Friday, July 07, 2017

Potty-Training for the Tenth Time, Plus Some Advice at the End

Nathan turned 20 on June 24, which means that I have now been changing diapers for over 20 years straight.  There was never a time where everyone was potty-trained before the next baby came along.  We've had 2 in diapers quite a few times, but never 3, so that was nice.  Still--that's a lot of diapers, and frankly, I am ready to retire.

All that required was for me to convince Verity, and she has not been very interested in the potty!  She has sat on it several times over the past 6 months, but she rarely produced anything at all.  I knew she was ready, however, because when we drove back from Ohio on June 22, she was dry in the car.  I changed her diaper before we left, but she was dry at our lunch stop, so I didn't change her.  At 3:00, we stopped at a gas station, and she was still dry as a bone.  I told her she needed to pee so I could change her then, because we weren't making another stop, and then I went inside with the other girls to use the rest room.  When I came back out, Verity told me she had peed, and she had!  So obviously anyone with that kind of awareness and holding capability should be ready to be potty-trained!

 She's also been dry in the mornings pretty consistently, so we did a "soft start" to potty-training on Nathan's birthday.  And lo and behold, she peed in the potty right off the bat!  The older girls got her excited about wearing panties, so she picked out a pair (we have approximately a million 2T/3T pairs of varying designs) and wore them happily.  She did have an accident later on, but she did pretty well for the first day.  She wore a diaper for church and for anywhere else we were out the next few days, but she again did really well, with really only one or two other pee accidents.

The only problem was that she wouldn't poop on the potty.  She had one poopy accident in her panties (bye-bye Princess Tiana panties--I never liked your movie very much anyway, and I am DONE swishing out poopy panties in the potty, now that no one is following behind . . .), and then she just pooped at night in her diaper (or at the pool in her swim diaper once--oops).
 We tried to encourage longer sitting sessions on the potty, with Luke watching many animal videos on his phone with her, and Grace reading her books, but no dice.  Verity also was never interested in trying the actual big toilet, either.
Then we went to Aunt Rose's house for the weekend.  I didn't pack her little potty, and since she had never peed, much less pooped in a big toilet, I kept her in diapers (or swim diapers) all weekend long. But this big girl was dry as a bone!  And she peed like a champ on the big toilet the whole time!  But she pooped in her diaper, instead of going on the toilet.  Ah well.

Then, on the Fourth of July, we had a breakthrough!  She pooped on the little potty not once, but twice!  Glory, glory, hallelujah!  

It was not all sunshine and roses, however.  While we were at the L's house, watching fireworks, she pooped on their toilet-and then decided to take matters into her own hand, as far as getting off and then wiping herself.  It was not pretty.  Thankfully Linda caught her before she came out to look for me, so the damage was contained!  

Since then, she has had no more accidents, and she is wearing panties full time.  We're still not out of the woods entirely with the whole poop thing, though.  She didn't go at all yesterday or today, and she'll just complain that her tummy hurts. I'm sure she's got some backlog from the stress of it all, so we're hitting that hard with extra fiber and water!  And I'm still putting her in a diaper at night and even sometimes when we go places (like to Bible study tonight) until everything works its way through.  And Verity is still enamoured with our panty selection, so she changes them frequently, even without needing to.  She also must like the look of them on her, because she's taken to not wearing anything else BUT panties around the house.  If you stop by to visit, don't be surprised if a cherub wearing only princess panties greets you at the door!

But I think I can pretty much say I am finished with diapers!  Wow!  I never dreamed that diaper-changing would be what I would become a world-class expert in, but there it is.  I wonder how long it will take for my skills to become rusty?

So what are some final potty training tips from someone who has done it more times than most?
1.  Wait until they are closer to 3.  
2. But make sure that they are really owning it mentally, because like pretty much everything else, if the child doesn't really want to be potty-trained, then you are fighting a losing battle.  One way to motivate them, especially if a younger baby is in your family, is to really play up the differences between "big kids" and babies.  Constantly reiterate what the bigger kid can do that the baby doesn't get to do, but always point out that as long as the kid wears a diapers/he is technically a baby, since that's what little baby sibling or friend baby wears.  In conjunction with that, figure out what motivates the kid, and tell him/her that is only for big kids who wear underwear.  Chewing gum, getting toenails painted--that sort of thing.  Whatever really lights their fire and might make them think it is worth it to wear underwear and interrupt what they are doing to go sit on a cold toilet to eliminate waste.  This kind of psychological reasoning can be why it works to wait until the kid is a little closer to 3 than 2, often.
3.  Try to make it low stress on you and them, as if you don't really care if this happens or not, it just might be nice for them to be a big kid so they get all these big kid privileges, you know?  This is probably easier to do when you are NOT dealing with kid #1, and all the attention is on him.  But like I did with Verity, set him on a potty, reward with M&Ms or whatever liberally, and then put the diaper back on if he's not real interested.  Then after a while of that, then work on wearing underwear, knowing that there will be a few accidents at first. But don't set up expectations for yourself that it will only take a day!  or whatever.  Because it might not (or maybe you'll get lucky), and if you are expecting that, then it's very easy to get totally discouraged.  Expect a month!  
4.  Potty-training is easier in summer simply because there are less clothes to take off or put on, and no one gets cold if they run around naked or just with underwear on.
5.  Like all kid phases, this one doesn't usually last all that long either, even though it seems like you will be dealing with accidents for the rest of your life while you are in the thick of it.  Even if it is tricky for an entire month, that's really not that long in the whole scheme of things (and obviously with special needs, this doesn't apply!).  Like one friend said, no one's kid goes off to college wearing diapers.  They'll get it!
6.  Oh!  My trick for boys, which came from Elizabeth L., who got it from her mother-in-law, who raised 4 boys:  sit little boys on the potty facing backwards!  Then their legs are spread wide enough that everything points down and goes into the toilet, plus they can hold onto the tank for support, so they don't feel like they are going to fall in!  This is a LIFESAVER if you don't want to be dealing with puddles of pee in the front of your toilet and in your little boy's underwear and pants because he didn't sit far enough back/legs far enough apart. 

That's all I can think of right off the bat.  I've always said I would rather go through labor and delivery than potty-training, so I must say I am thrilled to have this basically behind me!  Yay!  I should go out and celebrate with all the extra money we will now have in our budget without diapers and wipes!  Woo-hoo!

No comments: