Recently in Adventures in potty training Category

I spur of the moment deiced to try to full on potty train Sage for a variety of reasons. The first being that she stays dry most nights and pees in the potty at least once daily. We have been reading books for months, taking her in the bathroom with us and discussing what is what, and she has been known to tell us she is wet or dirty and to take off her diaper. 

On my end, I thought potty training in summer would be easiest so she would be warm when bare bottomed about the house and have less clothes to wet during an accident/less to pull down outside to use the potty. We just got back from vacation and plan to be traveling again in a month so this gap would be it before we are gone again. Preschool starts in early September and I didn't want to tackle potty training and preschool at one time. I also put off potty training River until he was 2 years, 7 months old because of was intimidated and lazy. I didn't want to wait for her, if she was ready. I wasn't sure and I was never sure with River either. In fact, Sage acts more ready now than River ever did! 

So, that is why I went ahead and gave it a try! 

With River, his first day diaper-free ended in all accidents and one successful potty usage. Sage was the same. By day two, River only had one accident. Sage had only one success where she got up from my lap, sat on a potty close by and went all on her own. I didn't even know she was doing it until I heard her peeing. Same with day three. And after two poop accidents on the floor on day one, she was refusing to poop. So I scrapped potty training and am going to wait a couple months, see how she is doing and maybe try again. Which, must have been a relief to her since she pooped in her diaper within thirty minutes of getting back in one! 

River had only a few poop accidents during potty training and they were both while running to the potty. Poop training him was extremely easy. Pee was the more challenging waste as it dribbled out any old time! (I have a sneaking feeling Sage is going to be one of those potty trained kids that likes to poop in their underwear!)

I concluded that she wasn't quite ready. Beside the mess and being pretty much home bound for three days (kinda nice after vacationing), I don't see this potty training attempt as a total waste. Sage became much more aware of her bodily functions. Proclaiming, "Oh, no! Wet!" when she peed and very very happy each time she succeeded on peeing in the potty. She also began to hold her urine for longer and longer times over the three days until I was wondering if she was ever, ever going to pee again. 

I also noticed, she would freeze and make a funny little face right before she let loose all over the floor.

And finally, potty training a girl is a whole lot less messy. When she peed, it only went down and didn't spray around like an insane garden hose. 

I think from here we will have brief naked times when I can keep careful watch and try to help her succeed in going on the potty. We'll continue reading books and lavishing her with praise.

I also might need to find some baby legs to keep her warm during the cold months when, I assume, she'll be good to go with potty training. 
I don't know how it started. It just happened. Sage peed in the potty one day and the next day she peed and pooped in the potty. Suddenly, she is peeing once to twice a day in the potty for a week straight as well as staying dry most nights and most naps. 

Sage, let me remind you, is only eighteen months old. 

Of all my many parenting friends, I have only known of two children that were pretty much done potty training by their second birthdays. 

Every time I plop my undersized (only 20lbs) little girl who barely fits in 18 month size clothes and still wear a lot of 12 month items, on the little red Ikea potty and she leans forward and pees, I feel like I just saw a pink elephant fly through the air on the back of a unicorn. My delight is such that dumping pee into the toilet is as lovely as a foot massage. 

Have you heard of Elimination Control (EC)? Well I had and I thought, "That sounds like a fucking mountain I don't feel like climbing." I'd heard of it when River was little and I just didn't see myself having the sanity to go there. Now, I'm pretty sure, if I was insane enough to have a number three, I just might be insane enough to try EC out from the get-go. Frankly, it makes a lot of sense. Now, I am basing my opinions of a blog I read. One solitary little overview of EC and what I know from a friend having read about it.

Here's what makes sense:

1. infants don't want to lay around in their own waste (this is why newborns tend to squirt you when you open their diapers)
2. most animals prefer not to soil their beds

So it stand to reason that you can help even a newborn learn to eliminate outside of a diaper. Lots of people in countries without diapers do just that. Since the invention of the modern diaper, children have been taking longer to potty train. 

Fascinating, right?

I combined this bit of learning with Sage being somewhat potty curious. As in she understood the other members of her family pee in the toilet and she wanted to try too. 

My last nudge was Sage's personality. She's far more curious than River though far less communicative. River was a talker and listener. Sage is an observer and doer. She's my child that went right to standing and took steps, crawled three days and then walked fully, she's my child that climbed early, jumps already, knows how to open the door to the porch already, colors already, attempts to dress herself already. (all things River didn't do nearly as quickly). In fact, I took her to the playground and she could climb everything and went down the slide head first. When River was her age, he couldn't handle that playground. He fell off the bridge. I had to teach him how to cross in a step by step manner. He was scared and timid. Sage pushes my hands away. She figured it out on her own. River knew most of his ABCs and colors. Not Sage, but she can pick out her own clothes!

