Monday, March 31, 2014

The Truth About Potty Training

About 2 1/2 months ago, we decided it was time to potty train JJ.  

As usual, before we started I did my homework. I read articles about the signs of readiness (staying dry for long periods, having words for pee and poop, showing excitement for using the potty, etc.). The only sign he didn't fully meet was being able to pull his pants up and down, but hey- I do that with diapers, too, so I was willing to help out with that.  

I also read blogs. I mean a lot of blogs. I read what has worked for others and decided the boot camp/ do-it-in-a-weekend was the way to go. The thing that amazed me is it always worked. The end result was always a fully potty trained kiddo. Even some kids as young as 18 months. I figured if an 18 month old could do it, it would be a piece of cake for my 25 month old.

And finally, I talked to friends and family. I got advice like don't wait too long or he'll miss the window and it will be even harder; and the usual just give him an M&M every time and he'll figure it out after just a few tries. I remember all my nieces and nephews picking it up in no time - all before the age of two. In fact, one niece just started taking her diaper off and going.  Done and done. 

So I was ready to go. I had a cabinet full of M&M's and Rolos, a potty chart, and box of presents from the Dollar Store. I had a full supply of big boy underwear and a box of pull-ups for sleeping times. I even had the successful blog post half written in my head. 

I truly thought I was ready to go and realistic about how this whole process would go. I knew it would be a long, exhausting weekend where the word "pee" would spoken about 3,000 times. I knew it would have it's ups and downs and that he may not be perfect after three days and there could be accidents to follow. 

After a week or so, I thought we were on the right track. I even wrote the successful blog post here; however, noting at the end that it was still a work in progress.

But what I never expected and what I never read in a blog post and what no friend or family warned me about was that 2 1/2 months later, I would still be cleaning crap out of JJ's underwear pretty much daily. The pee part- he's got down. He even took his first outdoor pee on a tree yesterday (which I can't seem to find in his baby book to jot down that milestone!). He can even sleep in underwear and can make through naps and long nights without wetting the bed. But pooping- that's a whole other ball game.

And guess what, when I Googled about kids having problems pooping in the toilet - turns out it is not uncommon. So where are those stories when you are getting ready to potty train? Where are those friends that should have warned me about this potential struggle? And where is the mommy blog that warns that potty training can be a daily battle for months and that it does not always fully succeed in three days?  

Right here. That blog is right here.  

Hey, moms! Guess what? Three days doesn't always do the trick! Many kids have a hard time pooping in the toilet. According to the internet, it may be because the feel like they are "losing part of themselves" as the poop falls out of them and into the toilet (Seriously. I find it far fetched, too, but the internet doesn't lie, right?). Or they feel like they are losing control (aka anal retentive- literally- this is Psych 101). Whatever the reason, it just happens.  

And when it happens, you will throw out numerous pairs of underwear that just aren't worth trying to save. You will hold daily conversations with daycare teachers about your child's poop and discuss how big it was, how often, and how he reacted. And your kid will lie, lie, lie. He will tell you he knows that "Big boys only poop in the toilet."  And he will tell you that he will tell you before he needs to poop next time. He will also tell you, "I just pooped in my underwear." That last one he will tell you a lot. And that one is not a lie. 

You know what else, when you do have a successful poop in the toilet, you will celebrate like it's 1999 and stuff the kid full of chocolate and prizes and get your hopes us that this time he really gets it. Well, he doesn't. The following day you'll be cleaning out more poopy underwear. Sometimes, he will even sit on the toilet for 15 minutes, then stand up, move two feet, and take a crap on the floor.  

Down and out? Well don't fret- there are some positives that can come out of all this. For instance - you will have hours of bonding time while you sit next to your kid while he is on the toilet. You will learn every nuance of his facial expressions- especially the one that you see from across the room when he is taking that crap in his pants. You will discover your patience far exceeds what you thought was the extent of your patience. And you get to eat chocolate with your little one when he succeeds. Because trust me, you have earned that chocolate, too!

Truth. That, my friends, is the real truth about potty training.  

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