is this something people blog about?

Can I talk about potty training on here?
Well, I'm going to.

We're potty training. And can I just say, "Whew." That is a tired-exasperated sound. 

Here's our story. In March Blythe turned two and I thought, Let's do this thing! I was a million months pregnant [translation: 8 months], and I figured it would be easier with the baby inside me than on the outside. I busted out the potty that Blythe had been gifted at Christmas [she still is young enough to not realize that she totally got gipped! shhhh], and the bribing treats, and the panties, and my patience.

After 1.4 bajillion accidents before 10:30 a.m., I decided she wasn't ready [something about bladder control], and neither was I [something about bending over to clean up messes and take down panties didn't bode well with my expanding pregnant-ess].

So we waited.

And then I had a baby. A newborn [because that's how most babies come]. I was tired. So we waited.

Then Blythe started telling us to "move back, please," when she was about to do some dirty work, and I saw the writing on the wall-- it was time. Her mama needed to put on her own big girl panties and admit it was time to take the leap ["putting on big girl panties" is a saying, please don't read that literally].

Brent's family swears by potty training when the Farmer's Almanac says is best: it's a real thing! They aren't crazy! So we checked the days. July 16- 21. It was getting close.

I asked experienced mothers in my life if they had any advice. Nearly everyone said, "Patience," and a lot added, "It won't be as bad as you think it will be. She will catch on quickly."

They were correct with the first point of advice.
And I think they have all forgotten the reality of potty training on the second point.

On July 16th, I busted out the panties, determined to not look back. I'd heard good things about just training them intensely, cold turkey- if you will. I didn't want to use Pull-Ups because if you check those puppies out, you'll see they are really just more expensive diapers.

And day one? It. was. not. good.
Not good.
I was discouraged. I tried not to scold or be mad when she had an accident. I tried to be positive. I tried to remain patient. But it was hard. I would have her sit on the potty and, nothing, then two minutes later, accident. That first day did not make me very hopeful.

Apparently Blythe didn't have much fun either because the following day when I was dressing her, I reached for her panties, ooohhhing and aahhhing over them, and she flipped out. She wanted nothing to do with them. So I told her she could just go bare bottomed. And you know what? She had ONE ACCIDENT all day long. It was night and day. Suddenly the angel choirs were singing again and I thought, Maybe she can do this after all?! 

We stayed home a lot, and went through a lot of dresses, but she was bare-bottomed for a long time, and continued to do awesome. After that first day, I stopped directing her to the potty, but just reminded her if she needed to go to be sure to sit on the potty. And she would! All by herself! She's not super talented at taking off or putting on clothes. Meaning: she cannot take off or put on clothes. Even the simple act of pulling panties down is beyond her right now [or she's too lazy to try and learn, the jury is still out on that one]. So by not having anything on, she could do the potty thing herself, which I think made a big difference. You know, two-year-olds. I also think by not having anything there, she was more aware if she needed to go. Or something?  I don't know, but the bare bottom thing worked! [She only pottied on one person! :) And it wasn't me! :) :)]

Blythe-- sans pants -- at Grandma Pat's

However, if you've been a functioning resident of the United States for much time, you understand that we can't run around bare-bottomed. Sooooooo, Blythe was going to need to learn how to wear panties.

After about two weeks of the intense, bare-bottomed approach, she was doing pretty well. She had yet to have a poopy accident, so by "doing pretty well" I mean that I thought she had it figured out and I thought all those mothers were accurate in saying it wouldn't be too difficult. I was already tired of cleaning up a few accidents a day, but I thought she had a good grip on things. Although her bare bum all day was cute to me, I figured other visitors were getting a little worried about us.


And it was like we were back to square one. Girlfriend would do whatever business she pleased in them, and not even feel the need to tell me. If she went 3 times on the potty and only had 5 accidents, it was a good day. I was so disheartened because she had been doing so well.

Maybe she wasn't ready?
Maybe we did something wrong by letting her streak for two weeks?
Maybe I should just go buy some more diapers?
Maybe Becks would be potty trained before Blythe?

Seriously. My patience was wearing thinner and thinner.

And then this week? It's like all of a sudden it makes sense! We are back to maybe one accident a day! She even told us IN THE CAR the other day! [So we pulled into Subway and I ran her in quickly. She went! Then said, "I need a sandwich." ] I think we are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

But is potty training easy?
I think my spot-cleaned carpet … and couch ... and bed will attest to the fact that no, no it is not always easy.
A friend from church is in the midst of it too and she jokingly said she just assumes her daughter will be the one to wet herself in Kindergarten. To which I say, not if Blythe beats her to it!
At a recent family reunion my cousin's wife realized we were potty training and she said, "Isn't it terrible?!" To which I say, yes, yes it is. They started, then stopped and waited a year before trying again. Great idea.

