Potty training

Potty training days are finally here, and I couldn’t be happier!

I usually dread this stage, but it’s going swimmingly with Bethany.  That’s good.  I often tell people that the reason I don’t try to rush it or push my kids to train early is because if you wait until they’re really and truly ready, it goes so much more quickly and easily.

Bethany will be 3 in June, making her one of our latest to train.  That means she should be the easiest, right?

Right.  One pee accident since training began. Read it and weep.  No, you can’t have her.  Anyway, we’re still working on #2.

She’s always been incredibly, hilariously precocious.  Even her accident demonstrated it: she caught herself just as she began and raced for the bathroom.  After finishing her business properly, she returned with a scrap of toilet paper to wipe the floor.  Of course I had already done it, but I appreciated the thought.  Some much older people in my house could take lessons from her.

But she’s not perfect.  Her manners could use some polishing.  I used the toilet while she was in the bathroom with me yesterday – I commonly do this with potty training toddlers to demonstrate the desired behavior – and her eyes widened with incredulity and admiration as I sat down.

“Mom, your butt is BIG!”

Yes, she said it in all caps and all honesty.  I’m pretty sure she wants her butt to be just as big as mine she grows up.  The sentiment was nice, but the manners need work.


Potty training the little man

I have to start by saying that I am in awe of my little manchild.

I posted recently about some signs of readiness for potty training, but I am a firm believer in not pushing the issue until I’m reasonably sure the child is ready.  The whole training process seems so much smoother this way.  Smoother = less stress for the momma.  I like less stress.  Less stress is good.

And so on Saturday morning, when I casually suggested that he might sit on the potty and he peed in it I tried not to get too excited.  He’s done it a few times before.  Instead, I just praised him, gave him a couple of chocolate chips, and procrastinated about putting his diaper back on.

A few minutes later, I loudly announced that I had peed in the potty and was going to have 2 chocolate chips.  Then I invited the rest of the household to do the same.  Most of the girls were gone, but those who were present all took me up on the offer with an appropriate amount of fanfare.  After all, who’s going to turn down chocolate chips in my house?

Then I gave the boy a cup of chocolate milk and repeated the process.  He peed again.  In the potty. Now I was excited.

Over the course of the morning, he had as many misses as hits and we spent nearly 3 hours straight in the bathroom – but he was interested and was actually having some measure of success.  I kept filling him up with liquids, and setting a timer to remind him to go potty in 15 minutes 10 minutes 6 minutes.  I got plenty of exercise lifting him onto the potty and holding him steady since he was bit unsure about balancing above the bowl.  (Yes, he sits for now.  Don’t remind him about the alternative just yet, please.)

Then finally, something clicked.  He suddenly understood the control mechanism.  I think it was the chocolate chips that did the trick.  He figured out that he could…ahem…save some…

And so we spent the next 2 hours in the bathroom enjoying that little breakthrough:  6 drops, 2 chocolate chips.  Jump off the stepstool, jump back on.  6 drops, 2 chocolate chips.  Jump off, about face, jump on.  Repeat.  He finally was getting himself into position, and even better he was developing bladder control.  In fact, his control was staggering, and I knew this was good practice.  “It’s good practice, it’s good practice,” I muttered to myself the 9,000th time…

Finally, I decided HE HAD ENOUGH PRACTICE, and we left the bathroom.

And that was that.  For the rest of the day, he took himself potty.  He sometimes asked for potty candy, and sometimes forgot.  He ran around with a bare bottom and t-shirt (“Please don’t put your pen** on the table, honey”) and had no more accidents that day.  Bowel movements?  One of those morning accidents was a bowel movement and he was thoroughly disgusted.  He’s so careful now, he does all of his gas in the potty just to be safe.  I’m ok with that.  Are you kidding?  I love that.

This post is part of Help For Growing Families, in the hope that other moms will find useful tidbit of info.

He’s not a baby

The boy was 2 at the end of June and has shown very little interest in potty training.  It will be nice to have just one in diapers someday soon.  In the meantime we buy them in two sizes: Big baby and little baby.  I’m ok with that, but am trying to exert just a bit of subtle pressure.  The terminology itself is deeply meaningful.

One example is a conversation we had this morning.  Actually, we have this conversation once or twice a day.

Boy: Mom, I pooped.  Where are my man diapers?

Me: Men don’t wear diapers.  Men poop in the potty.  You need a baby diaper.

Boy: I’m not a baby!  Bethany is a baby!

Me: Well, do you want to poop in the potty like a man or wear baby diapers like Bethany?

Boy: [sigh].  Where are my diapers?

Potty talk

The general consensus, to my knowledge, seems to be that boys are usually potty trained later but often more easily than girls.  Yes?  No?

Six of our seven girls have displayed a bit of interest around their second birthday and they have begun training 3 or 4 months later.  Six of the seven girls were out of diapers by 2 1/2 with occasional accidents.  Six out of seven were dry at night around 3yo.  This was not planned or scheduled; it just happened that way.

The Boy is 19 months now, and this morning he did something unprecedented.  He announced that he was going potty and trotted into the bathroom.  Amused, I told Kaitlyn to “help” him.  And he pooped in the potty.

Don’t misunderstand; I don’t expect it to happen again soon.  I’m simply astounded that it happened at all.  This boy stuff is not at all what I expected.

