Potty Training: trying to teach a child the way they have been doing things, and in fact the way you encouraged them to do things the moment you placed a diaper on a very specific area of the body since they were born, is actually wrong.
Although it has been a long process, I am happy to announce Sage is potty trained!!! This last time (since I have attempted at least 3 times before) was super easy! She was actually ready. So how did I do it?? I want to share because when I started the process I wanted to know what other people did and everyone seemed vague and gave me one liners such as: "don't leave the house for 3 days and have your child run naked," or "wait until they potty train themselves" or "buy a potty training doll and lots of juice".... I was super confused because I felt like that was only part of the story.
So this is what I did. This might sound a little weird but Sage was usually in the bathroom with me anyway so when I was going to the bathroom I just started explaining to her what I was doing so that she would start to understand what going potty actually was and she could define it I guess. I started doing this around 20 months old.
Then when she turned 2 my sister got her a potty, some underwear, and I got Sage a doll that went on the potty. We made a potty chart for Sage and for the doll and every time the doll went on the potty she got a sticker on her chart. Sage didn't seem too interested in going herself, even though I asked quite often, but I never forced anything.
Then a few months ago I decided to spend the day with her on the potty so that she could understand it even better. I didn't make it stressful at all and we read books, watched a movie, colored, painted nails, and just spent the day in the bathroom. I would have her sit on the potty for 15 minutes then give her a ten minute break (and of course this is when she would go and pee somewhere on the floor) and then back on for 15 minutes. After a long day of doing it she has understood going on the potty since and randomly would just go on the potty after that. I think we had one success that day and it was really exciting and I called everyone, but of course 2 seconds after I hung up the phone she had an accident again. Oh p.s. I handled accidents by having her help me clean up the accident. I found that if I got mad at her then we were both stressed and she would just have more accidents than successes, but if I treated accidents like it wasn't a big deal then she would have more successes than accidents.
After that day I decided to go along with the whole "potty train yourself method" and just let her use the potty whenever she wanted but if she desired her diaper back then I would just let her have it back. Well since no one has explained to me what "potty training themselves" in detail meant, Sage would often use the potty by herself with no one telling her to do so and then I would stick underwear on her hoping that she would just keep going on the potty but then get stressed out when I was scrubbing p$#% out of the floor. So since I was stressed I was a little inconsistent and kept changing her from a diaper to underwear and vice versa. I am not sure if I did the right thing or not there but if she had an accident and I was feeling impatient then I felt it was better to switch her back to a diaper than to get mad and make us both hate the process.
So this last time (starting a week ago Monday) I decided to just put her in underwear for good and I prayed a lot that I would be patient with accidents. The thing is I felt like she was going on the potty enough without me ever saying anything that she was potty training herself she just needed to get used to the idea of having underwear on all the time. I am not sure what was different about this time but I was super patient and she hardly had any accidents. I have not stuck a diaper back on her since the Monday I began and now I am happy to officially announce she is potty trained!!! We haven't had any accidents for the past couple days. Although I am aware that doesn't mean the end of accidents, I am just happy she understands the process so well that now diapers are not needed.
It took a lot of time, like I said I started explaining the process when she was around 20 months, but I feel like there are a few key points that worked for us:
*If I got mad then she would have more accidents. If I was patient with accidents and remained calm then she would have more success.
*You can start teaching them about going on the potty whenever you want but don't force them to use the potty until they are ready.
*It's okay to go back and forth if you feel like it is too stressful. It needs to be fun so even if they are showing signs of being ready, as a parent you need to feel ready as well. Prayer helps a ton!
*I didn't mention this above but watch lots of shows or read lots of books about going potty. I am seriously convinced the show "Daniel Tiger" did a lot better job at making Sage excited about going on the potty than I did with a doll and some stickers.
* Have fun and enjoy the experience!
Please feel free to ask questions!