Potty Training Confessions

If you have children you know the joys of potty training. I’m not going to lie, I dread it. Why can’t they just naturally start doing it without a fight? Yours didn’t put up a fight? Well….this may not be the blog for you. If your children are grown you may enjoy the jog down memory lane. And if your children aren’t yet at the potty training stage, well, you may not want to read this.

It’s no secret that there are TONS of ways to potty train. What works for you will not work for someone else. It’s just another one of those things about parenting that will drive you mad. There are enough articles, blogs, videos, and books about potty training to make an adult think they’ve been doing it wrong, themselves. So sit back and enjoy our failures on the many many things we’ve tried with our son.

  1. Let them wear underwear so they can feel when they wet themselves. 

The premise here is that a diaper or pull-up absorbs the wetness so if they are in a non-absorbent pair of undies it will feel differently when they pee on themselves. Makes total sense. And it’s true, by the way. But…..not every child cares that they’ve peed on themselves. Well, not enough for it to stop them from doing it.

I was lucky enough to have a best friend to pass on a whole grocery bag of little undies to potty train with. And obviously wear once the little man caught on. The first week I ever started potty training I used this method. I let him help me wash all the undies by loading the washer, putting the detergent in, and then loading the dryer once they were clean. We went through each pair and talked about the characters on them (which he loved). We talked about ‘going potty’ like a big boy and how proud we would all be for him to start doing it. He was excited and enthusiastic.  The first day I let him pick out his big boy undies and I started the day as usual. He was playing in the living room the first time it happened. He came running into the kitchen saying, “Oh no, mama, they wet!” So we got him cleaned up and talked about what it felt like and how next time we can run to the potty. He agreed and picked out a new pair of undies.

The next time he came running to me saying, “Mama go potty.” So we run to the bathroom, climb onto the stool he picked out and he peed in the potty. Success! We were both so excited! We celebrated with high fives and hugs and dancing and stickers and candy. He then kept coming to me to ‘potty’ but would not produce any pee. He had caught on that he gets rewarded for it. So I would still slightly reward his effort and tell him how proud I was to see him sitting there. We made sure to call the grandparents that night to tell them he peed on the potty like a big boy. He was so excited.

On day 2…….he couldn’t care less. He put his undies on but proceeded to pee in them and not come tell me. It just didn’t seem to bother him. I would find a puddle on the floor and have to go check him. I was asking him every 15-30 minutes if he needed to potty and he would say no. He didn’t care for the candy, the stickers, none of it. I even tried to get him to just come back there and sit with me so I could read to him. Once I told him I didn’t want to go potty by myself and asked if he would go with me. He would cry if I tried to get him to sit on the potty. I was told not to make the process misreable for him so I backed off.

On day 3….he wouldn’t even put on the undies. So I asked if he wanted to just go naked. He didn’t and wanted his pull-up. After trying to coax him in a different direction he began to cry. Again I backed off and let him wear his pull-up. I still asked him frequently about going to potty and he refused. Repeat this scenario on days 4, 5, and 6. After that I decided he wasn’t ready and decided to try again at a later date.

2. Boys need to go bare-bottom.

The premise here is that they don’t have any options but to go on the floor (all down their legs and feet) or go in a potty. Since there is no diaper, pull-up, or cotton undies there is no buffer for the liquid. Okay, that makes sense. So we tried this when I thought enough time had passed from the first attempt. He peed on the floor once and pooped on the floor twice. The first time he pooped he didn’t even care. He just kept on playing around the living room and every time he sat down to play with a different toy he left a doo-doo smudge on the carpet. I walked in and found crap spots everywhere and a turd on the rug. I wasn’t impressed with this method. He didn’t seem to care about being wet, standing in it, or leaving it there in the floor.

Even though it wasn’t successful the first time we tried it we recently tried this one, again. Still with no success, but I like the premise behind this one. It is currently warm enough outside to play without a jacket but just chilly enough for the wind to make you pee if you are naked. So we let him run around the yard and play with just a t-shirt and his rubber boots on. The rubber boots were his idea. Any way, he still would not pee. Not the entire time we were outside (over an hour). And we went outside several times for a while each time. He would kick his soccer ball, jump on the trampoline, and even help mommy water her rose bushes (with the dadgum freezing cold waterhose)……and still nothing.

