(A Little Too Much) Potty Training Success!

I guess this post might be preemptive or something like that, but today is Day 1 of Operation: Get the First Kid Trained in Plenty of Time before #2  Arrives. And so far, Day 1 has been much better than I expected.

I first thought about potty training when Hula Girl was about 9/10 months old. I bought a potty chair and sat her on it occasionally, most of the time having a “success.” However, I wasn’t very stringent about it, and it kind of went along the wayside as we went on vacation, then we had summer, then we moved, then _____, then _____. Finally, she turned 18 months old and it started to freak me out because I had planned on doing early potty training, and the older she gets, the more likely it is that we’ll just call what we did “potty training” and I won’t be able to get my SUPER MOM BADGE for being ahead of the game.

So of course, at 20 months, I decided to just bite the bullet. I have heard that potty training is, like, the hardest thing ever and if you survive, you get a special all-expenses paid vacation to a child-free land where you can relax all day and drink pineapple-coconut smoothies and eat chocolate until your teeth fall out. No? That’s not true? Oh, well, at least I won’t have to change diapers a million times a day. (Actually, I don’t really mind changing diapers. It’s the hefting my big 28 pound toddler up onto the changing table or kneeling all the way down to the floor while pregnant that gets to me. My back is KILLING me at the end of each day. And I’m only 15 weeks in… I shudder to think what it would be like in May.)

Anywho, I’ve read a lot of research and looked up plenty of methods. But the one that made the most sense to me is the way my mom trained me. Some would call it “bribing” but I like to refer to it as providing positive reinforcement for desired behaviors. And let me tell you what- it works too well. Allow me to explain what we’ve done so far.

We went yesterday and purchased some mini colored marshmallows. I did a practice run yesterday afternoon, where I put her in undies for 30 minutes, and checked her to see if she was clean and dry about every 5 minutes. When I found that she was, in fact, clean and dry, she got a marshmallow. She fell in love with them at first taste. She’s never had candy before, after all.

Here’s what happened this morning:

7:30 go get my bright cheerful girl out of the crib, strip her down, and plop her on the potty, reminding her that if she goes pee-pee, she gets a marshmallow

7:45 arrive downstairs, do a “check”, hand her a marshmallow, and put her on the potty for 5 minutes, praising her for staying on the potty until the timer beeps

8:00, 8:15, 8:30 conduct another “check”, hand out a marshmallow, try again for 5 minutes

By 8:30 I started to wonder if she’d ever need to relieve herself. She’d been up over an hour… and still… nothing…

8:45 she peed while sitting in her booster seat eating breakfast. changed undies, moved on with the day.

9:00 conduct another “check”, hand out a marshmallow, try again for 5 minutes

9:30 conduct another “check”, hand out a marshmallow, put her on the potty and… VOILA! 2 drops of pee-pee in the potty! happy dance! yay! hooray! now let’s take the potty to the bathroom and put the pee-pee in the toilet. then flush, wash hands, and MARSHMALLOW TIME!

9:36 Hula Girl informs me she has gone pee-pee. she indeed has another 2 drops waiting to be flushed. MARSHMALLOW TIME!

9:42 Hula Girl informs me she has gone pee-pee. yup, another 2 drops waiting to be flushed. MARSHMALLOW TIME!

9:50 Hula Girl informs me she has gone pee-pee. hang on a sec… just 2 drops waiting to be flushed? MARSHMALLOW TIME!

9:53 Hula Girl informs me she has gone pee-pee. surely she can squeeze out more than just 2 drops. MARSHMALLOW TIME!

9:58 Hula Girl informs me she has gone pee-pee. 2 drops again. MARSHMALLOW TIME!

10:03 Hula Girl informs me she has gone pee-pee. someone has taught this kid the law of conservation. 2 drops waiting to be flushed. MARSHMALLOW TIME!

10:10 Hula Girl informs me she has gone pee-pee. stingy, this one. 2 drops waiting to be flushed. MARSHMALLOW TIME!

10:15 Hula Girl informs me she has gone pee-pee. OMG if she doesn’t pee more than 2 drops next time…. MARSHMALLOW TIME!

10:23 Hula Girl informs me she has gone pee-pee. YESSSSSS! a big one this time! she spilled it all over the bathroom while trying to pour it into the potty. oh well! MARSHMALLOW TIME!

Then, it was time for independent playtime, and man, was I ready for a break! I had actually planned to go up with her so I could help her use the potty during that time as well, but I just slapped a diaper on that cutie little tushie and called it good. 30 minutes of peace…

11:05 conduct a “check”, hand out a marshmallow, try again for 5 minutes

11:30  conduct a “check”, hand out a marshmallow, try again for 5 minutes

11:45 Hula Girl informs me that she has gone pee-pee in her booster seat. I confirm. good thing I placed a towel beneath her while she ate.

12:10 conduct a “check”, hand out a marshmallow, try again for 5 minutes

12:30 is naptime, so she got a diaper, a kiss, and a “good riddance for a while!” Mommy needs a break!

I have been pleasantly surprised at how much simpler this has been than what other moms have made it sound. I think the holding off on sugar until it can be used as a bribe was a good move on my part, too. My kid’s addicted to “ba-boh-bohs” now, but hey, it could be worse! 🙂

4 Comments

  1. Lynn said,

    February 8, 2012 at 10:24 pm

    Told you, Bribery gets you everywhere!

  2. Sheena said,

    December 30, 2012 at 5:47 pm

    Thanks for posting these. Came here from the babywise group. Today is our first day and I just been copying your technique! My DD is 20 months old today.

    • January 2, 2013 at 9:43 am

      You’re welcome! I am glad you found it! I hope it goes smoothly for you!


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