Tag Archives: Potty Training

My Battle with Potty Training

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When I became pregnant with my daughter, I began to think of all the milestones she would go through, all the trials and tribulations my husband and I would experience, all the sweat, tears, and skinned knees.  I thought about her eating solids, learning to say “mama”, learning how to crawl, walk, and run, but potty training never really crossed my mind.  Perhaps it was the fact my mother had always said how easy I was to train (18 months and no accidents at night by 2) that I thought that of all the stuff she would need to learn, potty training would be a breeze.  I thought wrong!

This momma's fail at potty training

Around 18 months, I began looking online for tips and tidbits, when to start, what signs to look for, so on and so forth.  My daughter didn’t really show any signs except needing to be in the washroom with me when I went.  I allowed it, thinking to myself, “It’ll start this way and soon enough I’ll be diaper free!”  From the things I read online, I was to allow her to pick out her own potty, underwear, toilet insert and stool.  I started off with the potty.  Princess pink and brand new, I thought she would love it.  I put it in the bathroom and held her hand as I showed her.  She stared blankly and looked up at me for some kind of direction.  I explained that she was getting too big for diapers and soon she would go potty.  She was having none of it.  She picked up the potty, looked it over and then much to my chargin,  placed it on her head and danced around the living room.  Let’s put it this way, that was the most use that potty ever saw.  I tried sitting her on it, and the wails and screams that came out of her would rival those of the shrieks from the damned damsel in distress in horror films.  She was not ready.  So I went to the book store and picked up potty books for girls and a potty book for me.  I was realizing quickly that I was in over my head.

By age two, I was no closer to potty training my daughter than I was to winning the Pulitzer or an Oscar.  I took her to buy her own underwear which she loved, but whenever I put them on her, she would use them the same as her diapers, go in them and demand I clean her.  I was discouraged but I still thought 2 was still young enough to be wearing diapers and I was sure that she would get it soon.  I was still looking for these supposed clues to her readiness and there were none.  I gave potty training a break for a little while, hoping that my daughter would come to it on her own in her own time.  I read online that pushing it can set you back and I was definitely not up for that.  By 30 months I consulted her doctor.  He laughed and said these words to me; “Potty training is like a fine wine, you can’t rush it.”  Well thanks doc,  I don’t even like wine.  Shortly after that, we took our daughter once more on a shopping trip to pick out a toilet insert and stool.  She refused the potty with gusto so maybe the toilet would work better.  She sat on it but still would not go.  Eventually she only wanted the stool, using the insert as a frisbee. 

When her third birthday rolled around, I had enough of diapers.  I was beginning to think I would be sending her off to university in diapers.  I made the decision that I was purchasing Pull Ups.  I was told by many people the pro’s and con’s of pull ups; the look and feel like underwear, but still diaper-like.  Cheaper than diapers, but children would get confused.  Regardless, they seemed to work.  I explained that these were not diapers but the next step.  Her daycare even agreed to let her wear them if she wore underwear on top.  It seemed like it was going to finally work when we hit a streak of my daughter’s sheer stubborness.  She flat out refused to use the potty to the point where she would hold it almost to the point of doctor visits.  I even created a potty chart but that lost its appeal when we gave stickers instead of some toy or treat.   I spoke with a friend of mine to share my frustrations, who also works as a psychologist.  She told me the importance of what potty training means to children.  To adults, its just a function we all do, to children, it is the first thing they can give their parents, and a struggle for independance.  She suggested I tell my daughter that her poo was flower food and that it would nourish the flowers.  It seemed to work.  She still struggled with number 2, but she would occassionally go pee.  I bought a toy potty for her dolls and that only turned out to be a waste of money.

