Here is the story of how we potty trained our youngest in one week.
He is 2 1/2. He has two older brothers. He can communicate well. He did not care if his diaper was wet or soiled. He did not tell us if he went or not. He had been playing with the potty..sitting every once in a while for fun before Christmas holidays. He wanted to use underwear like his big brothers. We had a week after Christmas with no events (no school, no trips, no activities...nothing!)...and Dad was there to help for the first two days.
He wakes up in the morning, and we announce that today is the day that he gets to be a big boy and use underwear. We pull out twenty pairs of underwear and let him pick one. He is so pumped. No more diapers. We put a little potty in each bathroom (one upstairs and one downstairs), and show him how and where to go when he has to pee/poo. Then, we talked to the big brothers, and got them on board. We asked them to help us to potty train Luke. Whenever he goes pee/poo on the potty, we are to cheer, support and encourge him. Then, we all played together, and just watched to see what would happen. Accidents happened all day, on the kitchen chair, on the floor (which is wood..thank goodness), on the stools, and in the bathroom. We just said, "Oh, you went pee...let's go to the washroom". We would take him there, clean him up, have him sit (just in case there was a bit more to come), and then put him in dry stuff...and play again. I think we changed him 10 times. We kept baby wipes in the bathroom for the poo cleanup, and we put him in pullups only for the nighttime sleep. We had him sit for a bit on the potty, right before bed as part of his bedtime routine.
The same routine...everyone stay together and play together. We love and support Luke, and celebrate when he tells us for the first time, "Gotta go". Even though he said it after he went...it is still a big step.
We clean up a bunch more mess, but Luke is understanding that feeling, and how to hold it and make it to the bathroom before it comes out. Hey, this is tough stuff...when you spent your whole life in diapers. Today was the day he started going poo in the underwear...mom sees he has stopped play...and says, "Let's go to the potty". We get there, and some is in the underwear....but sit him down on the potty and he finished his movement. YEAH. This is a big deal...number 2 in the potty! Bedtime..same routine..same pull up. Mom can sleep well, knowing the bedding is safe.
Luke wakes up, and says, "Gotta go"...and has a huge pee on the potty. Pull up is dry! He comes downstairs to celebrate with his brothers. Take some pictures! Moms reward...Mike and Ike candy. Yep...this is where we take the training to a different level. Every time he goes pee/poo on the potty, he gets one candy (and his big brothers also get one if he goes on the potty). They are helping to train him. They want the candy too...so they ask him, "Luke I have to go pee...wanna come with me". They love using the toilet together. HAHAHAHA! Luke loved all the attention, and really wanted to show us how big he was. There were only two accidents this day.
NOTE...I wanted to put in here that we never asked him to go (unless if was suggested by a brother to go with them)...we did not use any sort of punishment, just positive reinforcement and praise (and a few candies)...if he had an accident, we just said, "You will get to the potty next time, let me help you clean up"...we did not take anything away....we did not give him more to drink, so he would pee more....we did not time him, or try to watch the clock...we never forced him to sit on the potty.
Our little rock star almost has it. He has learned to listen to his body. He has learned to hold it until we get to the potty. He has learned how fun it is to sit on the potty and have a buddy to talk to while he is waiting for the poo to come (because we all know that poo takes forever!). Someone always sat with him, and helped him with pants down and pants back up and washing hands. He continued to get his one candy every time he went, and to give one to each brother too..and proudly tell them, " I went pee!".
NOTE Parents...you really have to stay positive. We have done this three times, and each son was different. Our first was terrible. We were frustrated...we felt like we should have had some type of control over the learning...we forced him to sit...we felt like punishment was a good idea if he had accidents...we bribed him with sticker charts that led up to huge prizes (but he could not wait for the 10th time to get something and would just get frustrated...believe me...this way is much better for everyone, and they learn so much quicker. Plus...they learn for themselves, and isin't that what we all want?
Rest of the week
Same routine, but we added in a few trips in the car, and familiar places (where there was always a washroom close by). We always brought a change of clothes with us. Luke did not like to sit on the big toilets, but we started letting him try it that way at home and he became more comfortable when we were out and had to use public washrooms. We praised him for keeping dry pants, and watched for clues (like the potty dance) to ensure he got to the washroom on time. We will keep him in pullups for night sleeping for two weeks, and if he successfully has dry pull up in the morning for a week, those will go too!
NOTE...When he says he has to go (even if it is right before he is supposed to go to sleep...or you just put him in the car for a ride...or you are late for picking up kids for school...whatever) TAKE HIM. Trust him. Listen to him. If you think he is trying to be sneaky...take him anyway, and sing the alphabet song a few times. If he hasn't gone, you can tell him he can try again later.
Read up on the potty training basics at Baby Center