets a sticker on that for every successful bathroom attempt. When she fills that out (40 times emptying in the toilet), we’re going to the zoo.
- Each time going to the bathroom, we read each of her books and then let her down if she says she’s all done but hasn’t gone. Sometimes she sits down and goes right away.
The first few days were the worst, and once we kind of discovered what works for US, things got a lot easier. Madeleine is REALLY PROUD to not be wearing diapers. She even sometimes pulls her training pants out, looks down and says “no diapers! Just pull ups!”
We’re obviously not fully potty trained a week and a half into it. We’ve not even started/tackled sleeping. BUT, I want to say that this hasn’t been at all as scary as I’d imagined. I thought my choices were the Oh Crap method or struggling forever but it turns out, there’s a pretty good rhythm to fall into that reflects what’s best for your family.
Here is our list of what we’ve used for our potty training:
- Munchkin toilet seat (with the hook for the tank)
- Honest pull ups (for night time, naps & in the car over undies)
- Potty books (Potty time with Elmo & Big Girls Use the Potty)
- Princess training pants (we’ll probably switch over to actual underwear in the next month or so)
- Her own soap, hand towel and a stool for hand washing.
And here’s how I feel about potty training now: like all things parenting, the most important thing is to find something that fits your family the best.
I asked for some questions over on Instagram, and here’s what y’all wanted to know!
Is it as overwhelming as it sounds?
Honestly, deciding HOW we were going to do it was the most overwhelming part. It’s kind of emotional for me because her not wearing diapers is one less thing I do for her, so it’s really a big bold display of how much she’s growing up.
How many times have you cried?
Not once (so far), but I did get really frustrated on day 3.
Is Madeleine handling it okay?
Madeleine is SO PROUD of herself. She is so stoked to not be wearing diapers. In the beginning she got upset when she had accidents, but then we figured out taking her instead of trying to catch her when it was happening.
How did you know when to start?
Honestly, I want to wean her from her pacifier, but I just decided to tackle potty training first. She had started telling us as she was going, was very interested in the training pants, and just seemed ready to try. I think she’s at a really good spot for this big change.
Just do it. You don’t have to finish a book or come up with some masterful plan or anything. You can also adapt as you go, so just be flexible but determined.
I’d love to hear about anyone else’s experience with potty training! What was hardest for you? When was your “now we’re getting it!” moment?