3. Let them pee outside (with or without daddy), water the bushes/trees/flowers/etc.

I know a TON of people who did this with their boys. Most of my nephews learned this way. I can still remember seeing their little white booties as they leaned back to pee on Grandma’s pool plants. I like that this methods gets the dads involved. There’s nothing wrong with a little male bonding time that includes the fun act of showering things with their urine.  I’m lucky enough to have a husband that was (and still is) eager to do this.  The hubs even takes our son to potty with him indoors. We live way out in the country so it’s easy for them to strike their poses off one of the porches, together.

This method was a lot of fun for the little one. I can’t remember him ever actually peeing but he would partake in the ceremony of standing, holding, and leaning….and I would like to say pointing but all women know the irony behind that one. Even now the little one will not pee off the porch with daddy. We’ve tried to get him to ‘water the plants’ with his pee, to pee on mommy’s flowers, to pee on any of his sisters toys that happen to be outside. I’ve even offered to stick my foot out there and see if he can pee on mommy. He just won’t do it.

4. Make it special and offer rewards they like.

I get it. It needs to mean something for them to want to try it. We’ve been watching the videos and reading the books and making it daily conversation throughout each and every day. We have been taking him to look at the big boy potties for almost a year now. He gets to see when new ones come out, which ones sing songs or light up, and which ones have his favorite characters on them.  We would always ask him if he was ready to try it and he would always say no. The one time he really wanted to try it (the first time we actually tried potty training) he picked out his special seat and stool and we headed home to make a special ceremony out of ‘installing’ it for him. I let him do it and showed him how it worked. That was the night before he had his one and only successful day of peeing on the potty.

We picked all kinds of rewards so we could keep trying something different if one thing didn’t work. We used M&Ms, skittles, starbursts, hershey kisses, stickers, going to get a new Paw Patrol toy, etc. He was only impressed with the stickers on the first day. After that he wasn’t even interested in the candy. So strange.

5. Put something fun in the toilet that they can pee on.

The idea is that if they can see something floating in the water and you give them permission to pee on it, it turns into a game for them. If I were a grown man I would probably still do this one. It just seems fun. We tried cheerios, fruitloops, goldfish crackers (because they ‘swim’ if you pee on them), and a toy of his choice. He wasn’t interested in this method. Plain and simple.

6. Some boys train better standing up.

I’ve heard both sides of this. One side suggests that you should start off training boys sitting down to pee so that the transition to poo-poo training is easier for them. The other side suggests that you should start training boys to pee standing up since that is what they will see and do all the time as a boy/man/man-child. The truth is, the sensation to go #1 and #2 are completely different. But in boys, the sensation for #2 develops at a later time. That’s why training for both doesn’t usually work. It also explains why my son poops in the floor when he is bare bottom. They literally can’t feel it coming until its actually coming out. So potty training them to sit and pee isn’t any more helpful. But….I understand that some boys would rather stand than sit.

I bought this really cute toddler urinal that sticks to the bathroom wall. It looks like a frog and when they pee on its tongue the tongue spins around really fast. It helps teach them aim while having fun. I think it’s the funniest thing. My toddler, however, just likes to play with it. With his hands. It’s never been peed in. The one time he said he wanted to go potty in the frog he tried to sit down on it and it came off the wall.  To this day he still isn’t interested in it. It is cute though.

7. The potty-time watch.

This was a family recommendation. It’s a really cute concept. The parents choose a time frame to set a watch alarm to. The child wears the cool watch and when the alarm goes off it’s time to go potty. Or try. We chose 15 minute increments just so we could get in the habit of going to try. Every 15 minutes a cute song would play and we would all get up dancing and go into the bathroom. This technically worked for one day. He loved it. He would actually go sit on the potty and push….but nothing would come out. He got a small reward for trying and we went back to playing until it was time to try again. He lost his patience with it on day 2 so I had to adjust the alarm to every 30 minutes. He still wouldn’t go into the bathroom and wanted to take it off. He hasn’t worn it since. It is a really cute idea, though.

8. Nothing will work if they aren’t ready.

I wholeheartedly believe this. No matter what you try it’s not going to work if they aren’t ready. And something you’ve already tried will actually work when they are ready. You see, I’ve been worried that he hasn’t been ready for a very long time. Our pediatrician assured us that boys take a lot longer than girls and not to worry. He said but once he turns 3 and is just being stubborn….that’s a different story. It’s one thing to not be ready. It’s another thing to be ready but lazy. So I’ve read checklist after checklist of ‘potty training readiness’ and ‘how to know they are ready for the potty.’ Friends, I am here to tell you that he hits 100% of the readiness marks. Except that he just won’t do it. He’s hit the readiness marks for over 6 months now. So when he turned 3 and had already had a successful few moments of being able to do it without being an asshole…..I can figure he’s just being stubborn and/or lazy.

