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Wednesday, April 17th, 2013
Cynthia Roelle, mom to a 2-year-old daughter and award-winning photographer, thanks everyone for sharing their potty training suggestions. She’s backing off for now but, for those of you who may be in the same boat, she has summed up your comments below.
A month ago, in my first installment of Dooty Diaries, I posed the question: Can you miss the boat on potty training? The response was overwhelming. As near as I can tell, there’s no boat to be missed. Yet here I am with a kid who will turn 3 in July and shows absolutely no interest in using the potty. So what am I doing wrong? My best guess is that I want it too much. My daughter is pushing back against my desire for her to use the potty. The more I want her to go, the more she resists. It’s one of the few areas in her world where she is in complete control. I know I could probably force the issue but the idea of it just doesn’t sit right with me.
Many readers took the time to share their potty training experience and to offer suggestions. The vast majority of those who commented suggested that I simply back off and wait until my daughter is ready. Since I think our problem is a “simple” power struggle, I’ve decided to take that advice and see what happens. For those of you who are not locked in a power struggle with your toddler but who could use some help in the potty training area, I’ll do my best to sum up the many other great ideas left by fellow readers. Here they are:
Be a Role Model: According to a former preschool teacher, being a good role model for your child is a must. This of course means going to the bathroom in front of your child. I’m here to tell you I can go like a pro, and in front of little eyes too. My daughter has seen me peeing expertly for going on three years now. She is not impressed. Despite my best efforts, it would seem that I am a sh–ty potty model.
Log Potty Time: Quite a few readers swear that success flows from logging potty time. One reader recommends that I put my daughter on the toilet or potty seat for five minutes every 20 minutes, as well as every time I go. Using this method, her son was using the potty regularly by 16 months but wasn’t fully trained until 30 months.
Intriguing, but let’s break it down. If I plop my daughter on the potty for 5 minutes of every 20, she’ll be sitting there for 15 minutes every hour. That’s a full hour on the potty for each 4-hour period of time. Let’s assume the average toddler sleeps 12 hours a day. That leaves 12 hours available for potty training, three of which will be spent on the potty. Your average month has 30 days. Three hours a day multiplied by 30 days means my daughter would be spending 90 hours per month on the potty. Multiply that by the 14 months it took this mom’s son to become fully trained and you get 1260 hours of potty time, or 52½ days. Wow, this little boy logged some serious potty time.
Like every stay-at-home mother, I spend a butt load of time with my daughter. But to spend 52 days of the year on the potty? No thank you. Clearly I’m poking fun here but it seems to me to be a function of quality vs. quantity. Sorry, but I’m not about to invest this amount of time in the bathroom.
Watch Stupid Movies. Another mommy swears by what she bills as “the DUMBEST movie in the world.” Apparently it’s a bad movie from the late 80s or early 90s with “a bunch of completely annoying songs.” The songs got under this mom’s skin but somehow got her daughter on the potty within 2 or 3 days after she started watching it.
Okay, my daughter loves videos so this holds some promise for me. There’s only one problem. There are so many stupid movies that I can’t figure out which one she’s talking about. Molly, if you’re reading this please give me a little more to go on. You mentioned Potty Time but there must be 50 videos with Potty Time in the title. Do you mean the one with the song Super Duper Pooper? Because it looks like it could be the dumbest movie in the world.
Buy Big Kid Underpants. A number of readers suggested I take my daughter to the store and let her pick out special “big girl” underpants. Armed with underwear I should then repeatedly explain the importance of wearing them and of using the potty. This should be sufficient motivation for my daughter to trade in her diaper for underpants.
I wish. I tried this but even in the store she declared: “I don’t want underpants!” I bought them anyway. I took them home, washed them and made her try them on. It was not pleasant for either of us.
That was a few months ago and since then I’ve only forced them on her a time or two. Interestingly she’ll talk about her underpants. Sometimes she’ll get them out of the drawer and arrange them neatly on her bed. “Look at the beautiful underpants,” she’ll say. Beautiful though they may be, she does not want to wear them.
Make a Big Deal. Lots of readers said it helped when they made a huge deal any time their children went in the potty. Singing and dancing were also key motivators.
The first time our daughter tinkled in the potty my husband and I scared the crap out of her with our cheering and clapping. She bawled her head off and wouldn’t go anywhere near the potty. Our singing and dancing also flopped. What can I say? We can’t sing or dance to save our lives and our daughter knows it.