And now she has begun to be potty trained. The very tip of the potty ice burg. And their is no pressure to rush it. First, she is very young and second, she's so very young!

I have heard that children cloth diapered from day one tend to potty train earlier. River was only cloth diapered from nine months on. Correlation? I don't know. 

Also, I'm not afraid to try this. I was, frankly, quite intimidated to start potty training River. It seemed like such a hassle and I had no idea where to start. Well, been there, done that. 

So how does this all work?

For now I simply sit her on the potty when she wakes up in the morning and after nap. Sometimes she pees and sometimes she doesn't. If she does, I praise and clap. She likes to help me dump the pee in the toilet, shut the lid and flush. Sometimes she asks to sit on the potty throughout the day. There hasn't been anything created from her efforts, but I humor her. For now, I'm content to leave it at that. 

I thought it would be stressful, but it's becoming routine. Routine that is 95% of the time, having results. 

When we are ready to ditch the diapers, she'll have a better understanding about what is coming and what I expect of her. 

I have day dreams of the fall meaning an end to diapers. 

We'll see. 






I don't even know if I can rightly call this potty training anymore. Maybe potty fine-tuning? Potty tweaking? Potty practice?  

When early last week I was nursing the baby on the couch and River was standing beside me having quite suddenly has an accident-at-home-for-no-apparent-reason, I decided this entry was needed.

Nearly five months in, River rarely has an accident. He's in underwear when he is awake. At night he is still in a diaper. He's entirely capable of doing the whole potty thing solo, minus the butt wiping part. After weeks of mostly staying dry at night, I was planning on soon switching him to underwear then too. 

In October we traveled to New York. He stayed dry the entire car trip to and from. He had a couple accidents when he was busy with friends and afraid to use their toilets/potties, but both instances he tried to make it and failed. There was even one glorious moment when he shrieked he had to go, waited till I made it off an exit and peed in his potty in the car. 

I thought we were done and on our way down the potty training highway having earned the badge on that one. 

And then, he switched it up on me last week. 

This sudden potty training regression came out of nowhere. Now he is usually wetting his diaper at night. Also, often he is wetting a bit in his underwear before a mad dash to the bathroom. He flat out told me he doesn't want to pee. He might have to, but he damn well doesn't want to. Trying to hold in his pee is a battle he eventually looses in either a trickle or a flood. We've taken to making him go at the times we know he usually would have. We use threats. "Either try to go pee or go to time out" and it works, usually without a fuss. He'll be protesting that he doesn't have to the entire ordeal until urine sprays out with the power of a fire hose. Then he'll look up baffled and ask, "Why is is coming out so fast?" 

Uh, maybe because his poor damn bladder was about to blow. 

Along with this was the pee in public incident of his birthday in which I asked him to make a pee on the toilet not ten minutes before he let loose in his pants...WITHOUT EVEN TELLING ME HE HAD TO GO OR HAD GONE. 

Total, what the fuck

He's, flat-out, a liar. 

Where once I could trust him to go solo or inform me of his need to go in public, no longer. He will insist up and down that he will tell me...and will not. He will scream that he doesn't have to go, but he does. Trust me, he does. Because all it takes is me threatening to take him home/take away the book he is looking at/leave him in a strange public toilet stall and he can make pee instantly.

But I thought you said you didn't have to, we say with a heady dose of sarcasm.

The sarcasm is lost on him. He begins to "la la la" and kick his legs until his underwear and pants fly off.  

But perhaps the worse moment was the sudden pee pee dance followed by squeals of "I have to go! I have to pee, mommy!" with a refusal to put down his book and pull down his own pants. I relented due to his frantic state and upon pulling down the boy's pants--PEED ON. 

He peed on me. 

In summery, don't expect potty training to stick. Not even months in, successful months in. 

There should really be a badge for this one.

Maybe even a trophy. 
I guess there might be some readers out there who are curious about how the whole potty training thing has been going lately since my updates faded away into white noise. Remember, I have nothing to compare my experiences to and even if I did, every child is different.

I'd have to say it's going well--as in we are still heading towards complete potty independence. I define that as the awe inspiring moment when the boy child craps in a toilet, behind a closed door and successfully wipes his own ass. Two months and change in River is 100% in regular or training underwear (minus night time). I stopped putting a pull-up over his underwear for public outings when Heather and my Mom just left it off him while I was in the hospital. I wasn't going to wuss out after their fine show of bravery.

