Saturday, July 3, 2010

Potty training: baby steps

I apologize to all who are offended, but this is a major part of our lives right now. You know the subject from the title, so read no further if you don't want to know. :)

We're slowly making progress with potty training. Wil is doing reasonably well if we leave him pantsless. He even earned Gordon, one of the "Thomas and Friends" trains, earlier in the week. We have had some accidents, and he feels bad about those. For example, the other day, he pooped on the playroom floor. When he finally peed in the potty later, he really needed to hear "yay!" - and mine wasn't enough. I think after the setback, positive reinforcement was very important.

The biggest step is that he sometimes tells me now that "the pee is coming!" and we get him on the potty and he pees right away. This is HUGE! Now if only he could recognize that feeling every time.... We do have false alarms, where he thinks he needs to pee, but he doesn't. But I am so happy that we have reached this step and it is only the beginning of July. At the rate we were going, I was afraid Sam would start school and Wil would have to stay home. I'm feeling more confident that he will get it by mid-August.

After a few more days of him telling me when he has to go, I think I will try putting underpants on him. We've tried off and on in the past, but he forgets and goes just like in a diaper. When he has pull-ups on, he will even tell me that he doesn't have to sit on the potty because he can go in the diaper, so we really need to get him in underpants, telling me he needs to go. For now, he's in pull-ups when we go out, because he's not ready for the next step yet.

I know a lot of kids learn in 3 days with a method where you watch them like a hawk. We've had so many backfires in the past and Wil has been so resistant that I am not even going to try that. What we're doing is working for him.

For anyone keeping score, to start, he got 1 sticker to pee, 2 to poop. We had daily prizes ($1 bin buys) and at 25 stickers he earned a train. It took over a month to get to 25. Now that he's getting it, we have added an additional sticker if he tells us he has to go and does, so he could earn a total of 4 at a time (which he just did!) and when he gets to 30 stickers he will get another train. Since this one is going much faster (he's at 17/30) than last time, we will probably change the metric or bump up to 50 stickers for the next one, but we can't change the rules mid-play so he'll probably have his next train in a week or so at this rate.

I know it is bribery, but it is making him interested and he is even starting to admit that it feels better to poop in the potty than to sit in a dirty diaper. Considering we were calling the grandparents every time he used the potty in the beginning and are up to updates every few days (other than when he really wants reinforcement), I hope that in a few more trains we can really stretch it out or he will forget altogether. Although he really wants trains and likes the idea of earning them. He has a whole list he wants to get: Thomas, James, Percy, Annie & Clarabel, the Express, Lady, Toby, Emily, Diesel 10, Henry, Edward.....

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