Thursday, January 10, 2013

Potty Training for Dummies: The Amnesia Edition

Dear readers, I have BIG news. I hesitate to even type it, for fear that I will jinx myself into an afternoon full of disgusting accidents but...I think my son is potty trained.

His big sister had pneumonia for the full two weeks of Christmas break and was a hacking, coughing, feverish mess. At some point I realized this meant a) we cannot leave the house, b) no one can come over and c) we had no activities, birthday parties and very little shopping to do and few errands to run. Therefore, as social hermits, conditions were perfect for potty training.

I'll admit it: at first, I was a bit arrogant about the whole thing. I vaguely remembered training his older sister at the same age (just shy of 3 years-old) and it took two days. Nooooo problem, right?

Lydia, the next time I say something so asinine, please just slap me with a sandwich.

By the end of Day 2 with my son I slowly realized I'm a huge dummy. Or I had severe potty training amnesia. Or both. You see, I forgot a few certain truths about potty training:

1. They have to be bothered by the mess. This is one of those things veteran moms tell you--that if your kid is bothered by messy underpants then he will be more motivated to get to the potty in time. Well, only a few minutes after I took off my son's diaper for the first time he peed through his undies onto the floor. I held my breath and waited for his reaction...feeling sure he would be upset or cry. Instead he looked at the puddle on the floor, looked up me, smiled and said gleefully, "Oh well! Accidents happen!" Then I'm pretty sure he proudly backed away doing jazz hands.

2. Boys have to point their junk down. DOWN. Yeah, so the thing about being a girl and raising another girl is that I kind of forgot that his junk has to be pointing down. Let's just say Big Sister and I, who were crouching by the potty, yelling encouragement, both got a *big* surprise. In the face. Eeeeeeew.

3. They don't understand how disgusting poop is. My friend Lulu has a son the same age mine and as it happens, we are both potty training at the same time. When I saw her at the library yesterday she looked worn out and defeated. She explained that her son is doing a great job at peeing on the potty but is hesitant to poop and, as of earlier that day, he hadn't gone in two full days. That morning she walked into his bedroom and discovered that he had unloaded 2+ days of poop on his floor and then decided he would clean it up himself. Using his dump truck. Because he is 2 years old and that makes total sense. *Gag*

The only silver lining was that he has wood floors in his room, but Lulu said he has been playing long enough that it was seriously ground into the grains of the wood. She concluded her story by saying, "I think I still smell it. Is it on me? Don't stand next to me."

4. I'm not actually doing less wiping. Same butt, different location in the house. And now I'm wiping a butt AND a potty chair. So this is actually double the wiping. Shiiiiiiit.

5. You pay dearly for all your own flexibility. Like many parents, I have strayed from certain rules, routines, and codes of social conduct while potty training. For example, if you are the 86 year-old man who lives across the street from us then last night you maaaay have seen my son jumping on the couch in our bay window with his junk flapping as free as the wind. Sorry, Vito. But letting him go naked saves us a few precious seconds when nature calls. However, I'm now paying dearly for this break in routine because this morning the kid couldn't understand why he had to wear pants to the supermarket. "Noooo, I no need pants." Uh, it's 20 degrees out. You kinda do. Plus, that's like a real rule...no shirt, no shoes, no pants, no service.

6. Potty training makes me twitchy. I'm now entering week 3 of training and at this point if my son even looks at me funny I leap up dramatically and scream, "OH MY MAUDE! DO YOU HAVE TO USE THE POTTY?!?" This morning he came running up to me yelling, "Mom! Mom!" and I just assumed it was too late, so I hung my head and reached for the Clorox wipes. But the poor kid just wanted to show me his trucks. I'm a little, uh, edgy. Target, if you are reading this, you would make a killing if you placed t-boxes on the shelf next to potty chairs. I'm just sayin'.

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2012

35 comments:

  1. My first son, easy peasy to potty train. The second one, I tried 5 times. He was completely capable, but didn't want to. SOOOO...finally after several methods failed, I was sent the three day potty training method. At day 6 and 20 loads of laundry later (and me wanting to burn down my house from the smell) I gave in and slapped a diaper on his ass. He got use to underwear and decided that he no longer wanted diapers and was potty trained.

