Monday, April 08, 2013

Potty Post, vol 1

Yes, here comes the mom-blog-right-of-passage potty post I know you are all dreading/anticipating.

excited with her potty treat-gummies!
First, some background. I bought G's first potty around the time she hit 14 months old. She peed on the potty for the first (And only, I'd come to realize) time on Mother's Day. I got so excited, but didn't want to push anything. I took a pretty casual approach to potty time until July or so. My mother and mother-in-law had me and my husband potty trained around 18 months or so, and since G is a genius combination of both of us, I just knew G could do that. I tried a bare-bottom day, that turned into a morning, because I couldn't handle the constant cleaning up. Mistake one, I know. Lack of commitment. I caught a few poops on the potty, and we'd sit. Oh Lord, we'd sit. But no pee. Ever. Even after an hour of Elmo videos on my phone. There started my frustration, and her learning to hold it. Out of contempt, perhaps, or out of trying to please me, I don't know. Mistake two is right there...trying to find reason.

So potty training didn't happen before the move. I thought about doing it before J arrived, but meh. I was too worn out and trying to manage a new home with a "high(er) risk" pregnancy, it didn't happen. Then there was talk about training her in the 3 weeks my husband was planning to take off work after the baby was born. But then that crazy traumatic birth sitch happened, and the potty/new baby/recovering momma combo was completely ludicris.

So I gave myself a few months to recover, adjust to parenting two, and did some reading on potty methods. G had some awesome poop in the potty days, but then lost interest...regression, I guess. I let it slide.

I learned I had pretty much blew it already. G had a period of time where she woke up dry. Should have potty trained then. She also got too comfortable with the potty and sitting forever, reading books or magazines. She was overexposed, even if it was a non-pressure situation, the potty just became another piece of furniture. My bad, okay, I'm not perfect...the kid can't be blamed. She knows her letters, shapes, colors, numbers 0-9...she's a genius. I just let the window of potty slip away. hash tag mom fail.

I decided to put the potty away for about a month, to kind of reset the interest. Well, her memory is too good. Should have done longer than a month, but can't go back. I had decided to start potty training over Easter weekend, since my parents would be here to help with J.

That was probably mistake #2421...but what can you do. We're moving forward.

We went straight to panties. G is just that kind of girl. She doesn't like to be bare bottom, and she wouldn't get the point of training pants.

Maybe you are like...how did you know she was ready? Maybe you started too soon... blah blah...

Nope. Girl's been ready for a long time.

She has the ability to hold her pee and poop. She has the ability to pull her pants up and down. She can talk. She is mentally able to understand cause/effect and consequences. She can follow directions. She knows wet/dry (mom brag--she knows tons of opposites and also has near-kindergarten understanding of directional words like underneath, below, above, near, on top of, etc...) The list goes on.

So she isn't the kind of potty learner than has countless accidents the first day. She is the kind that holds it too much, That's been our issue. She also wants to please too much perhaps. I really don't think I put too much pressure on her. At least not intentionally.

To simplify things here's a list of what I did and why it was wrong;

Talked too much about keeping panties dry. She is the kind of kid that really only needs to hear something one or two times to understand it. I harped WAY too much on staying dry. I was just trying to spin the potty training in a positive light, but it ended up making her too conscious of not peeing. Of course we showed her the potty, and explained that she should run-run-run to it when she needed to go (and tell us when she had to pee or poop), but she was already focusing on keeping her new big girl panties (Dora and princesses) dry to hear the part about it was okay to pee and poop, just try to get it on the potty.

I didn't do the best job of hiding my true feelings about accidents. Sure, I put on a happy face, and said, "that's okay, let's clean up!" but I'm pretty sure she saw through me and knew accidents weren't my favorite thing. I know they are for learning, and it's part of the straight to panties method... Mistake #3954, choosing a method not consistent with my personality, nor my daughters. She is, as expected, following in my clean-freak foot steps. She loves helping wipe things up, keeping things cleaned and slightly orderly... Accidents not only make me frustrated internally, they make her really mad too. She doesn't like feeling wet. I know that's "supposed" to motivate her to use the potty instead of peeing her pants.... but I think that whole concept is for kids who need that motivation. Her motivation is already there, in a different way. She just simply wants to do it.

