Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Potty training Ford

We are 2 weeks into potty training Ford and I can't believe how well it is going! When I posted a picture of him proud in his new undies on Instagram, a few people asked me to post our approach. Initially that made me nervous because we aren't following a book or anything, we are just going with the flow. I can't tell you how many people have asked me if I am crazy to be potty training with a newborn but dare I say it has been easy? Ford was just 21 months old when we started and that is pretty young considering it is still normal for 3-4 year olds to be potty training but this is why we started. My niece Embry is fully potty trained and spent a week in Austin in May so Ford was with her everyday. He saw her cool undies, cheered for her when she went on the big potty, and understood that she got an M&M when she went. The day she left Ford told us he had to poop on the potty and he did so we decided to give it a shot. My #1 piece of potty training advice is to wait for your child to be ready. Ford wasn't just ready, he was psyched! He talked about potty, undies, treats for a while and he is really the one who decided to start training. Since many people have asked, I wanted to share some things that have worked for us and how we are going about training him. I read about 3 day potty training and a few other articles on Pinterest and I got ideas from them but just following my own instinct.


  • Wait until your child shows interest. Potty training is BIG for kids. They are used to going to the bathroom while they play or eat and not even thinking about it. Now if your kid is 5 and not interested yet, there may be an issue. But just because a friend has a 2 year old potty trained doesn't mean your 2.5 year old is behind. Wait until they are ready or else it may take even longer (I've heard of regressions in other areas due to forced potty training).
  • Contrary to the bullet point above, we got 2 little potties for Ford when he was 18 months old and had them set out in our bathroom and upstairs in his room. We started talking about potty and showing him how we went and even asking him if he wanted to try. If he would say no, we wouldn't push it. At the beginning he couldn't care less but then got more and more interested and we got to the point where he would want to sit on the potty to "try" to go almost everyday but never went.
  • Since we cloth diapered prior to training, Ford knew that #2 was dumped and sprayed into the big toilets. I have heard that with disposable diapered babies you should take them in the bathroom and dump the #2 from their diaper into the toilet and flush it down so they see where it should go. 
  • Once they start showing interest, buy undies. Ford is obsessed with Bubble Guppies and I ordered a 7 pack of Bubble Guppies undies for him online. Buy undies that they will think are super cool (Mickey Mouse, Dora, Frozen, etc). Like introducing the potty, we talked a lot about undies. We showed them to him and said these are special because we cannot go potty in them. We didn't let him put them on until we officially started training.
  • Choose a treat. I tried to start with Juice Plus Gummy Vitamins for treats but Ford doesn't really like them so we chose M&Ms. I bought a bag and put them in a sealed Mason jar on the counter by the potty area. He gets 1 M&M per time he goes on the potty, no matter if it is #1 or #2. If it is right around mealtime we tell him he has to eat before he gets his treat. 
  • Have a designated potty area. Right now Ford's little potty is in a nook between our kitchen and living room. I have a stool next to it with books because he is already a little old man and loves to read on the pot. He can also see the TV which was great during the first few days of training when all we did was stay home. We have his M&Ms, books, undies, pull ups, and wipes in our potty area. 
  • Stay home. I was skeptical of the magical 3 day potty training approach working for us because Ford is so young but we did decide to stay home for 3 days at the beginning of training. Ford was basically naked during those days and we asked him if he had to go potty 2-4 times an hour. 
  • The 3 day approach tells you not to use pull ups but like I said above, we aren't ready to toss out the pull up option right away and I like using them. Ford is in undies when we are at home but pull ups when we are out. Before we leave the house we make sure he pees and put on his pullup. When we get where we are going I usually take him straight to the bathroom not just to make him go but so he knows that we can go potty in public (I've heard of kids being scared of going in public). I am so proud of Ford for this. He is very vocal when we go out and tells me when he needs to go and isn't afraid of going #1 or #2 in a public toilet (lots of hand washing!). He comes home with a dry pull up and we go straight to undies at home. 
  • We still use diapers at nap and nighttime because Ford is a heavy wetter during sleep. I am not exactly sure how to eliminate that because they don't know when they are going in the middle of the night but I am not worried about that right now. We are trying to monitor liquid intake right before bed (he used to drink a whole cup of milk while we read books and now he just gets it at dinner) but he still wakes up super wet. Funny thing though, he wants his diaper off right when he gets up because he's no longer used to sitting in potty. So that's a start!
  • Accidents happen. We are making sure we encourage Ford even when he has accidents. He is such a sensitive little guy already that we love on him and tell him it is okay but next time we go potty in the potty, etc. His accidents in the past few weeks have been so random too. 
  • Take a deep breathe. Potty training is hard. It is physically exhausting at first cleaning up accidents and doing laundry but remember it is worth it! Sure I could just throw a diaper on Ford when we are in public but then that would ruin all the progress we've made. Monday I took the babies to the grocery store all by myself for the first time and right when I got Ford in the cart and Lucy in the ergo, Ford announced he had to poop. It added about 5 extra minutes to our trip and I think I was sweating by the time he was done but that is part of it. Potty training isn't just for the child, it is for the parent too. I keep a tiny Tupperware of M&Ms in Ford's backpack so I can reward him when we are in public. 
  • Teamwork. Jon has been so involved in potty training and I couldn't have done it without him. Stay on the same page as your spouse and have a game plan. Also, if anyone else cares for your child, make sure they know your game plan too. When Ford stays with my parents or goes to Mother's Day Out, I make sure they will offer him potty or listen for him to ask for it. 
  • If it doesn't work, put the potty away for a while and try again later. I hear this is common. You think your child is ready so you try to potty train and it fails. Don't keep pushing it but stop and try again another time. Remember that as adults, we are all potty trained. All the blood, sweat, and tears that go into this will be forgotten. Your child WILL be potty trained!
I read an article about how you shouldn't try any big transitions with your older kids 90 days before or 90 days after a new baby is born. A few weeks ago I would have never thought we would have Ford potty trained before he turned 22 months but I am so glad we didn't ignore the signs. I know it will take time for things to flow a little better and for him to be potty trained at nap/night but I am so proud of my little guy. I hope this post is informational/encouraging to some of you, please feel free to email me with any questions. Like I said, I am no potty training expert but like anything in parenting, you do what works best for you and your family!