Offer Prizes & Rewards: A number of people recommended using small prizes such as dollar store items, stickers or candy as rewards for using the potty. One reader used this method with her two girls and both were trained within a few days.
I’m not knocking this as a legitimate and effective method of potty training but I just can’t do it, at least as far as the prizes go. I am fundamentally opposed to buying a bunch of junk to try to motivate my daughter. She isn’t wowed by stickers either, so regrettably, that’s out for us. I’m not wild about the idea of giving her candy but I’m willing to give M&Ms a try . . . just as soon as she shows some interest in going.
Ditch the Diaper. Another reader whose daughter was fully potty trained at age two, suggested setting a target date and switching to underpants when the day comes. With this, of course, you need to make a huge deal about every little drop that lands in the potty.
The obvious problem here, if you read my original blog, is that I’m not willing to deal with cleaning up messes throughout the day. If we didn’t have wall-to-wall carpeting throughout our house then maybe. In fact, we did give this method a chance one time about a year ago. That was before we moved into our current, and unfortunately carpeted, house. But regardless, I’m just not willing to run after my child cleaning up her messes.
Go Naked. According to many readers, I’m not too late. One mother didn’t try to train her daughter until she was nearly 2½. It took her all of 2 days. Her advice was to completely clear my schedule for a few days and let my daughter run around naked from the waist down, watching her like a hawk until she makes a mess. I should ask her repeatedly (every 10 to 15 minutes) if she has to use the potty. The second she starts to pee I should grab her and run like hell to the potty.
There is one scenario and one scenario only in which I can see this working for me, and that is if I cleared my schedule and went camping. However, I loathe camping. For all the reasons stated previously, this method is not for me. See above.
Peer Pressure. Another reader didn’t train her son until after his third birthday and says the biggest motivating factor was being around kids who were using the potty at school. She stopped pushing and let her son come around to the idea, while pointing out when his friends or older cousins would use the potty.
My daughter turns 3 in July and will start preschool in the fall. I sincerely hope she’s fully trained by then but if not, perhaps she’ll change her tune once she sees other kids using the potty at school. My daughter’s teacher said most kids who aren’t trained at the start of school are fully trained within the first couple of weeks. This could be us! Let’s hope.
Clean Your Own Mess. One reader actually suggested that if your child does a job in his or her pants it’s his or her job to clean up the mess. Here’s her comment:
I don’t think you missed the boat, but I think you have made things harder for yourself. Take the diapers off, put her in big girl underpants and pull the potty out. When she has accidents it is HER job to take her underpants off and clean up the mess. Mom and dad should be there to help, but it shouldn’t be your responsibility to clean her up. When she goes on the potty (actually pees or poops, not just sits on the potty) give her a reward. There shouldn’t be a choice at this point. You’re the parent and two and half is old enough to be potty trained… Good luck!
Let her clean up her own mess? Surely you jest. It shouldn’t be my responsibility to clean her up? Whose should it be? I barely trust my husband with the task let alone my 2½-year-old. She passes a wadded up wash cloth over her mouth, smearing peanut butter across her cheek and into her hair, and she thinks she has cleaned herself. Imagine if she did this with her poop. Ummm…No. Not happening.
I hate to be judgmental but there are no words to describe what I think of this idea. Oh wait, yes there are: plain crazy.
Exercise Parental Authority. Another reader thinks my problem is that I’m not being firm enough with my daughter. She suggests I try exercising some parental authority, pointing out that at age 2 children are perfectly capable of understanding how to pee and poop in the potty.
I agree that most 2-year-olds are capable of understanding how to pee and poop in the potty. I’m just not willing to force my daughter to sit on the potty against her will (and certainly not 52 days of the year). I exercise my parental authority all the live-long day but, as this reader points out, you can’t use your authority as the parent to force your child into being ready.
Back Off. One mother whose son was motivated by peer pressure, recommends that I back off. She rewarded her son with small prizes once she thought he was ready, but admits she didn’t think the incentives would have worked if he wasn’t ready. She said:
If she’s hiding it from you, I’d back off for a bit and try again in a month or two. Read books about potty training, point out that other kids are using the toilet, but let her tell you when she’s ready to start. Good luck!
