UPDATE***Potty Training was a wonderful success!!! My daughter sleeps through the night, goes throughout the day and can even leave the house and run errands with us and NO accidents! It went so much more smoothly than I thought it would. One thing I know helped was using the cloth trainers. Okay, I may be a bit biased because I do sell the trainers but honestly, they feel SO different from a diaper that the child feels different if he/she wets in them. A disposable trainer (i.e; Pull-Up) will feel no different to a child from a regular diaper and that's why parents I know who have used those types of trainers are literally buying them for months, if not years, because the child continues to have accidents. Okay, off my soapbox. Here are some things that helped us reach this goal:
1) Plenty of diaper free time in the beginning
-This is where some of the cloth trainers come in to play. If you aren't interested in the possibility of having puddles all over your kitchen and living room floor, the cloth trainers will absorb and accident. The little one's pants may get a big damp but no puddle! The trainers also give the child an idea of how undies feel different from a diaper. Guess what kiddo--when you go pee-pee, it feels wet!
2) Ask often but don't expect the response you want
-Most of the time, when you ask your child if she needs to go potty, she'll say no. At least my daughter did. Why? It's not fun to stop playing with your toys! So while it's okay to ask because she may say "yes" and maybe it gets her thinking about the urge to go, I found that if it had been a while, she didn't have a choice. I'd snatch her up and plop her down on the potty. She may complain but then within seconds, we'd hear a tinkle and then celebrate!
3) Pooping on the potty is hard
-This is also where some of the snap-release training pants come in to play. My daughter mostly had poopy accidents because at the beginning, she wasn't patient enough to sit on the potty and wait. But then if she waited too long, she didn't recognize that the poop was about to fall out of her :-) It took about a week and a little bit of constipation for her to get the timing right. The snap-release trainers are great for these because if kiddo has a poopy accident, you can lay them down, unsnap the trainer and change it just like a diaper. A poopy accident in a regular pull-on trainer is not fun.
4) Reward and praise
-For some parents I've talked to, they had to give their little one a small toy or trinket after the child went potty. For my daughter, I tried a sticker approach but that didn't really seem affect her. Although, it may have initially helped her with the thought process of "going potty on the potty is a good thing and good things will happen if I do it..." or something of that nature. Regardless of whether you give a toy, sticker, have a potty chart, etc., I do think it's important to reward and/or praise your child for taking this big step. I found that ultimately just singing my daughter's praises and making a big deal out of going on the potty was great for her. It made her feel proud, special and it encouraged her.
**We also rewarded her with super big girl undies--so after a week of no accidents, we went to a store and purchased cotton undies with her favorite character on them. Now she can't stop showing people her undies--she's proud of them!
5) Have a pee-pee party
-Have you child watch you go potty and watch others go potty. So to clarify, in the beginning, when we went to our weekly play date with friends similar in age to her, all of the moms would make a big deal about how "so and so has to go potty and let's all go watch her go potty and see what a big girl she is!" This actually helped a lot because my daughter would see her friends (most of whom are about 6 months older) go potty in the big potty and then she would want to go to show off and then all the kids would sing each other's praises. It was really cute and it definitely helped because my daughter doesn't have an older sibling to copy.
So last weekend, I did my last load of cloth diapers :-( I was a bit sentimental because this is a big step from no longer being my baby. When we were at the home improvement store, we purchased a plastic bin and then my daughter helped me pack away all of her clean diapers into the bin. We said bye-bye to them put them away in a closet. Sentimental indeed--