7 comments:

Mckenzie Jean said...

It is so encouraging to see how you're doing with 2 kids under 2. Our plan pre babies was to have them back to back (we, ideally, would love 4 children), and to start trying for the next one once the youngest is 1. Now that my daughter is 10.5 months, I feel overwhelmed at the thought of starting to try for ANOTHER in just a couple of months, even though we've been blessed with such an "easy" (you know, in caring-for-another-human-being terms) baby. I am sure you have your moments with both, but you seem to overall be doing well! Even though we are going back and forth for when we would like to start trying again, it is definitely encouraging to see.

Allena said...

Both of my kids did it right before 2 1/2. Drew has been mostly there for MONTHS but for some reason it just didn't all click until the last few weeks. IT was frustrating because I thought we'd get her done over Christmas, but she so wasn't into it (even though she can hold it great and could go all day at school staying dry), so then I just waited. We started trying again over Spring Break and again, she just wasn't interested. But man, the last few weeks, BAM, she was ready and it was so easy. I 100% agree that you need to listen to your child because it's so frustrating to try and do it when they aren't ready - I've seen several friends get so upset when it doesn't go smoothly but when they wait a little and the child is ready - it is so easy! Yay for Ford!!

Katie Strah said...

What kind of potties did you get for home? Do you use a seat or just put him on the "big" potty when out?

aubrey kinch said...

This is so exciting!
Good job, Ford!!

Lindsay @ Pursuit of Pink said...

Thank you SO MUCH for posting this. We are going to start training Kendall very soon and it sounds like everything you are doing is what I plan to do. We are going to try the 3 day method and stay home, but NOT using pull ups especially when going out scares me. I love your idea of changing him right before you leave the house and taking him to the bathroom when you get to where you are going. Genius! Maybe I will tell Kendall that the pull up is just like her underwear. I really appreciate the tips!!!

"B" said...

Yay Ford! Every child has their own agenda. My daugther was 21 months when she potty trained as well. I was home on maternity leave and it made sense to go ahead and follow her interest. We did toss the daipers immediately since she was dry at night and naps for several months before we even started potty training. It really is so much easier when the child is ready:) How nice to be down loads of laundry.

Carolyn said...

These are all AWESOME tips!! Potty training is the one part of parenting that I'm terrified of. HAHAHA I know it'll be fine once we get there, but it seems like so much work and trouble! :)

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