We woke up excited and nervous for the big potty day. The night before, we had cleared the living room of all of her toys and were very intentional about not providing distractions like TV and toys. Other than that, we began the day just like any other day and decided to get a good breakfast in her before we began the potty training adventure. Once she had eaten her breakfast, we pulled out her new present. She opened up her new potty doll and we named her Dolly (I know, I know...sooooo original). We began to take Dolly's diaper off because Dolly was becoming a big girl. We said, "Bye, bye diaper," and then Dolly got to put on some big girl panties.
We then gave Stella and Dolly something to drink. Normally Stella only drinks water and milk but today, she got to drink juice because we intended to pump her full of liquids and wanted her to slurp them up. We chose V8 Fusion strawberry banana light and boy oh boy, did she love it! Once Dolly had drank some water, we checked Dolly's pants to see if she had dry pants. She did so Dolly got a big dry pants celebration. Then I asked Dolly if she had to go potty and she did so we ran to the potty and sure enough...Dolly went pee pee in the potty.
[PAUSE HERE FOR AN EXPLANATION] - There were several dolls online that can be used for potty day. I fear I made the wrong choice. The doll that was suggested was the Potty Patty doll. After reading reviews and checking prices, I opted to get the Little Mommy Princess & Potty Doll rather than the actual Potty Patty. It was about $20 less expensive and had better reviews. What I failed to note was that it didn't actual take in and pee out any liquid. The Mommy Princess doll that we bought came with a potty that had an insert that flipped from blue water to yellow and brown but the doll didn't actually pee. To circumvent this obstacle, we used a medicine dropper behind the doll when she was sitting on the potty so you could still hear water when she was going "pee pee". If I had to do it over again, I would probably spend the money on the Potty Patty doll because no matter how sneaky I was, I don't think I was actually fooling Stella. And back to the story of Day 1...
After Dolly had her first success in the potty, we did a big celebration and gave Dolly a potty treat (an M&M). We waited a bit longer and did a dry pants check again. She had dry pants so we celebrated! After about 10 more minutes we did a pants check and Dolly had wet pants so we did the potty run with Dolly 10 times. The potty run consists of running from the scene of the accident to the potty, pulling pants down, sitting on the potty and then running back to the scene of the accidents 10x. During the run, you say, "No pee pee on the floor. Pee pee goes in the potty," over and over again.
After Stella had seen Dolly go through a few celebrations and a wet pants experience, we asked her if she wanted to have big girl pants too. So we took off her diaper and said, "bye, bye diaper!" and put on our new big girl underpants.
[PAUSE HERE FOR AN EXPLANATION] - I purchased several different types of training underwear. The Potty Patty underwear had, by far, the best reviews but they were also the most expensive. I bought a few of those to try out. I also bought the 3 pack of babies R us training pants in plain white and then also the Gerber in a girly design pack. In addition, I bought a few 2-in-1 (with a more waterproof feature) for going out. The Babies R Us 2-in-1 versions are SUPER bulky but the Potty Patty ones are less noisy and more natural feeling. If I were doing it again, I would just invest in getting the Potty Patty versions of both, however if the money is too much to spend, go with the Gerber cotton training pants and the Potty Patty 2-in-1. And back to the story...
Once we gave Stella her big girl underpants, we asked her to feel and check if they were dry. Of course they were since we had just put them on but it was our first chance to celebrate dry pants. After we celebrated, we went to sit on the potty. If you recall from my first post, this is something that Stella did frequently whenever I went potty. So she sat without hesitation. We sat for a while and then she started to get squirmy so we went back to play with Dolly in the living room. As I mentioned, we were pumping her full of liquids so we could make sure she had lots of experience with the pee pee sensation and we set our timers for 15 minutes. When the timer would go off, we would run to the potty and sit down and hope for the best. Unfortunately, our first potty experience was one in her pants. And she didn't seem to mind or be uncomfortable with the wet pants. I'll note that it was also hard for us to tell when she was going so we were constantly feeling her pants to make sure she hadn't gone.
When she had her accident, we did the potty run 10x. At first, she kind of liked the potty run and thought it was a game. We reset the timer for 15 minutes and started over again. Again, we had another accident so we repeated our potty run. I was determined to get her to have a success, thinking that if she did she would want to have more. So when she sat on the potty this time, I did everything I could to get her to stay there until she went. We read books, sang songs, ate snacks (gross...I know but it worked!), drank juice and I turned the faucet on thinking that it might help start the flow. Finally after sitting on the potty for about 20 minutes, she went pee pee!!! HALLELUJAH!!! We all danced and jumped and gave Stella a potty treat! She also got to call Grammy and celebrate the big occasion. It was all very exciting and motivating to keep going.
We put her down for a nap around 1pm after lunch and had decided to not diaper during the nap. She woke up about 30 minutes in crying very hard with a wet everything. She had soaked her bed, clothes, underpants...everything! So her nap ended up not being very restful and that wasn't helpful for the rest of the day. We ended up having about 7 accidents and 3 successes. The successes we did have were only from sitting on the potty for long extended periods of time so she wasn't yet indicating that she needed to go and rushing for the potty. I was still counting my blessings that she had some successes but I was feeling very overwhelmed and discouraged.
At this point, all of my doubts I had been feeling started to flood back. In addition, Matt kept making comments throughout the day that didn't help. "Maybe she's not ready", "Are you sure M&Ms will motivate her?", "She's still awfully young." All things that I had thought but it was difficult feeling like my spouse wasn't supportive.
[PAUSE HERE FOR AN EXPLANATION] - Matt is an extremely supportive husband and daddy but it was easier for him to verbalize these things because he wasn't as invested in the training as I was. I had done months of research, read 4 books, read countless posts and articles online and been watching for signs in Stella. The reality was that I was knee deep in the experience and he had only touched his toes in to feel the water. He was doing everything I asked him to do but he just wasn't as invested as I was. If I were to do it again, I would involve him much more in the prep and decision making that way we are on a level mind set going in. OR, I would opt to do the training day by myself rather than with both of us.
By the end of the day, I started to do some more reading. I had briefly read posts and information on bare bottom training and had heard lots of successful stories from friends about bare-bottom training so I regrouped, re-strategized and pivoted for the next day. Matt and I talked about it and decided that we should diaper her for the night, especially since we were going to try a new strategy in the morning.
Now...some of you might be thinking that we are flakes. Some of you might be thinking that we were fools to try this early and that we should give up. Some of you might understand our thought process but I have to tell you that one of the best things we did was remain flexible and be able to pivot as needed. I think it is what ultimately saved the day. So, think what you will but we had to make a decision about whether to continue, stop or adjust and we made the best one that we could. We chose to adjust.
After my additional reading and researching, we decided to do the bare bottom approach the next day because the resources online were pointing to that as the most effective method for early potty training. We also set a 3 day threshold on it. I read that if she wasn't successful more than 25% of the time by day 3, to wait 6-8 weeks and try again. That gave me a bit of hope and boosted up my energy to try again.
Stay tuned for details about day 2 and beyond...