I want to start this off by saying that I am in no way crazy enough to think that I know enough about potty training to give other people tips. Heavens, we're only a week in and we have quite a few more battles to fight on this journey. However, I do want to go ahead and write some things down for myself to remember for baby#2. I have a HORRIBLE long-term memory, so if I don't write it down, it'll be gone.
-Read PottyWise. It really gave me a whole new perspective on the entire potty training process. It also follows along with our whole -Wise series that has sculpted our parenting style from the beginning. We had to ditch the whole "dry and clean" concept pretty quickly because, well, you can't be dry and clean if your naked - haha.
-Start off with a timer. I did this for the first two or so hours with LL - haha. BUT I do think that it's a great idea. After the first little bit, I realized that with LL's personality, I was just going to have to keep a close eye on her and watch for her cues. Her body was on no timer. Her cues included: getting fussy/upset, squeezing her legs together, saying things like "oh no!" or "I need to go potty!". This is just what worked for us with her. It may not work next time. I think this worked so good for us with her because she is a little older (2.5 years).
-Realize that mistakes are okay. I know I was kind of funny about it on here, but after day 3 I really did start to lose my mind. Like, not in a funny way. I got to this really bad place where I started thinking that if I was just better at this, if I was just a better mom, she wouldn't be having any accidents. Period. I had to calm down, take a step back, and do some reading on the babywise blog. This really helped me to remember that she didn't learn to walk or talk in one day. She had accidents. She fell down. She said things wrong. She wasn't going to learn this in one day, either. Accidents are okay.
-Be flexible. At first, I was very set in my ways about some things: a timer, wearing panties, keeping the potty in the bathroom, etc. Every single one of these things went out the window within 3 hours. For us, watching LL for cues, being naked (her - not me - haha), and having a potty really close by were things that really helped us to get to the desired result faster. One thing that I want to insert here, though. Yes, we did change all of these things to help us - but they were not permanent changes. After two days, we were in panties. After 4 days, the potty was back in the bathroom. After 4 days, we were going to the bathroom according to the clock AND by listening to LL's body. I did have to compromise some of the things that I felt strongly about, but only for a little bit. I put all of these things back in place very quickly.
-Fight one battle at a time. I was trying to fight wearing panties, peeing in the potty, and pooping in the potty all at the exact same time. The only battle I didn't throw in there was nap and night training. For some kids, this may not be a problem. I know that Emily had a pretty amazing experience with Kye going both pee and poop from the get go. I also know that I'm not alone in this situation and that getting a child to go poopy in the potty is often a lot harder. When I really chilled out and figured out a new plan, I knew that we had to fight only one battle at a time: Going pee pee in the potty, then wearing panties/clothes (and keeping them dry and clean, of course), and then pooping on the potty.
-Devote TIME to this. I blocked off an entire week of my summer for this. From Tuesday-Sunday. I think that this made all of the difference. It was a pretty hardcore approach, but it totally didn't drag all of this out. I am just not one of those people that can potty train their child for months. It just didn't work. I think it also helped because once LL realized that this was important to me, it was important to her. It was hard because Matt wasn't here AT ALL during this time, so I felt like I had no support. Luckily, I have amazing friends (Emily!) who let me text her pretty non-stop about LL's pottying. I'm sure it wasn't the most interesting thing in the world, but she knew I needed someone, so she dealt with it and supported me the whole time.
-Praise and reward. That, I think, was one of the most important parts of this process. Every time LL went to the potty (and even now, a week later), we get EXTREMELY excited. We make a HUGE deal about it. In turn, she did, too. Even now when she goes, she looks up and me and laughs and laughs because she is so proud of herself! That pride and self-esteem has been my best friend in this whole potty-training process. LL also got treats for going to the potty. I bought her both gummy bears and m&m's and always let her pick which she wanted after using the potty. She LOVES having a choice and getting a little reward for going. At first, I was giving her TONS after she would go. Now, she gets one or two. Pretty soon, we'll take out this part all together.
-Patience. I think that this is THE most important part. Remember, your child is learning how to do this. They should never get in trouble for not understanding right away. If your child is having accidents out of disobedience, that's one thing. If they're having them simply out of the fact that they're learning, that's another. LL never once got fussed at for having an accident. Trust me - there were a LOT of accidents. Staying positive is one of the key parts to this process.
So, like I said, I am by no way a person who knows a lot about this. This is my first rodeo. These are just some things that helped me along our journey - and hopefully will help us next time, too!