Adventures in Potty Training

One of the many benefits of cloth diapering that I've heard from the beginning of my journey with cloth was that cloth-diapered babies tend to potty train faster. That certainly wasn't a deciding factor for me, but it was a nice little extra. Even though we wouldn't be continuously buying diapers for C, I knew it would be nice to have her out of diapers sooner. After diapering a child for 21 months, I can say that any time she's ready to ditch the diapers will be fine with me!

Not that its hard work, or even an inconvenience. Not really. Its just something I do. But it sure would be nice to stop doing it! Of course, once the diapers come off, we'll be rushing to the potty a zillion times a day (and at night, I'm sure). But C is starting to hate the changing table. Or anywhere that her diaper gets changed, actually. She used to love diaper changes, but these days she seems to think changing her diaper is the equivalent of getting vaccinations at the pediatrician's office. :/

C technically started potty training in May, when she was 17 months. That was the first time she peed in the potty. She's always came into the bathroom with me and watched me do my business. (Its easier to let her follow me rather than trying to rush while she's alone in another room! Plus I figured she'd learn by observing, and she did.) Earlier this year, I noticed that every time I put her in the tub she'd pee while the water was running. Then I'd have to drain the tub and fill it up - cause I'm not bathing my baby in pee water (even if pee is sterile)! So I got her a special potty seat (it goes on top of the regular seat, and the hole is smaller so she doesn't feel like she's falling in) with Sesame Street characters on it, and started sitting her up there every night while I started her bath. Eventually she figured out she was supposed to pee in there.

It went great for a while, then we hit a road block. So I invented the Pee Pee Song. From what I've heard, all mothers sing some variation of a pee pee song while potty training. But mine's more modern. Take that Luke Bryan song "Shake It For Me." Got that tune in your head? Now replace the lyrics of the chorus with this:

Pee pee, girl, pee pee for me, girl, pee pee for me, girl, pee pee for me!

Its a huge hit in our house. (haha) Most of the time I compliment the song with my awesome dance moves. Too bad I can't share those on the blog! Anyway, C gets a kick out of my performance, and that usually does the trick. Eventually, she started singing along with me.

We did the peeing-in-the-potty-only-before-baths thing for a while, then I realized that she could probably pee in the potty at other times, too. (I know, I'm brilliant. I mean, I do have a master's degree!) I told my mother-in-law about our progress at home with the potty, and she immediately jumped on board. She purchased C a bunch of training panties. Genius! I had been looking for weeks at my favorite cloth diaper store for cloth training pants. They are so expensive its ridiculous. And most of them are super thick like diapers. Which is great for accidents, but they seem to really absorb, which seems to defeat the purpose if you ask me. I purchased a few different ones, and ended up hating them. My mother-in-law went to good ol' WalMart and bought Gerber training pants. She knew I didn't want to go the Pull-Ups route (waaaaayy too expensive and we all know how I feel about disposable diapers!). These Gerber panties are basically underwear that are a little thicker than regular undies. They absorb just a little pee, enough to keep it from making a humongous mess. But not enough so that C can't feel it.

My MIL (mother-in-law) got lucky and was able to find some girlie prints at WalMart and K-Mart. Of course, when I went all I could find were boy prints or plain white ones - yawn. C wears a size 2T in the panties, and apparently they don't make much of that size. I guess because its uncommon for a child that size to potty train? Who knows.

Anyway, we had great success for a long while with the training pants. C slept in a diaper, I put a fresh diaper on her in the morning, and once she got to her grandma's she was in training pants all day except for naps (though she usually stayed dry during naps). Once I got home from work, I'd put training pants on her until bath time. Eventually, I got brave and started traveling with her in training pants. Only short drives, but still. She was very good about telling me when she had to use the potty, especially if we were somewhere other than home. I guess its more fun to a toddler to use other people's toilets? Yuck.

C had even started pooping in the potty! Not consistently, but she was getting the idea. During all this time, my MIL and I decided we weren't going to rush C at all. If she was 3 then we'd be pushing the potty thing, but since she's not even 2, we figure if it happens, great, if not, okay. Some days she doesn't like the potty at all. We just take it in stride. She does get rewards if she uses the potty. Usually a sticker, sometimes a treat. But I wouldn't say we bribe her. We don't say "you can't have this until you pee in the potty." But if we ask her if she wants to pee in the potty and she does, she gets a reward. (Not every time, though! Sometimes she just gets praise and a high-five.) C is very proud of herself when she uses the potty. She hasn't gotten the hang of wiping yet, but she tries. And she can't quite pull her pants up and down on her own, but she helps.

Well, lately, C's not really interested in the potty. Maybe its because she's teething, or because she's been sick, or because we're not pushing it. Who knows. I think my MIL still keeps her in panties some during the day, but I haven't asked lately. I still ask her to pee before her bath, but most days after work if I ask "do you want to pee in the potty?" and she says no, I drop it. And most of the time lately she says no. No big deal.

I didn't really expect her to be completely potty trained by the time she's 2, or anything like that. At first, I was confused as to why she seemed to be regressing in this area. But then I read that its completely normal. She'll get it straight, eventually. This time next year, if she's still in diapers most of the time, we'll have to start really working hard on it. But for now, we're just letting C set her own pace with this.

That's pretty much how I've done this whole mothering thing. I've listened to my baby from day 1, and I've gone with my instincts. So far, its worked for us. People told me to get her out of our room long before I did (she was 5 months when I moved her from the bassinet beside our bed to the crib in her room), people told me to get her used to a bottle long before I did, people told me to start her on solids long before she let me know she was ready (she tasted solids at 6 months but didn't eat them regularly until 9 months), people have been telling me to wean her already for almost a year now. And when people find out I still rock her to sleep every night and at every nap time, they say I should be able to lay her down and she put herself to sleep. Well, what C tells me is almost always the complete opposite of what everyone else says. She knows what she needs, I just have to listen to her and ignore everyone else. She's only gonna be a baby once in her life; why rush her to grow up? She will when the time is right. ( :

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