Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Potty Boot Camp Success!

She has always loved her potty...notice the stickers!
As many of you probably already know, Piper has been using the potty since she was 11 months old. Lucky for me she took right to it the very first time she sat on it, and that may be because she picked it out herself.  Even though she uses the potty daily and consistently, she still has not been quite ready to make the transition from diapers to big girl panties.  I tried several times over the past several months to do so, but every time I'd put her in panties she would immediately wet herself, even though she could keep a diaper dry all day most of the time.  Mostly, I think this was due to lack of communication skills and no real understanding on her part of the difference between panties and diapers, besides maybe the material they were made of.  In the past month or so, however, her conversational skills have grown by leaps and bounds.  She can actually carry on a full conversation now.  While it may not be up to Shakespearean prose quite yet, it's still a conversation with meaningful dialogue and very expressive speech with immense understanding.  Once she reached this point, and we were able to discuss things on a deeper level with her understanding all that I was saying, and vice-versa, I knew she was finally ready to make that oh-so-exciting transition to panties once and for all.

Wearing her big-girl panties!
Since I took an extra three days of vacation around the Thanksgiving holiday here at work, which means I had nine days total to accomplish my goal, I decided to host a potty training boot camp for her to help with this trnasition.  I knew Piper was going to need her mommy during this time and that it would take a lot of work, but guess what?  It did work!

I started off by sitting her down and discussing what exactly the potty boot camp was all about, then we went and she picked out some new panties at the store, and she immediately took to wearing them with no accidents.  I also began giving her two stickers on her potty board for every potty she took while keeping her panties dry.  By the second day, she was insulted when I tried to put diapers on her for naps and bedtime.  So to overcome that little bump, as I was not about to let her sleep in panties just yet, I told her the pull-ups that had been sitting around forever were her special nighttime/naptime panties.  I don't believe in the use of pull-ups as a potty training method.  They absorb too much, don't let the child feel the wetness, and in my experience back when I taught preschool, they always seemed to immensely slow down the training process.  I actually did try them with Piper at one point, to see if I was by chance wrong about my ideas on them, but she actually wet them more than diapers...hence why I had old pull-ups lying around not being used.  Piper completely understood this idea and she immediately stopped fighting about wearing more protective panties for sleeping, yay for quick mom thinking!!!

Notice the outfit...shirt, leg warmers, socks, and panties!
Since she started boot camp, we've had only seven accidents, one of which was due to too much tickling and rough-housing with one of her cousins, so I don't count that one.  The others occurred when trying to put regular clothes over her panties.  Right now we are still in the warm shirt, leg warmers, panties, and socks mode.  For some reason, Piper is more aware of her need to pee and staying dry when there are no other clothes covering her panties up.  I'm not exactly sure why, but we're sticking to this method for a bit longer.  I will say that while out Thanksgiving grocery shopping, which was on the third day of boot camp, that although I put her in a diaper to be on the safe side, she was dry when we took a mid-shopping potty break and dry when we got home...we were out for over four hours!  I was amazed that she had no accidents during this time, but she's always been pretty good about keeping her diaper dry most of the time.

I guess at this point I should mention poop.  Piper took to pooping in the potty at ll months, too.  She has since only had a handful of poop accidents that were her fault, and a few others that were due to not reading her signals correctly.  I'm proud to say that she has had no poop accidents in her panties at all!

Seems panties give her the freedom to play in her curtains!
And of course I had to get an "artistic" shot!
She really does love "hiding" in the sheers
and looking out her big picture window!
So you may be wondering about my methods during this process.  The #1 thing was setting a 30-minute timer to remind me to take her to the potty on a regular basis (I've since expanded the length of this timer to 40-45 minutes depending on time of day and her intake of liquids).  Plus, she could hear the timer go off and know it was potty time.  Also, during potty breaks, she got to watch Olivia, her favorite TV show ever.  It's about all she wants to watch, which is fine by me.  Thank goodness for DVRs! Plus, the extra incentive of additional stickers on her potty board helped a ton.  She had been getting potty stickers, first on her actual potty and now on potty boards, since the first time she used the potty. They are a great bribery treat, and I'm not against bribery.  Every once in awhile I'll also allow her to have a piece of candy, such as a Dum-Dum sucker or a couple of pieces out of a Smarties package, but the stickers work best and are way more healthy for her, obviously.  She loves being able to pick out which stickers to put on her board, and she is quite meticulous about which ones she wants and where she wants to put them.  At times she has drawn this task out to 20 minutes or so while contemplating the perfect position for each sticker.  She's very much into grouping things right now, and now also does not like to overlap stickers.  It's a funny thing to watch her thought process during sticker placement time.  She knows exactly what she's doing and I so wish I could read her mind and know what she's thinking, because sticker choosing and placing is some serious business with a definite artistic quality about it.

Piper picking out stickers for her potty board on Thanksgiving...
She stayed dry the entire day in her new outfit!
Proper placement is oh so important!
So is picking out the proper sticker!
Remember the potty from earlier?  It ran out of room for more stickers.
Now she has one full potty board and another one getting there very quickly!
Since I have returned to work, I am proud to announce Piper has continued to keep her panties dry for her Nana and Papa during the day.  I was so afraid she would protest me returning to work and backslide, but she's been awesome!  She WANTS to wear panties now, and that is the greatest feeling of accomplishment you could possibly imagine from my end...and I'm sure from her end as well..  In the end, I didn't meet my 17-month goal of fully potty trained into panties, but I'll take 19 months any day.  I'm so glad Piper is not in a preschool and has full-time care with my parents during the day.  I know no preschool would bother taking a 19-month-old to the potty nor take the time to keep a consistent schedule at this beginning stage, so here's to being at home where she can accomplish goals that typically take other children longer to achieve.  I'm very lucky that way, we all are.

Playing in her new crib converted toddler bed!
And as an added bonus to her getting stickers, I almost forgot to mention this although you probably noticed the bed in the pics, I turned her crib into a toddler bed to celebrate her new big-girl self.  She is so excited about her big girl bed that she actually took a nap in it, something she would never do in her crib.  An extra bonus for me is that it makes her room look bigger and even prettier than before. When she first climbed into it she kept saying "I happy."  Nothing makes a mama more proud than seeing her little ones facing glowing with glee.  And now maybe I'll finally get some use out of that $2500 crib that's just been sitting there with the cats using it as a very expensive kitty bed!  Don't judge me on that price tag, I know it's excessive but I waited a long time for Piper and knew I would never have another child, so she was and still is well worth every penny spent on her nursery.  And now she finally loves it like I do!

I just love the in-the-middle crawl space!
And she sleeps!  That's a tiny miracle right there!
Well, once again that about wraps things up for the time being.  I do have another post that I'm working on that expands from Halloween on through Thanksgiving, but it's been a slow process on that one.  It was so much easier to get writing accomplished when Piper was non-mobile and my workload was a lot less.  But hey, I do what I can when I can and sometimes it's more and sometimes it's less.  I'm sure all you mothers out there know exactly what I mean!

Last but not least, the cutest laugh ever in her new bed!

As always, I thank you all for being patient between posts and dropping by to visit my little space on the Internet.  Piper thanks you, too.  Speaking of Piper, don't forget to vote for us over at Top Mommy and Top Baby blogs and visit our other social media sites.  Have a great week and I'll be back hopefully sooner than later!

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