Now of all the books, underwear, potties, etc that I have spent my hard earned money on to get her to go to the bathroom didn’t help me get any closer to my diaper free goal, so I picked up Hello Kitty antibacterial handwash at the store for her to use.  I told her that she gets to use it after she uses the potty.   Needless to say, that $2.67 bottle of commercialized, run of the mill, soap in a flashy bottle was enough to change my daughter’s mind.  Since I bought it, she’s only had 2 accidents.  We are starting underwear only next week at daycare and she continues to wear pull ups at night, but it looks as though she will be potty trained, hopefully, finger’s crossed by the summer.  I have to say I have learned my lesson about making assumptions about parenting, because potty training has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.

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I’m out the Door Running!

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I told myself at 11:59 December 31st 2011 that the year 2012 would be my year.  2010 left me bruised, 2011 almost left me broken, but 2012 was going to be my year and so far it has (knock on wood, cross your fingers, all that superstitious stuff.)  I was promoted at work, I  started this blog and was given the chance to talk and share stories with all you fine folk, and now I am training to run 5  & 10 kilometre races this year in Toronto!

I never considered myself a runner, in fact the mere thought of running left me almost dizzy.  Why anyone would want to run and run and run for hours, pushing their very bodies to the brink was beyond me, until this year.  Call it a Forrest Gump moment, but I just had to get up and run.  From the moment my foot hit the pavement, my mind was clear.  All I focused on was breathing, the pace and the road ahead of me.  I wasn’t thinking about the pile of laundry waiting for me, or the stack of dishes.  I wasn’t worried about clients or deadlines at work, all I needed to do was run.  I came home elated, relaxed and blissful.  I gave my hubby a kiss on the cheek, smiled and said “I think I like running.”

I have since joined a gym and my friend who ran a half marathon last year has graciously accepted to help train me.  She is teaching me the proper technique (who knew that one foot in front of the other repeatedly wasn’t enough) and how to breathe properly (isn’t it simply inhale and exhale?) But there are other things she has shown me; Endurance, Determination and Persistence.  Endurance for taking me that extra step, Determination to complete a race and Persistence to get up everyday and train.  I thought I had all of these qualities simply from parenting, after all, isn’t persistence needed for potty training and bed time wars, endurance for raising a child from birth to forever and determination to parent our children right.  I am learning now that there are many more correlations between running and parenting that I had previously thought and I feel like come 11:59 December 31st 2012, I will be a better parent (and runner) for it.

Books for Potty Training for Girls

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It’s one of those milestones that all children and their parents go through; potty training.  I have to say when I began to potty train my daughter, I had no idea where to start.  I read online of other parents suggestions.  Some were to learn the potty dance, others argued against and for the use of training underwear.  Others suggested taking their children to buy their own underwear and potty’s, stools and toilet inserts.  One mother actually said that she put plastic down all over her house and let her child run around naked and pee and poop all over until it made the child  uncomfortable.  I was not about to try that method.

I took my daughter to pick out her own underwear.  She picked out her own potty, stool and toilet insert.  None of these methods worked.  She wore the potty as a helmet, she would soil every pair of underwear, she used to stool for everything except helping her sit on the toilet and the toilet insert, she would wail hysterically.  She just wasn’t ready.  I spoke with my doctor and he gave me this piece of advice; “Potty training is like a fine wine, it takes time.”  I waited and waited.  I looked for the “signs”.   I knew I needed to involve my daughter in this process so I decided I would go to a local bookstore a buy a few books for children about potty training.  I wanted to buy “Everybody Poops” but it was sold out of all Toronto stores.  Did everyone have babies in 2008?  I found these two;

“A Potty for Me!” by Karen Katz is a great interactive book for kids.  It’s pages are thick which make the pages easy to turn and there are some interactive flaps that my daughter loves flipping.  The letters are large and the pages are colourful.

A Potty for Me by Karen Katz

“The Potty Book for Girls!” by Alyssa Satin Capucilli is a great potty book for girls specifically.  The little girl in the book named Hannah is super adorable and my daughter loved having this book being read to her.

 

The Potty Book For Girls by Alyssa Satin Capucilli

 

After about a year of trying, my daughter is finally using the potty, with the aid of Pull Up’s on long trips and at bed.  I am glad she’s finally coming around.  For a while there, I thought she would be wearing diapers well into University!

