January 24, 2012

Potty Training the Becoming SuperMommy Way

Warning:  This post is all about poo and pee.

"Potty Time with Abby" and "Everyone Poops"
It finally happened.  The morning sickness and fatigue mostly passed, the anxieties over travel and the holidays faded, and I buckled down.

It was time to *really* potty train my children.

Almost a year ago, I made the same decision.  They were walking, they were kind of sort of talking, and they were holding in their bodily functions until massive outpourings occurred.  The time seemed ripe.

We potty trained for a week.  During that week, both girls peed in the potty.  A few times.

And then stuff started happening again, and we sort of gave it up.  But the potties have remained out, objects of occasional curiosity, playtime, or even inspiration.

So twelve days ago, I took the plunge.  I called the diaper service and told them to cut our diaper order by two thirds.  I bought a bag of conversation hearts (the girls love hearts and they love candy) as bribes and rewards, and I got a new Swiffer.

The time was nigh.
Who wouldn't void their bladder for one of these?

On MLK Day, rather than work to benefit my neighborhood, country, or planet, I undertook the great community service of potty training my children.  (Yeah, that's a total cop out.  I was just happy to have a whole day where I was free to stay home.)

How does potty training work?  I have no idea.  I have no clue how most people do this.  I only know what made the most sense to me, and that was why I had put it off so long.  I figured that the best way, perhaps the only way, to potty train my children was to keep them naked.

That way, if they peed or pooed, they would KNOW IT.  That way, if I said, "Run to the potty!  Go go go go go!"  They wouldn't need to worry about the whole pants issue.  That way, they would figure out pretty darn quick how many advantages there are to going in the potty, rather than in a diaper.  Or... you know... on the floor.

Our first morning was utter chaos.  We marched straight away to the bathroom. For nearly an hour, we sat.  Me on a stool, the girls on their potties.  We sat, we read an entire library of potty-themed books, and we drank chocolate milk while we waited.

Eventually, both children peed in the potty.

SUCCESS! thought I.

I relocated the children to their highchairs-cushions removed and replaced with Sham-Wows- to *finally* eat breakfast.

SI finished the meal by declaring in a state of panic that she needed a clean diaper.  I plopped her onto the floor and told her to go to the potty, now!  And I checked the disaster that she must have left in her chair.

The cause for much celebration.
There was none.

As I was confusedly marveling at the entirely mundane sight of a dry Sham-Wow, SI returned from the bathroom, ecstatic.

"Mommy!  I make yellow poo!"

"...what?"

"I make yellow poo!"

"...you did what?????"

I followed her into the bathroom, and lo and behold, my child had gone to the potty.

There was much celebration.  Hugs.  High fives everywhere.  Candy hearts.  A ticker tape parade.  Skywriting.  It was epic.

DD wanted in on this.  She sat on the potty.  For what felt like the rest of the morning, she sat.  When I finally freed her, she immediately peed on the floor.  And burst into tears.

I tried to tell her that it was okay, and that mistakes happen, and that was okay because learning to use the potty takes time.  SI promptly used the potty again, and began her refrain of, "I make yellow poo!"

DD rallied to congratulate SI, and eventually calmed down.

And then she peed on the floor again.

SI began to take outrageous delight in announcing, "Debbah poo on the floor!"

This whole pee/poo distinction obviously needed some work.  But every time SI mentioned it, DD would begin to cry again.

It was not quite time for lunch.  I had planned on skipping lunch, opting instead for a constant availability of beverages and salty snacks, mostly goldfish crackers.  They weren't hungry.  And just as I was wondering if, without lunch, it might be nap time, SI ran away.  A few moments later, she came back into the room, whining as though something very upsetting had happened.  My heart dropped.  "What's wrong?  Did you have an accident?"  She nodded and whined, and grabbed my hand to lead me to... the bathroom.

Where sitting in her potty was a gigantic turd.
Paper on the floor- good for puppies and toddlers.

I was beyond ecstatic.  I threw her in the air, hugged her, high fived, everything I could think of, while I chanted, "You pooed in the potty!  You pooed in the potty!"

...parenting is so dignified.

Once SI figured out that the thing that had just happened to her was not, in fact, a sign that her ability to make "yellow poo" had somehow transformed into something sinister, she joined me in my jubilation.

DD promptly peed on the floor again, setting off her next bout of woe and misery.