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  2. We've been working on potty training our daughter for about six months now. She does a fabulous job peeing in the potty and hardly has any accidents at all....at daycare. At home, she screams and throws tantrums and flat out refuses to use the potty. Instead she holds all her pee in until naptime and then has the wettest pullups in the world. I checked out their bathroom at her daycare and we got the exact same potty seat and stepstool as they have, thinking maybe that would help? No. We've tried bribery with M&Ms and big glittery stickers, and she still just refuses. I never thought I would meet anymore more stubborn than myself, but I think I'm losing to my 2 year old. If this first battle of wills is anything to go by, her teenage years are going to kill me.

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  3. This made me laugh several times. Like out loud, for realzies. Especially at jazz hands.

    I'm knee deep in potty training regression. You know...when they have been potty trained for six months and now decide its time to never go potty on their own. Yeah, that's where I am. In fact, today, my 3 year old pooped in her pants. I told her not to move while sitting on the toilet, pants around ankles, poop in pants.

    So, what does she do? Well, of course, she swings her legs, kicks and poop flies through the air, landing on the floor. Splat! F you, potty training regression!

    www.mommacandy.com

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  4. My four year old son is completely running the show on this one. He can pee in the potty but is almost completely refusing to go unless it's a public toilet. I can't run to McDonald's six times a day. We do have bowel issues that we see a Gastro doc for, so that part may not come for a long time. No motivational trick is working and I got really cranky with him this morning...HELP!

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  5. I too cant understand how they don't get grossed out by poop! My son once "painted" the wall next to his crib with his poop. When I found him and very cheerfully said "LOOK POOP HANDS"... Sweet! :) Congrats on you success :)

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  6. I've got a son who's special needs, so while he's 4 years old physically, mentally he's at least a year behind. We've been trying to potty train him for 2 gorram years. So much so, he's now big enough to get on and off the big potty on his own. The only way I can guarantee he won't go in a diaper or underwear is if I let him run around without pants. But the problem now is, he's at that age where's he's discovered himself, so when he's not wearing pants, he likes to....um, play. Yeah, I'm at my wits end. I swear this child will be 6 before he's potty trained.

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  7. Do a YouTube search for Shimajiro Potty Training video. I don't know that this Japanese children's video actually helped our kids potty train, but the absolute absurdity of it certainly made the process more bearable for the grown ups. We totally sing the song every. time.

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    Replies
    1. ooh, I may have to look this one up! Thanks for the tip!

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  8. This was spot-on. We were desperate to potty-train my daughter before I had my second baby, and we tried everything. Like six months straight. And one day she woke up and started using the potty like she had been doing it forever. It was a relief, but I'm not looking forward to doing it again.

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  9. Both of mine had poop issues. We always knew when my oldest was trying to poop in his diapers as he would RUN around the house. Trying to make him understand that he now had to SIT to poop took a long time and caused many accidents, mainly when we were out of the house at play areas (sorry about that people). My youngest just refused to poop in the potty, she would rather poop in her pants. I finally gave up and then she figured it all out on her own. Not sure how or why but I think with her it really was a power struggle. When Mom finally gave up she won, and was more than willing to go in the potty then. Go figure!

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  10. My son was pretty easy to train... the first time. Six months later his brother came along and it's like he developed potty amnesia. It sucked. We're just now getting back on the wagon. *sigh* At least I have good stories to tell at his wedding one day...

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  11. I am DREADING turning my living room into toilet training central again. Thankfully, it will be my last time! Fingers crossed for you that it is actually DONE and you can twitch a little bit less.

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  12. My first was easy-peasy too. She had just turned 2 and it took 2 days. My 2nd I felt like I potty-trained for a year, also a girl. My third (another girl!) just turned 2 in November and I have no desire to potty train. She is starting to show the "signs" of being ready.... but I am kind of hoping she does it on her own.... riiiight!

