May 18, 2015

2 weeks after potty training: "if you think he's doing well, he's doing well"

We went to a barbecue yesterday and reunited with a former small group. Most of this group included the friends who prayed with me during my miscarriages, encouraged me through my pregnancy, and brought meals to us when our son was born.

I was standing outside with one gal, watching my son scramble around the bushes. She asked how the potty training was going, and I remarked how I generally thought he was doing well. I started to stammer over why I thought he was doing well, and she gracefully interrupted me saying "If you think he's doing well, he's doing well". Comparison doesn't help anyone, least of all the child.

Every child is different. Yup, boys take longer and don't care much about wallowing in their stuff. But at least they can pee standing up in the backyard. I'm now so used to cleaning feces off of surfaces and skin that another accident doesn't bug me all that much. That's why God invented germ-killing cleaning cloths.

In the meantime, I'm a little miffed at the fact that the boy doesn't think any of our chosen rewards are good enough. It took me three days to figure out that his idea of a reward was something specific and had nothing to do with toys. I've since run to Target to find more interesting candy.

May 12, 2015

guess who took his first potty poo?

It happened last night, just before bathtime. There was much celebration, toy giving, high fiving, and chocolate eating. I'll take it for what it is, and not assume this will happen from now on.

I am one excited mama. And I need a more interesting hobby.

May 11, 2015

1 week after potty training

Last weekend we took the boy out of diapers and announced, with much fanfare, that he's a big boy and doesn't need them anymore. Nine days later, I'd say that's about 65% true. I've since discovered how best to balance lessons and expectations.

Nobody ever told me that potty training really has three distinct steps, which might have helped (at least mentally):
  1. Learn to pee in the potty
  2. Learn to poop in the potty
  3. Stay dry overnight
Once he got a handle on avoiding accidents (especially since he could go anywhere in the backyard), he didn't mind taking care of #1. However, I've yet to see him volunteer to take care of #2. I have since learned that this is a completely separate hurdle, and no amount of bribery (stickers, candy, new toys, whipped cream in a cup) can convince him to drop a load. It's a mystery to me, but for now we're going to shut up about it. I'll just count myself lucky that they've all been hard as a rock (thanks, yogurt and bananas!).

After doing some research, I think the best thing I can do is gently give him the option of pooping in the potty when he's ready and just don't mention rewards or anything. Some suggest offering to give him a diaper to poop in. Not sure how I feel about that, but what have I got to lose?

Aside from #2, the only other remaining issue is overnight training. This I'm more than willing to take our time on, because this kid is a deep sleeper (and I'd rather not deal with the morning revele just yet). Always has been. As in, 12 hours a night since he was 4 months old. I imagine it'll be another year before we see him dry in the morning long enough to jump that hurdle. Until then, we can all relax together in the early morning while he hangs out in his squishy diaper for just a few more minutes.

May 4, 2015

our big fat potty training weekend

Saturday morning, after breakfast, we took off our son's diaper and announced he'd be going diaper-free from now on. We cheered and smiled and patted him on the back. The rest of the first day left me more exhausted than I've been since he was born.

I never found the courage or self-discipline to use charts or follow books. It was time to just cut the cord and go cold turkey (where in the world does that saying come from anyway?). We did prepare by doing these things:
  1. Cleared the schedule and did not go anywhere except to buy him new underwear.
  2. Stocked up on whatever motivating treats and cheap toys he might like.
  3. Pushed the fluids so he had plenty of opportunities to go.
  4. Got ready to clean. A lot. All day long.
  5. Set aside a bucket to put soiled clothes in (after rinsing)
  6. Made a big deal out of shopping for underwear. He now has about 16 pairs.
I set the timer for 20 minutes every time (unless he didn't go, in which case it was shorter). The first day felt like a complete disaster. He pooped in his underwear and it went down his pants. He dribbled in a chair. I texted "I'm in hell" to my mom and friend. He tried. He sometimes refused to try, and soon after had another accident. We praised him for every effort and never punished him for accidents. We called Grandma to share the great news when he had success.

That first day, he was so worn out from going potty at least 10 times that he passed out in my arms at the dinner table before 6:00 p.m. My husband and I sat in a daze on the back patio, cocktails in hand, and were grateful that the first day was over, and over so quickly!

Then the second day came, and we prepared by drinking a boatload of strong coffee so we could smile even more broadly. He pooped in his underwear again, but tried on the potty anyway. By afternoon, he finally turned a corner. We were outside, and I was sweeping when I noticed silence which scared me. I found him, pants down, getting ready to pee on his own in the grass. "Look Mommy!" he said, as he went all on his own. I was so excited I wanted to cheer. I did. We gave him a toy. It went uphill after that. He went to bed half an hour earlier than usual (with the overnight diaper, of course).

Today is the third day, and I can see he's internalized the weekend's lesson. He started to have an accident, but told me he needed to go so I dropped everything and he finished in the potty. GOOD BOY!

Two days and he's on his way to being completely rid of diapers. This tells me that, really, we could have done this months ago. But oh well, I won't punish myself. Raising a kid is hard enough without self-imposed guilt.

Here's to the start of a great week.