DIAPER-free, that is! We started potty-training Dean not long after his second birthday. He went along with it when we'd put him on the potty. I think he liked the rewards (chocolate chips or stickers). Then we had a setback. For a while, we had to completely abandon the idea of the potty, lest he end up in tears. We started trying again after he turned 3. No interest. Bribes rarely worked. Wearing underwear or going naked didn't work. Enlisting the help of his teachers at mother's day out was a disaster. They found it much easier to stick to his diaper and pull-up changing schedule than try to get him to the potty before he wet. Almost nothing we tried worked.
In order to go to the new awesome preschool in the fall, Dean has to be completely potty trained. No pull-ups. No diaper for nap time. Totally trained. I began doing research and found the Potty Boot Camp book. It claimed to do 90% of the training in 2 days. I ordered the book on Amazon and read it quickly. (It's only about 50 pages long.) In a nutshell, it was NOT the method for us. This approach has apparently worked really well for a lot of people, but it just didn't fit into our lives. The 2 days of nakedness, the cleanup procedure and, especially, the "potty drills" seemed a bit harsh and counter-productive. Plus, Dean is a bit stubborn. (NO idea where he gets that, y'all.) He would not have reacted well to punitive measures.
I was venting my frustrations to Andreaone night as we chatted on Skype and she asked if I'd heard of the 3 Day Potty Training method. She sent me a link to a site where you can download an e-book called "3 Day Potty Training." You even get an online mentor who you can email with questions or concerns. I read the 38 pages in no time flat and knew this was the method for us. I'm not going to do a commercial for the product, I promise, but in order to tell the story, I need to tell you about the method. It uses praise and positive reinforcement. It allows the child to call the shots. He learns from his mistakes, but he's not punished for them.
The night before we started, we washed underwear. ALL our underwear. We let Dean see ours and help fold them and pick out which ones we put on after our showers. We also discussed the many types of cool undies that were available and he said he'd like some with Buzz and Woody on them. NO PROBLEM, kid. Your grandmothers sent you about 30 pairs. After Dean was asleep, Marcus and I stuck some Buzz Lightyear wall decals all over the bathroom, cleaned the heck out of the toilet and put out his undies, some stickers and a reward chart.
On day one (Sunday), we got up, had breakfast and read the paper. Once Marcus and I were sufficiently caffeinated, we took Dean to the hall bathroom. Once in the bathroom, we told him that he was now a big boy and that he no longer wore diapers. He took off his diaper and threw it in the trashcan, along with the 6 diapers and 2 pull-ups left in the packages. He picked a cool pair of Buzz Lightyear undies and discovered his sticker reward chart. I borrowed an idea from Christy and made an underwear bowl. There's a big mixing bowl full of little boy briefs in his bathroom and he can pick his own pair whenever he needs a change. He often picks new pair just for the heck of it, even when the ones he's wearing are still fine. We told Dean to tell us if he needed to go potty. We said this about every 10 minutes. He got extra cups of water and other liquidy refreshments throughout the day to provide more "learning experiences." Each time he'd start to pee, he'd look at us and scream, "PEE!" and we'd all run to the bathroom to finish the "experience" on the potty. By the 4th time, we were dribble-free and we made it to the bathroom with completely dry undies.
Now when I say we told him to tell us if he needed to go every 10 minutes, I mean it. We must have said those words a hundred times on Sunday. We also did pop quizzes, where we all checked our pants to see if they were dry. If they were, we all got a sticker or a treat. (Don't you want to hang out at our house?) Anyway, the gist of it is, we made it DEAN's idea. Now he tells us, either with words, by grabbing his crotch and running, or with "the look" that he needs to potty. Sure, we're still having accidents from time to time, but he's woken up dry the last 3 mornings (we went cold turkey on the diapers--nighttime, too!) and he got up from his rest time yesterday to go potty. Pooping is going slowly, but at least he will say, "Chock-o-lit?" when he feels like he needs to poop. I think all little kids are kind of freaked out by doing #2 in the potty, but we figure that will come eventually. We'll keep working.
We are SUPER proud of him and very, very relieved to be making huge steps in the right direction with potty training. I know there are a ton of methods out there, but this one worked beautifully for us. And it surely did feel good to break up with Huggies once and for all!