Thursday, January 28, 2010

Potty Training is Challenging

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I don't mean to alarm you more than you probably already are about this subject, but Potty Training is hard. If you think about it, it makes sense that it will be a challenge. It is hard to try to teach a young child how to pee and poop in the potty. How do you explain it so they can understand? I mean, how would you explain it to an adult, much less a young child? So, yeah, it makes sense that it will be a challenge.

In The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems, Tracy Hogg says, "It won't go as smoothly in real life as it sounds like it will be by reading the books. But then again, did your pregnancy? You delivery? Breastfeeding?" (page 364).

I LOVE that quote. How true it is. Nothing is as easy in real life as it is when you read about it. And just like most breastfeeding, pregnancy, and delivery experiences, the first time is the hardest. You don't know what you are doing any more than your child does.

What are we? We are many. The stressed out. The potty training mommies. I have a good friend with six children, four of whom are now potty trained. She recently completed training her fourth child and commented on how hard it is and how much she hates it. Sadly, her next step will be potty training twins! The fun :) So even experienced moms don't like to potty train and find it a challenge.

Hogg has some advice for making it easier on yourself. These are basically all about attitude adjustments, but I think they are good to hear, or uh, read (pages 363-364):
  • They Will Learn: Hogg talks about how if you look around you, all adults are potty trained. I have a friend who says this a lot, too. She is a mother of three. When she was training her oldest, she was STRESSED. One day she realized, he isn't going to graduate high school in diapers. He will get it.
  • Pick The Method For You: There are a lot of potty training theories out there, and I am sure the number will continue to grow. You can do anything from starting elimination communication soon after birth on up to waiting for your child to ask to be trained. As your friends what worked for them. Read up on options and choose what route you might want to try.
  • You Are A Novice: Remember that you are learning to potty train just as your child is learning to be potty trained. You will make mistakes. So will she.
  • Avoid A Time Limit: For many people, it is probably a good idea to avoid a time frame in which you want to get done. This puts more pressure on you and thus on the child, and pressure+potty training=disaster.
  • Keep It Secret: Don't tell anyone you are potty training. If you do, they will bug you and bug you about it. Now, I do think it is good to have a support system. So you might have a non-pushy friend you can talk to/vent to about it. Or maybe you are a member of an online community that can provide support when needed but probably won't think to ask you over and over how it is going.
I will say that potty training Kaitlyn has been a much easier process than it was for Brayden. This is actually quite strange if I think about it. I spent much less time overall in the potty training process with Brayden. But with Brayden, I wanted it done in X amount of time and I was SUPER stressed about it, which just made him SUPER stressed.

With Kaitlyn, I have taken it easy. She isn't poop trained yet, and I am starting to feel bits of tension creep up in my body as I realize she is getting older and we need to "take care of this." But overall, it has been a much smoother ride and it is all because of me not stressing over it. It will happen. Just remind me of that in a few months if she is still not poop trained. On to battle! Oh, wait, that sounds aggressive and stress-inducing. On to work? On to train? On to feigning-low-stress-levels-as-they-creep-up-on-me? Hmmm...I will let you know when I get the right phrase.



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19 comments:

Bobbie said...

thanks for the encouragement and honesty! My son is 27 months and everyone is always asking me if I've started potty training him. I've really felt like it would be best/easiest not to rush him into this at all, even with, or maybe I should say especially with a new baby on the way in just a couple months. I'm trying to stay calm about it and not worry about how old he will be when he finally figures it out, but I do question myself from time to time with everyone always bringing it up. This was just the encouragement I needed to not rush things when neither he or I are ready for it :)

Janelle said...

Do you mind me asking which method you used? I know the -wise series has a book on potty training and I was thinking of getting it. Have you read it? If so, is it helpful? My son isn't quite 2 yet, so we have some time, but he is starting to want to sit on the potty and is showing interest, so I figured I should start doing some research. Thanks so much for this blog!

Val said...

There is a daycare in my old city that says within 5 days they will have your child potty trained. Everyone I have talked to said it worked. I seriously considered enrolling them in daycare just so they could take care of that for me. The money would have been well spent.

celestevy said...

Thanks for sharing. We are potty training Isabella and I have decided on the approach of just not stressing. Overall it is going well with the peeing, however the poop is a different story. It was encouraging to hear that your daughter isn't fully trained with the poop. I do have potty training 1,2, 3 and we are going with the casual progressive approach.

Our problem with the poop is that it is a private thing for Isabella. Her timing of doing it is during her am independent play time, or turning nap or bed time. I put her on the potty before her nap and bed with books and leave her alone, but she hasn't gotten the hang of it. I am just going with what you quoted from Tracy.