Potty training tip: not for the faint of stomach

Read at your own risk, and don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Still with me? OK.
Rachael is still having intermittant diarrhea, bad news for a newly potty trained toddler. I’ve resisted the urge to toss her underpants every time she has an accident, so we have been rinsing them in the toilet when it happens.
The oldest 2 girls sometimes do the duty for me, and they hate it. I tell them not to be so squeamish; just roll up your sleeves, grit your teeth and do it. This is training for motherhood, and as a mother you will spend plenty of time with poop on your hands. Just remember to wash your hands.
I had to laugh and poke fun when I saw the 13yo using a toilet brush to swirl the soiled underpants. The bristles firmly gripped the cloth when she flushed and refilled. As if she were using a spoon to wring out her teabag, she used the brush to wring the offending garment against the bowl of the toilet, then deftly lifted it out, having touched nothing more defiling than the handle of the toilet brush.
I laughed, but I didn’t forget.
Today, Rachael is having accidents. After cleaning her up I furtively glanced around, and closed the bathroom door. I grabbed the toilet brush and finished the job. And it worked for me.
I wonder if Shannon would want to know?
Did you want to know? Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Potty training: duh moment

Rachael was leaving a wet circle in the front of her dress every time she grabbed herself and ran for the bathroom.
After 2 weeks of whining at her about it gently correcting her and wondering how long this would go on, I accidentally changed my wording a little.
What I was saying: Oh no! You got pee on your dress! Don’t do that!
What I said Tuesday morning: Don’t put your dress on your ___ when you need to go potty. That gets pee on it!
She looked at me, pulled her dress out away from her body and said, “Do this, Mommy? OK.”
There hasn’t been a wet circle on her dress since then. It was that easy.
Isn’t it funny how we sometimes underestimate our children?

Potty training: 2 weeks and counting

Little Red is doing great, but definitely still in training. She has a puddle-at-her-feet incident less than once/day. She has only had one tiny bit of a bowel accident (besides this, for which we in no way hold her responsible). She has been dry through every single night and nap without exception.
It is November now, and a time to shout out our thankfullness, so I’ll tell you that I am unspeakably thankful for all of these things. Of course, every month is a time to give thanks, and I would be thankful for such easy toilet training any month of the year.
Now, with all those qualifying statements, I’ll just add that she is still going through 5 pairs of undies/day and spends half the day with none at all. Nearly every time she needs to go, she notices just a little too late. She starts, grabs herself, and sounds the potty alarm. By that time, there is invariably a small wet circle in the front of her dress.
Did I mention invariably?
I suppose I’m thankful that, at her tender age, she already has the control to stop mid-stream. One puddle/day reminds me to be thankful that there aren’t far more.

Our new Potty Girl aced 3 tests!

She’s had a very good record so far, so I decided to put her to the test:

  1. Nap time in panties on Mom & Dad’s bed: A+
  2. Going potty when surrounded by company, including several other toddlers and babies: A+
  3. Nightime in panties on a real bed: A+

This girl is on a roll!

There are 2 tests left: Potty On The Go, which will take place Sunday when we go to church; and Potty During Videos, which will likely happen sometime today.

BTW, for those who sympathized with me over this, I have something to be thankful for in November: it was a one-time occurrence. Praise God!

Lest you doubt me…

Lest you think this whole potty training thing sounds too good to be true, let me just casually mention that potty training is a very bad time for diarrhea.
That’s all I’m saying on the matter. Let your imagine run with that.

More potty notes

Hip, hip hooray! She did it again: Little Red has woken up dry 3 mornings in a row!
Just for the record, this is unprecedented in our house. Most of the girls were potty trained at precisely this age through no planning of our own, but most took another 6-12 months to be dry at night. One or two were still wetting the bed at 4-6 years old, so I’ve done my time when it comes to nighttime training.
But I did have high hopes for this girl. Over the past year she has frequently woken up in a dry diaper, only to soak it within 20 minutes. I had a feeling this would be helpful when the time to potty train came, and hoo boy! was it!
She spent all morning playing Musical Panties, switching between her 10 new pairs just for fun (none of which bear the face of Pooh, curse thee o WalMart!). I figured she could use the practice in getting them on and off so I didn’t object. I also figured they would all need washing by the end of the day anyway. Somehow, wearing undies seems to make them feel a little more secure, a little more complacent. There’s nothing to make you run for the bathroom like the feeling of pee trickling down your leg. Undies dampen that sensation. Yes, bad pun.
When she finally settled on pink flowers on a white background, she did indeed become complacent. Small accident, shocked eyes, and a run for the bathroom.
Blue and purple ladybugs: small accident, shocked eyes, run for the bathroom.
Solid pink, with a large ladybug in the front: small accident, shocked eyes, run for the bathroom.
You get the idea. We started the day with 10 new pairs, and finished the day with 2. Still, there were no puddles on the floor and no undies needed swishing in the toilet, if you know what I mean. Day 3 was a good day, just like Day 1 and Day 2.
She even took it upon herself once or twice to go alone. Due to hygiene concerns I don’t encourage this right now, but I did take it as a good sign.
Potty training is work, but it’s fun work when we all stay on the same side: us, united, against The Evil Poop and Pee. Put them in their place, keep them where they belong.