Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Cookies the size of your Face....a potty training update

soooooo potty training. Yesterday my pediatrician asked me if Clara was potty trained to which I replied with a tentative "um....yes?". I always thought it was a definitive thing, like you reach a point and hey! Your child is potty trained. period. end of story. please and thank you. etc etc. While this hasn't been completely the case with Clara we are "mostly" potty trained now and I thought I'd share our experiences in the hopes of helping remind myself what it's really like for subsequent children and you know, for moral support to any other potty training parents out there! Hey! Hi! Here's a virtual hug, shhhhh shhh shhh, it's ok, you completely deserve that pint of Talenti. Whatever you need to get through this with your sanity girl, no judgement from my corner.

So here's our story.

I started out potty training trying to follow the 3 day method. Everything seemed fine- we had a lot of accidents the first day but by the end of it she started telling me she had to pee pee even if she didn't make it to the bathroom. Progress.  But I tell you, it was rough. Clara is a pretty independent little girl and having me hover around her all day watching for signs of needing the potty was wearing on me and downright annoying for her. She started legit hiding from me around 4 pm. Like go in the closet under a blanket and be as quiet as a two year old can possibly be hiding. Fun.

That night we kept her in panties but after checking on her 3 times in the night to find her soaked without even waking up we decided to cut our losses and do pull-ups until she starts waking up dry. She's such a deep sleeper. Each time we came in we changed her sheets and her clothes/panties all without her waking up and to be honest... I just wasn't willing to wake her up several times a night to take her to the potty. I don't think this is ideal...especially since Clara is smart enough to know that even though we call pull ups "panties" they are basically diapers. She has definitely asked to wear them during the day "Mommy I want to wear THESE panties (holds up a pull-up)!". yikes. But I just wasn't willing to give up precious sleep. This probably has to do with the fact that I started this with a two month old. What was I thinking you ask? I really don't know.

She caught on to going pee on the potty pretty fast. I'd say by the end of the week she was having about a 75% dry panty success rate, which I was happy with. Anytime she told us she needed to go Steve or I would drop whatever we were doing and rush her to the potty in our arms.

The poop on the other hand....the poop was tough. She'd go outside and hide if she had to go poop and sometimes if I caught her in the act I'd rush her into the bathroom only to have her stop mid-poop and refuse to go. I'm serious, that's a thing. It happened. She ended up going poop a couple of times of the potty mostly by accident followed by huge rewards and all the praise and facetime calls she could handle... but to no avail. She just wasn't very interested. Most times we'd set her on the potty (supervised of course) only to have her scream for twenty or thrity minutes straight. I was at a loss.

About three or four weeks ago (two months after we started potty training) we had a major step back. Clara was starting to revert with her peeing. I would find her completely soaked while playing outside, seemingly oblivious. She wouldn't even tell me she needed a change! On top of that...she started pooping in her room during her nap and sneaking out of her room to dump the poop out of her panties into the toilet (flushing it of course)! ARRGGH. sooooo gross.

Up to this point I was very adamant and principled about the rewards we were giving to Clara for going potty on the toilet. We ordered a bunch of these little animals on Amazon and she got one every time she went, and if she kept her panties dry 10 times in a row she got a princess doll she really liked. I really didn't want to reward her with any kind of food because I don't want her to learn to reward herself with any kind of treat/food. Unhealthy relationships with sugar etc. etc. While I still agree with this ideology something in me snapped that fateful week and all my well-meaning principles along with it. I caved and bought this gum ball machine and as much as I hate to admit it.... it totally worked. She gets a gumball every time she pees in the potty and I swear she's only had a couple of accidents since. She loves it.

Here enter the cookie the size of her face. We came home from lunch with Steve one day- it was her poop time (afternoon) and she'd been tooting, I knew she needed to go. So I took her straight into the bathroom, set her on the toilet and promised her a cookie the size of her face if she went poop. I sat with her for about 20 minutes describing to her the chocolate chips and the deliciousness that would surely be hers if she did this.... and low and behold she went!! I was so relieved/proud I thought I might cry! ha! She did get the cookie, it took her three days to eat it.

My principles have slowly come back as far as pooping goes. She usually gets some sort of lipstick every time she goes (which she is obsessed with lately...) but I'm not above chocolate or marshmallows in a pinch. The key here is to show her the treat/reward while she's on the toilet for motivation. Parental bribery at its finest folks!

Yesterday we were at Chipotle when she told me she needed to go poop and actually did on the potty in a public restroom which was a huge breakthrough! Up until then I was just setting her on the toilet when I thought she'd need to go and hoping for the best. So I'm hoping we're in the downhill stretch of this potty training business. Cross your fingers for me. I really hate cleaning up poop.

So that is our story so far. Fun fun fun! I've decided that I will probably wait longer with Winnie until she's not only ready but wanting it. Clara was ready in all the developmental sense of the word but I don't really think she wanted it. It would've probably been easier had I just waited. That said, I'm glad we pushed through and didn't revert back to diapers even though I was close at times. Here's to a tentative victory for now!

here are some things we bought that helped:

this toilet seat - I liked having Clara on a regular toilet right off the bat because I feel like it helped her not be scared of using the restroom at someone else's house or in public. Her favorite place to go pee is at Steve's office. She always asks to go when we pick him up for lunch! ha!

these panties - after realizing that 6 pairs of panties were far from enough I hastily overnighted probably 16 more pairs of cheap princess panties from amazon. While she loved these and they helped in a pinch Clara started getting a horrible rash on her bum that wouldn't go away for like a month until I got the Hanna Andersson organic cotton panties. Clara's bum was super sensitive to diapers too (she had a permanent diaper rash for three months straight after birth until we started ordering honest diapers) so I should've expected this...but you live you learn! As soon as these came into the rotation her rash cleared right up. They're comfy, cute and durable. Most of the princess panties have started disintegrating already....

the gum ball machine - you do have to use real coins to get a gum ball but Clara kind of loves doing it so I don't mind keeping a couple quarters in her bathroom.


  1. We had similar struggles with potty training Louise! I want to wait to potty train Betsy for the same reasons you have. I need to document good learning experiences like potty training. Potty training is tough but what good stories you'll have to tell!! Good job, Clara, and good job Jess!

  2. I just bought my (25 month) toddler underwear.. I am so dreading starting. He is completely aware of peeing and pooping but has no interest in going in the toilet.



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