There are many reports out there that say using cloth diapers makes it easier to potty train your child. My first child was in disposables and was potty trained the summer he turned two. He was close to 26 months and we were spending a month with my parents. I had a plan for how I wanted to train him but since I worked full time it was difficult for me to execute this plan. Thankfully my mom was more than happy to help out during the day while I was working.
My plan with my son was nakey time. Ideally this method will work well if you are at home and don’t plan to leave the house very often during the day. I instructed my mom to let him roam around the house naked and keep reminding him about once an hour to go to the potty. You also need to pay attention to their actions during nakey time – if they stray off to a corner chances are they are about to pee on the floor.
I was able to help reinforce this in the evenings and within about a week my son was potty trained. No joking! I was so surprised the first time we ventured to the store in big boy undies and he actually asked (and held it) to go to the bathroom. We rarely had any accidents that summer and it worked so well that he didn’t even wear diapers or training pants at night. Our biggest problem back then was finding undies that would fit a slim 2 year old toddler. Most undies aren’t make for 2 year olds.
Fast-forward 6 years to my daughter who just turned two. I was confident that she was going to be just as easy to train as her brother; especially since we’ve used cloth diapers on her since she was about 2 months old. My plan of action this time is slightly different – I’m not spending a month with my parents. They did however spend a week with the kids while we were in Costa Rica. The last thing my mom said when we left…”She’ll be out of diapers when you return!”
Now, we’ve introduced the potty to her but we haven’t made a conscious effort to work on potty training. I actually think my addiction to cloth diapers is part of the reason. I’m not running to the store every week and purchasing disposable diapers and I’m still getting new cloth diapers to review for this blog. My husband actually joked that she’ll be in diapers until she’s 4 so I’ll have something to write about here. In all honesty I did plan on allowing her to decide when she was ready.
After a week away I had no idea what I was going to come home to. Lil’ B still went to school for a few hours each day so I was a little nervous about that. She’s not been very excited about the potty at school. In fact her teacher told me that she broke down into a fit the very first time they took her to the potty (prior to this week).
My mom was really excited to announce that Lil’ B had done really well and stayed dry during the day. She kept her in diapers for naps and bedtime but said she felt dry when she woke up from naps. She still wasn’t excited about the potty at school so they didn’t really try to hard there. Now it was my turn to take over…
After my parents left I spent the day with Lil’ B in her training pants. She did really well and made it to the potty every time and even asked me to go once. I was so excited with her progress that I thought it would be fun to take her shopping for big girl panties. To my surprise I found the perfect sized panties at our first stop…and they were even Tinkerbelle which made her day!
We rushed back home and gave them a try. Her eyes were so big as she opened the package and looked at her big girl stash. 7 brand new pairs of fairy panties…a toddlers dream! She immediately wanted to try them on so of course I obliged. We had a fun afternoon allowing her to run around the house in her big girl panties and practice using the potty.
For nights we remained in cloth diapers because I didn’t feel she was ready for 6-8 hrs in panties yet. But Monday morning came around and she insisted upon wearing her new panties to school that day. I was hesitant but proudly let her put her panties on as we made our way out the door. Of course I packed 2 extra changes of clothes…just in case!
I was surprised that she only had one accident that entire day and that happened at nap time. Her teacher didn’t think to put her back in cloth diapers for naps. I was proud of my big girl and we continued to have success that first night. But then it happened…
…we had a horrible three days!
She pee’d on herself on the potty,
she pooped in her panties at nap time,
she pee’d in her panties when we got home,
and I think we went through three outfits each day.
By the third day I was so discouraged and was starting to wonder if she was really ready for potty training.
I went back to training pants and finally we made the decision to put her back in cloth diapers the next day for school. She did ask to go to the potty once at school but otherwise didn’t seem to miss her big girl panties one bit. Over the weekend we didn’t force the training upon her. I kept her in diapers and trainers but continued to ask her if she wanted to go to the potty. Again, we only had moderate success.
I think we are going to continue this laid back approach to potty training and see what happens next. After all, not all children have the capacity to control their bodily functions at this age. I’m afraid that if we continue to send her to school in panties that she’ll get discouraged and afraid of the potty. I already started to notice that she didn’t mind when she wet her pants and just kept playing. She was either OK with being wet or too embarrassed to come and tell me. Either way I think we’ll take a few days off the structured attempts at potty training and see what happens.
Have you potty trained a toddler at two? What steps did you find that worked well? Did you start too soon and have to go back into diapers? I’d love to hear your stories.
Photo credit: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/353956