Tuesday, February 28, 2012

My 'Dear Abby' Letter To You

Have I thanked you guys, my wonderful friends who spend your valuable time reading my ramblings on motherhood and crazyhood? Thank you. And I'm not just saying that because I need some help...Um, but I do need help in the form of advice from my smart mommy friends. And you, too Mr. Donohoe, if you read this. I do think you are my only regular male reader besides Zeke who is contractually obliged to read every post and I don't want you to feel left out. Particularly because you've done the potty training thing once already.

So. Potty training. Seems like we are finally ready. I mean, I've been ready for over a year. Think Z has been ready that long as well. But now T is on board. On Friday he told me he didn't want to pee in his diaper. Each day he has been peeing in the potty more and more. Yesterday he asked to wear big boy underwear, which stayed on his bottom for less than 10 minutes. He spent the morning in a shirt and socks, peed 6 times on the pot and only had one accident-conveniently on the hardwood floor for easy clean up. 

At nap time I told him he needed to wear a diaper and I zipped him into his footie pjs facing backwards. He's been wearing that getup to nap and sleep in for over a month, since he figured out how to take off his pjs and diaper and pee and poop all over his room. He cried for a bit about injustice of having to wear the pjs, which he hasn't done before. And when he woke he had pooped in the diaper. After I cleaned him up I told him he didn't have to wear a diaper if he didn't want, but he wanted a pull up. Throughout the afternoon into evening I asked him again and again if he had to pee, but he always said "No!" Then this morning he went comando again until it was time for school. I told him he had to wear pants to school (I know, I'm a bitch), but he could wear big boy undies or pull ups. He opted for the pull ups, although he carried the underwear. And as soon as we entered the classroom he full on blew his nose into them, which is another matter altogether.

Here's my questions, folks: I don't push it, right? If he doesn't want to use the big boy potty in the afternoon I need to not press the issue, right? What did you guys do for naps with your kiddos? If I give him the option to go to the bathroom during nap he'll use it as an excuse to not nap at all. And he needs to nap, not just for my sanity. Dude still sleeps for two, sometimes three hours in the afternoon. If he doesn't he is a wreck. He needs his sleep, just like mommy. What did you guys do at night? What did you do when you needed to leave the house (like for school, or for the dreaded airplane trip on Saturday) in the middle of potty training before the kid really got it?

Please friends, help me. Because this feels like a mine field. I don't want to screw it up, I don't want to pressure him, I'm cool with cleaning up accidents and all that jazz I just don't want to do something that is going to freak him out and make him regress.

He scrunched up the wrapper from his chocolate and said, "Look Mommy! It's a 'C'!" 

Later he grabbed his brother's arm and shouted, "Brackium Emendo!" Name that Harry Potter moment.... 

His tiny hiney is so damn adorable.  

C can't keep his tongue is his mouth, T was the same way as a baby. 

Seriously unsure what he is doing here.


  1. I don't think there is a "right" answer because every kid is different. My mom was German. Straight from Germany and all of us were potty trained at 2 years old...no options, that was IT but I remember many hours in the backyard with no bottoms on so I guess that's how she kept the house clean. I had Jeremy and Alex 4 years apart and Jeremy wasn't trained when Alex was born. My pediatrician told me not to bother because Jeremy would regress when he watched the baby in diapers. My hubby had HAD it with the adult sized poops and told the kid - in no uncertain terms - that he will be wearing big boy pants and there will be no more negotiations in this area. Jeremy was potty trained that day. Alex wanted to be just like Jeremy so he potty trained himself...

    1. Thanks, Laura. Just hearing about the different experiences helps a lot. I love that Alex potty trained himself. So youngest child of him! I wonder if Charlie will be like that.

  2. Ah, potty training. I remember it like it was yesterday...and actually, it is going on now too with Lena so it really was yesterday. And today. I definitely see what people mean when they say not to push it or force it or it will backfire. That seemed to happen with Ayla. It was a solid 4-5 months of regular accidents in cloth undies/washable Kushies pullups during the day (they are awesome) before she had it down. She would nap in a pull up and still at night sleeps in one. You just can't really train them to hold it when they're sleeping, as far as I'm aware. She went through the wanting to go to sleep in underwear thing at about 2.5 yrs old, and we would let her, then go in when she was asleep and change her into a pull up. Worked like a charm. She never woke up though I was sure she would. And when we went on a trip and she didn't quite have it down, we went right back to diapers/pull ups because the plane was just not the place for cleaning up accidents/peeing on my lap. I think when they want to wear undies (and maybe a waterproof cover), they should be able to, unless it is a situation like above, especially the plane (or someone else's house, if there's no cover.) The cloth does seem to help them understand when they're wet, and accidents can't be a big thing, ever. I am not an expert, of course! Good luck!

  3. Well, when my kids were ready, at about 2 and a half for each of them, I went right to underwear and never looked back. It was painful in both cases. About 9 months of accidents for both. I tried not to push, just to have an "accidents happen!" attitude, but it got frustrating. And if I could do it over, I'd go a LOT slower. Just because the kid says he's ready to wear underpants doesn't mean you should throw out the diapers. Lesson learned the hard way.