But she can't. Yet. G's potty struggle is learning how to relax. We've had some serious WWIII meltdowns over here because she says she needs to potty, runs to the potty, but nothing happens. I try to get her to play, but she doesn't want to. Or if under some circumstance I get her away from the potty, she feels like she still has to go, so she runs back. But then screams and cries because it's "tight" (her way to describe the feeling of bladder-fullness resulting from her ability to hold it for.ev.er)... I've tried everything under the sun to get her to relax. I don't want to type out the exhausting list, but trust me, it's all been done.

So there have been disastrous accidents, potty melt downs, and a few potty half-successes where some ended up in the potty. What usually happens is she finally bursts near the potty, and we help her sit to finish.... She's had a few accidents no where near the potty, and those usually happen because she's so engrossed in something it just happens... like gymnastics on Saturday, or playing outside on Friday. I try to use those as learning experience & have been saying...don't you feel better now that you let the pee out?

She also has held her poop, but a high fiber and well balanced diet has made that not such an issue, she's gone 6 times in the 9 days we've been at this. 3 of those times, at least some made it into the potty.

Yes, we've cheered and praised, and given treats (I know I said I'd never use sweets/food as a reward for potty because of the possible disordered eating it could lead to (ie, food as a reward for something could create a bad relationship with food), but I hadn't ever tried potty training before so judge not...).

The most recent decision was to put a hold on night training for my sake. It was seriously stressing me out. G has had a dry bed at several naps and nights, but when she has accidents in bed, it's usually pee and poop and it's disgusting to clean up. Soooo we are doing a pull up at night, starting last night. We'll do night training once she has days down pat for at least 2 weeks. I think that she'll be potty trained the moment she learns what it means to relax and fully control letting go of the muscles that release to pee. Nights should come easy after that, since we know she has no trouble holding it. She's always been that kind of kid. She gets it from her momma... she won't do something full-force until she's sure she's got it perfected. I guess it's genetic, because I really didn't encourage her to be that way. I totally let her explore, mess up, get things wrong, and don't harp on her about it. I ask her what she wants to do, why she wants to do it, how she feels, etc... I've set up a home conducive to experimentation and exploration, butttttt I chose wrong on this potty thing, so now I am working to correct it for her sake and for mine. Lucky J, he doesn't have to be my learning kid.

In addition to that recent decision, we had the first positive step today. She peed on her own without a fit and some got in the potty. (Ok so technically on day 1, the Saturday before Easter, she peed in the potty before nap time, but I guess that was a fluke because it never happened again until today)

I took the kids for a run in our lovely Chariot Cougar 2. I did 3.18 miles, thank you very much, G hadn't peed since I got her up for the morning (with a wet pull up that I didn't comment on, except to say, you peed--good job! because we are trying to praise her anytime she pees so that she remembers that it's good to pee, since withholding has become an issue). I knew she needed to go when we got back...so I modeled my own potty trip, and told her that if she needed to go, here was the potty. She didn't want to try. That's fine.... So then I laid J on a play mat outside my bathroom door, and turned on PBS for G. I sat her frog potty (the one she picked out the week before our official start) near them and said, I'm going to take a quick shower, you can watch some TV and I'll be right in here...if you need to go potty, you can do it! (Aside, I'm pretty lucky that I have good kids who a) don't watch TV that often, so when they do, they're fixated on it and b) don't test the waters of misbehaving while I'm occupied.)

A few minutes later, I came out of the shower and what do you know--some pee in the potty!! Sure there was some on the floor, but she did it all by herself with no screaming. I didn't say anything about the mess, she did, but I just said good job, you peed!! We did mega rewards and I consider it a big step.

If you are wondering if I've tried giving her "privacy" before, the answer is yes. That's the best way to get her to go....but generally, she won't let me leave her...I have to be really creative, and usually she'll get up to come find me...but this shower thing worked!! Maybe I'll just take 6 showers a day, lol...

Welp, there you have it. Now you are pretty much up to speed on our potty journey thus far. Worry not, I'll keep you posted.

I'll leave you with a little self-photog since we had such a great morning.

oh, and then there's this one---
J is as close as he can be to rolling over without it officially counting


  1. Awe, sounds like a crazy adventure. She will get it soon I am sure; it just takes time for some kids. Good luck!

  2. Cute pictures of the three of you. I'm not looking forward to full force potting training. I know you are frustrated, but considering the potty training stories I've heard from others, it sounds like you two are actually doing great. I'm sure she'll have it before long!

  3. The expensive diapers seem to leave a fuzzy mess on my kids after they wet into them and its hard to get off with the wipes (I end up using my fingers, ew!). Honest is the best brand of diapers I have come across yet.


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