Wait Until They’re Ready. The overwhelming majority of parents who read my blog and took the time to comment agreed with that mother and recommended that I simply wait until my daughter is ready. So now we are all sitting tight.
For my part I haven’t asked her if she wants to use the potty and I’ve taken away the potty seats. For her part she has quit screaming that she wants to wear her stinky, poopy diaper. She has started, once again, to tell me when she has pooped. In the last few days she has even asked me to change her dirty diaper. It’s progress, I think.
Thanks to each and every one of you who took the time to comment. I very much appreciate the advice, even the advice I didn’t or don’t plan to take. Hopefully my daughter will come around soon. I’ll let you know when she does.
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baby, child, diaper, dooty, mess, pee, pee pee, poop, poopy, potty, potty training, toddler, toilet, toilet train, train, training, underpants, underwear, young | Categories:
Cynthia's Guest Blog, Mom Situations, Mom Tricks and Tips
Tuesday, March 19th, 2013
Cynthia Roelle, mom to a 2-year-old daughter and award-winning photographer, wonders if you can miss the boat on potty training. If you have suggestions, please share!
My mom always told me I talked early and was fully potty trained at a very young age. Like, by a year-and-a-half or something ridiculous. Apparently the potty part happened in all of one day and didn’t involve training of any kind. The day I realized that unleashing my bowels equaled immediate discomfort I dumped my diaper and never looked back.
Like me, my daughter also talked at a very young age. Naturally, I assumed that potty training would follow early too.
At 15-months-old she said “poop” or “poopy” every time I changed her dirty diaper. After bragging incessantly to the other moms at the playground, I ran out and bought her the cutest little froggy potty you’ve ever seen. She was enamored with it for sure, but graced it only with hugs and kisses, never her bottom. Elmo, on the other hand, spent quite a lot of time on it.
Over the months we tried various methods and enticements. We set her up with a pile of her favorite books. That held promise for, like, a day. We rewarded her with M&Ms. But, being the suckers that we are (and by we, I mean my husband), she polished off a few bags before we realized the only success we were going to have was weight gain.
We then got the brilliant idea to let her watch her favorite video—Mickey Mouse Clubhouse—while sitting on the potty. We thought if she sat there long enough, eventually she’d go. Fat chance. She once sat watching happily for two hours with nary a tinkle.
At some point we traded in the froggy for an Elmo seat on the big potty. Didn’t help. The bottom line is she has zero interest in using the potty.
Not long ago a friend suggested I forgo diapers and try putting her in cotton training pants. The theory, of course, is that soggy underpants are so uncomfortable they’re bound to produce instant potty training success.
Given that this is how I was trained it sounded perfectly plausible to me. I ran out and bought a mega-pack of training pants and wasted no time getting started.
My daughter peed within 10 minutes of wearing her new underpants. She didn’t tell us she had peed—the puddle on the kitchen floor tipped us off—and it sure didn’t seem to bother her. We stripped off pair Number 1, cleaned her up and put on pair Number 2.
Just about the time we finished cleaning up the kitchen floor she peed again. And pooped. But again, she didn’t bother to tell us. She just sat there doodling at the kitchen table until we sniffed her out.
I’m sorry but…what? How long are you supposed to let your kid wallow in dripping wet, poop-filled underpants to get the full benefit of this method? Clearly I hadn’t thought this through. My kid had poop-stained pee running down her leg. Am I supposed to let her walk around the house like that? Because we don’t live in a barn. I don’t particularly enjoy cleaning up the kitchen floor but our rugs? Furniture? There’s no way.
This method is not for me. And unfortunately, the time I’m willing to let her stew in filth does not create sufficient discomfort for my kid to feel the need to run to the potty.
So here we are. She’s two-and-a-half years old (32 months actually) and I feel like I’ve missed the boat on potty training. What’s worse is that I have no clue what to do.
She used to tell us when she had to poop. Now she denies that she’s done it. Me: “Honey did you go poopy?” Her: “No, I didn’t!”
Sometimes she preemptively denies it. She’ll look up at me out of the blue and shout “I’m not going poopy!” when, clearly, she is mid-poop.
Now when I change her diaper she cries “Don’t change my diaper! I want that poopy diaper! I WANT TO WEAR THAT STINKY DIAPER!”
My daughter cannot be motivated, pressured or persuaded by anything or anyone. The more I want something the more she resists. She’s incredibly strong willed.
