I decided not to talk about potty learning/training on Face.book. Just didn't want to go there, I guess. Figured that I have my blog to talk about baby poop, pee and other things related to baby [fluids].
So you, lucky reader, get to hear it all - no holds barred!
Eliza will be 21 months on Sunday. When she was 18 months old, my mom bought her a potty chair. We accidentally bought one that makes sounds when the child pees (it was used so we didn't know it when we bought it), but Eliza hasn't figured that out yet. Not sure how we feel about that particular feature. Anyway, this potty chair has been sitting in our bathroom ever since May.
We have, and have always had, a very open attitude with Eliza when it comes to using the bathroom (and bodies/bodily functions in general) - I never shut the door when I am using the bathroom, and even when I do, she is welcome to walk in as she pleases (though we have recently started teaching her the idea of knocking). We have also talked a LOT about the bathroom, the toilet, peeing, pooping, diapers, etc. with her (along with the difference between mama and dada's anatomy in the same conversation). From about 16 months on, she knew what the toilet was for, knew that she went pee in her diaper, and knew when she had pooped and needed a new diaper. So, she has been "potty aware" for a while.
When the potty chair found a home in the bathroom, we told her it was Eliza's potty and she could use it if and when she wanted. She loved sitting on it and "practicing". She would sit down and say "Peeeeeeeee!", ask for a piece of toilet paper, shut the lid and then walk away - no, she never actually went in the potty, but we never expected her to, nor were we planning on starting to potty train anytime soon. So, we'd just reinforce the behavior by saying "yep, that's where Eliza will go potty when she's a big girl" or "yes, that's how you sit down on the potty when you have to pee". Very neutral, very easy-going, no excitement or convincing her to actually USE the potty.
Then one morning Eliza and dada were sitting in her room and Eliza was naked (her favorite way to be, don't you know!). She started saying "toot!" (which she used to say when she actually was peeing), and hubby thought she might have to pee. So, he asked her if she wanted to pee in her potty, and she said yes. They went into the bathroom, Eliza sat down on her potty, and she peed. Then - just like she practiced - she got a piece of toilet paper, put it in the potty, slammed the lid down and walked out the door. Ha!
Since then, we have kept a very neutral attitude toward PTing, not pushing her at ALL, and lo and behold, she has begun to want to pee in the potty. A few times, when she has been naked around the house, she will yell "pee!" and run to her potty. She has made it there one out of the three times :) And when she doesn't make it there, she says "uh-oh!" and points to the puddle on the floor (which is weird, because we have never said anything about having an "accident" on the floor or that being bad or "uh-oh" worthy, but I guess she gets it that pee goes in the potty or in a diaper!?).
Where are we now? We are definitely not in active PTing mode with Eliza - I know she is not fully ready yet. She doesn't yet anticipate having to pee or poop, so the cognitive/behavioral connection is not quite there (though, sometimes it seems to be, but it is definitely hit and miss). But we are letting her lead the way, as we don't want to squelch any progress that she wants to make. And we are also talking more about her using the potty if she wants to, instead of peeing in a diaper. Once a day, before bath time, she uses the potty pretty consistently. We noticed that she peed every single time she would get into the tub, and so hubby started talking to her about it and explaining to her that she could pee before she gets into the tub in her potty... and then one night he asked her before bath time, "Eliza, do you want to pee in your potty before you get in the tub?", to which she answered "yes", and then peed in the potty. So, now that's what she does.
She has also started waking up in the morning with dry diapers, which shocked me at first (I thought she was dehydrated or something!?), so sometimes (if I am awake enough, haha), I'll ask her first thing in the morning if she has to pee and she will say "yes", and then go use the potty. She wanted to do this one morning at the lake last week so I held her up on the big toilet (we don't have a potty chair there) and she peed!
I just think it is amazing to watch her learn about all this and figure it out in her own head. I am fully prepared - and even expect - for her to be in diapers for quite a bit longer, but we follow her cues and will try our best to help her get there (PT'ed, that is) easily and without struggle. We stay calm and neutral because we don't want a power struggle, we don't want a competition, and we certainly we don't want to set her up to fail.
I'm not a BTDT mama, so as always, I welcome any and all advice or experiences you've had on this subject. I have already consulted a few of my expert mommy friends and their advice has been invaluable!