Potty Training a 22 month old: Vivienne's Story

I hated potty training Lila. It was the single-most, not-enjoyable parental experience I've ever had. (Dramatic much?)  It was a trial of wills and toddler bladders. See, I had it in my mind that potty training could effortlessly, ok with slight effort, be done at 22 months in 3 days because of a PDF potty-training-directional-pamphlet that I bought.

It worked for more than one person I know... It didn't work for us. At all. It was FIFTEEN DAYS of pee everywhere: all over rugs, furniture, Lila, me...

It was horrible. She wasn't ready. It was awful. Craig and I were at a loss.

I wrote about it here.

The reason why we started potty training Lila six days shy of 22 months was because my maternity leave for Vivienne was running out and I figured there was no better time than that time. You know, with a newborn and all.

I'll say it again: IT WAS HORRIBLE. We did it cold-turkey, too. Goodbye diapers, absolutely NO pull-ups (apparently I felt pull-ups were crutches), pee everywhere. It was ridiculous. I was a new Mom. It actually was my first rodeo.

So, with Vivienne we decided that would learn from our exuberance and let her potty train herself when she was ready. (It's funny, the second child really does benefit from the exhaustion caused by the first child.)

She looks kind of bewildered here.

So, on Friday night, November 30th, we decided that it was time to take the side wall of Vivienne's crib and convert it to a toddler bed. We figured that when we started potty training we wanted her to be able to get out of her bed freely to get to the potty when required.

AGAIN - we had no intention of potty training until after Christmas/the holidays. Since it's Vivienne, we figured she'd need some warming-up time to an idea that wasn't her own and we expected the crib transition would be rocky enough, as it were.

So out with the crib.

Enter the toddler bed.

Vivi liked it. We, on the other hand, didn't love it. As it turns out a little freedom went a long way with 22-month-old Vivienne Kate. She was out of bed a trillion times a night and awake far too early in the morning. The first couple of days and nights were rough.

During that weekend of toddler-bed-transition we went out to dinner. The four of us were sitting at the table in the restaurant and Vivienne told me that she had to go potty.
Three times.
I was like, "Huh? Um. Ok..."
And she went each time.
I was floored. She was wearing a diaper and up until that dinner I don't believe I'd ever even discussed potty training with her.

For the next day or so I kept putting diapers on her. There was NO WAY I was going to potty-train this child over the holidays. I was working on a HUGE work project and the insanity of the holidays was creeping in and pottytraining was the absolute last thing on my list.

(Note: We had the potty out and available in the bathroom because we figured that when she was ready she'd use it. But we were in NO way pushing it.)

Then, three days after the bed transition Vivienne took off her diaper for good and refused, I mean refused, to put it back on. She screamed, cried, kicked and yelled, "NO Mommy, NO!"

I figured, "Well, ok. I'm home from work today, let's start this."

Off went the diaper. On went the big-girl underpants.

Um. She she had one accident that first day.

Day two, she had no accidents. (Yes, you ready that correctly.)

(Fuzzy iphone pic)

For the next couple of weeks she had a few accidents here or there. Literally, only a few! (Awesome.) However, we absolutely and postively could not get her to go #2 in the potty. That, my friends, came with time. (She kept complaining that it "hurt her body.") About 3 weeks into it the hit or miss (literally) ceased and now, 6 weeks later, she is going potty all the time. No pull-ups during her nap and no pull-ups at night.

This child. This fiercely independent child actually gets herself up in the middle of the night and walks into the bathroom and goes potty in her chair BY HERSELF. She gets out of the bathtub to go the the bathroom.

So, yeah. Essentially she decided to potty train herself. And well, she did it. With very little assistance from us.

This is so Vivienne.

She decides. She does it. She needs very little intervention from us.

She's a wack-a-doo.


In large part I'd say that watching Lila was the clincher. That and M&M's.

Potty-training this child has been insanely stress-free. Three days in and we were taking her taking her out-and-about with no accidents.

Go ahead, throw your rocks.
I know it should have never been this easy...

But I am ridiculously thankful it was.

This? Well. This is just the way Vivienne rolls. Er, hangs.

Way to go, Vivi Kate!



  1. whoa. clone her, send her to me. ; ) seriously though, like you said you really paid a high price for the first one; i think of you and C often - nearly losing your minds over potty-training Lila. can't wait to see that sweet face in person. way to go, Vivi!

  2. This made me smile...because we had a similar experience with Emma. When we tried to potty train Olivia (kid #1) it was very, very difficult and then Emma was born and Olivia went backward and decided she NEEDED to be in diapers b/c her baby sister was. Getting back on track was a very long road! And the PullUps at night lasted FOREVER. With Emma, she came home from daycare one day, declared that she was never wearing diapers again because they were for babies. And then she proceeded to throw all her PullUps in the garbage. And....she never wore a PullUp again. Not even to bed. And, there were no accidents - day or night. I was floored. Perhaps it's a second kid thing? Either way....Congrats to Vivi! :)

  3. Awe, I'm sorry the 3 day method didn't work for them! Kids...they keep us on our toes, right? How AWESOME that you have both girls potty trained! I bet that feels amazing?!?! No more diapers! I can't wait to get there over the next year with V...keeping my fingers crossed he's just as easy as the girls were, although I'm pretty sure that's not going to happen. ;) One can hope, right?

    Congrats to you (and to Vivi!)

  4. Keira has the same shirt and skirt that Lila is wearing in the picture above! love it.

    Henry is 100% potty trained except for #2. We still put a pull up on him after bath time and he uses it to go poopers. Keira was so easy to potty train too! And yes Henry is 5!! I hope he poops in the toilet by time he can change his own pull-up. Geez. :-)


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