Thursday, September 15, 2011

Potty Training

Before I get to the serious is a fun video of the girls actually having fun together today instead of one beating up the other (I'll let you guess who is doing the beating these days).  They were doing this for a few minutes and I only caught the tail end because I couldn't find my camera.

I've been delaying this post for months because...well...I'm just not sure what I should say.  (Turns out that I wrote WAY too much so feel free to jump to the pun intended.)  I took a toilet training class that was offered by our local regional center back in April.  By this time we had acquired a little potty and when we would catch Sweet Pea starting to poop we would occasionally run her over to the potty and have her do it on there instead of in her diaper.  We were just taking it slow and easy figuring that it was going to take a long time, but wanting to get her comfortable with the idea of going on the potty. 

At some point after that training I noticed that she would wake up dry from her naps and so I would sometimes take her when she first woke up.  Sometimes because I had another little one in the house and I wasn't ready to drop everything for potty training.  She would go pee almost immediately when we put her on her potty almost every time when we got her there fast enough after her nap.  From there we just continued to haphazardly take her to the potty...sometimes first thing in the morning, sometimes after naps, sometimes when we see her starting to poop...basically, very randomly.  Again, we were just going with the flow and not pushing her and had very low expectations. 

She started to go more and more often when we would put her on it and I started to believe that she might actually be ready for serious potty training.  We had a behaviorist evaluation in July and she had us take some data to see when her diapers were wet and dry, but we were still doing everything just sporadically.  It was around this time that Sweet Pea stopped wanting to go to the potty at all and so we stopped taking her because we didn't want it to be a fight.  We would ask her if she had to go and if she said yes then we would take her and if she said no then we didn't.  Simple as that.  Except getting a reliable response from a 2 year old is anything but simple and we clearly weren't making any progress, but at least we weren't forcing her to go and turning it into a fight.

Our behaviorist started in the middle of August and she primarily changed two things that we were doing...1) Don't ask her if she has to go...say "it's time to go potty"  2) Reward her for even sitting on the potty regardless of if she was successful.  Our behaviorist wanted a reward that was extra motivating and the only thing that seemed to fit the bill was Signing Time.  However, I was absolutely not going to let Sweet Pea watch a 25 minute episode every time she sat on the gosh darn potty.  However, I came up with an alternative...what we now call "music videos".  Signing Time has a lot of songs throughout each episode and so I created mini files of just the music portions of a couple of episodes and we show one of those to her as her reward.  She absolutely LOVES them!  We make a big deal about it and it is doing the trick.

After about a week of giving her a music video every time she sat on the potty I really wanted to stop and only give her one if she actually did something productive on the potty.  At this point she was going a decent amount of the time when we would take her and so I didn't think it was that big of a leap to change the reward.  I waited until our next behaviorist meeting and she was in favor of the switch so we started only rewarding her with a music video if Sweet Pea actually went pee or poop.  The successes were still happening a lot and I was starting to get cocky...I bet you can guess where this is going...

The next week we took the behaviorist with us to Target to get some padded panties and covers so that we weren't having to use diapers.  It took us a few days to really start to use them, but when we did things went fairly well.  Sweet Pea definitely had some accidents, but it wasn't anything too frustrating.  Mind you we were only using them when we were at home which really isn't very much of the day.  We were taking her every hour at this point.  I continued to get more excited and cockier...

The next week I tell the behaviorist how great it's going and that I'd like to expand it outside of our house because we just aren't covering enough of the day this way.  She says to go for it and we do, but in our typical haphazard fashion.  We start by getting her center based therapy on board and they agree to try to take her every hour, but they really want her in pull ups which we can understand.  We wait until we get pull ups to start at center based therapy, but I try a couple of times when we are out at other therapy or a friend's house.  Some successes and some utter failures.  More failures are starting to happen at home too.  We can take her to the potty and then 5-25 minutes later she will have an accident.  Daddy and I are both getting frustrated, but trying to stay positive.  When the accidents happen we explain that pee goes in the potty, not in her panties.  We have her help clean it up and explain that she only gets her music videos when she goes in the potty.  I have no idea how much of what we are saying she is getting, but I'm trying.

We start having center based therapy take her every hour on Monday and she goes some, but also goes in her diaper.  On Tuesday we explain to our behaviorist what is happening and she wonders if she can't hold it longer than 30 minutes.  Her solution is to have us take her every 30 minutes and start taking data on every time we feed her food/liquid and every time we take her to the potty, was her diaper wet/dry and does she pee or poop.  We can't ask her center based therapy center to go every 30 minutes so we continue with them every hour.  On Wednesday we have pull ups and she does the same thing...some in pull up and some in potty.  After her nap I don't get her soon enough and she peed in her diaper, but did go poop on the potty.  15 minutes later she peed in her panties though!  The rest of the day she did find and even told me that she had to go once.  Right before bedtime she went pee with Daddy and while she was waiting for the music video (computer issues were delaying it) she pooped in her pants.  Frustrating, but okay...

