We have been focused on toilet learning for the past month. At 14.5 months, Camden is just learning how to communicate that he needs to use the potty. He has started to grab his underpants and say "poo" when he needs to go. I credit this connection to our use of training pants while we are at home. For the past few weeks, I have tried to keep him in training pants whenever possible. At first, he seemed surprised to find himself in the process of having an accident. Over the past week, he has started to tell me while he is peeing. It is not usually enough time to make it to the potty, but I can tell that he is making a connection between the feeling and knowing that he has to go into the bathroom. We had one very exciting morning last week, when he actually told me that he needed to go and he made it in time!
As soon as Camden could walk, we moved all diaper changes into the bathroom. I have a small table, a basket for fresh diapers and a small trash can where Camden can throw away his dirty diapers. We have a large mirror that runs the length of the wall, which was the perfect place to install a suction cup bar that Camden can hold onto during diaper changes. The bar has been a lifesaver! He used to struggle during changes and I felt like I had to force him to lay still. It certainly wasn't fun for either of us. Since we have switched to Camden holding on to the bar during changes, he has become more involved in the process. He helps with both undressing and dressing.
I love that there is a mirror right in front of him while he is getting changed. It helps him learn about his body, but it has also surprised me by helping him learn about emotions. Sometimes he is just not in the mood for a diaper change. I have had incredible success minimizing his resistance by showing him his angry little face in the mirror and saying "You are mad! You're face is showing me that you don't want to have a diaper change right now." He frequently squinches his face up and looks at the results in the mirror. Usually acknowledgement of his displeasure is enough for him to move past it and continue on with the change in a calmer mood.
Recently, I have switched Camden into pull-ups when he is not wearing training pants. I love using them because they allow him to be more integrated into the process. He is starting to pull down the pull-ups when asked, steps into them on his own and even tries to pull them up on his own. Of course we do the same with training pants, but I like the fact that he can help when he needs a diaper too.
As part of our regular diaper changing routine, I ask Camden if he would like to sit on the potty. The answer these days usually an excited yes, but if he doesn't want to I respect his decision. I have a small magazine holder in the bathroom where I keep mostly potty themed books. Unfortunately, I don't like many of the commonly used potty training books. I took things into my own hands and made a personalized book for Camden (post coming soon!) We read while he sits on the potty. I let him dictate how long he wants to sit- sometimes it is only for a few seconds, but sometimes he wants to sit on the potty for half an hour! He doesn't usually go to the bathroom during this time, but I feel happy that he is comfortable on his potty. When he is done, I help him wipe and then he throws away the wipes and diaper.
There are many quick "3 Days to Potty Training Success!" gimicks out there. I have chosen to take the slower, baby led route. There more accidents to clean up in the process, but I can tell that Camden is in the sensitive period for toilet learning. The pride on Camden's face when he made it to the potty on time was priceless! I am in such awe of watching this little guy grow. Motherhood has given me an awesome new perspective on life. I never would have thought that I could be so excited about another person using the bathroom, but it was the highlight of my week!