Earlier this week I realized that after a wonderful and very busy summer that we actually had two days in row (today and tomorrow) mostly free from scheduled activities. This meant that it might be possible for me to try to start to potty train Abby, just a few weeks before her third birthday. She will also begin preschool soon and though she doesn’t have to be fully toilet trained, the teachers encourage us to at least be “working on it.”
I told Sean last night that our main focus today was going to be trying to help his sister learn to use the toilet. So first thing this morning he built a Lego model of Abby going potty (pictured here) to inspire her!
I tried the same approach with Abby that we used with Sean six years ago. I started with putting underwear on, instead of a diaper when she woke up this morning. Then I gave her as much milk, juice with water and water as she wanted. We stayed home most of the day and close to the bathroom. She peed on herself with underwear on twice early on and it didn’t faze her. That happened with Sean five times before I realized it might be time to try something different.
So then I took Abby’s underwear off to see if that would make a difference, as it did for Sean. However, she proceeded to pee on two different chairs and the floor four more times.
With Sean after I took his underwear off, he peed on the floor once, didn’t like it and that was the game changer that led to success.
Abby doesn’t seem to be bothered by peeing on the floor and other places, though she told me as she was doing it each time (after it was too late for me to get her to the bathroom).
I shared about what we were attempting today on my personal Facebook page this morning and appreciated the encouragement I got from friends and family throughout the day. I was also grateful that another experienced mom told me in addition to pushing fluids, when potty training her children, she also gave them extra snacks to make them thirsty and thus need to go more often. Right after I read that I added a bowl of peanut butter pretzels next to Abby’s milk and juice cups on the coffer table in the family room, as I thought of that famous line from an old Seinfeld episode, “these pretzels are making me thirsty!”
While we were out we stopped at a public restroom so I could use the toilet. I asked Abby if she would like to try to go potty too and she said “yes.” She sat on the toilet briefly and told me that she was done, not having peed at all.
When we got home it was time for dinner. At that point it would have been easy to give up for today, leave Abby’s pull up on and keep our family meal more low-key. But I was determined to take advantage of the last hour or so before bedtime. When Bob took her pull up off it didn’t feel like there was anything in it, which we found encouraging.
Before we started dinner I had Abby try to go potty to no avail. She asked for underwear, so we put another pair of the Disney Princess ones that Santa brought her in her stocking last December (we went through most of them today in our potty training efforts). During dinner Abby kept saying that she had to go and I would run into the bathroom with her, so that she could try.
Eventually she we took off her underwear again, as the on and off was getting really time-consuming, especially since she didn’t seem very serious about trying to go. At that point it was seeming like a game to Abby and an excuse for her to keep getting up from the dinner table.
We set up a step stool by the toilet so Abby could climb up and down herself. She started taking a bite of her dinner and then running back tot he bathroom to try to “go pee in the potty again.” If we weren’t hungry and wanting to eat our own dinners at that point, we might have been more annoyed by the situation and told her that she needed to stay seated in one place or the other. But at that point I really didn’t think she was going to do it today and was enjoying my meal.
Then all of a sudden Abby came running in to tell us that there was “yellow in the potty!”
Many times today she claimed to have peed in the toilet, but I didn’t hear any tinkling. When I checked afterwards I explained that if she had there would likely be some yellow in there, which I didn’t see. So when she reported back tonight that she saw yellow and wanted me to come and see, I hopped out of my chair and ran to the bathroom!
Abby was beaming — so excited and proud of herself!
Soon after that Bob and Sean joined us in the bathroom to congratulate Abby on her achievement!
I will never forget the look on her face and how happy she was in that moment.
We were all clapping and saying “Yay Abby!”
Abby was smiling one of her big teeth smiles!
Then we practiced wiping with Abby, flushing the toilet and washing her hands.
Next Abby reminded us that she had earned the special treat that we had talked about all day. Early on I asked if she went pee in the potty what she would like for a special treat. Abby said that she wanted a lollypop, a red cherry flavored one to be exact. So even though it was almost bedtime, I made good on my promise and got her that lollypop which you can see her enjoying in this photo.
As Abby ate her lollypop we called her grandparents on speakerphone to share the exciting news and they were very happy to hear what their granddaughter had done for the first time tonight.
At bedtime when did our “special prayers” we emphasized how proud of Abby we were for going pee in the potty for the first time today and she seemed very pleased.
As for what tomorrow may bring… We plan to stay the course and keep training. We hope that Abby’s success tonight will be indicative of the days to come. But for now, I am just so happy and proud to know that after a long day of trying everything to get my daughter to go pee in the toilet, that finally, she did it!