Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Potty Party! The Prep ...

We dove head-first into the potty training and have come out on the other side, relatively unscathed. I'll note here what we did for the future - perhaps it will be useful to you, too.

I think I might have mentioned that I attended a potty training class put on by my local Parents as Teachers group almost a year ago. It was way too early to be thinking about it, but I thought we might approach potty training before the next class rolled around. I would recommend something similar if you have access - it helps to recognize the signs of readiness and begin to formulate a plan of attack.

Just about 6 weeks ago I thought we weren't close to potty training, then our daycare teacher indicated that Ells was probably ready - she was successfully using the potty at school, was dry for a few hours at a time and was asking to go on occasion. Okay then. We waited until after our vacation, then went for it! It was earlier than I had planned / hoped, but I didn't want to miss our window of opportunity and 2 1/2 years is really the average age for potty training, which we are close to.

(To be fair, we had been talking a lot about the potty, trying before bath or bed or if Ellen asked, and working on her taking off her own pants or shorts. We read potty books here and there, not with an agenda, but just for general awareness.)

Most of my plan of attack was formulated by my bestie (the behavior analyst) and my other bestie (who writes down what the behavior analyst says). Bestie #2 potty trained her son earlier this spring, so I just did what she did!

Most of this is centered on the Potty Party / Potty Training In A Day idea. For a child who is ready, you can probably be reasonably potty trained within one day. Sound too good to be true? It isn't!

We started by talking about the upcoming "potty party" as soon as we got home from vacay. "In 1 week, no more diapers when you are awake! Are you excited for your potty party? You can wear undies!!" Blah, blah, blah ...

We shopped for big girl undies at Target - together. You must let them pick them out! And, we got tons - I bet about 35 pairs. Totally overkill, but you want to be sure to have PLENTY on hand for accidents the first weekend, and then if you need to send some to daycare or wherever. And word to the wise, the Circo brand undies are, shall we say, pretty form fitting. It seems like the underwear sizing for little girls is maybe different than clothes? I am so bad at that kind of thing. We ended up with size 4, because it was the smallest on the shelf, and it's fine for all the other brands.

I casually asked Ellen what surprise she might want at the end of her potty party and she asked for a chocolate cake with sprinkles. Easy. Done. (I think there may be some suggestion to actually take your child out of the house to a restaurant or some such as a surprise, but we elected not to.)

At our weekly grocery run, I had her point out treats she might like for her potty party. We never have juice boxes or chocolate milk in the house, but I planned to be a full-on beverage pimp, so wanted to have something enticing to her. I did a solo grocery run the Friday before our potty party and picked up a cart full of "junk": chocolate milk boxes, regular milk boxes, 2 kinds of juice boxes, jelly beans, M&Ms, salty snacks of all types, cereal bars, fruit snacks, fruit leathers, and a chocolate cake mix with sprinkles!

I also picked up a lot of treats / rewards / incentives. Each family will figure out the best way to do this - some use food and some don't. I elected to go kind of middle ground ... I'm not opposed to food as a reward, but I wanted her to have more to choose from so that she might not always pick candy. Our girl likes stickers, but not enough that I felt that stickers would really be rewarding to her. She does LOVE band aids, though, so I got several kinds of character band aids and cut up some stickers to all go in a box as her reward for each time she had dry undies.

When she successfully used the potty she got to pick from a box of bigger rewards: cereal bars, fruit snacks, fruit leathers, toys from the $1 aisle at Target, pieces of sidewalk chalk, small tubs of Play-doh, coloring books. Basically I just picked up some toys that I knew she already liked and that came in enough pieces that I could divide them up for rewards. I also happened upon an Elmo potty training coloring book that had a sticker chart. We read through the book the night before the potty party and she got to color in it the day of. The sticker chart worked for about 5 rounds of dry undies, and then she was over it.

I know this is really long ... I'll add the details of our day in another post. And then we'll get to the pooping - excitement!

1 comment:

Carrie said...

So proud of the girl! And momma!
And to be clear...the potty training guidelines are not my invention-just a reader who relays the info.