I wrote this post because:
I'm a documenter. You're welcome, Blythe.
If you have potty-trained your child, you are my hero.
If you have yet to potty-train a child, you are not the only one if it isn't easy.

I've had some friends ask for advice, which is funny to me since I literally just used some 409 on my carpet, but here is what I would say:

\ Don't start too early just because you are ready. Wait for their cues, and make sure they know how to empty their bladder. My pediatrician told me most kids aren't ready until they are 2.5 or 3, so there is that [though I know plenty have potty trained before that].
\ Go all in! Personally I think just ditching the diapers totally was a big help [she still wears them for nap and night and probably will for awhile].
\ Figure out what works for your kiddo-- if the bare bottom thing works, go for it. If panties work, go for it. If going on a BIG potty works, go straight to that. If they love having their own little potty, by all means invest $10 in one.
\ Watch the fluid intake. Some people say to make them drink lots-- this didn't work for us at all. Accident. Accident. Accident. The first few days I only let Blythe drink at her meals.
\ WATCH them. Closely. Soon you'll be able to tell when they need to do something!
\ I've pushed a lot of oatmeal and blueberries and things that will, umm, keep her moving just to help things in that area and honestly that has been easier than potty!
\ If you can, find a time you can be home as much as possible. We didn't really go anywhere for the first two weeks or so besides church and occasionally the grandparents'. [I did put her in a pull-up for church, just to be courteous of the nursery workers :), and for awhile if we were in the car].
\ Know when your kids get "zoned out" easily [like TV and meal time] and watch them closely during those times/avoid these for a bit. Other things for Blythe have been when coloring/painting, or when she is playing outside.
\ Have a potty in a convenient location for awhile so they don't have to hold it as long initially. For us that means the potty has been in our living room for awhile. To all our guests in the past month, I apologize. [We also throw the potty in the back of the van if we're going to be driving for more than a few minutes somewhere].
\ Find a reward that works that you can stick with. Blythe got to put a sticker on her potty, and a chocolate animal cracker. When she went poopy she got TWO crackers and mini marshmellows and got a sticker on a chart-- and when she gets 5 stickers in a row she gets an ice cream treat! [We are just finishing up the rewards though, because now she doesn't really care if she gets one or not, believe it or not!]
\ And the advice everyone else gave me is also true: you will need LOADS of patience. It can be frustrating, but I think disciplining for accidents is counterproductive. It's a learning process. We can't be mad at her right now. Stay positive. It's hard, but it really is the best approach.

Ultimately, like so many things, I've discovered that potty training is more about the adult in the situation: YOU are the one being trained. You have to remember to take them, ask them, encourage them. Diapers are more convenient for us-- though you're sick of changing them by the time you're kiddo is two, it really is easier to just let them go in them [in the car, in the store, in the back yard…], so learning to train yourself to stop what you're doing to take them is one of the bigger leaps.

Blythe apparently has some input. She wrote:
lkk';l/.,,mn bvcxz '…lkjhgfdsa

So there is that. She is so wise.

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Pink Pamalamma said...

Hahaha, I love that she said she needed a sandwich after going potty at Subway! Too cute.

Looks like a lot of stickers, good job Blythe!

Ellen said...

Oh man. this is great. CONGRATULATIONS to you and Blythe. And yes, people blog about this.


MW Photo said...

I'm cracking up:
"She went! Then said, "I need a sandwich."

she is so my kind of girl

jenny said...

One mama told me, "After every phase, I usually look back and yearn for those days. NOT SO WITH POTTY TRAINING. Those are days I never want to revisit." And yes, I would say I completely agree. I hate how quickly I lose my patience.

Bella learned quick as a cricket! Three days flat - no accidents. Summer?? Wowee... that child is now (knock on wood) fully potty trained... it only took 13 months. :-p

You're doing great... and it WILL be done, one day.

Courtney B said...

Yes, yes, YES! Please DO talk about potty training! I'm terrified for this day to come... but I'm kind of hoping to do it this winter because we don't go anywhere in the winter! So at least we won't be going stir crazy by missing out on all the fun in the warm weather, on top of the nightmare I KNOW potty training will be!!
I'm so glad it's finally clicking! You are super mom and did an amazing job!!

*carrie* said...

I was glad to read your current thoughts because I've been thinking (ack!) that I should start the process with Naomi once the bigger kids start school next week. I won't push her. I've had two very different experiences so far, and have no doubt that it will be different yet this third time around. Somehow they get it eventually, but it is frustrating! Kudos for the progress you've both made!