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  13. I am kind of shelving the whole potty training thing til my baby is done nursing in March. omg. WITHOUT FAIL potty time and nursing time would coincide leaving me with a screaming baby and a wet toddler/carpet. It is awful, my son could not care less. He pees on the floor and then splashes in it like we are at the beach. And I have an old house so if any liquid gets on my floors it seeps through the boards into the basement. AWESOME.

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  14. I can TOTALLY feel your pain!!! Pee training my son when he was 3 was easy. I let him pee in a bucket and that was it. He even sang a little song about it and did a dance, which nearly made me pee next to him because I was laughing so hard.
    Poop training was another story. He's almost 5 and he still poops standing with his butt hanging over the cold seatless toilet. The best part was the last time he had an accident. I had left him at home with my husband and he called me screaming, "THERE'S S**T EVERYWHERE!!!!" I got home to find out that he had pooped in his hands and smeared it everywhere, on his bed, on the floor, on his toys. He had even plastered his mohawk down! I spent a long, long, long time cleaning poop that night. It took at least 5 shampoos to get it out of his hair. I'm really glad that it was his last accident.

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  15. Yup, our house too. Older son practically did it himself. Little brother? Lets just say, he showed amazing interest in it at age two. Which means, I've been potty training off and on for over a year now. There is a direct correlation between that and the amount of wine we now go through.

    Good thing our couch is made of microfiber.

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  16. I wholeheartedly agree with all of this. I think you're missing out, though. You haven't had the poop artwork, have you? Apparently it makes an excellent fingerpainting medium, all over the walls around the potty. Oh I see thebostommom shares my pain!

    My son took over a year to potty train or something like that. He didn't care about the mess. He could sit in his own poop for hours and not even be the least bit disturbed. Or sometimes he just used the floor in his room, because that's so much easier than walking to the toilet, right? He pooped on his racetrack rug. Because there is no greater addition to a racetrack than a pile of poop. (No racecars were harmed (or pooped on) in the writing of this comment.)

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  17. Best money you'll ever spend and all potty training issues addressed and answered: www.rosemond.com. Stop agonizing and do it like our mothers and grandmothers did- no drama, no fuss, just DONE.

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  18. it could always be worse. I have 6 year old twins with autism. The good news is that one is finally trained. He trained at 5 and a half. His twin? ummmmm we're still working on her. *sigh*. So count your blessings when you're toilet training at 2, 3, and 4 and not at 5, 6, and 7!

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  19. OMG I'm so glad my boss was out of the office for a few minutes! I was totally snort-laughing at this post! (Junk flapping free in the wind)

    I have 3 boys, all (thank Maude) potty trained now. I had a few rules that they had to follow, with varying degrees of success:
    1. JUNK DOWN. Because there is no such thing as a pee-fountain.
    2. NEVER TOUCH YOUR BUTTHOLE. #3 likes to go digging for elusive turds.
    3. Poop is not mud, chocolate, or paint. Don't touch it, smear it, sniff it, lick it or put it anywhere.

    Now, #1 was ok with those rules. He had issues with proper soap usage, (foaming kid soap = dish soap in the dishwasher overflow from hell mess), but after about a year, he finally "got" the whole potty thing.

    #2 just wanted to do what #1 was doing. Even if he had to help #1 to do it. So we had the discussion about how you can only hold onto your own penis to pee/point your own junk down/etc. Fun times.

    #3. I sigh and shake my head. He was a painter. From the moment he figured out how to remove his diaper, he was Poocasso. The walls, the floor, the bed, himself, his toys, the windows - it didn't matter, it was all covered in poo. And he's the digger. So. Yeah. That was fun. But, he's 3 and been trained since just after 2, so I shouldn't complain too much. Besides, we don't live in that shit-house anymore, so like, clean slate and all that.

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  20. My first boy to train was such an f'ed up mess, he figured out when he was mad he could just pee anywhere to get back at us. For my 2nd boy, I'm in NO RUSH. He can train himself for all I care at this point. I'll find diapers until he's in college. As you can tell I have PTSD from the last one...

