Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Daily Grind: I Have A Self-Wiper!

My daughter, Haylei, and her second cousin "B" are about 9 months apart in age, "B" being the eldest.  When Haylei would enter a new milestone, I'd call my cousin to see how she handled the same milestone when her daughter went through it.  Sometimes the advice would work perfectly, and sometimes it didn't.  Usually when the advice didn't work, it was because of Haylei's personality.  She can be very headstrong and stubborn (hmm, not sure where she gets that from?!)  But nonetheless, my philosophy is to try everything to see what works.

So when the topic of potty training came up, I had tried to prepare myself by reading lots of information in books, magazine and online.  I had "interviewed" several friends who have already gone through it finding out when to start, when to buy "pretty panties", when to buy "pull-ups", what kind of training potty to purchase, what kind of mattress protection should we invest in.  And I thought I was pretty prepared.

Momma had lots of good advice too.  She suggested introducing the potty when Haylei started walking.  Remember, Momma came from the days when you didn't buy disposable diapers, you used cloth diapers.  So the sooner you can get the kids out of the diapers, the sooner you would be free from shaking poo from the diaper into the toilet.  In fact, I was an early walker.  I started walking at eight months old.  And Momma had me potty training soon thereafter.  By the time I was a year old, I was using the potty.

Haylei was a late walker.  She started walking on her own when she was fourteen months old.  I purchased a Baby Bjorn potty seat and started letting her sit on the potty just before bath time every night.  Sometimes she would tinkle and sometimes she wouldn't.  When she tinkled in the potty, I rewarded her with a chocolate M&M.  My purpose was to introduce her to the concept of what the potty was for.  I figured she would eventually understand and use it on her own.

But first, I wanted to "help" her along.  I got a potty book for girls, bought some pretty panties and more chocolate M&M's.  Come first thing one Monday morning, I was ready to get started.  I gave her lots of juice and every 30 minutes we would head to the potty and sit while we read the potty book.  Whether it was her stubborn streak or not, she would not tinkle in the potty.  So we would leave the bathroom and go back to doing our morning routine.  Next thing I knew, she was standing in the chair squealing because she had tinkled in her panties, down her legs and puddled in the chair.  I took her immediately to the potty chair and we sat and read the book.  And nothing.  We changed our panties and started over.  We repeated this series of events four more times and I was done.  I called my long time friend, Abi, and asked her when I should stop.  She laughed and said, she would have stopped after the first tinkle in the panties and to begin again the next week.  So that's what I did.  But Haylei wasn't ready.  Then I got pregnant with Hunter and honestly did not feel like doing much of anything, much less potty training.  I spoke to Haylei's pediatrician and she suggested waiting until after Hunter was born to begin again with the training. We continued to use the potty before bath time and Haylei was getting very good at it.  I moved the potty from the bathroom into the bedroom hallway for easy access and to remove the temptation of playing in the big potty.
When Hunter arrived, potty training was the last thing on my mind.  Out of the blue, two weeks after Hunter's birth, Haylei squealed with delight as she tinkled in the potty all by herself!  I was completely shocked.  I took this as my cue to start potty training again.  So that week she went diaper free during the day, but wore a diaper at night.  After the first night, her diaper was a little wet.  But to my surprise, the second night's diaper was as dry as could be.  She had no accidents during the day either.  After the fourth night of a dry diaper, I risked letting her go to bed without a diaper, only pretty panties.  She woke up and completely dry, no accidents!  By Friday she had not only been tinkling in the potty but had been poo-ing in the potty and she was not going back to diapers.  We were diaper free!

Granted we have had our setbacks over the past year.  She has only had one accident in the bed and thankfully it was a brief wetting.  I had given her some medicine before bedtime and she woke up crying with a tinkle in the bed.  I had a protective pad on the mattress so it didn't get wet.  Like I had mentioned at the start, Haylei is very strong-willed.  I still remind her when to go potty.  She gets very busy and sidetracked and forgets to potty.  She has tinkling accidents more often than not.  I'm not sure if this has to do with a kidney problem she was born with (more about that later on) or a preschooler control issue, but we are taking it day by day.  While potty training has been an on-going training, definitely not something overnight, self-wiping has been the easier task of the two.  It seemed like a natural switch in Haylei's brain flipped on, and she wanted to do it all by herself!  I made it more pleasant by purchasing some flushable wipes.  She loves these but I won't be purchasing anymore after we run out.  We'll just transition to regular toilet paper when the time comes.

This has been a learning experience for sure.  I learned my child has a mind of her own, literally.  When she is ready, she'll do it, despite the fact when I'm ready.  Potty training is like any other kind of training we do for our children.  It's a training that is on-going.  It's not something that will happen overnight.

The only recommendations I would offer through my own experience is to invest in a good potty.  I love our Baby Bjorn potty chair.

We also travel out of town a good bit, so we invested in what we call a "travel potty".  It's a little Baby Bjorn potty seat that we keep in the van.  I keep a roll of paper towels, wipes and plastic bags in the back of the van.  This might not work for you but this works for me an my family.

"The Daily Grind" are posts referring to my career as wife, mother, bookkeeper, seamstress, chauffeur, teacher, baker & cook and whatever else life throws my way. (Proverbs 31)

I did not receive any compensation from Baby Bjorn to state the above, this is my personal experience.  However, I do have links embedded.  If you feel inclined to purchase through the links, I will receive a small compensation from   

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Susie said...

I would rather get root canal than to potty train my youngest again!! It was the worst parenting experience to date!!

Amy H. said...

Thanks so much for this post, it's one of the best I've read on potty training. I have a 21 mo. old boy and I'm starting to think about how to proceed with this. This is more good advice that is helping me along the way.

Christy AKA Trippin' Mama said...

I'm getting the potty seat out for the triplets (17 months old, God help me!) to "explore" for a week or so before we give it our first try. I'm probably as motivated as your mom to get them out of diapers ASAP! We'll see how it goes, just as you had to do with your daughter.


Candi said...

@susie - you are hilarious! yes, I couldn't agree more. I'm not really looking forward to Hunter potty training. so far he's tinkling in the potty before bathtime. He'll be sinking cheerios before we know it :)

@amy h. - thanks! I try to tell it like it is. Children will do what they want and we can only guide them.

@christy - hope it goes well!!! I don't know what I'd do if I had 3 at one time. But you'll survive, I don't know many 5 year olds who don't potty on their own. :)

Ashley said...

Don't faint because I'm finally leaving a comment. Just had to share my experiences. My doctor told me potty training was a "process" when I was starting to train my first. Little did I know how big of a "process" it would be. My middle child was fully trained just after 2 and then her brother was born. TOTAL REGRESSION followed. Fast forward a whole year later the week before school starts. The teachers at orientation said no pull-ups allowed. She still held out on using the toilet until the day before school started. Then magically over night she became fully potty trained once again. After a whole year of cleaing up accidents from a child that I knew could use the toilet I was hopeless. I just knew that she would get kicked out of prek the first week. It just goes to show a stubborn child will come around. (Even if they are 4 and starting pre-k the next day.)

Candi said...

@ashley - thanks for sharing your's amazing how they KNOW but just don't WANT to...

'Becca said...

Thanks for sharing your experience! Every kid is different, so other parents' tips are really helpful. Here's what worked for me. Several of my friends also have had great success with using Dappi nylon pants or similar waterproof covers over regular underpants, instead of Pull-Ups: kids learn faster, and you save a lot of money!


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