While Daniel and I spent much time teaching her about what to do and where to do it, Sarah decided to take her time.
So, we let her.
We had also just recently, in late 2010, moved to a new city, new home, and new school with new friends, so we felt that giving her time to adjust and settle in was important for her development and confidence with this milestone.
We also thought, there was no sense in rushing Sarah considering that she is still young and it will only become more stressful for all of us involved. And, if potty training is done in a stressful manner or sometimes too quickly it could have negative implications for children in the future.
It's also true that many of us learn by osmosis. So, it's fair to say children do too. And, potty training is no different.
Therefore, I was pleased to find that many of Sarah's classmates (between ages 3 and 4) were using the toilet, and some were fully potty trained. It was also nice to know that Sarah did not have to be fully trained to be part of this class. Eventually, Sarah started to follow suit with her friends and use the bathroom too. When she became more comfortable using the toilet at home and at school we decided then it was time to start the process of saying goodbye to the pull-ups during the day.
I was fully expecting Sarah to have accidents at the beginning when the transition to underwear started. Surprisingly, she stayed dry often and for long periods of time. In fact, she rarely had any accidents.
As time progressed, she got even better about it. We even graduated to underwear at night too and no night time accidents to date.
Then, a few months later the accidents started to come frequently during the day only. There was no major life change going on that seemed to be the reason for this.
One thing that did change, although it didn't seem like a big change, was that Sarah got more involved in playing with her friends and family in activities that she would start to forget that she had to go to the bathroom, and other times where she just didn't want to miss out on the fun.
Because of this new behavior, I had to start carrying around extra underwear and clothing in case accidents happened.
During this time, it was especially important to be patient and understanding of Sarah when these accidents would occur. There was no value in getting upset or mad at her as that could become catastrophic.
She is still young and accidents do happen.
Daniel and I then became more diligent about asking Sarah to go to the bathroom. While I am sure she does not like to be asked to go to the bathroom, this has worked to help reduce these accidents.
Daniel also started to notice that Sarah would get all fidgety and move in circles. He even called it her potty dance. He would call her out on it and then she would dart to the bathroom. It's actually been a helpful non-verbal cue from Sarah when she is so into something but needs the reminder.
What prompted me to write this blog post tonight is that the super absorbent towels called Shamwow are an awesome investment for cleaning up potty accidents. They are extremely absorbent and can be put in the washing machine for quick and effective cleaning. They really can help with clean up of all liquids.
Tonight, I had to use a Shamwow and giggled thinking that it was time to put this experience on my blog.
I am certainly open to any tips or guidance you have on helping to keep Sarah focused and on track to continued potty training success.
Thanks. And, good luck to you too as you experience this major developmental milestone with your little ones if you haven't yet.