Be forewarned, the following is probably only interesting to me and my wife, but I'm laying it out for everyone! Oh yeah, and there is going to be bodily fluid talk too.
OK, there's your heads up, so don't get pissy later on when your trying scrub your brain of what I'm about to divulge.
We started potty training our daughter a month ago. She's 22 months old now and I am supremely happy to announce that she's down to two or fewer accidents a week! WEEK, not day or hour....PER WEEK!
Disclaimer: We still have her in diapers at night and nap times. Not really fair to her since she's still in a crib and would have no choice but to wake sleeping giants through the monitor (which works, but still) or pee in her bed. Then she'd still have to wake us because she wouldn't just lay back down in it.
So we've been talking about when to pull the trigger since our son was born in July. We cloth diaper. We started double stuffing the diapers because as she's gotten older, there's more to deal with. She tells us almost immediately when she's wet and has done so since she was little. Disposables mask it from them, cloth, well it might as well be one of us in a pair of jeans having an accident. Eww.
Well, the double stuff had an adverse affect on her, namely at night when she doesn't tell us she's wet. Basically, the extra padding kept the natural breathing from happening and caused a major diaper rash. Three weeks went by and we weren't able to cure it. We finally ran across a website that said, it's probably an extreme heat and wetness combo. "Let her air dry" was the main point of the article. Couple other things like not powdering open sores (whoops, nearly two years in and I didn't know that about diaper rash). They recommended allowing her to run around in panties after wet diapers to help with airflow.
We talked it over and just let her go commando for a few days whenever possible as well as following some other helpful tips. We started to see results! Hooray! Oh and the kiddo absolutely loved the new found (mommy & daddy approved) freedom.
She could tell us when she was wet or poopy. She would sign potty when she did so. So the communication and understanding were there, why not? We picked up a potty and a bunch of panties. It wasn't one of those sit on the floor, pee in a bucket so mom and dad have to bed pan it potties. We put a stool she can climb on in front of our toilet and put this little insert designed for babies on it. You probably know what I'm talking about even though that was a horrible description. Looks like a hemorrhoid donut with handles (note: I've never used one, but thanks to sit-coms going for the low brow humor, I'm well educated).
She wouldn't go. For two days, nothing but puddles on the floor and turds in the panties. I'd take semi warm water and pour it down between her legs while "in position" hoping to have a natural reaction occur. Nope. Not gonna happen. 2 minutes later, puddle on the floor and my daughter looking terrified as though she was a puppy who'd just done the same thing.
My wife started researching best practices. Most said to wait until the child was closer to three. Screw off you lazy effers. If she can tell you what's up, she can learn to control it. Ha, aren't I cocky?
She found a few posts about a successful "one day potty training." It's not really one day. It's more like one really intense training day. Basically, you start off how we did. Panties and accidents. Then you spend an entire day making runs to the potty. First with her favorite doll (Curious George) in a pair of panties. Kid drinks, doll drinks. Then, every 5-10 minutes, you make a mad dash to the bathroom. "Potty Run, Hurry, Hurry." Some suggest squirting water in the back of the toilet with a bulb syringe when the doll is on the pot. My wife didn't want to over complicate it. She and my daughter were troopers. They did this ever 10 minute thing ALL DAY. Every other trip, you put the child on the toilet.
It didn't always work, but eventually there were more successes than accidents throughout the day. The idea is to have the kid trained to run to the bathroom and know that the panties have to come off and get on the pot as fast as is safely possible.
The last half the day, George wasn't involved. It was drink a lot (gotta make her need to go, otherwise it's a bunch of work with zero result...that's disheartening to the child) and run to the potty.
We debated how to reward her aside from praise...which lets face it, works at first but has a limited affect in the long term. We chose Gummy Bears and M&Ms to alternate between. She cannot say bears, but she go "grrr" for them. M&Ms are UMs. Scold me for associating reward with food, whatever. I fought it too...my wife was the one who had to do it the whole day though, and she was OK with it.
Conversely, how do you punish them for accidents? You have to do something to create a negative connotation, but you don't want to get truly upset. So she has to clean up the mess. Of course we help to ensure a proper job is done. But, while she partly enjoys the clean up part like most toddlers would, she seems genuinely disappointed in herself too.
The next week we were flying to Florida. What should we do? I don't want to digress at this point. We bought some Pullups (well, actually Target's knock off version). And continued exactly as before. Pull down the faux-diapers like they were panties. The plane ride was much safer this way. (She also got a new Elmo goes Potty coloring book for the ride!) We did panties when we could, but pullups if we were going to be out and about.
Almost a month in, and yes she'll still say she has to go to get out of something she doesn't want to do (been at the dinner table too long) or if she just wants a gummy bear. But, most of the time, it's real. Most of the time it's extremely successful. I'm so proud of her. Oh and my wife loves not having to clean poopy diapers anymore. No joke, only one in a month and that was a middle of the night one.
The bonus, two under two in diapers is almost over. I only bought a few more cloth diapers when the little man was born. We had some smaller ones we for infants too. So this has saved me money too which is a great thing.