By the time the day had ended, SI had one- just one- accident outside of the potty.  And it was in her chair.  DD had four, but managed to pee into the potty twice.

And so it continued for another three days.  SI peeing and pooing in the potty like she'd been doing it forever, and DD peeing over and over on the floor.  Each time, she obviously felt humiliated and wronged, and at the same time very, very guilty.

Dear readers, I never- NEVER- told her that it was a bad thing to pee on the floor.  Never.  I tried and tried to tell her that it was okay.  That we all make mistakes.  That it would get easier, and that she was learning.

She didn't believe me.

I started putting big sheets of newsprint on the floor.  I figure, hey, it works with puppies!  It was SO MUCH EASIER to clean up those messes when they were already being absorbed, and the girls were happy to spend all day playing with crayon on the "big paper."  It was, I feel, a stroke of potty training genius.  I still wish I had considered how many pairs of socks we might go through in this process, though.  It turns out, a lot.

And then the turnaround day came.  Only one accident, and halfway through, she stopped, ran to the potty, and sat down.

It's hard to be grateful for steps like that when it means you have to wash the hallway rug, but still.

This child is seriously pleased with herself.
And since then?  No accidents.  None.

She still won't just up and go to the potty in the middle of playing.  She still needs to be reminded, and occasionally argued with in order to make her stop playing with crayons and sit down on the potty for a while.  But once she's there, she knows what to do.  It takes her a little time, but she does it.  And then she gets SO EXCITED!  She gets SO PROUD!  She pumps her little fists in the air, high fives everyone a hundred times, and then demands a treat.

It's a nice change.

Tomorrow, we switch to training pants.  An obstacle between the bodily functions and the potty.

But after training pants come underwear, and after underwear?  My children get to wear clothes again.  They are SO EXCITED about underpants, you'd think I bought them some made of gold.

We're still using diapers at nap time and at night, and those are the ONLY times that DD will poo.  She must be so backed up!  I don't know how long it's going to take to get through that, but I'm confident that it won't be too long.  Perhaps we timed potty training with a growth spurt- she never really poops a lot during a growth spurt.

And me?  My pregnant legs are KILLING me!  All those hours, crouched on a stool in the bathroom.  The pregnancy leg cramps have been a problem.  And what with the constant availability of salty (and, sadly, fatty) snacks all over the house, I have been eating badly.  My poor gall bladder is furious.

But I haven't had to change more than six diapers a day in over a week.

It's amazing.

Hopefully, we'll be out of diapers entirely, or at least during the whole day, before Baby X gets here.  The girls have almost six months to get good at this, so I'm pretty confident.

I've never had only one child in diapers.  I wonder what that's like...



A note: I had been considering writing this post all week, as it was happening, but I just couldn't decide about whether or not putting pantsless pictures of my kids on the internet was a good idea.  So... more pictures once we're in training pants or underpants.  Until then, cute naked butt pictures are staying offline and family-only.  I may dedicate an entire wall to pictures of the girls with no pants.


Probably when they're about 15.  :)

7 comments:

  1. Yay for toilet learning! I hear you on trying to potty train your little ones while pregnant. I did the same thing while pregnant with my second child. Ugh....

    At least when I'm going through the toilet learning process again I shouldn't be pregnant *crosses fingers and legs for the next two years*.

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  2. I hear you about the cute naked butt pictures, and the paper on the floor. We put a washable comforter over our carpet, plunked the potty down and told her we'd turn on cartoons while she was sitting down. I have a great picture of her standing on top of her potty lid totally starkers and completely pleased with herself.

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  3. Crossing my fingers for you, but it definitely sounds like you are off to a good start! :) Good luck!

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  4. AMAZING JOB!! good for all of you!!

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  5. Awesome! I've been trying to train my 4 year old for a year and a half. The younger you do it, the better. At least you have one sister who acts as "peer pressure" for the other.

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  6. Yay for you! Although if they were still in diapers and you gave birth then you could tell everybody that you were a parent of "three kids in diapers" and they would immediately have such sympathy for you that they would immediately offer free babysitting support and buy you a latte. So there's that.

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  7. I'm currently training my 2 and a half year old. Sometimes she gets it, and others, not so much. She's still in pull ups. I do occassionally put training pants on her when she's home, she has accidents in them mostly. I haven't dedicated one full day to it, I think tomorrow may be that day. It's time, already!

    Good for you, sounds like you've made huge progress!!

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