Monday, October 6, 2014

Weekly Learning Theme: Potty Training

For a while now Carter has been showing signs of being ready for potty training.  He tells me when he poops.  He grabs his crotch and fusses when he potties his diaper.  He loves sitting on his potty.  He even squeezed out a couple dribbles of potty while sitting on the potty one time.  Then he sat down on the potty after a bath and pottied a big potty!  He still likes to watch both Ty and me go potty and he helps flush the toilet and waves bye bye as we flush.  He wakes up from naps and nighttime fairly dry.  He even started trying to pull down his own pants.  Part of me felt like it was time but part of me was afraid to try.  Just recently he would go sit on the potty but if I tried to pull his pants down he would cry.  I would also see him potty (I could tell because he'd stop what he was doing, stand there, and make a face) but show no interest in getting changed.  I was waffling back and forth on whether he was actually ready or not.  Ty and I discussed it and finally decided we'd never know if he was really ready if we didn't try. 

Last week I had a free week with with no planned learning theme followed by a weekend at home.  I figured it was a perfect time to go for it!  We'd spend the week getting Carter excited about potty training and then we'd dive in on the weekend.  That way we'd have Saturday, Sunday, and Monday before Jake came on Tuesday to completely devote to potty training.  If it didn't work out, we'd try the week again at a later time.  No harm done.  Then I realized we had a race planned for that Saturday and my family would be in town.  So I jumped ahead and started potty training on Thursday instead.  I'm going to share the activities we did throughout the week, highlighting what area they fit into: field trip/interactive experience, crafts, songs, make believe, movement, and special snack.  I will also share our book list for themed-related reading throughout the week.

Listed below are the objectives I am focusing on for the themed weeks.  The highlighted objectives are ones Carter received exposure to during our theme this week:
  1. Know the names of and be able to point out body parts.
  2. Know names of objects and be able to point to them when asked.
  3. Sort objects based on size or color/Match like objects together, for example match a circle with a circle. 
  4. Play make believe.
  5. Speak in short phrases and 2-4 word sentences. (He's done some 2 word sentences already!)
  6. Follow simple instructions.
  • The first thing I did to prepare for potty training week was buy Carter a doll that went potty.  We had Amazon credit saved up from using our Discover card so I got this doll and this book without spending any money!
  • When our package came in the mail Carter was so excited about his new doll.  He immediately grabbed her and wanted to give her the bottle.  Then he carried her into the kitchen and put her in the high chair.  After a little bit in the high chair he took her into our room looking for Jake's Pack n Play which wasn't set up while saying "Baby Ni Ni?"  It was so cute!  I could tell he would enjoy teaching the dolly how to potty.  I had debated between getting the cheapo girl doll or paying more for a Potty Scotty.  After using the cheapo doll, I do wish I had sprung for the more expensive one.  I didn't realize the doll I bought immediately potties when you give her water whereas the Potty Patty and Potty Scotty dolls don't potty until you squeeze their tummies.  I tried putting tape over her hole and removing it once I put her on the potty, but then my hand was in the way of Carter seeing her potty.  Then I just waited to give her a drink until she was on the potty, but Carter got distracted watching her drink and missed her going potty.  He still got the idea, but it would've been nice to have a better doll.  She also only came with one pair of panties so when she had an accident I had Carter switch her back into her diapers which I don't think he noticed. 

