Monday, August 12, 2013

Potty Training 2.0

Last Sunday, six days ago, I, or rather we, attempted potty training again.

I'm pleased to say that it's been very successful!

I, once again, went with the diaper-free boot camp method. But this time I had a better plan in place.

We went camping for a week with another SMC, Jen, and her toddler, Luna, who is two weeks younger than Calliope, and who was doing well with part time potty use up until she transitioned to a new daycare recently.

Jen was instrumental in cheering me up after the first, quite messy, day. And Luna was an amazing little cheerleader for Calliope -- every time Calliope had a success, Luna would clap wildly while screaming and jumping up and down. Her enthusiasm was hard to beat. Calliope's enthusiasm for Luna's successes was a bit more subdued, but she still clapped and cheered... and also loved to peer into Luna's potty for inspiration, I guess.

The few days before we left, Calliope had suddenly had some successes with the potty, so I told her that when we went camping, she wouldn't need diapers anymore. Jen and I both talked it up with the girls on our travel day, Saturday.

Sunday morning was chilly in the mountains, but Jen put Luna into underwear so I felt like I had to follow suit and keep my word. The girls had plenty of accidents but we kept talking about it and kept offering the potty.

We had to go shopping at one point for supplies -- a short drive that turned into a hellishly long time stuck in outlet traffic -- and while we were in Walmart, Luna piped up, "Pee pee, Mommy."

I was carrying Calliope's potty with me everywhere, so I whipped it out and put it on the floor, right in the middle of the aisle towards the back of the store. We pretended nothing interesting was going on, to try to avoid attracting attention, and we did our best to shield Luna with our carts. A few moments later, Luna stood up... and Jen realized that Luna had pooped, right there in the middle of Walmart. Hilarity ensued while we tried to determine a plan for the poop. Finally Jen put paper towel over it and stashed it under her cart. Of course, as she made her way towards the bathroom she just happened to run into an acquaintance she hadn't seen in years. Oops.

After the first day, with its many accidents, I decided to try the Babycenter's method of leaving Calliope without any underwear or pants whenever possible. This led to an immediate decrease in the number of accidents. Plus, of course, it made clean up really easy.

It was great being in a small cabin for this endeavor, as the girls could never wander out of our eyesight, and the floors of the cabin were pretty durable. Plus, we were mostly outside, and a little accident in the sandbox or on the beach (the camp included a beautiful lake) seemed like a non-event.

Anyway, on our sixth day in, she had only one accident all day long! (I know some kids train with fewer accidents by waiting to a much older age, three or higher, but I'd much rather have more accidents and train younger... I really dislike diapers.) She peed a little bit on the playground, but stopped herself.

And this evening, she sat on her potty right on the boardwalk of Coney Island and peed (after I suggested she try -- I try to avoid reminding her, but it had been several hours) and then a couple of minutes, sat down again and pooped on our potty. Right there on the boardwalk. Which was thankfully not crowded, and she was mostly under our table, and wearing a sundress that draped over the potty beautifully so no one could see what she was doing.

And this morning, while I was eating breakfast, she went to play in her room. Stark naked, because potty training has made her decide to become a nudist. A few minutes later, she came running back in and announced "poop!"

I followed her to her room with a sinking heart, envisioning poop nestled into the white strands of her cream colored shag carpet... and was shocked and thrilled to see that, instead, she had successfully used the potty on her own for the first time! Go Calliope!

Now we are in MA for the week and yet another change in location/schedule/people and I'm afraid she's not doing quite as well today. I feel guilty about throwing too much at her, all at once. I'm hoping for a better day tomorrow -- she took a two and a half hour nap this afternoon (and thereafter had several potty successes) and was in bed a few minutes early this evening, for a change.

Still, I'm thrilled to be mostly done with diapers (she still wears them for sleep) and I can tell that she is too. She becomes indignant now when I try to put one on her unless it's just before sleep.

Actually, she's decided that in addition to not wearing anything on her bottom (we're still mostly avoiding underwear, unless we're out), she'd also prefer to wear nothing on top. Yesterday she walked into my mom's kitchen and was greeted with gales of laughter by the rest of the family, because she was stark naked except for her eight year old cousin's backpack. It was quite the look.

Her latest development is becoming very interested in using the regular toilet. Despite my encouragement to use her little potty. She's still small, and needs help getting up there, and despite her confident perch, I hold onto her the whole time. She tries and tries -- and peers under herself to look for action -- but doesn't seem able to relax enough for anything to happen. After a minute or so, she hops off and scurries off to the next bathroom, to see if she might have better luck with another toilet. This is no doubt also adding to an increased number of accidents.

I ordered a folding potty seat with handles (to be used on a regular toilet) that should arrive tomorrow... I'm hoping this helps.

Still, despite the setbacks, I'm so excited by her progress. I think that once we're back home in a few more days -- this is her last trip, and my second to last (I have a three day weekend planned without her next weekend... eek!!!) and she's on a regular schedule, she will do great. I'm very proud of my girl!


  1. Wow, fantastic! That is amazing that she is potty training with so much travel. The pooping in Walmart story is hilarious. I am so excited to be done with diapers, but Carys isn't ready to really hit the potty training. Everything with her takes far more time and effort than Fiona ever did (weaning, giving up the bottle, transition to new daycare, etc) and I suspect potty training will be no different, sigh. Very excited for you, though!!

  2. Way to go Calliope!!! A camping trip is a great idea, especially the peer support, I'll need to remember that trick!

  3. Yea, Calliope!! You go, girl!! Literally ;)

  4. Sounds like great progress! I admit I am afraid to even start with ELena...tho my mom is encouraging her quite a bit.

  5. I nominated you for a Liebster Award.

  6. Hi....
    How are you today?

  7. Yay Calliope! We've been trying the pants free thing at home but I'm still too afraid to leave the house without a diaper. Annelise also feels that if she's going to go pantless she might as while be naked. She also thinks I should join her in her nakedness.

  8. Try the towel potty training method.