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  21. Oh, the irony! While I'm reading your hilarious post on potty training, my two year old daughter was (I thought) sitting on her potty seat. Unbeknownst to me (because I was laughing too hard), she removed the seat and the bowl insert and proceeded to pee on the floor inside the potty seat. Then came to let me know what a good job she'd done and peed some more on the carpet in front of my chair... I may have to save the Rants for when we're not actively training... LOL

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  22. Forgot to add that I have four kids, all with very different personalities, aged 10-23 and I potty trained them all before they were two years old and within a week. I did it the way my mother told me, and it was easy and stress-free for all of us. The trick I think is to take all the emotion, angst, and drama out of it and approach it as matter-of-factly as you do teaching them to use a spoon. No one starts bribing kids with candy to use a spoon. The way I did it is the exact way on www.rosemond.com. He has a potty training book and lots of articles about it on his website. It's common-sense advice, and I swear to all of you: IT WORKS.

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  23. I was sitting here reading this and laughing my head off when my 3-year old came to see what's so funny. I explained that some mommies are writing all about how their kids won't go poo-poo on the potty. She told me those kids must be babies. Ironically, we've had poop issues for months with her. She'll pee on the potty no problem but she flat out refuses to poop most days! Then when she does go, it's the biggest turd ever, usually produced in her bed at night, and when we flush it down the toilet it plugs up the plumbing. So I end up disinfecting a cranky child and her bed and carpet and whatever else she's hit, consoling her sister who gets woken up in the drama and can't figure out why the room smells like a giant turd, then plunging the toilet. It does not make me happy.

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  24. I am doing the silent crying laugh right now! I SO totally get this. My oldest it daytime trained (3.5 yo) but we were lazy parents when it came to night time and I'm kicking myself for it. See, I'd read that they often aren't physically developed enough to be able to control nighttime accidents. So I just kept up with diapers/pull-ups at night. This was a HORRIBLE mistake in our house because when he was daytime PTing...he was VERY aware of the sensation that he had to go. He had accidents at night, but he would get up and let me know he had to go and would make it to the potty about 50% of the time. But then he realized, if he peed in the pull-up...there was no consequence. So he got used to peeing in the pull-up. So that in itself isn't a problem. But apparently he made a New Year's Resolution to NOT wear pull-ups to bed. He INSISTS on wearing underwear...we've had accidents every night except 2 in the last 2 weeks. And he looks at me and says, "It's ok mom, it was an accident!" I want to cry...and drink a T-box!

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  25. I'm in week 2 of potty training my 2 year old son. He has an older sister. I had no idea a boy would be SOOOOOO much messier to potty train! "Tuck in" used to mean snuggling him under the covers before bed. Now it means something completely different as I find myself repeatedly screaming throughout the day, "Tuck it in! Tuck it in! Quick before you spray the whole bathroom again!" Oh and, how is it possible for a little boy to pee UNDER the potty chair, ON the potty chair, and AROUND the potty chair while not getting one single drop IN the potty chair. Clorox wipes are my best friend.

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  26. I got so lucky with my son (and first born). He essentially potty-trained himself. My husband and I are pretty laid back, so we rah rah'd when he used the potty, and didn't react if he had an accident. By his 3rd birthday he was done, including at night. But he is also a super-clean kid and hates being dirty. So I'm sure that helped :)

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  27. I am in denial that I will have to go through this process. Six months ago at around 2 we made a run at potty training our daughter. At first every time I sat her on the potty she would eek a little pee out, we would cheer, life was good. That is until the fatefull day she got one tiny drop out and I missed cheering. She has never pee'd in the potty again! Now of course, 6 weeks before I am due to bring another little human into the world she is showing the "signs". I am pretending I don't see them, no way am I potty training when I can't drink wine. Frosting eaten while hiding in the laundry room is just not good enough.

