The title of this post seems a little bit crazy. I am putting a toddler in charge of something huge; however, in our house, this seems to be working, for now. I have no doubt that we will eventually have to buckle down and do a real potty training immersion weekend, but for now, there is so much going on that this stress free toddler led training is a better path for us.
We bought Nat a potty back in April. We would sit her on it at night before baths and sometimes before changing for bed. Occasionally we would try it out in the morning. Her track record for using it was pretty hit or miss. When she did use it, we celebrated! When she didn't use it, we still celebrated her trying. We wanted to associate using the potty with praise, even if she didn't succeed, because we didn't want to deter her from trying. It cracks me up that when she is having a rough day, B and I can usually find her sitting on the potty reading a book. She loves her little pink Minnie potty. This was a good sign for us and I think has helped us get where we are.
In the last week, Natalie has told us a handful of times when she needs to use the potty by asking to sit on the potty. So far, we're probably 4/7 for successful potty attempts (three of which were for #2, something I totally thought we'd struggle with!), but I'll take it. She is asking for the potty and we're trying to make it there in time.
This morning I was particularly proud of her which is what sparked this blog post to begin with. I went in her room to get her and she was not ready to get out of bed. We did the everyone in the crib wakes up routine and I said good morning to all 8 of her little friends she sleeps with, including the balloon that has been "sleeping" in the corner of her room since my birthday. (Pick your battles, right?) I got her out of the crib and we snuggled a bit. I laid her on the floor and got her pajama bottoms and her diaper off. I laid the new diaper under her and she looked up at me, "potty, Mommy?" Sure, why not. She ran to the bathroom (sans diaper which made me a bit nervous), waited for Daddy to finish in the bathroom and then sat down on her potty with her pumpkin book in hand. She read her book for a few minutes and then said "ok, Mommy". Sure enough, she had used the potty! She sensed she had to go, asked to go, waited to use the potty and went! I could not have been more proud! ..until she refused to put on a diaper and demanded a Sophia pull-up. Thank goodness we have them :)
I think part of my hesitation in doing formal potty training is finding the right reward system that can translate from home to daycare. Do we do a sticker chart that she can bring with her to daycare? Girlfriend loves her stickers. Do we go with stamps on her hand? Her hands are so small but she lives for the stamps at the end of gymnastics so it seems like a legit reward. Do we go with jelly beans or M&Ms? Does that mean we cannot eat M&Ms in front of her anymore because they are potty candy? The struggle is real and I am open to suggestions!
While we work out the details, we'll ride this wave of toddler led potty training for a little while longer. Her daycare provider is on board and will let her use the potty when she asks. So we're just not going to push the issue. Why change what's working, ya know? Besides, we are fairly certain she will have it figured out by time she gets to college :)