Potty Training Ashton

As I mentioned yesterday, today was an important day—Ashton was potty trained. In one day! Can you believe it?! At first I was a little skeptical that it could be done, but several weeks ago, Shalae mentioned a book that she’d heard about called “Toilet Training in Less Than a Day.” She’d heard the approach worked, and she thought it was worth trying. The problem? It calls for being completely focused on the child being potty trained, and with two younger children, including a baby that is dependent on Mommy for meals, she didn’t think she could do it.

So I volunteered! I blocked out an entire day on my calendar and started reading the book. We actually planned to do this last Monday, but Potty Scotty didn’t arrive in time, so we had to reschedule. The basic idea is, as I said, completely focusing on the child for one entire day. I won’t explain the entire process, but I’ll hit a few highlights.

First, Ashton and I were alone in the house all day.

Shalae went over to our house with the other two children so it was just me and Ashton. Ashton started out the day by teaching a doll how to go to the bathroom—that’s why Potty Scotty was such an important part of the process. It was clear as Ashton explained things to Scotty that he knew what was going on.

I rewarded Ashton for staying clean and dry, rather than actually going to the bathroom. I wore my Stampin’ Up! apron all day, and the pockets were full of treats that Ashton got to choose when he stayed dry. I had both sweet and salty treats, and he chose salty most of the time, which made him thirsty, so he did a lot of drinking, which meant he got a lot of potty practice, which was great!

I started by rewarding him every 5 minutes. After he went to the bathroom the first time, we stretched out the rewards to every 15 minutes, and by tonight, we were only asking and rewarding him every 30-45 minutes.

The approach really places an emphasis on the child being responsible for his behavior. After the first couple of successes, I held back a bit. When Ashton announced he had to go, I’d tell him that he knew what he needed to do and I encouraged him to go ahead and do it. Of course, I wasn’t far behind, just to make sure! His potty makes music when he goes, so as I stood outside the door, I knew when he’d been successful. He also cleaned up, emptying the potty every time.

After the first few successes, I was supposed to distract him a bit, so we played a lot of Thomas the train engine and other games. We built a car wash out of blocks too.

But even with those distractions, he only had one partial accident, complete with a little leaking, a mad dash to the bathroom, and most of what needed to be in the potty ending up in the potty.

There’s a lot of positive reinforcement in this approach. Shalae left a list of people who were excited for Ashton to take this big-boy step. We talked about how happy everyone would be that he was keeping his big-boy pants dry, and when we went to our house this evening for dinner, he packed up his potty all by himself, carried it to the car and then into our house, and then announced to everyone how well things had gone. You could tell he was very pleased with himself—as he should be!

Overall, I thought everything went very well. Of course, a real test comes tomorrow morning. Once you take off the diaper, you never put it back on, so hopefully he wakes up with dry big-boy pants!

So, I guess now I can add professional potty trainer to the list of skills I have as a grandmother. I’m expecting—and hoping—to train Shalae’s other children, and any of the other grandchildren who might need a loving grandmother to help out with this important step. It was a wonderful day, with the highlights for me not necessarily coming in the bathroom but in the moments in between as we played and chatted together. Twice Ashton said to me, “Grandma, you’re my friend!” That means quite a bit from this little boy, who often prefers playing with Grandpa rather than me. There are certainly worse things than spending an entire day focused on one of your grandchildren!