Potty Training Tip – Beware the Fancy Diapers!

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Beware the fancy diapers!

I thought we were doing my daughter a favor by getting her the really soft disposable diapers. Sure they were more expensive, but she was our firstborn, our baby! I gathered up all my diaper samples from the various baby expos I’d attended and did a complete, almost scientific, brand test. Some of the diapers leaked on us, some were so papery they crinkled every time she moved and I worried the rustling would be loud enough to disturb her sleep (yes, I was paranoid), and some just seemed really scratchy. Didn’t we love our daughter enough to spend a few extra dollars to prevent an itchy and uncomfortable feeling that we wouldn’t put up with ourselves? Well, when you put it that way…

I later discovered our fancy disposable diaper brand also had a loyalty rewards program with some pretty cool “free” stuff we could earn (with points from our purchases) and I’m a huge sucker for that kind of stuff. So that, plus the fact we had no complaints (no rashes, etc), kept us from switching brands as she got older. We did eventually get a big plastic Little Tikes grocery cart for “free” which I still find totally awesome (please do not reply with logic about how with all the extra money we could have saved by buying cheaper diapers we could have bought 10 grocery carts – I don’t want to hear it. It was free I tell you, free!!).

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It was free I tell you, free!! (doll not included)

Then came potty training. Or it should have. We passed her second birthday and her third and still my daughter had no problems being wet or poopy. Like no problems whatsoever. She would have stayed in one diaper for the rest of eternity if left to herself. As I scoured potty training guides and parent manuals, many said the first step was for your child to show readiness, meaning discomfort being wet or soiled, or at least notifying you in some way before or after. Of course this is all usually supposed to happen a lot sooner too. We got nothing. I might have tried the “run naked and free until you feel pee dribbling down your leg” method but we have carpet throughout our house so I stuck that in the last resort file. I also read that rushing potty training can seriously backfire (constipation, taking longer to train overall, etc.) so I just kept telling myself, it’d be fine, no one goes to prom in diapers.

minnie potty chair

Our 3rd potty – the self “flusher” that says “hip hip horray” made this one the winner

We decided to move our daughter into Pull-Ups even before she was “ready” to potty train because 1. she was too big for the changing table, 2. we wanted to associate the changing table with babies, like her brother, not big girls like her and 3. we wanted her to get in the habit of pulling her diaper on and off by herself. But we stuck with our expensive brand out of habit. I tried giving O lots of liquids and asking her to try to use the potty every 10 or 15 minutes but she would go in her diaper directly before or after sitting on her potty. I tried demonstrating for her. I even tried a different potty that mounted onto the big toilet. Still no success. I think she knew exactly what I was asking for, but her body wasn’t cooperating; it just hadn’t clicked yet.

CVS brand pull up diapers

CVS brand pull up diapers. AKA not fancy.

Then we went to a CVS I’d never been to before due to a mix-up with a prescription at the pharmacy. I have a secret love for drugstores like Walgreens or Rite Aid; stores where there’s a little bit of everything and you never know what you’ll find, and where there’s always a holiday section filled with cheesy adorable themed knickknacks you don’t need (I always end up buying 1 or 2). While living in Boston, I discovered that very CVS is different, so I’d always wander the aisles whenever I was in a new store or just had time to kill (this is all related, I swear). While wandering this time for new and interesting products I didn’t know I needed, I noticed a super sale on the CVS brand pull-ups and I swear a light bulb clicked on above my head. What if the super plush, super absorbent, fancy diapers were part of the problem? What if she needs a flimsy, cheap diaper to feel that she’s wet and that wet is not good? What if she needs an uncomfortable diaper to motivate her to switch into comfy cotton undies? I still had fears about leakage but the sale was enough to prompt me to give it a try. Wait… what are my design options? Adorable alien monsters and/or pink butterflies? Ok, Sold.

It was like magic. Once we started wearing the cheapy diapers, O started telling us when she wet her diaper. So we started regularly asking her if she had to go, or to just sit and give it a try, and finally she successfully used the potty. I went the bribe route by offering m&ms for every attempt which worked sometimes but O was still going in her diaper frequently. The turning point was when she had 2 total leak-through accidents within 2 days (something that would never have happened in her expensive pull-ups) and suddenly the switch in her brain flipped. She’s been using the potty like a pro ever since. She has actually requested to wear her undies at night too and has stayed dry (5 nights and counting!!).

So there’s my cautionary tale. Should have saved this post for Halloween, haha. Beware!!

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Potty Training on the Road

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This is as close to the water as O would go

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Adorable baby in a wetsuit. And super pale mommy in the SPF 50 protected beach tent

There always comes a time in every parent’s journey where something unplanned happens. As a super worrier, hyper planner and research lover, it doesn’t happen to me often. But, of course, it happened this weekend.

We decided (thunderstorm forecasts be damned!) to go to the beach and since we got there at about 9 am, we had plenty of time to play before the weather and waves turned nasty. O has been potty training at home but we’ve never done anything out of the house where a bathroom wasn’t very easily accessible (the mall or a restaurant, for example). Being the prepared mom I am though, I found these awesome portable, disposable lifesavers called Potty Flip. I think I actually bought a big set of them on sale when O was around 12 months old knowing I’d need them eventually. So, after having our beach fun, we got the car packed up and asked O if she needed to go. She used the Potty Flip for “number 2” (awesome!!) and it worked out great. I gave her a handful of trail mix that included 2 m&ms as a treat because I forgot to bring stickers and yes, we’re using the classic bribery method of training. I do a little I’m-an-awesome-and-totally-prepared-mom dance as I get in the car.

Well, everything is great until about 15 minutes later when O asks for “some more treat.” I tell her that we were done with treats for now but offer a cheese stick if she was feeling hungry. She passes on the nutritious food option. Guess what happens next. Never underestimate a preschooler’s brain. O puts 2 and 2 together and says, “I have to go potty!”

Clearly she’s asking to get another treat. But maybe she really has to go also. Obviously giving in and tossing her some candy in the hope that satisfies her for a while is not going to work (unfortunately). There is nothing around us but traffic. My husband and I look at one another. Neither one of us says a thing but I can tell his brain is churning out every scenario on the planet just like mine is. Do we stop on the shoulder and have her squat in nature? (ew). Do we just keep driving and pray for no mess? (at least we have towels).

O cannot hear our brains and repeats herself. Mimi (Grandma) senses it may take longer for us to compose words than a 3 year old’s patience (or she sees the terrified look in our eyes) and says, “Ok, I hear you have to go potty. Let’s try and hold it for a few minutes and Mommy and Daddy will find a place to stop for you.” Oh thank god! … Wait, oh no…  we might as well have just told our daughter to go surf an eggplant because “holding it” is a totally foreign concept. As I’m cursing myself for not having thought about explaining this ahead of time and trying to find a way to phrase it in an understandable way now, we see a sight I never thought I’d be so grateful for: golden arches.

In case you’re wondering, yes she was able to hold it. Yes, she really did have to go (a little). And yes she got another little treat.

I was not endorsed, sponsored or compensated in any way for the product mention in this blog.

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