Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Potty Training, Take 7 & 8 - Roll 'Em!

I don't mind babies in diapers, and I appreciate when kids are toilet trained. It's just those few, in-between weeks, when the child is deciding between the two, that drive me to the brink.

And that's where we are now.

Usually I follow a child-led program when it comes to solids, weaning, toilet-training, reading readiness, etc. A select few of our children were toilet-trained right around age two, but most of them were beyond their third birthday before they showed signs of giving up the diapers.

Let me just say here that my husband and I feel there is something fundamentally wrong with changing a 3yo's diaper. Infant diapers? No problem. 1yo? Not so bad. But once a kid gets past the second birthday, what comes out of them is essentially the same as what comes out of me, and it isn't cute anymore. I don't want to deal with that. Eww.

Having said all that, I didn't really mind that the twins were still in diapers. I was prepared to wait until they were ready. And then my cousin Jennifer came from Texas to visit, with her husband and six children. Their youngest had just turned two, and she waltzed right in, climbed up on the toilet, did her business and scampered away. I was REALLY impressed, and so were the twins. Since their visit in August, the twins have been talking about Sophia and how she went on the toilet. Once I saw how easy she made it look, it was hard to keep changing diapers cheerfully.

Then there was Natalie's frustrating habit of pulling all the diaper wipes out of the box every time she gets her hands on one. I wouldn't mind if they just got dried out, because they'd just need a splash of water. No - that would be too easy. Instead they have to make it so that the wipes are unusable - getting them just dirty enough with dust, marker, bark, etc. - so that I can't use them in on their butts in good conscience.

But I think what really put me over the edge was that we always seem to be running out of diapers. At this stage in the game I'm not going to buy the size 6 Super Ultra Mega Pack, because they could decide to toilet-train at any moment. Then we'll be stuck with a mountain of diapers that cost a quarter apiece, and I'll have to give them away. So instead we've been buying the single packs, and we are continually "down to the last diaper." Andy kept saying that we just shouldn't buy the next pack, and force them to toilet train.

I don't know exactly what happened on Monday, but something in me just snapped, and I had a showdown with Natalie. I told her that no longer could she draw or paint or have sips of my coffee, because that was for big girls, and only babies used diapers. I took her into the bathroom and I tried everything. Letting the water trickle in the sink. Giving her frequent drinks. Letting her play in warm water. Reading stories. She refused to try to tinkle, and sat on the potty for an hour with a melancholy, downtrodden look of pity on her face. I don't know if the pity was for herself, for having to sit there so long, or for me, because she felt so sorry for me in my stubborn self-delusion. ("Mom, mom, mom...tsk tsk... as if I'm EVER going to pee on this thing. You poor, misguided woman!")

She absolutely loathes the cold, prickly, wet feeling when she has an "accident," and I think that was the problem on Day 1. She kept asking for a diaper whenever she felt the urge, and I flatly refused. I knew she had to go very badly, which is why I insisted she stay on the toilet for so long. Daddy got home and sent me packing defused the situation and let Natalie free, making her promise that she'd go to the bathroom when she felt "the urge." And surely enough, the next time he put her on the toilet, she tinkled, much to the surprise and delight of everybody! We cheered and danced and she proclaimed THE GOOD NEWS joyfully to everybody! And ever since she realized that she wouldn't have that cold, prickly, wet feeling, it's been easy.

The more optimistically foolish of her parents decided to let them sleep diaperless that first night, for fear of sending a mixed message, but Natalie's bed was soaked by morning. Not gonna do THAT again. So after washing and drying the bedding, I decided to explain to them that diapers are in case of an accident, but not to pee in them - just tell somebody and we'll take them to the bathroom.

Day Two. Natalie woke up dry, Noelle's diaper was wet. We put them in underwear and let them loose. Noelle puddled all day like an untrained puppy. Natalie, once she crossed yesterday's mental threshhold, made every single pee in the toilet that day. Both withheld bowel movements.

Day Three. Natalie again woke up dry. Noelle almost made it to the toilet in the morning. Hey, that's a start! Natalie again used the toilet every time, and even made a #2. Boy, there was much rejoicing after THAT one! I took them out (sans diapers) for ice cream cones to celebrate. I even took a picture of it {sicko freak} [ hey, she asked me to!] but my conscience later made me delete it. Noelle had her first tinkle success in the afternoon, and was accident-free for the rest of the day, but withheld her bowel movements. Again I put them in diapers for bedtime, and Natalie proclaimed, "Diapers are STINKY!"

Day Four (today). Natalie woke up dry and went right away. Noelle was dry when she woke, but again didn't get to the bathroom soon enough. However, both of them were diaperless and dry all day, and they even started taking themselves to the bathroom and climbing up. Natalie even wants to handle the TP. Noelle had two #2 successes, and we all went to the donut shop to celebrate. They were both in underwear all day and went on a 2-hr outing with me, and each used a restaurant toilet.

They both had so much sugar today in the form of potty treats that I'm going to be forced to find a different reward.

Now, at bedtime, Natalie is withholding a bm and crying about it. I keep reminding her that it doesn't hurt and she did it yesterday, but that's not helping. When potty-training, I get most frustrated by the fact that I CANNOT CONTROL WHAT THEY DO. And they know it. They are completely in the driver's seat. No matter how reasonable or positive or cajoling or patient or threatening I can be, they are the ones who ultimately decide, and quite frankly, that drives me up a wall.

I'll see you when I get down.


  1. As usual, I TOTALLY RELATE to your post!! Both of my girls are finally potty-trained . . . except at night, when I still put them in diapers. I keep going back and forth on whether to just bite the bullet and let them sleep in underwear. One girl routinely wakes up with a dry diaper (or wakes me up in the middle of the night because she has to pee), so she'd probably do fine. The other twin is a super sound sleeper who routinely wakes up in the morning with a soaked diaper, so I think she needs to stay in a diaper at night.

    They mirror my older girls. My first born was totally potty-trained through the night by age 3, and I can't recall her ever having an accident (awake or asleep). My second born was a different story—she didn't stop wetting the bed at night until age 6.

    They main problem for me is that I can't (don't want to) handle sleep deprivation any more. I'm at the age where it is literally PAINFUL for me to get out of bed at 2:30 in the morning to change sheets, blankets, and pajamas.

  2. Make sure that your child is not constipated. This is the most important in getting started. Children’s are afraid of the toilet and the whole process of getting in a cold wet small room. If you are not an expert in knowing about the constipation, get them to a doctor when you see signs of them not eating well or change of mood. Increase the amount of fluid and fiber in their daily diet. Water plays an import role in helping your child staying healthy and helping to digest easily. Give lots of water and encourage with praise when they drink. Fiber enriched food for kids include; Barley, Navy Beans, Baked Beans, Split Peas, Oat Bran, Raspberries, Green Peas, Prunes, Spinach, Broccoli, Raisins, Mixed Vegetables, Strawberries, Carrots, Potatoes, Corn, Rice, Apples, Oranges, Celery.

    Read children's story books about potty training to your child. There are lots of books available for you get online on potty training. Reading and imagination helps the child to relate to the interesting characters and behaviors within the story and helps them follow accordingly. Offer lots of praise when your child does make some progress. It is not an easy practice but this will help you see results amazingly when you really put in the effort to make your child proud of their achievement. Avoid physical punishment for not using the potty. Stop all reminders about using the toilet. Replace the reminders with the potty training stories you’ve read to your child. This helps as their mind recalls the story and how will keep it in mind when its time.