So, it's been a little over three weeks since I took the nappies off my daughter and let her (more or less) figure potty training out for herself, and it's been a roaring success. Let's review.
Day 1 (Friday): Nappies came off at 3pm. Also, the rugs came off our hardwood floors, absorbent pads were laid down on the sofas, and her bed was layered with sheets and mattress protectors to facilitate night-time changing. I did not stress.
Day 2: She figured out how to hold her bladder to delay wetting herself for as long as possible. I would send her to the potty on wake-up and before bed (with random results) but otherwise, it was up to her. I did not stress.
Day 3: She got the hang of peeing on demand, so every visit to the potty was a productive one. I continued to send her to the potty as part of her wake-up and go-to-bed routines, but I did not ask her to go during the day, and she continued to have accidents. I did not stress.
Day 4 (Monday): Routine potty visits now included 'before going out'. She returned to school with copious changes of clothing, and the teacher took her to the potty at regular intervals. No accidents. We went out to run errands in the afternoon, and she pooped in her pants, teaching me a valuable lesson in what I needed to have with me for clean-up. I did not stress... just.
Day 5: She cottoned on to using the potty as a stalling technique for anything she didn't want to do. I did not stress.
Day 6: Three days of pooping three times a day, none of them on the toilet, was starting to get to me. There were no signs of any progress on wetting the bed either. She wouldn't wake up in the night, but in the morning, she woke up wet. I did not stress over the bed-wetting, but I was getting frustrated by the poop issue.
Days 7-11: The bowel movement, thank god, went back to once a day. Both children caught a cold, resulting in broken nights, so I started taking my daughter to the potty whenever she woke up during the night. Her sheets stayed dry... and they kept on staying dry even as she went back to sleeping through. I went straight back to not stressing.
Day 12: I happened to be looking at her face at the right time and managed to whisk her to the potty for a bowel movement. Later she rushed to the potty spontaneously only to wet herself in front of it. I did not stress, but I did start getting excited.
Day 13: Spontaneous potty usage. She started successfully pooping and peeing in the toilet all by herself--including taking herself to the bathroom halfway through a television show. I did not stress, but I did rejoice wholeheartedly.
Day 14: She got an eye infection and went on an antibiotic that gave her diarrhoea for about five days. I was not best pleased, but she handled the regression fairly well with about a 75% success rate of getting to the potty on time. I did not stress.
And that has been that. No rewards, no scolding, no stories about the poop fairy... and best of all, no nappies! I did do some encouragement and some reminders, but for the most part, I tried not to make it a big deal, and my daughter took it in her stride, although she was confused for the first couple of days. I'm sure it wouldn't work like this for everybody (and there was no way I'd have been this relaxed if it was my first time potty training), but I'm thrilled it worked so well for us.
We're now on day 24, and she is still having the occasional accident (something like twice a week), but she's so consistent and so reliable that half the time I don't even send her to the potty at our routine times if she says she doesn't need it. This is a huge improvement from potty training my son, where I had to send him to the potty every two hours for months. The rugs are back on the floor and her bed just has one sheet and one mattress protector on. I'm still taking a bag of spare clothes and my poop clean-up kit around with us, but I think it's time to start leaving it in the car along with the travel potty (which she hasn't used at all).
It's not all joy and perfection. The actual bodily functions are still such a novelty to her that she contorts herself trying to see what's going on--occasionally managing to pee on the floor. So much for not having to worry about girls aiming. She also insists on stripping her entire lower half completely to use the toilet, has no interest in learning how to put her clothes back on by herself and likes to give me as much trouble as possible over dressing her. That's something to be worked on, but obviously I will take this over nappy-cleanup any day!
In my previous post, I said that since she was happier using the child toilet seat rather than an actual potty that I was hoping to get rid of our potties. I have done, and not having to clean those out is a ridiculously good feeling. Better yet, I recently got the coupon book from our local wholesaler, and, for the first time in God knows how long, I did not clip the nappy coupon.
The nappy stage of our lives? Over!