Last week Wednesday was the day we decided to start “potty training bootcamp”. I’d barely breezed through Toilet Training in a Less Than a Day by Nathan H. Azrin, Ph.D. Angie recommended it to me after a 6 month potty training nightmare with Norah. So, I took her advice and used the main concepts of the book and did my own version (mostly because I could never find time to read the whole book and it was SUPER intense). However, my crash course seriously paid off and I’m shocked at how quickly she picked it up (About 2 days)! Read on to find out all the gory details… 😉
The book helps you first figure out if your child is ready for potty training by asking a few key questions. I’ve heard from lots of parents that you’ll save yourself a ton of frustration by simply waiting to ever begin until they’re showing signs of readiness. A big premise of the book is to take everything that these learning specialists have found improves learning and combine them. These would be things such as: eliminating distractions, remaining focused, teaching someone else, etc. The book is extremely regimented and I wasn’t sure if I could do it to the tee. Assuming it might take me more than one day since I wasn’t following the method perfectly, this is what I did…
Part 1: We started right away in the morning having her teach her baby doll how to use the potty. We couldn’t find the baby’s bottle so we resorted to Tucker’s bottle plus putting her under the sink. 🙂 We talked about feeling the baby doll’s diaper to see if she was dry or wet. We talked about how important it is for us to stay dry and clean and how yucky it feels to be wet and dirty. She would bring her baby to the potty and let her pee on the toilet. We would wipe her, flush, and wash hands. If her baby went on the potty we gave her potty treats. After pretending to feed the baby, Emmy would get to eat the treat. We used jelly beans and skittles in a glass jar where she could see them. We only did this baby doll thing about 2 or 3 times before we started on Emerson.
Part2: I had several pairs of loose sweat shorts or pj pants ready. We blocked off the kitchen to a small area of wood floor and took the diaper off. We talked about the potty all morning! Honestly, this was a rough day for me. Not because she didn’t do well or because I was cleaning up messes but mostly because I spent the majority of my day sitting and waiting on the bathroom floor. Bla!
I fed her lots and lots of snacks and drinks to encourage more opportunities for her to learn. Every 15 minutes or so I’d say, “let’s try to go potty”. She had 2 accidents to start the morning. I was beginning to wonder if she’d get this. However, I think she almost needed to experience those accidents to know what it felt like to have the urge to go potty. After we had a couple successful pee-pees on the toilet, I stopped asking her if she needed to go. Instead, I kept encouraging her to tell me if she felt like she needed to go potty. I would make a REALLY big deal about a successful potty on the toilet. We would call Norah and tell her the big news, get potty treats, high-fives, sing the “I did it!” song, and dance around together.
Part 3: A couple hours in, she started getting it. She would pee a little bit on her pants and stop herself and yell, “Ut-oh! I have to go potty right now!!!” We would run to the potty right away. She used a potty seat on our real potty, which was nice because I didn’t have to worry about cleaning up a mess. Eventually she started being more and more successful with getting to the potty before squirting a little on her pants.
Part 4: We did a diaper for naptime since she still sleeps in a crib and couldn’t get up to go to the bathroom even if she did decide she had to go. After nap time we picked up right where we left off. This time, not barricaded to the kitchen. We just continuously reminded her to let us know if she had to go potty, while keeping an extra watchful eye. At this point we introduced the Elmo training potty just so we could have that for upstairs too. She really liked the little potty. She loved getting to dump her pee-pee into the toilet each time. I think it really helped her to be able to see the pee-pee in the little bowl and get to wave goodbye as it got flushed away. 🙂 We did a diaper once again for nighttime.
We started with the same thing once again on day 2 and believe me, I was bored! I’d spent the majority of the day before sitting on the floor talking about “letting the pee-pee come out” and “let me hear the tinkle-tinkle in the potty”. Every time she had to go she would sit for a long time before anything would actually come out. We would read stories, play with toys, and talk about the potty. I was itching to get out of the house for sure. So, if you’re about to start bootcamp with your own kiddo just be prepared for a few days of being trapped at home. I said I was ready but I don’t think I was.
So, just before naps I decided we had to get out and we needed some big girl panties anyway. We headed to Target with a pull-up on. She told me somewhere in Target that she had to go potty so I asked her to hold it and we bolted for the bathroom. By the time we got there and sat down I noticed her pull-up was a little wet. Bummer. I think the pull-up made her feel at ease with going pee-pee which is something we don’t want. So now I never put one on unless it’s sleep time. We kept trucking with the day. Still no poopy at the end of day 2. Yikes!
We decided to bust out of the house again. This time, to the mall! Wow- I was a little nervous to say the least. I packed everything I could possibly need for a major disaster including: extra clothes, panties, towels, wipes, a potty seat disguised in a Gap bag ;), and even potty treats. About a mile from the mall I hear an “Ut-oh! I have to go potty!” I immediately felt I made a huge mistake by leaving the house at all. But, we pulled in, loaded up, and jogged to the bathroom on the other end of the mall. I struggled to get my monster double into the bathroom and get that girl on the potty only to hear her say, “No. I don’t want to go potty. All done.” ARGH! After lots of encouragement there wasn’t anything so we loaded back up and hit some stores. A while later we headed to the potty, per my suggestion, and I was crazy proud of my girl for going on a public potty for the first time. How can this kind of stuff make a mom feel so accomplished?? haha! Then, when we got home, she actually went #2 on the big potty. That was too funny to see her facials and excitement! Proud and very funny mama moment right there!
We did it! This was the moment when I really started to feel like- “hey! She’s got this!” And she did! We haven’t had any accidents since that first morning. We’ve now done several outings and she’s learned to control her bladder for longer periods of time and goes on public potties right away. She’s really good about telling me when she needs to go. We’re still doing pull-ups during sleep times for a while. We’ll cross that bridge a little later I think. I’m so proud of my girl for picking it up so quick.
I’d really recommend using this book, Toilet Training in Less Than a Day. I was shocked how quickly Emmy learned even with us being more lax with our method than the book encourages. I’m sure she would have picked it up even quicker had I been more intense. I think it’s way better to just buckle down and focus on it for a couple days and be done with it rather than go weeks cleaning up messes and getting frustrated with the whole thing.