Last week on Beatrice's birthday, I decided to stop making excuses about delaying the inevitable task before me. I bought tiny undies, washed every hand towel we own, and set the potty chair in our playroom. It was time for potty training. I was terrified and really did not want to do it. Diapers are so easy. But, my child was ready. And I was sick of the nagging feeling of failure for missing the previous potty training deadlines I set for myself. It was time to put my (and Beatrice's) big girl panties on and do it.
The first day went just as I expected it to go. There were accidents, lots of them. She peed on the couch, she peed on our bed, she peed on the highchair, she peed on her riding toy, she peed on the picnic blanket, she peed on every square inch of our floors, and she peed a tiny little bit on the potty. It was almost enough to make me give up. I really wanted to, but I'm stubborn and I don't ever give up on things.
The week continued and things progressed. Beatrice started to get the hang of what she was supposed to do on the potty. We still had our fair share of accidents, but less and less as the week neared to an end. I was feeling pretty accomplished. Then she decided she was over potty training and basically refused to pee on the potty. She started peeing on herself (and everything we own) again. It was bad. JD and I didn't know what to do. Friends assured me that regression is normal, but it was hard to accept since she seemed to be totally trained the days before. I cried. I prayed. I cried some more. Every single person I encountered last week from friends and family to the checkout lady at the grocery store heard about our potty training woes and doled out their own advice. They all told me the same thing: do not give up.
So we pressed on. After being cooped up in the house the entire last week, I had to get out. The only problem was, I was too afraid to take Beatrice out without a diaper. I was equally afraid to put her in a diaper for fear of confusing her and regressing even more. So I put her in a diaper in the car and changed her into panties when we arrived wherever it was we went. She stayed dry, but refused to pee in public. Our outings were pretty miserable for the both of us since I took her to the bathroom every 15 minutes or so. She was sick of sitting on the potty and I was sick of worrying about an accident. Something had to change. I decided to chill the heck out. I needed to accept that Beatrice would eventually get it and be completely potty trained, but I was making us both crazy with being so afraid of the accidents. After all, it was just pee. Lots and lots and lots of pee.
Chilling out has helped tremendously. Today is day 10 and she is almost completely trained. We still have at least 1 accident a day, but they are usually my fault for not making the potty easily accessible to her. She has used a public restroom with success and we have been to the mall for 4 hours without any diapers or accidents. She is doing great. I don't know that she completely gets it yet. We are still working on teaching her to let us know when she has to go. Right now we have her sit on the potty once an hour and that seems to be perfect for her, but I don't know if she would go sit on it by herself without us prompting her to at this point. She's still learning, and so are we.
This has been just as scary as I predicted it would be. I like to think that I am a fairly good teacher to my children, but I have no idea how to teach someone how to control their bodily functions. It has been very emotional and stressful for all of us.
What has made it easy and fun is the reward chart we have been using. Victoria Chart Company contacted me a few months ago about possibly using one of their charts for potty training success. I was all over it. The chart encourages building up a child's self esteem and sense of accomplishment by rewarding positive behavior and achievements. The chart can be customized to each child's developmental stage/points of interest. Beatrice loves adding a sticker each time to uses the potty and is so happy with herself when she sees all of the stickers she has earned at the end of the day. And because it can be customized, we will be using this chart for chores, homework, and other achievements as our children grow. Thank you Karen for the awesome chart! If you like their Facebook page, you can earn a 15% off coupon code for your very own chart!
I won't say we are completely potty trained at this point. Beatrice still sleeps in diapers because I am not okay with pee in the bed. Once she starts waking up consistently dry, we will ditch the nighttime diapers too. I do think the hardest part is behind us. She loves the potty, loves her big girl panties, and loves that she learned a new (really hard) thing. I'm proud of her. I'm a little proud of me too. It was scary and awful there for a minute, but I'm so glad we pressed on and claimed victory over our child's bladder!!!! Yahooooooo!!!!
Serioiusly, I am so proud of my girl. She did all of the hard work. I just made sure she had an appropriate place to pee when she got tired of going all over our house. Good job, big girl!