 

So friends….every time I try again and he has a zero success rate I consider dropping it for another month. I usually give it another few days before I decide. But as you can see, I’ve dropped it and tried again several times. This last time he did something different. He cried because he was ‘scared to potty.’ He’s never been scared before so I’m not sure if this is an excuse or if he’s genuinely scared. I don’t know how to address that one. We’ve seen videos and read books that deal with it being scary and it doesn’t seem to help. We’ve tried so many things that I know I’m leaving some out. Ho-hum. I guess I’ll drop it for a little while longer.

-Your Mediocre Mom

The Playground Police

Let’s face it…we all know her. Some of you may be her. She’s the playground police mom. She lingers around the playground loudly pronouncing that her kids follow societal rules so that the rest of the kids (and parents) see that there will be no light-hearted fun this go-round.

She is loud.

Sometimes she is loud with her proclamations of being a good mom because of how much more her kids clothes cost than hers. Sometimes she is loud about her plans for coffee later with that one friend she dreads meeting up with. Sometimes she is loud calling her kids out on something they have on as if they dressed themselves. Shut it, lady. We all know you let them leave the house like that because you’re tired of the fight like the rest of us and you just don’t give a crap. Don’t act like you care now that you’re in public. Most of all she is loud about her kids following rules that she only sees other kids ‘breaking.’

Relax, lady.

You see the playground equipment just like the rest of us. See how the steps and slide are wide enough for four kids to fit down at the same time? Yeah, that means they don’t have to wait in a single file line and take turns to go down it. It also means that if someone’s kid is, you know, being normal and trying to climb UP the slide that the other kids can just slide around them.  It also means that if someone’s kid wants to climb the stairs and stay there a few minutes that the whole playground doesn’t have to stop and wait in them.

Take a Xanax.

Or if you must look cool with a cup of coffee switch to decaf. There is no need to keep gasping and seeking for other parents’ reactions every time you see a kid jump from a piece of equipment. They are kids and fear is learned. Know what else is learned? Courage, determination, persistence, and bravery. So stop teaching them to be cautious over jumping 3 feet off the top of a damn toddler toy. Seriously.

Sit down already.

You are making the rest of us nauseous. Your four year old doesn’t need your help climbing into the pretend canoe. If they do, it’s because you keep helping them. They are capable. Instill some confidence in them by encouraging them to do it by themselves. Watch what happens when they succeed. Because they will. Besides, the rest of us can’t keep an eye on our kids from the sidelines with a 160 pound person always in the way.

Your passive-aggressive is showing.

Really. Can it. We all know what you really mean when you sarcastically say,

“You really have to keep your eyes on this one, don’t you?”

“Watch out sweetie, there is someone going the wrong way right now…wait until they get down.”

“Well her mother is somewhere in here…”

“Don’t worry if they are doing it wrong, you do it the right way and set a good example.”

“No, his mommy lets him do that but we do what that sign says.”

“You really have your hands full.”

“You must be from out of town?”

“Wow, they are big to be under 5.”

You’re loud, remember? Put your whistle away. We are all watching.

Let them be kids.

As long as no-one is getting hurt, on purpose, there is no need to intervene. Let them be kids! They can work things out on their own. Believe me…they will learn how to react to their peers if you just back off and let them try. Is there a rowdy boy shoving his way up the steps to the slide? Let your little girl react on her own if she gets shoved aside. Chances are she doesn’t give a crap and she’ll slide down anyway. Is another kid crawling too quickly through the tunnel and making others fall? Let the kids handle it. I’m willing to bet that one kid just wants to see how fast he can get through (because it’s fun) and honestly doesn’t mean to hurt anyone. Heck, unless another kid does the same thing to him he doesn’t know it may hurt at all.

There was a moment on a playground where my husband and I witnessed a kid push down our little boy. My husband’s reaction was, “what should we do?” And I said, “just give him a minute, see how he responds.” You know what? My little boy pushed that other kid right back. Regardless if you agree it was the right thing to do, his daddy and I were both proud of him. We want to know that he’ll stick up for himself if we aren’t there.  I’ve also seen my little boy be the one to hit first…and I totally intervened and he got into trouble. Letting them work things out on there own is a huge milestone for them.

You know that coffee you seem to be holding? Sit down and drink it. Here, I have whiskey in my purse, you want some? No idiot, I really don’t have whiskey in my purse. Maybe. But seriously….sit down and shut up! And lower your voice for Pete’s sake.

~Your Mediocre Mom