I was pretty hesitant about trying to potty train Caroline this early, but our pediatrician encouraged me saying I wouldn't know for sure if she was ready or not until we tried (he also said if she wasn't ready, we would know very quickly). He mentioned summer is a good time because kids aren't wearing layers of clothes and do not have "school year" activities going on. I knew it was either now or next Spring/Summer because I wasn't about to potty train in my 3rd trimester OR with a newborn/massive sleep deprivation. So my thought was we'll just try and if she's not ready, no big deal at all...we'll put diapers right back on and try again when Caroline is closer to 3. No pressure.
I had heard really great things about this method from a few friends. It made a lot of sense to me...my favorite thing being you let your child have lots of accidents until he/she learns to "feel" when their body is telling them to go to the bathroom. Instead of just sitting them on the potty every 20 minutes until they go...a lot less mess but doesn't work as well because the parent is the one deciding when the child sits on the potty vs. the child telling the parent when they need to try to go. I will say the 3 day method is WAY messier for the first few days but I think it works more efficiently and effectively (at least in our experience). I'd completely recommend it! Here's the play-by-play of how our potty training experience went down:
First, I gathered all of our "supplies" (a new "fun" sippy cup to make Caroline want to drink a LOT, her favorite drinks, skittles, m&ms, an Elmo potty training book, sticker charts and lots of stickers)
Then we made a HUGE deal out of throwing away all of Caroline's diapers (see top pic) and picking out a pair of panties to wear. This was Caroline's favorite part...we had been to the store the day before and made another big deal out of buying big-girl panties. Caroline was DYING to wear them...she picked out all her favorite guys (Elmo, Dora, Minnie, Daisy Duck). For her first inaugural pair, she picked Dora of course:
Day 1: Caroline had accident after accident in her panties. She was so discouraged at first and kept saying "I don't like it. I want my diapers back". This made me feel so bad and I almost threw in the towel right there. I didn't want this process to make her feel bad about herself. I told Matt if she kept that up, we were stopping after day 1. However, by lunchtime on the first day, Caroline would start to go in her panties, tell me she had to go "pee pee", we'd race to the potty and she'd finish going on the potty. When she did that, Matt and I made a HUGE deal out of it...screamed, jumped up and down, she got candy and a sticker. Once that started happening, Caroline's whole attitude changed and she started saying "this is so fun...I love potty training" (whew). Pretty much the rest of day 1 went like that. She even had two successful times of going in the potty without starting in her panties first by the end of the day.
Day 2: Much, much better. I couldn't believe it! Only 2 accidents then the rest of the time she kept her panties dry and told us every time she needed to go.
Day 3: No accidents at all!!! Shocking. Matt and I just couldn't believe this had actually worked. Caroline caught on quickly and it ended up being pretty easy. It's pretty much been smooth sailing ever since (with, I think, only 2-3 accidents in the past month). We haven't "sleep trained" at all though and Caroline still wears pull ups, a.k.a. naptime/nighttime panties, when she sleeps. This hasn't confused her, and I think we'll do this for awhile until she starts waking up dry. Overall, I'm glad I tried or I never would have known Caroline could do it...she wasn't really showing any "readiness" signs.
We told Caroline after she filled up a few sticker charts, we would take her to the toy store and let her pick out a toy. After two weeks of consistency and lots of stickers, it was time for the big day.
Caroline holding up her sticker chart in front of the toy store:
She contemplated a train table,
a stuffed animal,
...this dog! It was love at first sight, and Caroline ran up to me screaming "this is the one I want!!!" So we got the pull-along dog. Caroline quickly named him Toby and he has become one of her best buddies. If you ask her about Toby she'll quickly tell you she got him because she earned all her stickers for potty training. So that's the (long) recap of our potty training experience. I know it's not very interesting to anyone other than me, but I wanted to have all the details in our blog book. Matt and I are so proud of our big girl!!