How To Deal With Potty Training & Its Setbacks

Image 1 Source How To Potty Train Image 2 Source PopSugar, Image 3 Source Hip2SaveImage 4 Source BabyGizmo 


Potty training with my daughter was a big obstacle to tackle.  When we first starting thinking about it, we had no practical experience with potty training a toddler and I naively thought it was something we could try and do early on with her.  Part of this was due to her ability to communicate with us at a very early age.  As Dean demonstrated his physicality early on, Faith said her first word (besides Mama and Dada) at 7 months. As we started thinking about this early childhood milestone, I found several articles that laid out the physical and emotional signs that children are ready to start.

Physical Signs

  • Does your child seem interested in the potty chair or toilet, or in wearing underwear?
  • Does your child tell you through words, facial expressions or posture when he or she needs to go?
  • Does your child stay dry for periods of two hours or longer during the day?
  • Does your child stay dry through the night?
  • Does your child complain about wet or dirty diapers?
  • Can your child sit on and rise from a potty chair?

Emotional/Behavorial Signs 

  • Can your child understand and follow basic directions?
  • Does your child try to dress on their own, pull their pants up and down?
  • Does your child show an interest by asking to watch you when you go to the bathroom?

  • Faith was able to stay dry through her naps and through the night.  In every other aspect, the answers to the questions above were no.  I discussed potty training with her pediatrician at her 2 year check up and during Dean's newborn wellness visits.  Our doctor stressed that we needed to wait until she expressed interest and not force it before the age of 3.  She also made it clear that Faith was going through a lot of change - having a sibling and no longer being our sole focus - it would be poor timing to add in potty training as well.


    We gave Faith the fall and decided on the 3 day method.  To get her excitement levels up and try to get her on board, we bought her Paw Patrol underwear, potty seat, step stool, M&Ms and pull ups.

    Top Left - Image via Target, Top Right - Image via Target
    Botton Left - Image via Amazon, Botton Right - Image via Amazon
    The bottom left image is the Mommy's Helper Contoured Cushie Step Up.  I bought this so Faith could balance herself to sit over the toilet until she got the hang of it.  This was great the first couple of weeks.  It is Amazon's #1 seller in stepping stools for potty training and inexpensive, which is nice.  The bottom right image is Graco transitional step stool.  Faith uses this along with her Paw Patrol seat for going to the bathroom now, since she has the hang of getting herself up on the toilet.


    As I mentioned, we did the 3 day, weekend potty train.  Starting Friday, I set my phone to have an alarm go off every 30 minutes and had Faith in the underwear.  I'd make her go and sit on the toilet every time.  We did 3 M&Ms for trying, 5 M&Ms for peeing, and 10 M&Ms for pooping.  The weekend was a success - she went every time for us - we told her the potty alarm went off and that she had to go sit on the toilet.  Halfway through the day on Saturday she forgot about her reward and didn't ask for M&Ms every time she went.  We also got through the weekend with no accidents.  You would read this story and think SUCCESS!  But that was not to be the case.  


    After a few weeks of wearing underwear, we realized that Faith didn't know when she had to go to the bathroom.  We lucked out with her not having that many accidents because she's part camel and can hold it for a long time.  We constantly had to prompt her to go and sit on the toilet.  We hit week 3 and she came home everyday with her change of clothes on and a plastic bag full of urine soaked clothes.  I was extremely frustrated because I didn't understand why it wasn't working for her and I was sick of washing and smelling her clothes.  


    After talking to another mom in her dance class, she clued me in to cool activation pull ups.  I guess the pull up releases a cool sensation when a child pees in it, helping them to recognize when they have to go pee.  After 2 weeks, Faith started to tell us when she had to go to the bathroom.  After 1 week of transitioning out of the pull ups and telling us every time she had to go, we put her back into underwear fully.  Needless to say, Mark and I were so EXCITED!! We had DONE IT!


    Just this past week and a half, we have experienced a set back in Faith's potty independence.  I was working from home Friday and she had 2 accidents within an hour of each other!  She was holding herself and told me she had to go, but peed everywhere before we could get her to the toilet.  I thought it strange, but rolled with it.  On Saturday, we had another accident and as she peed, she started crying.  I knew we were dealing with a UTI.  For over a week now, we have dealt with numerous accidents, gone through the torturous exercise of getting her to take antibiotics, and feeling horrible as she cried because going to the bathroom is now a painful activity.  We're hoping to see light at the end of this tunnel and get through to the other side with her being back to her normal bathroom routine.

    Love, Candace Jean


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