Friday, March 1, 2019

Big Girl Bed and Potty Training!

I've been getting soooo many requests for this blog post, but to be honest I felt uncomfortable writing it because I am NO expert.  I only have one child for crying out loud.  However, at the end of the day I feel like it's useful for some mamas to just read about others experiences in order to find a method that will work best for THEIR own child. So I'll share what we did, some pointers that worked for us, give you links to things I read, but know that every kid is SO different and what might have worked with Marlowe might not work for your toddler.  Here goes!

Potty Training:

We potty trained Marlowe at 21 Months.  This is considered "early" and honestly we got a lot of judgement for starting before she was 2.  BUT, Marlowe had literally been asking to use the potty for a long time, she would sit on it and pretend, when I'd use a public bathroom she would take a paper towel and pretend to wipe herself, and she would scream at us the second she peed or pooped in her diaper because she didn't want it in there.  So I read a couple books, and said what the heck let's try it.  

I used the book called Potty Training in 3 Days, and it was free to read on the Kindle, otherwise it's $10 bucks.  It took me an hour to read it during nap time one day.  I liked it because it had a checklist of how to know when your child was ready, and also ways to approach potty training based on your kid's personality.  There's a TON of stuff out there to read on this "method" (aka The 3 Day Method-look it up!) but basically the theory is that you can give your kid the basics of potty training in 3 days.  Some takeaways-it requires you to not leave the house at all for 3 days, have your kid wear just underwear, reward them with a special treat every time they potty, and most important of all NO PULL UPS (with the exception of nighttime pull-ups).  When you change them, don't put them on the changing table, start changing them upright in the bathroom. Also, you fuel them up on liquids of all kinds.  The more liquid they have in them the more chances they have to practice using the potty!

So I went out and bought all the panties I could find at Target (I let her pick the characters she wanted), a floor potty, and a potty that attaches to the regular potty with a step, nighttime pull-ups, a sticker chart, and all the treats I could think up.  I had been reading a couple "potty" books to her for a few months that also helped her to prepare and understand what we were doing!  I also rolled up all the rugs in the house that I didn't want to have to clean pee off of since hardwood was underneath.  I'll link everything I bought below!  

My overall goal was to push for her to use the potty that attaches to the toilet rather than the floor potty because it doesn't make sense to me to teach a kid to use the potty twice (once on the floor and then teach them to transition to the big potty. Plus dumping out urine into the big potty seemed gross to me).  She used the floor potty a few times, but much preferred the big potty.  However, I'm well aware that some kids are super afraid of the big potty! Do what works for you! Also, I think it's important to have your child wear panties/underwear rather than be naked.  There isn't a right or wrong, however I think they need to know what feeling "wet" is like.  So yes, you'll need to do a lot of laundry but it's worth it!  You can also use the trick where you ask them to feel and check if they are wet or dry.  You can say things like, "Did you keep Elmo/Moana/Spiderman (whatever character is on their panties) dry?  You don't want them to get wet!" This was a motivator for Marlowe.  One more thing, your kid will either fall into two categories when it comes to poop. They will either go and squat on the floor somewhere, or become super constipated.  I'd push prunes from Day 1 if I could go back and do it again (make a smoothie or use a prune pouch).  Marlowe held it for sooo long that I ended up having to take her to the doctor because I was worried.  She was fine and went eventually, but it was a process for sure!

Now for what happened when we started!

On day 1 Marlowe was excited about the potty, she wore her big girl panties, loved sitting on the potty, and peed in the potty a few times but also peed on the floor SEVERAL times.  Day 2 and 3 were basically the same.  I started to see a pattern of when she had to pee because she would go to the same spots in the house (behind the couch).  I used M&M's as her reward and honestly she could have cared less about them.  The sticker chart was useless for us as well because she has boat loads of stickers that she plays with all the time.  She started telling us when she had to go but then outsmarted us and thought it was funny to cry "potty" like crying "wolf" so that we would drop everything and RUN to the potty.  She would then laugh at us.  Like haha mom and dad I tricked you again.  Well this made me frustrated and stressed out because none of the books told me that this was a possibility.  She sensed our frustration, and we definitely messed up and put too much pressure on her and I got mad a few times when she peed on the floor.  This was my BIGGEST mistake, because Marlowe started to get stressed out and DID NOT want to use the potty anymore.  She would cry and cry when she sat on it.  By Day 5, I gave up (even though the book says you are supposed to stick it out for 10 days). So, I told Marlowe, "Ok you can wear diapers like a baby again and when you are ready to use the potty again tell mommy".  I completely backed off and let her do her thing. 