Occasionally River does have an accident and with far greater frequency now that Sage is around. Mostly we just forget to remind him and he really still does need to be reminded. Especially if he is really focused on some task or play. That is the only time accidents happen really. So it is best to encourage him to try before and after an activity or even during if it has been awhile. And if he does have an accident, he either: pees a little, stops and pees the rest in the potty, tells us he has to pee and pees himself or tells us as he pees himself and wants to be changed/cleaned up asap. Thus far, no accidents outside our home except for at my friend's house and it happened to be in the midst of a birthday party, the day after Sage was born, when River skipped his nap. I call that a freebie.

Also, since Sage has been born he's stopped going without help. He doesn't want to pull down his own underwear even. That is nice because he tells us when he has to go which transitions well to being out and about, but it sucks when at home. Wrestling down pants and underwear with an infant nursing is work and sitting around while River craps is hardly a great use of my time. Hopefully, as the post-baby dust settles and the air clears, he'll continue to advance in his potty training. Until then, we're putting all of that on the back burner. No moving his potties into the bathroom yet. No lessons about three squares of toilet paper per wipe. It's all about making it over the new baby hump, for now.
River had been wearing underwear for a week now. We average about one accident a day and he usually will tell us he has to pee as he is peeing, hurry to the potty and fail to get any pee there. This accident usually always happens around the time Daddy gets home from work or soon after. So I am going to encourage him to "try to make a pee pee" during this time to see if I can get him over this hump.

Not bad for the transition to underwear, especially since we were averaging an accident or two a week without any underwear. So it wasn't as if he was perfect before I stuck him in underwear. But I felt encouraging underwear wearing at home would also help him learn not to pee in them while in public. I was also tired of seeing his wang and butt hole all the time. That's not even including the penis play that took place every time he watched TV. Perfectly natural, I know. We didn't put him down for it or anything. It just wasn't something I was thrilled to see and telling him that touching himself was something one should only do in bed or the bathtub resulted in mad cackling and frantic ball squishing.

The things we witness as parents....

River is also staying dry in public and occasionally making a pee in public. Once was at his friend's house and once he actually made a huge pee in an IHOP public bathroom. Granted the pee seat I had for him is pretty useless for boys and pee got all over the floor and sprayed my leg. Did I care? No. He didn't piss his pants after all!  Soon I will have to work on the standing up to pee thing. In public, anyway, I think it will create less of a mess.

I discovered that he was sick and tired of being forced to "try" every thirty minutes we were in public. I think that forcing served it's purpose by letting him know what I expected of him (not to piss his pants), that he would be rewarded for success and attempts, and how the whole potty in public thing worked.

But when he started peeing his pants more and not telling me at all, I knew something was up. (I will call it--the control issues he inherited from his mother). I basically gave up. I reminded him what was expected before we left home and asked him if he would tell me if he had to pee. He said he would. I occasionally asked if he had to go or wanted to try and stopped forcing him to do either unless I saw a blatant cue or he said something. Once I made this change, he started telling me when he wanted to go and try. Since then he has yet to have any accidents in public and going in public more often in either his potty in the car and even (that blissful moment) in an IHOP public bathroom.

I've noticed that he is developing "pee times" and those times are a lot more spread out then when we first started. Meaning he can hold his urine. After the near constant trickle of our first week, this is impressive. It also let's me know about when he should be going and if he hasn't, when I should be pushing it more.

Overall....

PROGRESS!

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In five weeks, these have become our potty training essentials.

Ikea Potty: $3.99

80879_PE205395_S4.jpgWe have two potties set up (one in the living room and one in his bedroom) and both toilet's rigged for a toddler. He will use the toilets with our assitance for prefers the potties for solo trips. When he first began potty training there was a lot more sitting than actual waste production going on. So he prefered a potty with a softer seat for his bum but that potty causes mega messes. Pee shoots out, runs under the catch, pools under the seat, leaks onto the waterproof pad on the floor, and leaks over the seat to wet his underwear. Now he tends to do his business more quickly. So we've since replaced comfy, messy potty with another Ikea Potty. It's only fault being that it can tip over (once this happened) if he bangs into it when getting up. But it is much better at containing wildly shooting boy pee and easier to clean out. Bonus, it's cheap!

Gerber Training Underwear- $6.54 3 pack

41FQ9EHLwZL._SL500_AA300_.jpg

These underwear are looser than traditional underwear (more like boxer briefs) and have extra padding over the crotch to help "catch and hold" pee. I think they help River by forcing him to feel wet and contain most of the mess of his accidents. Especially since for some of his accidents he stops himself once he feels he is peeing and finishes on the potty. By being looser I believe they feel less like diapers and make a better transition between being naked bottom and wearing traditional underwear.