Esther said...

I started potty training my 10 1/2 months daughter this week. I noticed that she has a tendency to do it at a certain time, usually after lunch. Then it started on a non-working day this week when halfway through feeding her breakfast, I saw a pooey face...than I rushed like there was no tomorrow to get her out of the highchair to undress and finally to the potty (I have been preparing her by sitting her on the potty to test her tolerant and she didn't seem to mind) and it was a success. She has been doing it for the last 5 days and with great results.

She sits on her potty for 15 minutes after her 1st, 2nd and 3rd feeds. She seems really good nature about it, Praise the Lord.

Redheads said...

That is funny about pooping in IP! My DD almost always takes a poop in the morning in her playpen during IP. She is 12 months old. I wonder if I shouldn't try to put her on the toilet during this time. I just hate to interrupt her IP, since it is so important that she has it!

Plowmanators said...

You are welcome everyone!

Plowmanators said...

Not at all Janelle. I used Pottywise pretty much down to the nth degree with Brayden. With Kaitlyn, I did a lot of pottywise, but modified it to fit her personality. I like Pottywise a lot because it has a great focus unique in potty training books, but my guess is a lot of different books would work for a lot of people. In other words, it might not really matter what method you go with in the end. "all roads lead to rome."

Plowmanators said...

Val, lol. That would be tempting :)

Plowmanators said...

celestevy,

That is our same problem with Kaitlyn and was with Brayden too. They get it eventually.

Plowmanators said...

Esther, that sounds exciting!

Stephanie said...

I just wanted to run my sitution by anyone who wants to help! :) I started potty training my daughter (almost 2.5) about a month ago. She did AMAZINGLY well. At first, I left her without anything on under a dress, but she really didn't like being naked, so we went out and got panties. She was so excited about them too! First 2 days with NO accidents. She wore diapers to naps and bed, but no accidents during the day. I didn't even have to put her on the potty at certain times because she would tell me right from the beginning that she had to go and hold it long enough until she got on the potty. We were preparing to move, and while we were looking at a house (wearing a diaper), she told me she had to go and even sat on the big potty at this house and went. I couldn't have more proud! Well, unfortunately, I started this the week after my husband and I got back from a missions trip to Guatemala. She stayed with grandparents while we were gone. That was the first time I was ever away from her, even for just 1 night. She seemed to be having some issues due to that. Her once perfect, easy bed-time turned into a complete nightmare...with lots of screaming, spanking, etc because she was being so uncooperative. It was taking several hours for her to finally calm down and go to sleep. And even after that, she would often wake in the night crying for me. The third or fourth day of training didn't go as well, but only because she was starting to carry her bad nighttime behavior into not wanting to cooperate with not wearing a diaper. I was exhausted, so I felt I needed to get her behavior issue taken care of and get her back on track with knowing that mommy and daddy aren't leaving, etc. Then we moved, so it was pushed back a little more. I started back up again this week and it couldn't more more opposite than the first time. She does NOT want her diaper off and she just crys the whole time it's not on. She's actually acting as if she's afraid she's going to pee b/c when she was wearing panties and had to pee, she started crying harder and begging for her diaper. I should have known that meant she had to go, but it took her going on the floor to realize that's what that meant. She also does not want her panties on either. I have to constantly keep her from taking them off. I was thinking she might do better just being naked. I even tried setting the timer and explaining to her that she's going to wear panties until it beeps and then she can have her diaper back on. I have no idea if that method would eventually work or not or if she'd just hold it until her diaper was on, but I was desperate for her to stop crying. So, I'm really discouraged because I saw her potential and her readiness, and now it's like training with a totally different kid. Any suggestions as to how to get her over her fear of no diaper?? It's one thing to have to constantly play with her and distract her so she's not focused on the fact she's not wearing a diaper all day, but it's totally different when she's crying that whole time too! It's exhausting and I'm afraid that I won't be able to handle it! THANKS!!

January said...

Thanks so much for the reality check! I nearly called the doctor to get my tubes tied after starting potty training this morning!

I'm an almost religious follower of the 'Wise' series and so after reading PottyWise, I thought it would be as easy as they said... yeah, ummmm no. Somehow I got the impression that my child would be potty trained by noon on the first day! haha I was also super stressing it because I thought that if I didn't get my son potty trained by three days like the PottyWise book says that I would be a failure of a mother. It's been a bit of an emotional roller coaster until I got him to nap (in a diaper... yeah, I wasn't EVEN gonna 'mess' with that, hehe, pun intended), but now after reading this post, I'm going to approach it a bit more relaxed.