We are getting nowhere so I’m laying off for a while. I’m hoping one day she’ll just decide she’s ready and it will be over and done with. I just can’t help wanting to speed up the process.
Did I miss the boat? What do I do? I’ll take any suggestions you have. Please, I’m begging!
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baby, child, diaper, dooty, pee, pee pee, poop, poopy, potty, potty training, toddler, train, training, underpants, underwear, young | Categories:
Cynthia's Guest Blog, Mom Situations, Mom Tricks and Tips, Must Read
Monday, June 11th, 2012
I don’t think I’ve ever sat on a public toilet. I squat, but I don’t let my legs touch. My quads get a good workout. So does my brain. I will myself not to look at or think about the grime, the hair, and god-knows-what-else that is lurking. I have already been in hypnotherapy for my compulsive cleaning addiction. But training Fia to not only go into a public toilet, but to SIT on one, is going to be tough. However, doctor’s orders: Get over it!
At her 2.5-year check up last week he really set me straight.
“How’s she doing with potty training?” he asked.
“She does great with the poops, but we haven’t worked on pee as much.”
“Why not?” he asked.
“Because she will pee a lot more frequently, which means I have to deal with public bathrooms. And I’d prefer diapers to kneeling on a disgusting floor with her on a disgusting toilet. So I’ve been putting off the inevitable. With poop, it’s only once a day and usually in the evening, so we’re at home.”
“Ahhh…. this is very important to discuss then,” he said.
The short of it is: if you don’t train your children to go the bathroom–#1 or #2–in every scenario, then they will develop an aversion to using the bathroom outside of the house. He knows people who are prisoners to their own potty. They literally won’t leave their dwelling until they’ve shat.
“There’s a fire? Sorry, I can’t evacuate. I haven’t pooped yet.”
Basically, if I don’t teach her to go everywhere and anywhere, she could end up with a bathroom obsession. And lord only knows she probably already has many obsessive tendencies/genes. She doesn’t need anymore.
My next meditation will consist of positive imagery. I will envision us walking into the bathroom, dressed in fatigues, my head held high. I will properly line her toilet seat with paper. I will cheerlead. A cockroach might run past with a pubic hair in its mouth. “Look Mama look!” she’ll shout with excitement. “Wow, how neat!” I’ll say through clenched teeth. “Are you finished yet?”
My face will never show disgust.
We will sit for 15 minutes. She will pee a teaspoon. And damn it, I’ll enjoy every minute and drop.
Another good example Fia’s pediatrician gave:
He hates salmon. Every time they have it, his girls whine, “Daddy, do we have to eat the salmon?” He replies, “Of course you do. Salmon is yummy!” and puts a forkful in his mouth (even though he is cringing inside). If he took a different approach, i.e.: “I don’t like salmon either,” they may never eat that fish again. If they end up disliking it, fine. But don’t let it be because of you.
We all know kids are little mimes. As parents, we are asked to do the impossible: show them the way, even if it’s not our way, our preference. But when it comes to bodily functions, there really isn’t a choice.
For me, I want to travel the world with my kids. She’ll have to learn to squat over dirt holes in India, on bushes in Africa, and in outhouses in South Dakota. And I get to lead the way. From now on, I will see the filth and squat right next to it. I will smile at it.
In short, I will embrace the gross.
Grungy toilet via Shutterstock
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addiction, clean freak, cleaning, compulsive cleaning addiction, germs, hypnotherapy, milestone monday, obsession, obsessive, Pediatrician, pee, poop, potty training, pubic hair, public bathroom, public toilet | Categories:
Fearless Feisty Mama, Milestone Monday
Wednesday, March 14th, 2012
Capturing the First Smiles...
He smiled earlier this week. And this morning I got the biggest grin yet. My little man is melting my heart.
We are both definitely coming out of the fog. It’s been 8 weeks now and that means he is getting more alert each day. As am I. I actually went on a slow jog this weekend. It felt good.
The funny thing for me about baby #2 is how I forget to do the basics. With Fia I had a chart. It detailed her poops, pees, barf and bath. Emmett is lucky if I remember to bath him. Things like tummy time just often get forgotten. Last night I had him on for about 5 minutes and he seemed really excited about trying to roll over.