Bac-Out-- about $10.00


magic.jpgThe magic pee pee removing spray. 
I can't believe we have been potty training a month. I've done some research and read about potty training in three days/a week/"potty training boot camp". I don't know HOW that is supposed to work. I'm going to assume that short amount of time is just to lay the ground work. I'd say at the end of the first day River understood what we were doing and since then we've been fine tuning potty training and widening its effect to more independent potty skills at home and potty training while traveling outside our home. Imagine the first day was explaining the rules of the game and every day after that is practice, practice, practice. I've always read that kids aren't completely potty trained for 3-6 months and sometimes not for years overnight. 

Dude, I might still have to wipe his ass when he is four. 

Also, at least he hasn't made a poop slide

Those harsh realities make me feel better about where we are in one month's time. In one month River has really leveled-up his potty training skills. Not a master yet, but well on the way towards mastering his bladder control.  I no longer fear having a teenager who can't use the toilet. 

Diapers seem like a long ago dream (nightmare?) at this point. Every once in awhile he wets one during nap or when he's asleep (the only times I still have him in diapers). I think I wash about 3-4 diapers a week. I haven't cleaned a poopy diaper in a month! A brief honeymoon from both before the baby girl arrives--very brief. Can't say I miss it! 

River is pretty much potty trained at home. When company is around, he will often have an accident. It's mainly because he's too busy to go on his own (which is what he does most of the day now) and I get too lazy to demand it. Still, sometimes he'll get a bit of pee on the floor on his way to the potty. Sometimes even on the potty his pee sprays across the room. But overall, potty trained. Minus his trip to a theme park with his friend's grandparents, every single poo since our second day of potty training has gone in his potty! I've heard that some kids have problems going poop in the potty and either hold it or ask for their diaper back to poop. River has no problems with poop. It's pee that causes all our accidents. 

Right now we are waiting for a week+ streak (he's done it once before and I chickened out of underwear when he kept peeing in them!) without accidents before we keep him in underwear full time at home. (5 days streak so far!) It was suggested to me by my potty training guru that we wait 7-10 days before attempting underwear again and to expect them to set us back as he learns to master taking them off and not automatically peeing when their is cloth on his boy parts. That being said...I need more bac-out. 

Sometimes he does ask to wear underwear and I let him. He's getting better and better about using them, but we don't push it mainly because it is hard for him to pull them down quickly when he has to go and he only just started announcing when he has to go as opposed to just going. He's still building up his ability to sense he has to go, hold it, and then get to the potty. That being said, that window of time is increasing day by day and his knowledge that cloth on bottom does not mean let my pee leak out everywhere is also changing. Right now, underwear just get in the way. Still, when in them, he's doing pretty good for someone who wore diapers for close to three whole years! The times he has worn them at home this past week he has either told me he had to go so I could help him get his underwear down quickly or started to pee in them (the tiniest bit of pee) and stopped to tell me he had an accident (then resumed peeing on the potty). 

Once he has that seven day streak of no accidents at home, I'll keep underwear on him all the time and insist he work on pulling them down and not peeing in them when they are on. One skill at a time though. He needs time to master listening to his body first. 

When we are out I put him in training underwear (underwear with thicker padding over his crotch) and over that I put a pull-up or cloth trainers. If we were close to home for a walk, I wouldn't put anything on over his underwear, but in a public place, I'm just not willing to let him piss all over everything! 

I make him try to go when we arrive somewhere and every thirty minutes we are there.  The last few days, he's peed in his travel potty that I keep in the car while we were out. Usually this is after I catch him grabbing his crotch or when he says, "I have to pee". When I pull down his pants he often has a little bit of pee in there. Not even enough to soak through his underwear. So he is sensing he is going, stops himself and then finishes on his potty. A major accomplishment that just started happening this past week.

Still, he isn't asking to pee when we are out. It's getting caught one of the many times we try or I'm picking up his new cues and making him go. He hardly ever wants to try. Sometimes he flat out fights me on it and I have to threaten to take him home if he won't. I still bribe him with one jelly bean for trying and lots and lots for making a pee pee in public. I also always slather on a big dose of praise for either. 

I have only gotten him to pee on a public toilet once (barely). He prefers his potty in the car, but that isn't always feasible...say...when we are in a store or the public library. At parks I just haul it around with us and stick him behind a tree. In parking lots, he can do his business right in the car. I know he prefers to wait for an opportunity like this. He can't relax enough perched on a public toilet to actually go yet. Still, we do practice for a ten count just to get used to the idea. 

