Tuesday, February 1, 2011

BIG Girl

Today Evie officially became a big girl. We are having a blizzard, like much of the country right now, and Evie's school (Parent's Day Out) was canceled, so I took the opportunity to start 3-day potty training (this is the book).

This morning I put Evie on the potty in the morning, threw away her diaper and put her into panties, then had her help me load up all diapering gear into trash bags and take them to the garage. (Changing pad, wipes, diaper cream, swim diapers, EVERYTHING.) We talked about how she was a big girl now and not a baby and it was time to say goodbye to diapers and use the potty from now on.

(I have to add, here, that we have been slowly potty learning since she was about 14 months old and so by this time she knows exactly what to do on the potty, how to pull her own pants up and down, how to flush and wash her hands independently, and how to push in her bottom to make herself go. She still needs some help with wiping and with knowing when she needs to go. She has been putting about 60% of her poop into the potty for the past few weeks, as well. She was very prepared to start today. At least *I* knew she was prepared even if she didn't.)

I won't go into the specifics of this particular PL (potty learning) system but just say that it involves positive reinforcement and the parent keeping a close watch over the child to prevent accidents. We had several accidents this morning because Evie has been the type of child who pees tiny amounts into her diaper all day instead of having learned to hold her bladder. It is frustrating to have her pee a tiny amount on the potty and then wet her panties 10 minutes later, but it's all a part of the learning process and I have faith that it will get better tomorrow and the days after that, as she learns bladder control. This afternoon she did much better and kept the same pair of panties dry from about 3 pm until bedtime!

Unfortunately, she did wet her bedtime panties about 10 minutes after lights out, so we'll need to leave more time tomorrow night between dinner and bed so that she can leave her dinnertime milk in the toilet. The book we're using suggests "fortifying" the bed with extra mattress pads and sheets and limiting liquids before bed--giving the child a chance to learn night dryness instead of automatically using pull-ups at bedtime and sending the child the message that "you can't stay dry at night." We're going to give it a few days and see how Evie does, but we won't bat an eye at going back to diapers for nighttime if she needs it. But right now our plan is to wake her up to urinate before we go to bed and hope she is sleepy enough to go right back to sleep. My parents used that method for my brother and I for years and my mom swears that it works.

I might be crazy, but along with this major milestone I'm combining a second one by letting Evie drop her nap. She's been showing signs for weeks now: fighting her nap for over an hour and then sleeping too late in the afternoon and then fighting bedtime, or taking a good nap and then refusing to fall asleep until 10 at night, or skipping her nap altogether and then going to bed like an angel. So today I sat her down after lunch and told her "You're a big girl now, wearing panties, etc... and big girls are allowed to say 'no thank you' to nap time. Would you like to say 'no thank you' to a nap today?" Of course she said yes as soon as she understood what I was saying. So I told her that instead she and I would have a reading hour in her room. I put a "magic reading carpet" (beach towel) on her bed and I sat in her rocking chair. She read picture books and I read my novel. I only got about 5 pages read between talking to her, reading to her and taking her potty 2 times (plus one accident), but it's a start. I hope that our reading hour becomes a huge success as we continue; I love the idea that I still get a little break of silence to have some time for myself, besides that I'm modeling a love of books for Evie.

She did very well this afternoon after reading hour and fell asleep at about 8 pm after lights out at around 7:15 (much of the 45 minutes in between was spent singing "Peas Porridge Hot," going potty and having her panties changed). Forty five minutes to settle down and fall asleep is pretty normal for Evie, but it's a long time considering the lack of nap! Hopefully she'll settle quickly into the new routine.

In conclusion, she is getting rewards for using the potty. Every time she urinates with a dry pair of panties she gets a sticker on a reward chart and when the chart is full she gets a special treat (like playing a favorite game with us) and when she poops in the potty she gets a piece of gummy candy. The gummy thing is not a great tradition, but I started it a couple of months ago and, what can I say? Gummy is very motivating for my daughter.

Wish me luck with day 2!


  1. I can't believe Evie is so big! She's such a pretty little girl... Good job with the reading time! What a clever way to get reading time yourself! Good luck!

  2. You know thinking about this makes me want to hide under the bed and cry, right?

    We've been having these same conversations, and I read about the 3-day method and decided that's what we're going to model, as well. Also, I read between 2 years 3 months and 2 years 6 months is a great age for their understanding and physical ability.

    Congrats on your success so far and I look forward to reading what worked and didn't for you guys!


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