Warning: This post contains frequent use of the words "poo-poo" and "pee-pee". Prepare yourself.
This past weekend, I decided it was my window of opportunity to get Little Man potty trained. We're officially 7 weeks away from Baby Sister entering our family and about 3 weeks away from traveling to Malaysia to set up camp until she makes her big debut. Realizing that we had quite a few "big transitions" approaching, I didn't want to snatch Little Man's diapers away and tell him to "be a big boy and pee in the potty" on top of everything else. I was beginning to realize that Little Man was definitely ready to make that switch, but he was also smart enough to realize that peeing and pooping in his diaper was way easier...so why choose self-serve when you have the option of full-service treatment? Amiright?
I mentally prepared myself for 3 days cooped up in the house, setting a timer and asking Little Man if he needed to "pee-pee" or "poo-poo" every 20-30 minutes during a 12-hour day, and realizing the possibility that it might not work and I'd just have to wait to try again in December or January (but this time with a baby in the mix). Needless to say, I was really hoping he would nail it.
And that he did! I'm happy to say we have significantly cut down on diaper usage around here (since we still need to work on nighttime training). While I have a few tips to share today that worked for us, our potty-training success really would not have been so simple, easy, and stress-free without the help of Becky Mansfield's ebook, Potty Train in a Weekend. I had my eye on the book for awhile but wasn't sure if I wanted to spend $9.99 on "another method for potty training". I mean, 10 bucks is a lot to spend if everything flops. However, the more reviews I read, the more confident I felt that this was a book I needed to try out. I'M SO GLAD I DID! It literally took three days to get my son potty trained...she's not joking around with the book title.
Because I have total respect for this mom and want to give her a fist-bump and a big, bear-hug for all her potty training wisdom packed into an easy-to-read ebook, I'm not going to share any of HER secrets. You just have to buy the book for all those goodies (but be sure to scroll down to the bottom of this post for a discount code)!
Here are 5 things that really helped make our potty-training weekend go as smoothly as possible.
1. Flavored water. To provide more opportunities for potty trips, I wanted to increase the amount of fast-moving liquids he was drinking. Sometimes he drinks plain water without a fuss. Of course, on the days that I need him to drink water, he'll run away from me screaming "NOOOOOOO!" Aquafina FlavorSplash to the rescue! This is something new to me since it wasn't in stores before we moved overseas. Thankfully, a friend brought some back to share with all us expats who get excited about little things like "liquid water enhancers". It was a nice, quick, mess-free way to add flavor (and color) to water so that my toddler would readily drink a nice glass-full. And because it's mess-free, he was able to help each time (which really helped motivate him to drink more water as well). Yay for more trips to the potty!
2. "Everyone Poops". I vaguely remember this book from my childhood and realized it would be the PERFECT illustrated book to help Little Man realize that we all poop. No big deal and nothing to get constipated over. Unfortunately for me, I'm nowhere near a bookstore that would carry that book, nor can I order it off Amazon and have it delivered to my house within the week. I knew the grandmas would be visiting in the next 2 months because of the baby being born but constipation really can't wait 2 months. You can imagine how thrilled I was when I realized that an animated "Everyone Poops" is available on YouTube! Don't worry, it's not so animated that it would gross you out (but then again, we are talking about a book about poop...so there is a small element of grossness there). Click here to view the video of the book. I find it pretty humorous that it's entitled "Everyone Poops The Movie." Long story short, Little Man loves to watch it and now the sentence "I want to watch animals poop" frequently rolls of his tongue. Lovely.
3. Gummy Bears. I chose to offer gummy bears for both peeing and pooping in the potty. One gummy bear for peeing, THREE for pooping in the potty (because he's three years old and pooping in the potty is kind of a big deal). I'm not worried about creating "emotional eating habits" in my children because healthy eating habits are regularly encouraged in our family. Do I think giving him gummy bears for a job well-done will undo every healthy habit I've taught him? No. And let's be honest, I'm an adult and I still reward myself with a Dr. Pepper, ice-cream, and maybe even some of my son's gummy bears when I accomplish something. I may or may not have eaten some of his gummy bears this past weekend because I felt like I deserved a treat for all this potty training too. If that's wrong, I don't want to be right.
4. Daily Fiber. Much like my reasoning behind the flavored water, I wanted to make sure "all systems were a go." In the beginning of our potty-training weekend, I realized that he was probably holding it in and making himself constipated. Then we had a couple accidents in the underwear. I obviously didn't want to cause my child discomfort and pain, so I started brainstorming my options. I knew some fiber intake might help out a bit. I didn't necessarily give him EXTRA fiber because I didn't want those kind of results, if you know what I mean. I just wanted to make sure fiber was included in his diet each day. Lucky for me, Little Man loves carrots. So, I just made sure to cut up some carrot slices for him to snack on and hoped for the best. After his first big success in the potty, it was smooth-sailing from that point on.
5. iPhone timer (with a fun tune set to play). With so many frequent trips in the beginning, my iPhone timer helped me more than it helped Little Man. I didn't want his accidents to be a result of me not paying attention to whether or not he needed to use the potty. Obviously, in the beginning, he's relying on me to help him realize it's time to go. Without my timer, an hour could have easily slipped past me without me noticing. Having a timer also helped me figure out how often he truly needed to go. Even though I stuck him on the potty frequently, that didn't mean he went every time. Gradually, I realized that every 2 hours was a good time to make sure he really tried because I could rightly assume we would get some results. Choosing a fun tune to play each time keeps things upbeat and light-hearted.
I don't know that I could be more pleased with my first experience potty-training. Actually, I should probably wait to say that because I'll be using the same ebook to potty train Little Man for the nighttime. Since I've yet to work through that, I'm sure there's a chance I could be more pleased with this potty-training experience.
Seriously, if you've got a little one in diapers and you're dreading the day that you have to potty-train him/her, just save yourself the stress and worry and buy Becky's book, Potty Train in a Weekend. What a sanity-saver!
Here's some even greater news, her book is 50% off for Labor Day weekend only! The sale starts today (Aug. 27th) and ends September 1st. Just click on any of the links to her book I've included in this post (or any of the book images) and follow the steps to purchase your very own copy of the ebook. Be sure to use the code LABOR during the checkout process. The ebook is worth every penny of the $10 but you can't beat getting all the value for half the price!