Sometime in the last month of so, I started to think of my 21-month-old toddler as more or less potty trained. Or, at least, I'm no longer really making any active effort to train her. Here are some reasons why:
- She used a toilet in a public restroom (with my assistance, of course) two days in a row.
- She regularly announces that she needs to pee and poop and then goes to the bathroom with me.
- She is always dry in the morning and after naps.
- She almost never has an accident outside of the house. I can't remember the last time we had to restock the back-up underwear and pants in my van.
- She has taken off her underpants and used the potty by herself (although this is still an infrequent occurrence).
- We often go more than a week without washing cloth diapers (mostly training pants/underwear and wipes these days).
She still has accidents regularly. I'm going to guesstimate 2 to 5 a week. The main reasons for accidents are:
- She needs to poop and doesn't want to. I have learned that when my daughter refuses to pee even though I know she needs to go (for example, it's 2 hours after she woke up dry from a nap), it's probably because she needs to poop and doesn't want to. I have to pull out all the stops to get her on the potty in these situations.
- She's playing outside. Usually I'm not outside with her, but sometimes even when I am. For some reason, she just feels A-OK about peeing in her pants in the great outdoors. When I remember, I try to get her to use the potty before playing outside. A few times she has taken off her shoes and come inside to tell me she needed to go, but that is (not surprisingly) very rare.
The accidents are infrequent enough that I generally don't make much of an effort to remind her to use the potty. I try to remember to remind her when she first wakes up and before outings, but even then I often forget and just leave it up to her to tell me she needs to go. It's a delicate balance at this age: she could definitely benefit from regular trips to the bathroom but because she is Little Miss Independent-pants, sometimes my reminders backfire and create resistance. So I generally let her determine when she wants to use the potty.
We are using a combination of training pants: Imse Vimse, Hanna Andersson, Gerber and Kissaluvs (see review and comparison of training pants here). I prefer the Imse Vimse and Hanna Andersson ones. I sometimes have to mop up some pee off the our wood and tile floors (if she has an accident while in the less-absorbent Gerber training pants or is completely naked), but we've never had permanent damage to mattresses, toys, books, or other items, so I think she is somewhat strategic about where she has an accident.
A few other points of interest:
- I usually take her to the potty after an accident. Partly just to reinforce that pee pee belongs in the potty, partly for ease of clean up, but also because sometimes she only partially emptied her bladder and then stopped herself and needs to finish emptying her bladder on the potty. If her underwear is merely a little damp, then I know she's got more in there.
- Going to the bathroom with Papi is more desirable than going to the bathroom with Mami. He's much better at convincing her to go. I generally refrain from reminding her (see above), but I do often remind my husband to take her to the bathroom.
- Using the toilet (with or without the potty seat), like big brother and big sister, is now often preferred to using the potty. A mixed blessing.
For more tips, tricks, and tales about early potty training, visit my Early Potty Training page.
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