Sunday, December 14, 2008

Potty Training

Just about the time you find a small group of mommies that are willing, and excited, to discuss and compare what you all find in your baby’s diaper, you smack right into the wall of Potty Training. And you thought the diaper was bad…

With Jacob, the only real reason I decided to start potty training him at 2 years of age was because the contents of his diapers could no longer be contained, even by the best of what the big brand names had to offer. Jacob is not an unusually large child, nor does he have a huge appetite. But, the kid could poop, still can, I do not lie. Sometimes I am horrified and amazed, all at once, by what he can accomplish in one toilet sitting. I haven’t taken pictures, but the visuals are burned into my brain and ready for verbal launch on Prom Night…

I had always heard that there were two big obstacles to quick and easy potty training for toddlers. People had told me that boys were the hardest to potty train, and many children struggle because they are afraid of the toilet, the fears ranging from the sound of the flush to losing a body part or two…I knew I had my work cut out for me.

Now, I had just had Audrey, so tending to a newborn and a Spontaneously Eliminating Toddler was no easy feat, this is because I took the advice of my good friend in throwing all the diapers out, buying pull-ups for the nights/naps, and sticking to underwear for the whole day. Fear…set…in…

No diapers the WHOLE day, including while in the car, at restaurants, or in other people’s homes? She insisted that chucking the diapers for good was the only way to go, and to sequester ourselves in the house for the weekend to magically make this method work in only three days. Then, she said, I wouldn’t have to worry about outings. OK…

So we went out and bought underwear with all of his favorite movie characters, took pictures of him in it, (which are SO cute but I will not post) and then I talked his Elmo doll into being a model of pooping successfully on the potty, which wasn’t hard.

I brought Jacob into the bathroom and told him that from now on he would poopy in the potty, just like Elmo, which kind of freaked him out because he had never, up to this point, seen anything poop but our dog, who did it outside or behind the recliner (bad Chihuahua!). This is why Paco lost his chance to be a good role model in this area. I held Elmo above the toilet and in my hand cupped some chocolate covered raisins. I told Elmo to go ahead and “poopy in the potty”, and out fell three little turds, into the toilet, plop, plop, plop! Jacob was mesmerized, I no longer wanted to eat chocolate covered raisins. After telling Jacob that ONLY MOMMY knew when Elmo needed to poop, so he wouldn’t hold Elmo over the toilet and drop him in for a swim, I sang a song that went like this,

“POOPY IN THE POOOOOOOTY! POOPY IN THE POOOOOOOYY! ELMO WENT A-POOOOOOOOOPY! POOPY IN THE POOOOOOOTY!”

And then I did a little dance. We did this a few more times with Elmo, and Jacob very quickly had his first successful poop in the toilet. Jacob loved that I broke out into song and dance after he had a bowel movement. From here, pooping was a piece of cake. Well, no, scratch that…it was easy. I don’t want to think about poop and cake at the same time.

Peeing, however, was a totally different story…

We had a little Chihuahua, named Paco, that hated the kids and felt like he could pee in the house whenever he wanted, he was not a good example for Jacob. Now, thankfully, Paco didn’t pee where people sat or walked, but still, this was infuriating. He also left "poop gifts" from time to time. Seven pounds of exasperating mess, he was.
We miss him.
RIP, Paco.**

Anyway, I had grossly underestimated how hard the peeing part would be to control. See, poop has a way of letting you know it’s coming, and it also takes up considerable space in a diaper, and instantly emits a smell. And, for the most part, if poop is fully formed, it comes out slow enough to get to the bathroom in time. Pee, on the other hand, sometimes just makes the toddler instantly feel warmer, which isn’t always a bad thing…

So, my approach was to talk about peeing and where it needed to go, which was in the toilet. I started with the “wake up in the morning and pee IMMEDIATELY” routine, jerking Jacob out of bed and rushing him to the toilet for that first morning pee. We got that down fast, even though for the most part he was still asleep. But, from there, my house became a urinal.

