We tried again last week (2 years + 9 months) and things are going MUCH better...
That being said, there's a few things i wanted to share with other new moms looking for advice or help.
For me there was a dilema between the "potty" and the "potty seat" (for the big toilet)... in the end i opted for both, and i'm glad we did. I wish he could just use the potty seat for the big toilet, as one day that's what we all end up using, right?! But there's a reason they created those little plastic potty's... little man is simply too short (not to mention uncoordinated!) to climb up a step stool to sit on the thing. When i can help, it works and he likes it. When i can't he can use the "potty" pretty much on his own now!
1. The Pourty Potty - i love this thing... i never would have thought about the fact you actually have to EMPTY it (aka. pour it out!) every time your little one uses it. To avoid spills and even more clean up than naturally comes with this stage, this potty has a nifty little pouring spout in the back. It works great!
2. Tippitoes Toilet Trainer Seat - i like simple. this one fits great on the toilet and got great reviews on amazon (uk), it doesn't look as popular in the US/Canada but i did find it there too... We got a blue one and a white one, so that we had one in each bathroom.
3. Big Boy/Girl Pants - i never would have guessed how much our son LOVES cars... that being said he's thrilled that they're on his big boy pants! he really likes wearing them, especially when they have cars! I found a great sale at Gymboree since we will soon have 3 little boys... their undies are great quality and made to last! I bought 15 pairs to start with, and i think ended up with 20... the first time we gave it a go we went through 8-10 pairs a day! Now it's down to about 3-4...
4. Stepping Stool - i forgot to mention this in the original post so this is an add-on! But it's pretty important so that little man can reach the sink and wash his hands and also helpful to use the big toilet (with the trainer seat) which we also do a few times a day. This is the one we got from the UK... but almost any will do!
THE READINESS FACTOR
There are some well meaning "3-day guarantee" programs out there. Many say that any kid can use the potty at 2 years of age. I don't buy it. It didn't work for us. And it has been WAY less stressful this time around when our son was more ready. Other things i didn't know to look for were:
- can your child run/walk well?
- can he/she pull their own pants up & down?
- can your child follow simple instructions?
- can they engage in one activity for a few minutes?
- do they show interest in using the potty?
We also live in Europe where many people try to potty train their kids at 9months of age or so (to save on diaper costs), but some dear friends who attempted this later admitted it was frustrating, and a waste of energy & time. That they should have just waited until their daughter was ready. It came so much easier then.
There are a LOT of books and videos you can but to encourage your little one. Honestly, i didn't want to buy any more STUFF than my kids are already naturally accumulating and adding to our home. We found this video on youtube and my son loves it! Bear In The Big Blue House - When You've Got to Go! It's the full episode and my son likes the idea of being a "toileteer!"
We have a long way to go before being done with this phase and I'm sure we'll be constantly learning. I'm sure what works with one kid, won't work with another! What things have worked well for you?
P.S. So i thought that potty training during 3rd trimester of pregnancy #3 would be a bad idea... but so far it's working great for us! Who knew ~ reduced bladder capacity actually can have a plus! Since I have to go every hour, i just take our son with me!!!