  4. I'm firmly in the "no pressure" camp.

    Gavin wasn't ready to train until he was almost 3, and we took things very slowly. When we traveled for long car trips during potty training, we put him in a pull up "just in case" but would ask him a few times if he needed to go -- and if he said yes, we'd just pull over and let him go on the side of the road. Lots of celebrations.

    Even now he still sleeps in a pull up at night (not during nap time) -- he just can't seem to wake himself to use the bathroom. In the morning, he goes to the bathroom and throws the pull up in the trash and switches to underwear.

  5. Janine, L, and Casey thanks times a million. You (and a long phone conversation with one of my bestest friends who lives too far away) have helped put my mind at ease. I seem to know a bunch of kids who were potty trained in two days, and that does not feel like the tenor of T's experience. It will take months, that will be cool, I won't worry about throwing a diaper or pull up on him while traveling. And most of all I won't push. And Janine, I'm going to google Kushies pull ups. Sounds intriguing...
    Thank you guys again for helping me calm down about all this. I think T would thank you if he could as well!

  6. It is so unfortunate that potty training occurs during the 2 yo/3yo angst (i mean, control) phase. With Daniela arriving, Alessandro's need for control controlled him far away from the potty. He would go in the potty inconsistently. I chose not to fight the battle until later. We finally decided during a long weekend when he was 3yo to switch to underwear. He peed 6 times in his undies that day (once on my sister Barbara's husband's lap) and never had a accident since then.

    I totally agree, we STILL use pull-ups on trips and at night (i like the overnights since they are more absorbant)

    For naps, I'd use a pull-up or diaper. Being potty trained while sleeping is the last skill they get.

    If you feel frustrated, tortured, or inpatient with potty-training, you are doing it right! ;)

    Good luck on your trip!!

    1. Thank you, most wonderful Debbie. Especially for the "If you feel frustrate...." part. That sentence will be my mantra!

  7. Isn't potty training fun? It takes a lot of work on your part, but your amount of effort should be directly in proportion with their interest. If one day T doesn't want to go, then back off, start again the next day. It took a while for all of our kids, and daycare really helped out too.

    I wanted to chime in on the nighttime bedwetting thing. It isn't purely a matter of training. Your body produces a hormone that helps you not produce large amounts of pee while you sleep. It slowly builds up over night. For kids, they don't have that hormone. In general, until they have a sufficient amount of it, they will continue to wet the bed because their body has no way to control it.

    For long trips or airports, we always talked to our "potty trained" kid and used pull-ups. The big point was in telling them what a big kid they were since they didn't want to be a baby with a diaper!

    1. S-thanks for brining up the hormone thing. My sister-in-law is a med student and told us about that, but I missed the part where it develops so they don't have it as little ones.

      He's going to be in pull ups or diapers in the plane.

      He's scared to poop on the potty. Seems like he is waiting until he has a pull up or diaper on to do it. And I really don't want to push him in that department-I've heard horror stories of super scared and constipated little ones.

      Thanks for the good info!

  8. I feel left out! I totally read all your posts!

    Unfortunately I have no advice to offer; I think you're doing fine, avoiding all the landmines. Plus, I'm late on offering advice from our family. Mostly I just childishly wanted my readership noted.

    1. I'm a jerk! And thank you for reading. My friend called me out on asking for "Mom" advice instead of "parent" advice once, so it was mostly a joke for him. But I really do appreciate that you read, Dave. And your wife gave excellent info!

  9. Roo did A LOT of no underpants time for MONTHS. We had accidents for MONTHS. We are a very open family so we talk a lot about bodily functions (as I'm sure you all do too) so that helps. She also is around when mommy goes too. It might help for him to be around his daddy when he goes?

    We have training underpants that soak up some of the accidents and I also bought plastic covers for trips in the car. We call them "crinkle pants" :) We also bought a travel potty for $12 on Amazon that I wear in a small backpack everywhere we go - stores, church, any place public. We also can set it up to use in the car on long car rides too.

    Roo has not yet mastered not going during naps or the night. Lately, she's been dry for naps but it's not always. And only once she was dry all night. I use training pants (like pull ups) for the night and naps.

    I don't usually give her a choice on underpants vs pull ups during the day. It gets confusing for her and me to have to remember what she has on. At first, during the day at home, she wore underpants accidents or not. At first, trips were training pants but we always went to the bathroom lots just to try to catch one time on the potty (even if she said she didn't have to go we would "try". Seeing new potties is fun! As it got easier, I stopped using training pants for trips and just did underpants with crinkle protection.

    We're going on 6 months and still aren't done. I had an Amish neighbor tell me she knew kids that had been trained in 2 days.

    T is an INCREDIBLY intelligent little boy. He'll get it! Just try to be consistent and light hearted even when you're frustrated :)

    1. Oh we are big into him seeing both of us go. He loves to flush the toilet for us!

      Thanks for letting me know it hasn't been overnight for you guys either. It's hard to hear about the 2 day kids when it clearly is going to be a long slog with your little one. But he is doing really well and we are trying not to push him.