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  28. My boys are 8 and 6 and PLEASE listen to me when I tell you that, for most boys, trying to toilet train them at 3 is like teaching a pig to sing. Or like teaching a pig to use a toilet, or insert any other pointlessly painful exercise here. He will use a toilet when he feels like it, clearly he knows where it is. So you can spend the next 6 months "training" him ( i.e cleaning poop out of his undies, sheets, hair, and legos, making yourself miserable, and smelling poop ALL. THE. TIME. ) and then he'll figure it out. Or you can leave him alone and in the same 6 months he'll grow tired of dumping a load in his pants and he'll use the bathroom. Totally your call. Both my boys went from diapers directly to underwear at almost 4 and did not have any accidents, at night or otherwise. I did not waste a nanosecond on "training" them. It didn't seem worth the hassle. And it wasn't. My friends who had boys who were "trained" at 3 ( read: they spent weeks and months trapped in the house, agonizing over outings, and mopping urine up off of every surface in the house) had "accidents" 4 or 5 times a week until they were ( wait for it!!!) almost 4. It is what it is. You can choose to be made miserable or you can leave him alone until he grows tired of sitting in his own filth.....I realize there are some males who NEVER seem to get there, judging by some man-caves I've seen. But the fact remains, he'll do it when he's ready, and not one moment before.

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  29. I'm glad I'm not the only one pulling my hair out potty training... I've spent the last few months trying to figure out how to potty train my 3-year-old twin girls while working a full-time job. We've tried pull-ups and potty chairs, star charts and treats, and everything in between. With little forward progress - multiple "accidents" a day per kid. Then I got almost two weeks off work for Christmas and New Years. Within about two days we were wearing panties all day long with no accidents. Clean, dry butts for almost two weeks! I rejoiced to the heavenly choir. Then I returned to work, and we're back to square one... I just hosed poop off baby #2 about 5 minutes ago. :/

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  30. It's funny - before my son was born I would cringe and whimper and purell my knuckles raw thinking about cleaning up all the substances that were sure to come out of him. Then he was born and I was so blissed out I could care less. Meconium? Sure! Blowouts? No problem! And then he started solid foods and potty training and it's back to being disgusting again. Stay strong, sister.

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  31. For the most part, my son was pretty easy to potty train. It was summer and we lived in the country, so we let him stand on the porch and pee out into the yard. He loved it and almost never had an accident. Pooping in the potty, on the other hand, was a little more difficult... he would poop in his pants every time. At the house we lived in, we were sharing a well with two other houses and it would often go dry, so I would leave the bathwater in the tub in case I needed to pour it into the washing machine to finish out the rinse cycle. Well, one particular time my son pooped in his pants we had no water to wash him so I plopped him down in the bathtub full of cold water to clean his butt. He screamed and cried, "It's cold mom, it's cold!" And never pooped in his pants again. That's right, I traumatized my child into pooping in the potty. Mother of the year?

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  32. My son didn't potty train until he was 3 1/2. We just told him that we couldn't go to the beach for our vacation if he wasn't peeing and pooing in the potty. He was done in 2 days after I told him that. A full 2 weeks before we left for OBX.

    But boys are notoriously difficult. My mother was still potty training my brother when he was 3 1/2 and I was 18 months when I stopped having dirty diapers. My mother had a conniption fit and ruched me to the pediatrician who asked her to watch and follow me. I was playing and got up, went to the bathroom, pulled down my CLOTH diaper (since this was in 1970), straddled the cup on the potty chair and did my business then stood up and pulled up my diaper and went back to playing. I think girls like keeping their panties clean more than boys like keeping their briefs clean.

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  33. My son is almost 4(in 4 months), he has NO interest in potty training. He doesn't mind the wet/poopy diaper. He says when he pees, or poops for me to change him, but refuses to sit on toilet! He will go when we are in public (gross, why?) but will not, wear underwear, pull up or go naked at home to go! We have been trying forever it feels like and every trick in the book/internet has not helped!! I am at my wits end with it! He will probably be able to change himself soon! Gah! I feel everyone's potty training pain! My daughter was easy, 3 days and hasn't ever had an accident, she was 22 months! Any advice or tips would be helpful!

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  34. Fortunately, my kids were brought up in the guidance of my mother-in-law, and she played great role in providing potty training to them. I know, it would have been difficult for me to attend the twin babies without having the support of their grand mom.

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