I suspect there will be many parts to this theme.
I started talking about potty-training nearly a year ago, but the boys weren't quite ready. However, as they've gotten older and as I've anticipated this new baby, we've all gotten to the point that we're ready to be done with diapers. I just don't want three in diapers!
I kept waiting to start until a magical three-day weekend when Travis would be home, and we could work together to start potty-training. I was sure that I needed him there to chase one running, pee-streaming child while I inevitably scrubbed poop up off the carpet in some other corner of the house.
I feared the worst and needed an extra hand.
But two days ago, I woke up to two messy diapers and the realization that Travis would never have three days home with us (possibly ever), unless it's Christmas.
And we're not potty-training on Christmas.
So I pulled the potty-seats out to the living room, stripped my kids naked, and handed them each a large cup of milk and a large cup of juice.
That day (Tuesday), we started in the afternoon after naptime, so it was just long enough to introduce the idea of peeing in the potty (without anyone actually doing it.) Then diapers were back on at bedtime, and I vowed to do this for real.
Yesterday was straight-up awesome.
I'm sure that the reality of potty-training is going to be long and hard and full of poopy-pants, but yesterday was such an encouraging beginning to this journey!
I'm going to give you details, so I hope you're interested. If not, that's okay. Come back tomorrow. ;)
The boys got up at 7am, and I immediately stripped their pants and diapers off. In the few instances that they've peed while naked (usually just before or after a bath), they're always so surprised. They might not even notice they're doing it right away, but look down and go, "Oh hey! I'm peeing!"
So I was pretty sure they didn't know what it felt like to pee. They never had to regulate it, so they didn't notice it happening.
That's why I decided to go all naked, so we could draw attention to peeing and what it felt like.
I gave the boys lots of juice and milk and salty snacks (like pretzels and crackers) to keep them drinking. We turned on a movie, and set the potty chairs in front of the television.
The boys didn't like sitting on the potties very much, so I set the oven timer for 15 minutes and just made them sit for 2 minutes every time it went off.
After about 45 minutes of being naked and drinking A TON of liquid, I couldn't believe no one had peed yet. I told them they needed to stay sitting on the potty until they peed, and there was mutiny. They started crying and whining. They both got up and ran away, and immediately peed on the floor.
I was ticked.
I know you're probably not supposed to scold your kids for having accidents (especially if this is the first time they've ever been told to pee on the toilet), but I was mad. I KNEW they'd been about to pee and I still had to clean it up.
I told them I was really angry, and pointed out the pee. I made them sit on the potties and watch me clean up, and then I made them wipe up the floor, too. All the while, I was giving a stern lecture that pretty much went, "It is not okay to pee on the floor. You are big boys and you need to pee in the potty. I told you to stay on the potty and you got up and peed on the floor. That was naughty. We should only pee in the potty now."
Then I listed off all the people we know that pee in the toilet. "Mom and Daddy pee in the potty. Uncle Jack and Uncle Tate pee in the potty. Babies pee in diapers, but you are not babies. You are big boys like your uncles, etc."
After that: no accidents.
Since I'd pumped them full of juice, and then startled them mid-pee with my scolding, they both still had to pee. While they were sitting on the little toilets listening to me rant, Micah peed! I made a really big deal out of it. We did a dance, we clapped and hurrayed! He got to put a sticker on his new chart, and he got to pick a piece of candy from his Halloween bucket.
Grey didn't care about any of that until he saw Micah pull a sucker out of his bucket.
"Where mine sucker? Where mine?!" he yelled.
"Micah got a sucker because he peed in the potty," I said. "You can have one if you pee in the potty, too."
The words were barely out of my mouth before Grey was sitting and peeing on his potty. He jumped up and yelled, "I did it! I get a sucker!"
After that, it seemed to click.
I still set the timer for them to sit on the potty every fifteen minutes, but by the afternoon they were totally ignoring it. They refused to go sit if they didn't have to pee, and likewise - they would jump off the couch and yell, "I gonna pee!" and run sit down, even if I hadn't reminded them.
I was the most impressed once when Grey sat down to pee and went. He jumped up and ran into the kitchen to put up a sticker, and then yelled, "I have to pee again!"
He ran back to his potty, but I hadn't emptied it out yet.
"Uh oh!" he yelled, "Clean it up quick!" Then he waited until I had emptied it out before sitting down and peeing.
They still wore diapers to bed, and Grey wore one at naptime (Micah requested underwear). They woke up dry from naps, but not bedtime.
After their naps yesterday, I wanted them to get on to the toilets right away, but they refused! I started panicking and set the timer to go off every five minutes so I could constantly remind them to pee, but still they insisted they didn't have to go.
About half an hour after they woke up, Micah announced he was ready to pee and shortly after that Grey did, too.
It certainly made me trust them more!
This morning we haven't had any accidents and the boys still refuse to sit when the timer goes off, but only sit when they have to go. They are still naked from the waist down, and if they haven't been in about 40 minutes, I remind them to go and offer them candy if they do and they almost always get down and pee on command. I'm so impressed!
They've pretty much forgotten about stickers and suckers already, both of which only lasted for the first morning, but they'll ask for some M&Ms or fruit snacks occasionally, and since they're being so good, I always comply!
Anyway, keep your fingers crossed that things continue to go so smoothly for us!