Today was a tough day...Daddy took her at 6:20am and she didn't go, 6:40am and she didn't go and then she peed in her panties at 6:45am.  She then went in her pull up while we were at PT/OT even though I took her before we left, when we arrived, an hour later in between the two sessions and again an hour later before we left.  She did pee in the potty two out of those four times.  When she woke up from her nap she went twice in a row and then I didn't take her for 45 minutes and she peed in her panties.  I was frustrated at myself, but also frustrated that she can't seem to hold her bladder at times.  I don't know what I thought potty training was going to be like, but I really thought that she would be able to hold it longer.  She does sometimes and other times she doesn't.  I'm hoping this is completely normal, but I have no idea!

I was very down on the entire potty training process, but she went the next two times I put her on the potty.  I was trying to get to a football game so I just put her in a diaper so that I didn't have to worry about it while we were out of the house.  About 1.5 hours after her last potty trip I hear her say "poo".  I look at her with disbelief and ask if she really has to go poo to which she replies "yeah".  Oh goodness...we are at a high school football game and I have no idea where the bathrooms are.  Luckily my good friend informs me and offers to keep Angel so off Sweet Pea and I go...running most of the way to the potty...and it's a LONG way!  I figure there is no way that she actually has to go poo and even if she did...she wasn't going to be able to hold it until we got there.  We get into the bathroom and I have to sing to her to get her to sit for long enough to count, but she actually goes poop!  And she even said "more" when I thought she might have been done already.  She sat for another minute and more came!  Way to go Sweet Pea!!!!  She didn't pee, but she pooped and her diaper was still dry!  That makes me feel a little better about our progress, but still fairly beat down. 

We make our way back to the stands and not 10 or 20 minutes later does she say "potty".  I am extremely doubtful that 1) she has to actually go pee and 2) that we can get there in time, but I know that I have to try so off we go again.  We get to the bathroom and she is again still dry!  I can't believe it, but I put her up on the potty and she goes!  Wow!  Alright...let's keep this going Sweet Pea!  We head back to the stands and the game eventually ends and we head home.  It's now been over an hour since we last went and I forgot to take her when we got home, but then I hear her say "potty" as I'm trying to get her to go eat her dinner.'s another stall tactic, but let's go through the charade again...her diaper is a tiny bit wet but she actually goes in the potty.

We eat and then I have to breastfeed Angel.  It's just me with both girls tonight so I need Sweet Pea to entertain herself while I feel Angel.  Not 3 minutes into the feeding do I hear her yelling from the bathroom.  I am kicking myself about now because I realize it has been 30 minutes since we last went.  I try to tell her to pull down her panties, but I know that she can't clear her bottom so why am I even trying.  The yelling doesn't stop so Angel and I make a side trip to the restroom and she goes again.  Another music video and I'm back to feeding Angel.

Absolute hysterical cries start emanating from the kitchen a few minutes later.  I hadn't heard her fall or anything get bumped so I am not sure what is going on.  I really want to finish feeding Angel and the cry isn't her hurt cry so I'm confused.  After a minute of it I head to the kitchen to see what is going on.  Sweet Pea is freaking out, but doesn't appear hurt.  I'm trying to get her to tell me what's wrong with her signs and when that fails I ask her to show me.  She starts walking away and toward the potty.  About halfway there she starts freaking out again and farts.  I'm thinking, oh no!  Did I mention that after the last pee session we didn't get her panties back on because I'm one handing everything because I was still feeding Angel?  So now I have a pantie-less girl about to take a dump on our carpet.  I get her into the bathroom and on the potty just in time.  No wonder she was crying so desperately!  She really was trying to hold it, but it wasn't waiting for her dense mother to get a clue!

So after me being ready to throw in the towel she tells me 5 times in a row that she has to go!  Seriously?!?!  I guess my heart to heart talk that we shared while cleaning up her last accident sunk in?  I don't know, but I hope it wasn't just an anomaly.  It's evenings like this that make me think she is ready, but then again...the 30 minute thing is NEVER going to work in this house.  We just aren't organized enough to keep to that kind of a schedule.

Hopefully we will update everyone in a few weeks that we are still making progress.  Does anyone have suggestions on how to get more than 30 minutes out of a kiddo?   Anyone like cloth pull ups/training pants?  If so, which ones?  What tricks do you use to encourage your kids to go while you are away from home?

Wow!  That was a LONG post...but I need to write it out so I can track where we are as my memory is horrible.  Thanks for bearing with me!


  1. thanx for the long post on T.T, we are going through this too, but only with poos, I am waiting until summer to do training with wee's but a few times lately Owen has signed toilet and done a huge wee in the potty and his diaper has been dry so I think there is hope that we might actually have some success. With my other kids I have been totally child led with TT, never taking them to the toilet, unless we were about to go out, never done the 30min -1 hour visits - as the behaviour therapist suggested - sounds uber intensive ! But from what youve written it sounds like SweetPea is doing great - even a little regression sounds good to me (though I totally understand that its as frustrating as all &*^^) it reads like she was just testing what happened when she didn't go to the toilet and you guys did great at reinforcing and now she is really on track. Three Cheers for Sweetpea !! (and mum and dad) (Viv Owens mum

  2. Slow and steady wins the race. Keep plugging away when she gets it she will be dry all the time.
    And yes I did accidentally post our potty training post, it will run sometime soon. All is going well here with both girls.

  3. Wow - I'd say that is progress. I haven't even thought about starting potty training with Max. Really wasn't planning on it anytime soon. Piper potty trained herself when she was Max's age - 2 1/2. I have no clue how to start with Max!