  • In preparation for potty training I helped Carter practice pulling up and down his pants all week long.  He really enjoyed feeling like a big boy doing it mostly by himself.
  • Carter initially loved sitting on the potty, but started acting scared and/or upset to get on the potty.  To make him feel more comfortable on the potty I had him practice sitting on potty both with and without a diaper on.  While he sat I made up and sang potty songs.  He loved the songs and I just made them up as I went.  For example, sung to the tune of Old MacDonald: Carter is a big boy.  Sitting on the potty.  With a tinkle tinkle here and a tinkle tinkle there, here a tinkle, there a tinkle, everywhere a tinkle tinkle.  Big boys go on the potty, not in their diapers.
Pretending to potty standing up like daddy.
  • All week I talked about what Carter was doing as a big boy.  I'd say things like "Carter is washing his hands like a big boy!" and "Carter is helping mommy cook like a big boy!"  I wanted Carter to really be thinking of himself as a big boy so when I told him big boys potty on the potty chair he would associate it with something he should do.
  • Hand washing is something we've been working on for a while in preparation for potty training and simply because Carter was ready to start doing it.  I made sure he had the opportunity to wash his hands multiple times a day so he would be able to wash his hands after going potty.
Ready to wash his hands.
  • My mom made and mailed Carter the cutest book to get him excited for potty training.  On each page she had a picture of either me, Jeremy, or Thomas on our potty chairs when we were first learning to potty.  I read the book with Carter and talked with him about how we all had to learn to use the potty.
Reading his "Family Potty Book" from Oma while on the potty.
  • One day I walked Carter to the bathroom door which we normally keep closed.  I told him now that he's a big boy, he's going to be using his potty in the bathroom soon.  Since he's a big boy and will need to use the potty, we are going to keep the bathroom door open for him.  We also talked about how since he's a big boy he knows the bathroom isn't a place to play.  We walked to both bathrooms and opened both the doors while I told him how he's a big boy now and will be using the potty soon.  When Ty got home from work Carter and I walked him to the bathroom and told him how the door will be open from now on because Carter is a big boy and will be using the potty soon.  We all cheered for him and he was very excited.
  • I had to be creative with a craft this week.  My first thought was to buy a pair of plain, white big boy undies and let Carter decorate them.  I liked the idea, but didn't want to mess with buying special markers to decorate and all that jazz.  Then I thought we could make an art project using toilet paper.  But then the more I thought about it, the more I hated the idea of Carter thinking toilet paper was a toy.  So then I decided to make a craft using a toilet paper roll.  I googled toilet paper roll crafts and came upon this website.  There were no directions for creating the toilet paper snake, just a picture of the finished product.  I got a toilet paper roll, cut it like in the picture, taped it to the table with masking tape, and let Carter finger paint it.  Once it was dry I added googly eyes.  His snake is no longer all twisted and neat looking like the one in the picture so in retrospect I think I should have had him paint the toilet paper roll before cutting out the snake.
Painting the toilet paper roll.
Carter's snake.  I took the picture before the glue dried, that's why one eye looks way bigger!

Special Snack:
  • During our intense potty training day Carter got some special snacks and special drinks to reinforce him for staying dry and for going potty on the potty chair.  We used Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Cheetos, and apple juice.  Part of me was inwardly struggling with giving him sugary cereal and chips, but holy cow was it rewarding to him!  An advantage to pretty much only ever giving him milk and water was that once I gave him apple juice (mixed with some water) as a reward for staying dry he drank soooo much juice!  Little man wouldn't stop drinking it.  I'm talking going potty every 10 minutes he drank so much!  It was crazy how excited he was for that "amal duice"!
 Make Believe:
  • During the first part of potty training we used our potty dolly who we just called Dolly.  We pretended to give her drinks and watched her pretend potty.  We even took her potty to the big toilet and flushed it.  Carter loved teaching the dolly how to use the potty.

This week the songs were mostly ones I made up to help Carter feel comfortable and safe on the potty.  We only listened to one song on Youtube because some of them were just weird to me and I knew they wouldn't make that much sense to him until he was trained on how to use the potty.

