Monday, June 27, 2011

Potty Progress?

I think potty training is a special circle of hell for parents. It feels like we've been working on potty training with S FOREVER.

In reality, we started working on potty training S last June. Yes, A YEAR AGO. She expressed interest in the potty at that time, so like the eager-beaver parents we are, we got S moved up a class at day school two months early to a class where they worked on potty training. She was not quite two at the time.

She took to it pretty well for a few weeks, at one point going pee pee on the potty three times in a single day. Based on that, I thought FOR SURE she would be fully potty trained by the time we went to Jamaica in September.

If you are a mother with older children reading this, I know what you are thinking: "HAHAHAHAHA! Like that was going to happen! Silly, first-time Mommy!"

Unfortunately, in July, my husband had to have emergency abdominal surgery and ended up being in the hospital for three days and then recovering and unable to lift, carry, or care for S for about six weeks after. Confused by her unexpected stay with the Grandparentals while J was in the hospital and then her Daddy's sudden inability to do anything with/for her, S completely regressed. No potty for her. Accident after accident in her panties at school. My dreams of diaper freedom by Jamaica ended. J and I tried to stay with it and get her back on track for awhile, then completely backed off potty training for months in defeat.

In November, J thought we should kick start it again with a potty weekend, where we cover the house in plastic, put out the potties, put S in panties, and let her realize that it feels like, well, crap, to pee or poop in your panties and you should run to the potty instead. A friend had told me about this and said you had to do it for three days straight, then you never put them in a diaper again. Riiiight.

Now, my husband does not have the patience or attention span to do anything for three days straight unless it's play World of Warcraft or rebuild a computer, so I did not hold out high hopes for us making it through a three-day weekend only focused on going potty.

J lasted until about 2 p.m. on the first day and then he was ready for it to be over. LOL. S, upon feeling any sensation of poop or pee would run off the plastic we laid down to cover our carpet, stop on our kitchen tile, and cry and go in her panties there, no matter how much we tried to get her on the potty. So epic fail all the way around.

At this point, I was willing to back off potty training until the summer before Kindergarten. I figured by then she might get the hang of it. However, in February, her teachers started pressuring us to send panties to school and they would work on it with her there. No way, I said, remembering last summer's parade of poop-filled laundry when S regressed during potty training. I told them, of course, I wanted them to keep working on getting her on the potty to go, but they could just keep her in pullups because she would never TELL US she needed to go and making a mess in her panties did not seem to deter her. All it did was make my life a stinky poopy hell trying to get stains out of the laundry each night!

So S would faithfully sit on the potty at school as directed by her teachers, but she wouldn't go. At all. At home, we brought out the Sesame Street potty poster that came with her Elmo potty and put it on the wall, all ready for stickers. For weeks it hung, stickerless.

Then, sometime in late March, the tide turned, thanks to my mother, the Nana. S stayed with the Grandparentals overnight on a weekend and the Nana got her to go pee pee on the potty by saying if she went pee pee, she would get to call Mommy and tell her. Amazingly, this worked. Turns out S likes to get to call someone and have them praise her for her potty-going accomplishments! I got several phone calls that day from S saying, "I went pee pee on the potty, Mommy!"

I need positive affirmation of my potty progress people-hand me the phone!

But back at school and at home, S's potty standoff continued. She would only go for Nana. A few weeks later, I took S to school-a rare occurrence as J usually takes her-and I told her if she went on the potty for me, we would call Nana and tell her. AND IT WORKED. After that, she started going potty for J as well as Nana and me. She likes to call someone and tell them afterwards...Nana, me, or Daddy depending on who gets her to go. She also started getting to put stickers on her poster, which she likes a lot.

A few weeks ago, I relented and started sending panties to school. She has had some poopy accidents, but it has not been a few times a day every day like last summer. The last few weeks she has come home from school in panties without having an accident in my car. Last Thursday, she got a big sticker, because she wore panties all day without an accident!
The next day, although I have been totally chickensh*t to take her out of the house in just panties, I took her shopping sans pullup or diaper. She went pee pee on the potty for me after we'd been out for over an hour and had eaten lunch. Sadly, 20 minutes after that success, she pooped in her pants. However, I had brought an extra outfit and plastic bag and wipes, so I cleaned her up and changed her and she was good to go. It was not as scary as I thought it would be.

She's definitely making progress. She completely understands to hold the pee until she's on the potty when wearing her panties, but she does not grasp the idea of doing the same with her poop. She DOES NOT want to go poop on the potty! The last time I tried to get her to do so, by the time I got her to the potty and pulled her pants down, she had already pooped, and half of it got all over her pants and the potty seat and the other half fell on my foot. That's right. ON MY FOOT. Not. Glam.

So, we're still working on it. She turns three in August. I think she will be completely in panties by then, but still having poop accidents. My new goal is for her to be peeing and pooping in the potty by the time we go to Walt Disney World in November, but we'll see. This time around, I'm not so naive as to think it will be that easy! (I also have a mom friend with a four-year-old son who REFUSES to poop in the potty. Still. She is beside herself.)

Potty training...not glamorous and not for the faint of heart. Just like the rest of motherhood. :)

What worked for you when you were potty training your kids? Especially to get them to poop on the potty? This will end someday, right? Talk to me!


  1. I hope this makes you feel better...Joey is still not completely potty trained and he will be four in September. Actually, last November was our first success in getting him on the potty. It worked for three days then he just refused to go. The pediatrician told me to just encourage him when he wanted to go but not push him, lest he become more resistant. We offered him presents and all kinds of things to no avail. If wearing pull-ups or underwear, he just would not tell us and go. I even tried the whole letting him go naked and he'd just pee or poop on the floor. Finally this May his grandparents were coming over and I told him he had to wear big boy underwear because Nan and Poppy do not change diapers on three-year-olds. All day he made it to the potty. He held it while they were there. Just this week he has decided to start pooping on the potty, and I don't dare let him sleep in underwear yet until he can demonstrate complete bowel control during the day... Shelby will be five next week and does not train, but we have autism to thank for that. Good news is, Mr. Will who turned 2 in May, is starting to use the potty on his own! Potty training is pretty much the bane of parenthood, but with most kids (not counting those like Shelby) it happens when they are ready.

  2. I *get* that kids have to be potty trained by a certain point (tween years, maybe?). But, I think every child and every circumstance is different. I say now that I like the idea of kid-lead potty training with gentle parental guidance. Meaning, try it. If it doesn't work, don't stress it. Take a break and try it again when you think your child is ready. Eventually all children learn how to keep their pants clean. Parents are not failures just because their children are still in diapers at age 3.

  3. Nilsa, I totally agree. In fact I wrote a post about that today. While I sort of forced my hand with Joey, I managed to do it while he was ready. When I brought him to the pediatrician for his three-year check-up last September he was completely untrained and I was bracing for a backlash. My pediatrician just told me, hey it's pretty normal, especially with boys for them not to be trained by age 3. My best friend who just became a family practitioner told me she tells parents who are frustrated the same thing. The world we live in is driven by competitive parents and those who want things done "in their time" all the time. Sometimes you just have to take a step back, breathe and realize it's not going to happen the way you want. :)