Well, I started to think about it a little bit around January/February time frame (21-ish months old), mostly because (a) I was starting to get over having two in diapers, and (b) Andrew's #2 diapers were super intense to change and clean. Blech. I was surfing one of the parenting forums that I frequent and ran across a plug for Oh Crap. Potty Training. Her basic premises made a lot of sense to me: that there is no "ready, there is only "capable;" that you just have to take away the diapers and see what happens; and that there's a window of opportunity between 20-30 months - after they have gained the coordination to go on the potty, but before they have reached the defiant, rebelliously independent stage. Maybe more importantly, we had a couple of windows with no travel coming up, so that we could slide potty training in and not be on an airplane while learning how to hold it.
He was also showing some signs of "readiness":
- awareness of going/having gone and announcing either pee or poop by saying "stink"
- discomfort with having poop in the diaper and wanting to be changed promptly
- upset when poop makes a mess on the floor or in pants
- seeking privacy to poop
And so it was that we began on Friday, 8 March, so that I could be home with him for four whole days before handing him over to Maggie. He was 22 months of age. We took off the pants, took off the diaper and went naked bottomed on Day 1. We "gave" all the diapers to Clara. We caught a few pees midstream and said, "Oh you're peeing. Pee goes in the potty, not on the floor." By the end of the day he was getting the pee in the potty thing, and able to go when prompted and able to ask for the potty.
On day 2, we went commando in pants. A big thing with this method is that underpants feel too diaper-like and so they confuse the issue. We had a few pee accidents, but mostly got the hang of it pretty quickly. He didn't have a real poop until the third day, but we saw the grunting, and caught it in the potty - yay! Everything seemed to be progressing.
After that, he seemed to get the peeing down really well. Very few accidents. Very good at responding to prompting, and even doing some self-initiating. He did wet during nap every day, but I didn't want to confuse the issue by putting him in a diaper (even though he was still in a diaper at night), so we just decided to wash the sheets daily. He didn't have any trouble peeing on public toilets - we had outings to Walmart, Costco, the grocery store, the park... no problem at all.
Poop, however, was another thing all together. He just didn't want to seem to do it on the potty. A few times he tried to get to the potty but ended up pooping on the floor right next to it. Many times, he just didn't want to take a break from playing to go (in spite of watching the potty episode of Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood every single day: "If you have to go potty, STOP and go right away...."). That is, until Friday, 22 March - two weeks in.
Clara had her 9 month well child checkup at the pediatrician, so we went to a park on that side of town. We had never been to this park before - it was HUGE and had, like, 15 slides (Andrew's favorite!). Andrew was so excited! I got Clara settled on a picnic blanket with a snack while Andrew started to climb the nearest structure. Before he could go down the first slide, he did his characteristic hunch-over-and-grunt. "Andrew!" I said, "Hold it, hold it!!!" But it was too late. Full poop in the pants.
I hefted both kids and limped with my still-weak broken ankle to the restroom, which was quite the hike. We got him all cleaned up. I told him, "You aren't in trouble, buddy. But we need to go home. When you poop in your pants, we have to go home. If you put your poop in the potty, we can stay longer at the park." He was extremely upset. He cried all the way home, "Slide! Slide! Park - okay!!" I calmly reiterated that we had to go home because he pooped in his pants.
Finally it was like something clicked in his head and he screamed, "Potty!!!" I was carrying the little Baby Bjorn potty chair in the back of the car just in case of emergency, so I pulled over and put it out. He sat on it and squeezed out two little drops of pee. I said, "It looks like you're finished," and tried to put him back in the car. He arched his back and yelled, "NO!!! Potty! Sit down!!!!" and sat back down, as if he was going to sit there until he could put some poop in the potty so we could go back to the park.
The next day, it took four false alarms, but he put his poop in the potty. Self-initiated, too. He did not have any accidents other than naptime for the rest of the week.
The big test came when we went to the zoo on Friday, 29 March. He had no accidents. I prompted him to pee twice and one time he asked to go and successfully held it until we could get to the potty. Then the moment of truth - just after lunch, he gave me that sort of desperate, tense look and said, "Potty potty!" I knew this was it. We hurried to the nearest restroom, but it still took a couple minutes to walk there, and then we had to wait for a stall to free up. When he sat down on the potty, he wasn't sure he could go. I started to recite One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, and it helped him relax enough.... for success! A poop on a public potty!
With that, I declared him daytime potty trained. It was the day after he turned 23 months old.
We are choosing not to night train at this time. He wears a pull up to bed, and that's okay with everyone. I'm sure the time will come when we're all ready to tackle that hurdle. For now I'm just really proud of my big boy.