What I've realized is that potty training isn't really about success but about teaching a child to think about their body and elimination. How to pay attention to themselves. So, yes we take many, many trips to the bathroom (all good, might I say, in my ninth month of pregnancy. Mommy always tries first and goes. I set a great example!) I have to wrestle underwear, trainers, and shorts up and down a little boy's body and hold him on a toilet seat while kneeling on filthy bathroom floors (remember, nine months pregnant here). It's work I didn't have to do when he was is diapers and he often doesn't even go. Sometimes it is frustrating when I have him try or am just about to have him try and then he pees his pants. Realizing that it is about making him think, not about keeping him dry, has taken a lot of stress out of the entire ordeal. 

Keeping him in trainers or pull-ups over his underwear gives me a certain peace of mind. He'll still feel wet if he goes and knows he isn't in diapers (so he shouldn't be peeing there), but I don't have to worry about pee disasters in public which would be more likely to happen than not at this point. When that changes, we'll take the risk. 

Turns out potty training, much like all parenting, is about mommy learning how to do it too. 

Potty training is a process, not a work of magic. It's a lot of practice and positive reinforcement. It has good days and bad days. Overall, looking back over a month, River has always been moving forward--even when it seemed like he was taking two steps back for each one ahead. 

ie: Dinner at his friend's house--he informed his father three times that he had to pee, but peed in his underwear each time before we could get him on the potty! * frustrating!*

iie: Today at the park when he peed his pants twice after I made him try and he said he didn't have to go! *grrrrrr*

I'm proud of all he's accomplished in a month. Most surprising of all, I'm proud of me too! 
After two plus weeks of potty training I can say that River is pretty much potty trained at home. He hasn't had an accident at home since last Wednesday I spoke too soon. Right after I wrote this, after he woke up from his nap, he said he had to pee, went to go pick out a book, and just let loose on the carpet--GAH. I haven't been pushing trying to go because for days upon days he's just been doing it himself. Learned my lesson. Yes, I did. 

I've stopped dragging the potty around from room to room and instead have one in his bedroom, one in the living room and both toilets set up for him to use. Recently, I just started having him wear underwear at home. He's pretty good about pulling them down by himself, though I usually rush over to help him if I see him tugging at them. So far, no further accidents in underwear one two accidents in his underwear. Still, better than he was doing. It might be because I went out and bought some training underwear that are a good deal looser. So perhaps they don't feel so much like diapers as his other set of underwear do? Maybe he is just better at acknowledging the cues his body is giving him? 

I still do have him try. I have him try in the morning, before nap, (must reinstate after nap after today's mishap), before we leave the house, when we return, before bath and before bed. He can make himself pee sometimes. Which is really quite amazing to me to see this concentrated effort on his face and a flow of urine that makes us both smile. Yes, this is what I have been reduced to. A woman so fixated of the accomplishments of my child's blossoming bowl and bladder control she blogs about it. 

So, River rarely announces that he has to go. Instead, he just goes and I either catch him going or he tells me after the fact. I think he does better at home because he's not distracted by everything going on around him. That being said he's a stubborn little bug, much like his mother. No seriously. I prefer to do things by myself. I don't like to ask for help. He is just the same way. I try to encourage him to try and he gets very angry because he doesn't have to pee. He doesn't! He knows it now! Trying is no longer novel or fun. Trying is me bothering him. He can go to the bathroom by himself, thank you very much. NOW BUG OFF MOM. 

So I guess we will stick with set "try times" and letting him just go to it solo throughout the rest of the day. I often ask and remind him that it's been awhile since he went, maybe he would like to try? I can practically see the steam beginning to curl out from his ears if I ask too many times. In this way I can say he's just like his father.

Not that everything is easy over here in potty training world. Yes, River went poop is his potty an amazing three times in a row. Announcing it to me each time as I was scrubbing the bathtub and running around with a dirty crack until I grabbed some wipes. But he also got some of it on his books, didn't tell me, covered it with more books, and smeared it around in doing so. So when I finally got around to cleaning his room--lo and behold--there was little boy feces all over several books. Library books...

So several books went with me to the sink. And several books were laboriously wiped, scrubbed and sanitized. Thankfully, they were all hardcover and poo was only on the covers. 

I am seriously wondering where the blog entries are out there on the trials of potty training kids or the blog with the clever title "The Potty Training Dairies" or "Confessions of a Potty Training Mother" or "Adventures in Potty Training Land." I feel like I need some moral support over here. Some stories of diarrhea in a public bathroom or a pee puddle in the middle of story time. 

Or maybe just someone to sympathize with the body exploration that goes along with all the potty training nudity. Like that my kid announced that he had put a sticker on his penis and yes, he did. He did....

