After trying EC last summer and finding that my son makes absolutely NO indication before peeing, I had to abandon ship. But we did have a potty chair and we kept it out and about for him, reinforcing the sign and word (he now uses only the word), and talking about it from time to time.
I had inteded to go full speed ahead at 18 months, but right around then we found out my husband had his new position secured and we would be moving. So I put it off a bit, hoping to do it as soon as we got settled.
But then I started thinking, about 2 weeks or so ago, that if we wait much longer, he may decide he isn't interested so we decided that Operation Big Boy should go ahead, full steam, and see where it goes. I figure if I can get him pretty well trained to at least not have too many accidents and be used to sitting on the potty regularly, then at least that is something I can maintain through the craziness of a move...I think.
I decided to do the following:
1) Regular potty sits. We started with about every 30 minutes, but that was not working so we now do them every 20 and will grdually increase to 30 or more. Sometimes he sits for a few seconds, pees, and we have a little party. Sometimes he sits for 30 minutes. Once, he sat for an hour and a half, of his own accord, and refused to get up until he had peed. I do not force him to sit for any length of time, and most of the time he happily sits for a few stories at least.
2) We read, play with toys, etc. to make it fun.
3) We have "Big Boy Wipes" (Pampers Kandoo, for example) that can ONLY be used when he uses his potty. Somehow, having this limitation seems to make them more exciting, as does getting to get his own wipe out instead of getting one handed to him. We decorated the container with fun stickers, too. They are more or less the same as baby wipes, just flushable, so I intend to replace them with whatever flushable is cheapest at the store.
4) We DO have rewards, but they are not for every sucessful potty visit and they are things he normally gets anyway. For example, might tell him a few times between one potty sit and the next that if he puts pee pee it the potty, he can watch an episode of Yo Gabba Gabba in Papa's chair. Because we have been confined to the non-carpeted floors for a week now, this is super exciting since he gets to go in the living room. I put a big, triple layer of his comforted under him to be safe! He also once in a while gets a temporary tattoo (yeah I know...but its super cute and he loves it) or similar. And at each opportuniy for a reward, he gets only one shot to get it. This keeps him from insisting on Yo Gabba Gabba every time he pees int he potty.
5) When he is sucessful, it is a BIG deal! The best rewards for him have been getting to use a big boy wipe, carry his potty insert to the big potty, dump it, flush it, and WASH HIS HANDS. He loves to wash his hands, so this is a big motivator.
6) I keep track of how many times he uses the potty and how many times he has an accident, for my own record so I can see clearly how we are going.
7) It's big boy undies or bust. We are still in a cloth diaper for nap and a disposable at night, but otherwise there are no diapers. We have not left the house yet, but when we do, it will be with several extra sets of clothes and I may make a small "cover" out of PUL for him to wear to keep from having to clean up pee in the middle of Target.
8) "Pee pee goes in the potty." I read once that kids do not understand, "Tell momma when you need to go," or, "it's okay, accidents happen." The only thing that matters is that you reinforce what you want. So I repeat this mantra, as well as the #2 variation, many times a day, between potty trips and durring, and he is now repeating it himself.
It has been one week and Sunday was his best day so far - 4 hits and only 2 misses. But Monday he literally peed twice as many times and only had about half in the potty. Today, he is doing well with the same stats as Sunday, and it is only naptime. I have been regulating his beverage intake and encouraging more fluids, but I didn't find that getting him to drink almost constantly was working. There was no predictability to when he would need to pee and he had far more accidents than anything else. On the first day, we went though 10 pairs of undies. But since then, we have gone down to as few as 2 or as many as 4.
Since my husband will have been out of town with business trips and work for over 2 weeks when we see him again Saturday, I think he will be pleased to see that his little boy is in big boy pants! And having him gone has actually, while making it a bit more stressful, encouraged me to keep going, trucking along, cleaning up pee pee day after day, because it gives me something to focus on.
I know it sounds like a lot of work, and it isn't for everyone. If I were working outside the home, I would have to take a month of vacation to do this. But I strongly believe that pull-ups are just diapers in bigger sizes and that they delay full training sucess. Diaper companies want nothing more than for your child to wear diapers until a month before kindergarten. I also believe that the sooner you start, the better your sucess will be. Many children will do fine and train quickly at any age, but I know my headstrong boy is going to do better now than if I waited even 6 months.
And one final note...I wish I could post this...I got a nice picture of him sitting in Papa's chair, watching Yo Gabba Gabba this morning...with his hand in his pants. He is such. a. boy.