I’ve known numerous people to complain to me about having to change diapers. I just want to laugh in their face because they have NO IDEA how bad it can really be. My oldest was 11 months old when the twins were born. Now the twins are 16 months old. So I’ve been changing diapers on THREE kids for 16 months. One day, way back when the twins were littles, I counted 27 diaper changes in one day. Just let that sink in for a minute.
When our oldest was 18 months we bought a potty seat. We started talking about the toilet. We even got her to pee a few times by sitting her on the toilet as soon as she woke up. But after a few weeks it fizzled because she started crying whenever we mentioned it. So I just let it go. Relatives can continue to tell me how my sister was trained at 18 months. And since my mom isn’t around to corroborate that fact I’ll just call it bull. My 18 month old was not ready and I was not going to force her. My days were stressful enough.
Fast forward to a few months ago when she turned two. She was using the potty chair as a seat to read her books. And she was still getting upset. So I let it go again. And I started devising my plan for toilet training during summer vacation.
My husband would be home from school and besides lessons and band, would be around. So the master plan involved taking diapers off completely and staying home for the week. We were banking on her not liking the feeling off being wet and so she would then choose to use the toilet rather than pee in her underwear. With two 16-month olds around it made the most sense to wait until there were two adults in the house. We also decided to skip the potty chair completely. We have two bathrooms, one on each floor. So ther really was no need. If one of us was home alone and had all the girls outside, well then we could take the potty into the backyard. That would be way easier in an emergency than trying to wrangle the other two and get them back in the house for a toilet run.
Here is my tangent – in this house, we don’t say potty. We also don’t say pee pee or poo poo or any other euphemism for what is actually happening with Evelyn’s body. Why, you ask? Nothing turns you off to the word ‘potty’ more than a dirty Kindergartner at the after school program who shrieks “I hafta potty” rather than asking to use the bathroom. And I say dirty because her parents clearly never bathed her. No need to get high and mighty here. I was teaching at a private $7,000 a year Catholic school and she had a mom and a dad. She should’ve been clean.
Two days before THE BIG DAY we started bringing her to the toilet. We made sure to use the word toilet and to use pee and poop. And we would ask her, ‘do you need to pee,’ or ‘do you need to use the toilet.’ She got to see her new underpants and we talked about how she would be wearing her big girl underpants instead of her diapers. Because diapers are for babies. Then she got to see her stickers for the Toilet Chart I made and her little dish of M&Ms (1 for pee, 2 for poop). And we set the bathroom up with everything we would need including:
- Books to read
- Flushable wipes
- Regular wipes
- Pull-Ups for naps and overnights
- Toilet seat
- Stickers for her Toilet Chart
- Bribery candy
And then the big day came. The diaper came off in the morning and it was NO MORE!
And that first day was AWFUL. I have never been more frustrated or angry or annoyed. We went through a dozen pairs of underpants. It was as if she was waiting to get off the toilet to pee or she would pee a little, wait to be cleaned, then finish. I wanted to tear my hair out. She did end up peeing twice in the toilet, and once on the potty chair outside. But she also peed on the floor, in the playroom, in her sandbox, on her plastic zebra and horizontally on the baseboard heater. That last one was pretty epic.
Day two dawned and I told myself that today would be better. At 8:30am when she was whizzing next to her bucket of Mr. Potato Heads I almost lost my sh*t. But I asked her continuously if she needed to go, when she kept telling us no we would bring her anyway. And then we started to see her ‘tell’ which happened three times today. She was hiking her underpants up when she had to go. So after the morning accident we had a day with three successes and a dry nap!
I’m not breaking out the streamers and confetti just yet, but today was a really really good day. And strangely, Evie was so much more affectionate and loving than she usually is. Tomorrow night my husband has an outdoor concert so we will probably go the Pull-Up route as I would rather not bring her into a Porta-Potty.
We have some thicker Gerber underpants and will be ordering bed pads. Once we have an established routine we are going to ditch the Pull-Ups in bed so they don’t become a crutch for her. That’s the plan anyway.
But we both have our fingers crossed that we can stick with this and never have to put her in diapers again.