But to look on the bright side, for two plus weeks River is doing amazingly well potty training....

at home anyway...
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While we are out and about is another story. I make him try when we get somewhere and about every thirty minutes to an hour once we are there and then before we leave. It depends on when he last went. For quick trips (2-3 hours) he always stays dry, has never once told me he has to go, and will only try with the bribery of jelly beans. I guess the practice is good although I feel like we are getting nowhere.

Play dates, longer excursions that bump into nap time, or too many people around and he is pissing in his underwear without warning and running on to do whatever he was doing with pee streams down his leg. He's only on his A-game when he can concentrate and isn't tired. 

That being said, this kid has a iron bladder. In two weeks time he's gone from peeing everywhere (pee practically falling out of his body constantly) to holding it for huge time blocks. Yesterday he peed at 8:00 and didn't go again until 1:00. What the hell? Maybe I'm just impressed because I pee every ten minutes....  Is it okay to be jealous of my son's bladder or is that just weird?

Most nights River even stays dry. Still, there is no pattern. No predictability to potty training. Nothing certain. 

It drives me a little nutty.

I think I just need to embrace the fact that I have no control in this situation. I can ask. I can encourage and praise but it probably won't work for while. I can haul around two huge bags worth of "just-in-case" supplies but I can't make the kid do anything he doesn't want to. Accidents have and will continue to happen. He's been in diapers closer to three years than two and I keep reminding myself we're only been doing this for two weeks. Although he's made incredible advances, he still has a lot to learn. 

Still, I can't wait for that moment when he looks at me in public and says he has to pee and then we make it to the nearest toilet and he goes. I think I might cry once we get over that mountain. My flow of tears matching his astounding flow of urine into a toilet. Because it is wow inspiring to me. Yet another one of those weird things about being a parent. 

So my main job, for now, is to stop stressing that something I do or don't do will make this potty training thing reverse back to stage zero.

I just chant my personal mantra, "He will be potty trained before kindergarten. He will. He will. Or...at least before he's sixteen or the poor kid will never get laid."

Now for a change of subject...
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BAM! So intensely huge it's like a poke in the eye! Did I blind you? 

As far as pregnancy goes, not much different. I'm tired often and my body hurts. I wake up about every two hours and sometimes have trouble falling back asleep. I've been nesting like crazy and trying to tell myself to slow down and enjoy this, the last of what could be my very last pregnancy. 

Still all the newborn diapers are ready. The baby clothes are organized. Now to just pack my hospital bag....

My groin muscles are often sore as everything relaxes in preparation for labor. I have more cramps now and then, especially when I push myself--though I can't call it Braxton Hicks as it's like a singular cramp here and then two days later, another. 

My baby gut is huge. Hugly, hugly, huge. 

The pregnancy heat flashes are the worse. I don't recall those with River. With River, twenty pounds heavier, I was just always hot. Also, it was late fall and although it was a bit odd to walk around outside in a tank-top while everyone else had jackets, hats and scarves--it was doable. 

This pregnancy I suddenly break out in sweat and feel like I am so hot I can barely breathe. Thank you pregnancy, for giving me a little foreshadowing of one of the joys of menopause. 

I sleep with two fans blowing on me in as little clothing as possible. So when the power went out last night, I woke up drenched in sweat and had to leave the bedroom to moan and complain on the living room couch with several pairs of cat eyes regarding me in the dark and then cat bodies trying to sooth me. But it was hot! So hot! Maybe I needed a cold shower? My head in the freezer? GET OFF ME FURRY FELINES! 

Then the power came back on and I debated the wisdom of kissing the humming fans. 

It's almost over but the weeks seem to drag. I can't wait for it to end and to meet my new baby. Still, enjoy it. Enjoy it, I tell myself. Even enjoy the sweat. Because this might be it. This might be the last time you look like your swallowed a watermelon... *sad*

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So River has been potty training for a bit over a week now and things are going very well in my humble opinion. Very humble indeed because besides baby sitting a couple potty training two year olds in my youth, I have no freak'in clue what I am doing. After River was born I used to have this minor panic attacks thinking of all the responsibilities motherhood entitled and one of them was teaching someone else how to take a crap in the toilet. It's just not one of those things I thought of when my husband gave me an amorous glance and suggested we get to making a baby.

I'm trying to imagine potty training like a game board. You roll numbers, get stuck on the same square one turn, skip another, take two steps back for four steps forward. It isn't as simple as weening him of a pacifier or nursing. This is going to take both time and work, assessment and trial and error. Sometimes the long process ahead gives me another minor panic attack. 

How long will we be doing this? How do I know when to move forward and when to wait? I don't want to rush. I don't want to have low expectations. God damn, this isn't easy.  There is no black and white. No right answers either. We're simply going along one day at a time and playing it by ear. 