Potty Song

Field Trip/Interactive Experience:
  • Our big experience this week was our intensive potty training day.  We started the day by teaching Dolly how to use the potty complete with taking the potty to the toilet, flushing, and washing our hands.  Then we started in with Carter trying it out.  We followed the guidelines from the book Toilet Training in Less Than a Day as closely as we could.  I checked Carter's undies to see if they were dry every 5 minutes and gave him a treat if they were dry.  He sat on the potty every 15 minutes, starting with 10 minutes on the potty and switching down to 5 minutes on the potty once he had gone potty on the potty chair.  When he was on the potty I didn't talk to him and encouraged him to sit quietly so he would relax and be able to go just like the book said.  Carter did an amazing job and pottied while sitting on the chair for only the 2nd time that morning.  Then he had an accident right before it was time to get on the potty again.  The first 4 times he pottied on the chair, he had an accident in between each successful potty on the chair.  The next 3 times he pottied with no accidents in between, going an hour with no accidents.  Since he drank so much he was pottying, I kid you not, about every 10 minutes!  Then we stopped for lunch and a nap.  I put him back in diapers for his nap because he was really tired and I didn't want him to get woken up by wet undies.  A pretty gnarly storm rolled in during nap time which sporadically woke him up and when he got up from his nap he started crying really hard and wouldn't stop.  When we went back in the kitchen to continue potty training he became hysterical and didn't want to have anything to do with the potty.  After that any time I asked him to get on the potty he cried really hard with big tears rolling down his face so I decided to discontinue the training.
  • Through our day of intensive training Carter learned the steps for using the potty and now understands what the potty is for.  Although he is not fully potty trained and I switched him back to diapers I consider it successful because it laid the foundation for the potty training method we are now using.  Carter had a stretch where he screamed and cried when I tried to get him on the potty, so I started reading to him while he sat on the potty rather than following the instructions from the book and refraining from talking to him.  He will happily sit on the potty for 30 minutes or more while I read to him.  I allow him to decide when he wants to get off the potty and am often shocked how long he will sit, waiting to go potty.  The first day after our intensive training day I just asked Carter to get on the potty once.  As the days have gone on I have increased the frequency by one time per day.  He still has quite a few times where he gets on the potty and doesn't do anything, but I'm pleased that he enjoys the potty now and doesn't scream and cry when I ask him to get on.  I think it will be a while before he's in big boy undies full-time and that's fine with me.  This was all an experiment and I wanted Carter to lead me in knowing whether it was the right time or not.  I believe it was the right time to start, but not the right time to jump in full force and switch him over to big boy undies right away.  The transition period we are in now feels right and Carter is happy, so we're going with it.  I don't have many pictures of Carter on the potty because when he's sitting on the potty I give him my full attention and am also paying very close attention so I can praise him the moment he begins to potty.
Enjoying the potty.

I was quite impressed with the very useful books about going potty.  Carter was really interested in them and especially liked the books with actual photographs of children.  I have a stack of books beside his potty and we've read them over and over while he sits on the potty!
  • The New Potty by Mercer Mayer
  • Pottytime Chickies by Janee Trasler
  • Llama Llama Nighty Night by Anna Dewdney
  • Once Upon a Potty by Alona Frankel
  • Everyone Poops by Taro Gomi
  • I Want My Potty by Tony Ross
  • My Big Girl Potty by Joanna Cole
  • Sam's Potty by Barbro Lindgren
  • The Potty Book for Boys by Alyssa Satin Capucilli
  • The Potty Book for Boys by DK Reader
  • Big Boys Use the Potty! by Andrea Pinnington
  • My Big Boy Undies by Karen Katz
  • Potty by Leslie Patricelli
  • Potty Time by Charles Reasoner
  • Time to Pee! by Mo Willems
  • No More Diapers for Ducky! by Bernette G. Ford
  • Going to the Potty by Fred Rogers
  • You Can Go to the Potty by William Sears


    1. I love the picture of him fedding his dolly the bottle-so sweet!! I also hate it when Im trying to be frugal and then I regret not spending the few extra dollars for a better quality-it's so frustrating!! Miss all four of you!!! Good job and good luck with the potty training! :-)

      1. He was very cute with his dolly. Thanks, i think we will need it!