Our pediatrician had a great line for me I wanted to share. It might be the only thing I believe is true from a peds mouth (I wrote about my frustration with baby docs). He said you’ll be so focused on making sure your first-born doesn’t feel left out, that you’ll give her 80%. And for the rest of her life she’ll feel jipped for not having 100%. Your second born, on the other hand, will be eternally grateful for the 20% you manage to give him.
I had to laugh at that when I realized it had been almost a week since I bathed him. And yet, he seems perfectly happy and chill about it all. Maybe it’s just his temperament but he doesn’t seem like the wild child Fia was from the moment she came out.
My brother is super mellow. He ice climbs. As a profession (technically he’s called an Alpinist). If you haven’t heard of it, don’t worry. It’s insane to me. He lives in a shack in Colorado and travels to places like Patagonia and Pakistan to climb for months at a time.
I am the opposite. I like a good adventure, but I like my beautiful home, and all the comforts that go along with it. In other words, I don’t like roughing it anymore (unless I’m going to re-climb Mt Kilimanjaro).
Yet despite our differences, we’re incredibly close.
It will be fun to see how Fia and Em shape up in this world together. Smiling, I hope!
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bath, brother, doctors, Emmett, Fia, jog, jogging, newborn, newborn milestones, Pediatrician, pee, poop, pregnancy, pregnant, run, running, sister | Categories:
Fearless Feisty Mama, Newborn Care
Thursday, March 8th, 2012
My "Remarkable" Boy
So a good friend just emailed me and our other mom friend. She and her husband are having a boy. Her email was so real to me that I had to share. I wrote her back and told her about all the good things a boy brings. And how now, I can’t even imagine my world any other way. But I felt the same way she did at first. I don’t like sports or trucks. I don’t have a relationship with my father (and my relationship with my mother was troubled at best). And Fia, while not into dresses and tutu’s like her daughter, is also a mini-me in her own spitfire ways. Her email made me laugh and cry. Sometimes words just work. And need to be shared. Thanks for humoring me. (Names changed for confidentiality.)
It’s a BOY!!!!!! A boy. Jill–it’s a boy. I’m having flash backs to last spring, sitting with you in the park trying to make sense of a boy. How can I be growing a mini penis and balls? Why didn’t I pay more attention during the, “He pees on me,” emails you sent? Oh Lord, a boy. It took me most of last night and an emergency call to Heather–plus the promise of one more kid (after this one)–to lure me from the edge. But I’m starting to get excited. I’ve also been able to (after a night of no sleep) recognize why I have such a fear of little boys. Want to hear it? Probably not but I’ll share anyway.
1. I’m not close with my father (borderline dislike him) and have a gay brother. I don’t “get” men or boys and I’m unsure of what to do with him (and them).
2. I’ve never been the type of girl to have “boy” friends–I always ended up sleeping with them or at the very least making out with them, thereby dissolving any friendship.
3. I hate sports, video games, and trucks. I’ve never watched Thomas and I don’t want too.
4. And finally the biggest reason, I’m afraid I will love him with my whole heart only for him to grow up and not return my calls, marry some inappropriate girl from California who insists on living there, have children of his own who I never get to see- in short I’m terrified that I will not occupy an important place in his life.
I have to raise a son and as tough as (my daughter) can be, she is all girl. Make-up and nails and dresses. Oh, and tutus. And she carries her purse and picks out shoes! In short she is a mini-me and I love her for that. It feels like rain or shine she will always be mine- not to be shared with some….”boy.” Even when she’s married.
But this little man I’m now incubating might just turn out to be the love of my life–and Oh my God, what if he leaves me??? I literally am now in tears thinking of having to let him go–and please know that as I type this I already know what a psycho I sound like. I remember, Jill, when you found out Emmet’s sex you told Dan and me that besides your husband, the men in your life are unremarkable. We say that line around here daily. So you can imagine when the tech said “It’s a boy,” my reaction was to climb off of the table and deck her (I mean that in the kindest way possible).
Last night Dan asked me to name one (straight) man that I love besides him. All I could come up with was my friend James, who I do adore and love. He said that when I get scared to think of him and James–and that is helping. But I could use some motherly advice form the two of you who have boys–how will you let them go? Do we have to? And what are fun things I can do with him that we can do as he grows up? I want to get ready for him, and I want him to be my friend someday, and mostly I want him to be remarkable.
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