One thing I would add to your post is to expect messes... expect a lot of messes! Mentally prepare yourself for a lot of messes. Prepare your house. Prepare your husband. Prepare your washer and dryer. I don't think I was 'prepared' emotionally or literally prepared for how messy this would be. I went in armed with one towel, four pairs of underwear, and a half of a box of wipes. Oops! I realized VERY QUICKLY that my supplies were NOT going to cut it. I'm going to make myself a checklist of the things I'll need to have READY TO GO the night before, so that I have it when I start with my next kiddo.

Again, thanks so much for this blog... you keep me going often when I'm ready to run away to join the circus (cause I've ALREADY JOINED the circus... it's called motherhood! haha).

Plowmanators said...

Stephanie, are you still having behavior issues in the day? If so, I think you need to get at the root of those and solve those before adding Potty training.

If not, I would consider stopping PT for now. I would give her a timeline of when she will wear panties. "When Halloween comes, you get to start wearing big girl panties and stop wearing diapers!" Just mention it to her when you change her diaper. Sound very excited when you talk about it. After you talk about it for a while, she will slowly start to believe you that it will be a happy thing for her. Good luck!

Plowmanators said...

January, lol. So true. I like your light-hearted approach. And great additional tips.

Christina said...

Potty training for us happened early, our 25 month old was just ready and we lucked out. However, this has led to a lot of problems that I'm hoping you can help me with. First, he instantly no longer wanted to go potty in a diaper, "Yay!" right? Well sure, except at 5:30 in the morning. So he has started waking up earlier to go potty. Then he doesn't want to go back to sleep. At first this posed a danger risk because he could easily scale his crib rail. He has been able to since he was 11 months old but discipline contained this problem until now. So we transitioned to a toddler bed with a toddler rail (because we don't have a twin for him). This was okay for a little while, using the tricks you have with transitioning out of the crib. But recently it has gotten rough. He is now 27 months and he wakes up between 5:30-6:30, gets out of bed and yells under the door, "Mama! Gotta go potty!" and if we don't go in there pretty quickly he will have an accident. So if we get him up he will go potty and then wants to play. So if I try to put him back in bed he will generally scream until I go back in to get him up for the day.

I've tried to mess with his nap schedule. Maybe too much.

For example yesterday:
6:30 wake up, potty, back to bed
7:30 up for the day
8:15 breakfast
9:30 very cranky, nap- went down very easy
12:00 up from nap, lunch
12:30-3:30 running errands
5:00 fairly cranky, nap- not easy or long
6:00 dinner
8:00 bed time, very cranky, didn't fall asleep until 9pm, lots of me or daddy putting him back into bed.
He eventually fell asleep by the door and we put him back in bed.

I've also tried giving him only one nap/day and I feel like that doesn't help either. Sometimes he will even wake up in the middle of the night for random reasons, "Hug!" "Milk!" "Rock!" "Rub back!" It is getting old. And I don't oblige in the middle of the night.

Before potty training he slept well from 8am-8pm. His naps were generally 12:30-3ish. with some crankiness.

Christina said...

I'd love some help, thank you!!

Plowmanators said...

Christina, first, if he has one nap a day, it should be happening after lunch. If he needs a morning nap, then he needs an afternoon nap, too. But at his age, he should be at one nap.

Second, in order to avoid the early morning potty breaks, there are a few things you can do.

1-limit drinks after dinner time.
2-take him to go potty right before you go to bed, like a "dreamfeed" but a "dreampee" :)

If that doesn't work:

1-require him to wear a diaper

or

2-after the morning potty break, tell him it is still night time and needs to go back to bed. Then be very consistent about it.

It sounds like what started as a potty need has evolved into him thinking of new ways to get visitors in the night.

Kristin L. said...

January's comments are hilarious and spot on! It was refreshing to read that someone else went through what I'm now going through.

I'm just starting potty training with my 32 month old son, but I'm thinking of postponing it and trying again in a few months. Potty training didn't go well this first day AND he's been having loose bowel movements (I think due to his 3 year old molars coming in) and that is making things WAY too messy for me to handle!

My question is about the age to start training at though. Toddlerwise suggests between 18 to 30 months. Nathan is already older than that and I don't think he's quite ready yet. If your child isn't showing all the signs of readiness or isn't quite "getting the concept" of holding it until you're on the potty, at what age should you try potty training anyways? Uh, potty training is just frustrating.

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