Every time I turned around there was the sound of a waterfall and, "MOOOOOOOMIIIE!" Rushing him to the bathroom only meant my hallway developed a yellow-tinged path leading to the toilet. If he was on our linoleum in the dining room/kitchen during an episode, we would both end up slipping and falling in mid-stride, covering half of our bodies in pee. He is a prolific pee-er, too.

I became hypersensitive, often darting up and rushing Jacob to the potty during dinner, my favorite TV show, or a deep conversation with my husband. More often than not, my timing was off and pee flowed freely wherever Jacob stood or sat. Paco couldn’t understand why every time Jacob did this, I didn’t scream at him and throw him outside for two hours. This enraged Paco all the more, and his hatred for both kids deepened…

I soon realized that 12 pairs of underwear were hardly enough, and sent hubby out to buy-out Fred Meyer’s supply, and every carpet cleaning supply he could fit into the car. It took all that was in me to not revert back to diapers as pee flowed freely through my day and the thin cotton underwear my son wore. Soon, however, he had that successful peepee on the potty, and I adapted the "poopy song" to become the "peepee song", and then sang and danced like I was performing for a talent scout for Broadway. I got great reviews and I am available for potty performances should you need inspiration.

So, as my friend said, in about 3 days Jacob became a potty-trained "big boy." I was so proud! I decided to start buying preemie diapers for Paco. After the initial fight and blood shed (from me being bitten) over wearing them, he got quite used to them.***



*** that was a joke

**Paco left us last year after 11 great years. We miss him dearly, as do the kids, though he always barked and growled at them.

10 comments:

maninthemoon said...

Amazing, the things we do for our kids. (I loved your story, by the way.) When our youngest daughter (now eight) was finally potty trained, we had a full "no-more-diapers" party for her. There was cake (sorry) and cards and presents and all of us were "so incredibly excited" for her as she stood proudly in her new "big girl panties" and promptly peed on the floor. (She hates that we tell and retell that story over and over.)

Kim said...

That is classic! Oh man, if you had the camera rolling, submitting that would win you the AFV $10,000.00 prize for sure! Thanks for sharing!!

Josh said...

Maybe all paco need was a little dance, a litte inspiration.

Michelle said...

Gosh, this story is so familiar. It's funny how parents can all of a sudden talk about poo and pee so freely. LOL!! I had a hard time with my little one. The poop was easy but the pee was another story. It was hard work potty training. I thought girls were suppose to be easier then boys. Well,not my girl. LOL!!! Thanks for sharing and congrats mom on the accomplishement. I bet it feels great.

Kim said...

Audrey has a whole other story, and I too thought girls would be easier...she had an interesting take on her poopy "elimination sites"...I think Paco got to her, before I did, and brainwashed her, if you get my drift...ahhh...prom night is gonna be FUN!!!

w said...

potty training. i imagine that's what (whispers) hell is like.

Melinda said...

Congrats on getting your little one potty trained. It is amazing how something we find so trivial is so hard for toddlers to grasp. I ended up letting my little boy run around the house naked...for days...and after cleaning a couple of puddles, he finally got the hang of it.

Cassoulet Cafe said...

I'm dreading potty training #3...she's ready to be ready.
The Boy, who is now 6, still shoots all over the bathroom when he's sleep/walking/peeing. Little boys are THE WORST when it comes to peeing anywhere but the toilet.
sigh....

Kim said...

Yeah, but which is worse? Spraying Boy or taking your girl to a public bathroom? I plan to explore that in a post soon...a true nightmare of mine, and Audrey may need therapy...

Cassoulet Cafe said...

Kim,
Ok, you're totally right.....I'd much rather have Spraying Boy than taking my daughter to a public restroom. (Which by the way, on your airplane post, I was laughing so hard at midnight reading "put your hands on your head!!"...I am totally going to use that, because I'm always screaming DO NOT TOUCH ANYYYYYTHING...GERMS!...DISEASES! NASTY! BIOHAZARD!")
My kids too need therapy for my germ phobias.

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