Just in a week River has gone from making one pee a day in his potty to having only one to no accidents a day. All his poop, since we started, has gone into the potty. We still tend to put diapers on him for short errands--just in case--as his control is very new. I think he has a window of mere seconds before he will go. He runs for his potty and sits down just in time. Also, telling him to "try to go before we leave" doesn't work. He just claims not to have to go. I don't think he yet knows how to "try".

While we are out, I always take him to the bathroom with me and ask him many many times if he has to go. For all our errands, thus far, he's remained dry. But I'm pretty sure he would not use the public toilet even if he had to.  I keep a potty in the car that we have so far never used. Today, at the playground, he just peed in his diaper even though I hauled the potty around with us. The only parents at the playground with a large plastic portable toddler toilet under one arm. (there is no restroom at this particular playground)  Distraction means a ditching of the new toilet training skills or a piddle on the floor.

ie: his accident today involved peeing on the couch while watching cartoons. How could he stop watching cartoons to pee?! Impossible. 

You see, he still has a lot of learn. Though in a mere seven days, I'm really impressed by how good he is getting at this while at home. I'm glad to know he was ready after all. 

While at home River still stays naked bottom. Pulling down underwear is a feat he has not yet mastered and  the small time window between knowing he has to go to going, means underwear just get in the way. I started by dragging the potty around with us from room to room and now I've started to just leave it in the main area where we spend most of our time and letting him run for it. He also has a potty in his room.

I plan our upcoming lessons like so (not in any particular order).

1. Move potty into the bathroom where is shall remain near the big toilet.
2.  Put River in underwear and master getting them pulled down/not peeing in them
3.  Practice using the big toilet (I ordered a special seat with attached step ladder as our toilets are
very high off the ground and a simple children's stool is not enough height to allow River to get 
onto the seat solo.)
4. Make dry runs in underwear during the day/get River to use a public toilet (Also ordered a
portable fold-up potty seat)
5. Wait for River to learn bladder control while he is sleeping (this might take quite awhile. We still
use diapers for all sleeping times and usually they get very wet)

I've read that potty training is, on average, a six month experience. River should take longer because of the new baby. But, by this time next year, I assume we'll be all good and he'll be ready to start pre-school!

*

I just got a really wonderful email back from a good friend of mine. Her son potty trained by age two and unlike my slap-dash-winging-it parenting, she actually did the footwork and researched potty training.

Consider her my personal potty training guru and let me share her tips and hints about taking a potty training toddler out in public. 

In the words of the potty training guru herself:

I would NOT let him make mess in public.  What I did with J, when he was very unreliable, still just beginning: Put him in diapers, but try to reduce his opportunity to go to the bathroom in them.
 #1 bring the potty in the car!  You're going to have a point where you're driving and he shouts to you that he has to go.  You want to encourage several parts of that experience: #1 good job for telling you #2 awesome job for knowing #3 good job for holding it until you get that potty under his bum (or good job for trying, maybe we'll get it next time!)
#2 ask him to go pee before you leave the house. not just "do you have to go?" all the time (he'll say no even if he does need to go, I guarantee it, after a while).  Make it a rule: we go to the bathroom before we leave the house.  Have him sit there long enough to read a book. If he goes, praise a lot.  If not, thank him for trying!
#3 when you get where you're going, take him to the bathroom (or use the car potty if you're more comfortable with that). Again, don't ask if he has to go.  Make it a rule: we always go to the bathroom when we get to the store. If he's afraid, try going first and holding him on your lap (if you've got one left!) so he feels more comfortable about the position.  Then put him on the toilet, lean down & wrap your arms around him and ask him just to sit there for a minute, so he feels secure.  If he refuses to go, don't push it, thank him for trying, or empathize that you understand he is afraid because of ___ (loud noises of flushing & hand dryers, in our case).
#4 take him to the bathroom at regular intervals (you'll soon figure out how often he needs to go, and how often it works to offer to go before an accident happens (we found 15 minutes was a good starting interval, and then worked up to 30 minutes.  Keep an eye on how long it is between pees, you'll soon find some sort of pattern, or at least find a minimum interval).  Again, asking doesn't work, make it matter of fact. It's time to go to the bathroom.  Praise success as much as effort.
#5 take him to the bathroom before leaving the store
#6 take him to the bathroom when you get home
Always praise both effort and success.  Accidents (and they are truly accidents, his control at this point is almost nothing) should be discussed calmly, with no blame or disgust, just a "oops, we had an accident, next time we'll try to put our piddle into the potty/toilet so we don't have another accident.
Another of River's peers is potty trained and I'm wondering if maybe this wait and watch thing is ineffective. I've had the Bac-Out* for over a week now but am somehow dubious of a spray that is supposedly filled with magical enzymes. Enzymes that hunger to consume biological waste. It has a lovely lime odor that could very well conceal the scent of urine, sure, but actually remove said urine? It seems too good to be true.