Fast forward to 3 weeks later, Marlowe came to me with a pair of panties and said "I want to go potty".  This time I approached it differently.  I bought Skittles, a pack of bracelets, and a pack of Lipsmackers chapstick for a reward.  She could pick out of a prize bin what she wanted.  And here's the real kicker, we wore pull-ups people.  If she had to go she would tell me and get a huge reward of two skittles and alllll the praise we could think up. If she pooped she would get to hold a Lipsmacker for a little while and put it all over her face.  If she had an accident then I made no big deal and didn't say ANYTHING.  It took about a week before we were really able to wear panties.  She would wear panties in the house at home, and then I'd put a pull-up on her if we were going to a public place.  I would show her the bathroom right when we walked into any store and tell her that if she needed to go then she could tell me.  The weird part is she never had an accident in public and would always ask to use the potty wherever we were.  Another couple weeks went by and I started letting her wear panties out once I knew she would tell me if she had to go.  It was alllll a process.  The thing I learned was, my strong-willed child had to WANT to do it on her own.   I could not force her.  It had to be her decision.  Overall it was a good month long process (NOT 3 days) but by her 2nd birthday she was wearing panties all day! 

As for sleep training, I kept her in a pull-up during naps only and nighttime.  The second she would wake up from a nap I would take the pull-up off and put on her panties.  Once we moved into the new house when she was 25 months, and she was sleeping in her big girl bed right away, I took the pull-ups away during naps because at this point she was always waking up dry.  She had ONE accident and hasn't had one during naps since (she's now 2.5 years old). Once I knew she had nap-time down, I took away the pull-up at night.  She woke up with a dry pull-up 95% of the time so I knew she would be fine.  Fast forward to 2.5 and she still hasn't wet the bed once.  No, I don't take away fluids before bed as she always has a cup on her nightstand.  I read that kids have to make the brain to bladder connection during sleeping and that it is developmental.  Some kids can't do this till they are 5 even! If she has to pee in the middle of the night, she just wakes up and yells "I have to go potty!" and one of us runs in there, takes her potty, and then she goes back to sleep. 

Some pointers:

-Your kid has to WANT to potty train.
-Prepare them weeks before you potty train with books. 
-Find the reward the works for your child.  M&M's didn't do a thing for Marlowe, but Lipsmackers and Skittles did. 
-You know your kid best, adjust your technique as necessary! Just because the book says it has to be this way, doesn't mean you have to follow it.
-Don't get frustrated! This is so hard.  I tell all my friends that potty training was one of the hardest things I've had to do as a parent.
-There is no age limit for potty training.  Some kids can do it at 1.5, some don't potty train till 3.  Don't feel pressured from anyone but your own child. We only chose to do it when we did because she wanted to.
-Pampers/Huggies Pull-ups majorly irritated Marlowe (I don't know why, we used their regular diapers just fine).  We ended up using the Target brand Goodnights and Up and Up with no issues!

Transitioning to a Big Girl Bed!

I wish I could give you a ton of pointers here, but honestly transitioning for us was way easier than I thought it would be.  We were moving a month after Marlowe's 2nd birthday so I knew I would transition her all at once when we moved so that the crib could go in the nursery.  I wanted her to be excited about her "new room" and new bed so I decided to give Marlowe a full size bed rather than a toddler bed.  A bigger bed made more sense to me because I knew I would be laying in it with her reading books before bed.  I bought an Ikea bed frame, an ikea mattress, and slats rather than a box spring so that the bed would stay low to the ground.  Also make sure you get a WATERPROOF mattress protector in case of accidents.  Also, I used rails on the bed so she wouldn't fall off the first night and then decided I hated how they looked, so I ended up putting a pool noodle on either side of the mattress under the fitted sheet instead.  It was much better, and those stayed on for maybe a month until I took them out because she doesn't really move when she sleeps.  I swear the bigger bed has made all the difference! We talked up the bed for weeks, and once it was time to sleep in it she did amazing! I had to lay with her till she fell asleep for about a week.  But after that, she was totally fine being in there by herself!  We explained that the video monitor was still on and that we could still see and hear her if she needed us.  One night I moved the camera to try it in a different spot, and she didn't see me move it.  That night she wouldn't stop crying when we left the room. Turns out, she didn't know where the camera was and that was a comfort for her.  She thought I couldn't see her-so the camera went back in it's original spot haha!

Since then, Marlowe never gets out of bed on her own.  If she needs something, she yells.  When she wakes up in the morning, she waits and we get her out of bed.  The only time she ever sleeps with us is when she is sick!  It's the weirdest thing and not at all what I expected.  I wish I could say we did something to make her this way, but we honestly didn't. She just really likes her room.  I think having a big bed that's not on the floor makes her feel like a "big girl".

Overall I'd suggest:

-Considering a bigger bed!
-Make the room fun with things for them to look at on the walls!  Around Christmas I added some star lights on her railing and she loves them so much they have stayed on!
-Lay in there as long as needed until they are comfortable.
-Keep the bedtime routine the same every night!
-Use pool noodles instead of a rail UNLESS your child is a wild sleeper.

Good luck!


Potty that attaches to toilet

Potty Seat for Public Restrooms

Potty Training Sticker Chart

Favorite Panties (Target ones are scratchy!)

Everyone Poops Children's Book

Big Girl Panties Children's Book

How to Potty Train in 3 Days Book

Ikea Bedframe

Waterproof Mattress Pad

Pink Gingham Bedding

Rainbow Pillow

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