I still can't get over the fact that taking River's diaper away means my carpet will become a public toilet. One that my baby girl must learn to crawl on. I just am not sure how to be okay with my precious infant coming in contact with the dried remains of her brother's pee stream. 

*the amazing spray!

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Perhaps it is naive to think that potty training can happen without a heavy showering of pee where pee ought not to go. I'm not even going to think about fecal matter. The sight of a hot pile of shit where my bare feet walk might send me into convulsive panic attacks. I may have to wear a bio hazard suit to function.

But I have the magic spray and it really does smell like a delicious slice of key lime pie. Much better, after all, than the scent of a porto potty. And damnit, if my son is smart enough to tell me "No, mommy, I am not being disagreeable" and sing and entire improvised song that goes like so, "I'm not doing nothing. I do jumping jacks and fall off my bed. I can drink milk or water. I can fall off a train track and roll into a ball", then he should be capable of understanding that pissing on the floor is just uncool. So how much pee can possibly happen...on my floor?

With this in mind I came up with a game plan. I will sit River on his potty a minimum of three times a day. In the morning, before nap, and before bed. We'll read books and eat some candy and talk about how amazingly fucking awesome it is to put one's waste into a plastic receptacle instead of going in our pants. 

If for no better reason than entertainment and candy!

Between sleep times and only while in our home, River will not wear a diaper and potties will layer the floor for pee gathering. I will ask every five minutes if a certain naked big boy would like to put pee pee in the potty (DO NOT PEE ON THE FLOOR) and then promise him loads of candy is he is successful in his task. He might think me insane or mildly obsessed, but he's only two and has plenty of time to forget mommy being crazy. 

I seem to do all the major milestones spur of the moment. Like, let's just take his pacifier away today and see what happens or I'm just not going to let him nurse anymore because I suddenly feel like I'm done. Preparation is evidently not my parental forte. So with my plan in place a mere few hours, I put it into action. 

*

We are not a family that allowed River much naked time. I have no problem with a naked bottom. Nudity is certainty not offensive. I only have problems with what randomly comes out of my son's naked bottom half and the ick factor of waste where my bare feet go. 

So River was, at first, a bit overcome with his liberation. Running, screaming happily with his little penis waggling and demanding we spank his bottom as it was gloriously exposed for hours on end. Questions like, 'I can eat dinner naked?' over and over again. Or, "I need a diaper now?" 

It took quite a while, but he peed. And the first time he peed he thought it was great fun. I had to grab him mid pee dance. He managed to spray a 180 degree waste field around himself. Then he peed again, this time standing still and announcing it to us instead of simply yipping and howling like a monkey who successfully flung shit at a human tourist. The third pee Jason discovered with his foot. 

Is he like, marking his territory or something? I asked Jason amazed by all these minor spats of urine.

I just think he's so used to pissing in his diaper that the pee just falls out... I'm not liking this.

Even though the entire apartment smells like key lime pie (and I have sudden intense cravings for a slice) I'm not liking it either.

Maybe we should put back on his diaper?

But threats to do so send the pee monster close to tears. He offers to sit on the potty and pee instead if we will only leave him naked. Jason and I are eating while River sits on his potty flipping through a book. His small voice chirps, "I peed in the potty." He always says he did, but maybe after all the actual peeing on the floor he's made a better connection about what peeing is. So I get up to look and indeed, a small puddle of pee awaits. 

He's a bit shocked by my delight, giving me the toddler WTF facial expression, until I mention a king's horde of candy. We shove M&Ms and Jelly Beans into his mouth as we fawn over him with praise over his amazing pee pee in his awesome potty. How big and smart he is. Oh, what a good job. If he were a grown man, I might have bought him a herum full of lusty concubines. 

The icing on the cake was the chance to wear a pair of Super Grover underwear the rest of the evening after many cautions of how not to pee in his big boy underwear and how to remove said underwear before sitting on the potty. No accidents the rest of the night and now he is re-diapered for sleeping. 

I have no idea if this plan will continue to work, but it is something--far better than nothing. Oh, and his little butt looks so cute out of diapers. 

*

As of the morning River sat on the potty and read books but did not go. He peed on his chair at breakfast and on the floor afterwards but announced it and ran for his potty, missing but attempting each time.   Then he peed in the potty again and is once more, back in underwear. 

This spur of the moment plan might just work....eventually. 

You could call me easily impressed or blame my awe of the mental scars of wiping ass for almost three years. 

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