Today a Miracle Happened!

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As the title states, today, a miracle happened.  I went to the grocery store with my daughter and she didn’t have a meltdown.  You read that correctly, there was no meltdown.  The heavens parted, the birds sang, and I didn’t need a Tylenol when I got home.  I did my preemptive speech that I give before each outing.

“Now Princess, what are the rules before we go out?”

“No biting, no hitting, no pinching, no slapping, no yelling, no crying and listen to Mommy,” my three year old lists off.

“That’s right,” I say, nodding my head.  “Are you already?”

We are getting ready to go.  I have inhaled and exhaled deeply 5 times.  I have centred my chi, I have repeated the mantra “It’s only a trip to the grocery store” in my head over and over again.  My daughter is in her weather appropriate attire, our cloth grocery bags at the ready.  It’s time.  We pull out the grocery cart, the doors part and my hubby gives me the reassuring pat on the back.  We make our rounds at the fruit stands, then the vegetables and then the bread section.  So far so good.  She is holding the lettuce and potatoes in the cart.  She is content.  It isn’t until we round the meat aisle when she becomes a little restless.  Ok, quick thinking, what to do, what to do?

“Honey, do you want to help Daddy push the cart?”

“Yes.  I help ok Daddy.”  Meltdown averted.

We get through the meat, and onto the eggs and milk we go.  She decides she wants plain Organic Greek yogurt and puts it in the cart. I put it back on the shelf and her expression on her face says it all.  Oh no.

“We’ll get you big girl yogurt ok.”

The expression fades, and this is what she squeaks; “Ok Mom.”

Now its the quick up and down of the other aisles, decadent in their sugars and treats, the brightly coloured boxes, the mascots and symbols of every parents contempt.  I am envisioning the temper tantrum, the cries and pleas for Lucky Charms, the stares from the other patrons.  But to my surprise, she is content in helping put things in the cart and pushing it.  She does take a small time out however to stand upon a stool and sing “I’m a Little Teapot.”  I smile and so do the other people walking by.  I am relishing in the fact that so far everything has gone relatively smoothly.  But we haven’t checked out yet, I don’t want to jinx myself.  And then I see it.  The #1 cash with its iridescent glow, we are almost done!

My little helper begins to carelessly toss food onto the conveyor belt, squishing the bread, bruising the bananas, and tearing the bags.  I stop her and she begins to pout.

“You have to be careful or it will break.”

She turns to her Dad and restates this to him.  We have finally packed up the bags, the bill is settled and I am gleeful.  I have managed an entire trip with no big fuss.  But my Princess is not done yet.

“I have to go pee pee Mommy.”

OH NO!!!  The battle of potty training and being away from home has just begun.  I begin to sweat.  I am now rushing.  We don’t have time.  Oh crap!

“Just hold it ok, we’re almost home,” I plead, the entire time that an accident could be imminent.

For some reason, we made it home and had no accident.  We had no temper tantrum.  No fit of tears and cries.  No “You’re not my friend Mommy.”  It was a good trip to the grocery store.  It was a miracle.  I am still pinching myself to make sure this is not a dream.

Mommy Vs Non-Mom

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I remember before I had my daughter, I had these preconceived notions about what it entails to be a mother and exactly how parents should parent their kids.  I remember being in restaurants and listening to the children at the other table yelling and crying and much to my chagrin, their parents weren’t able to quiet them.  I thought to myself, “When I have kids, they will be so behaved.  They will listen to whatever I say and do what I tell them to.”  I continue to eat my words.  I have experienced the other side of my pre-child criticisms.

For example, I take my daughter to daycare and drop her off when it opens at 7.  That means we are awake at 6 am.  Her daycare gives her breakfast at 8:30 so from the time she wakes up to the time she receives her breakfast is  2 1/2 hours.  Its a long time to go without some sort of food.  We are out of the house by 6:30, so I will give her juice and a small snack ie. a piece of toast, a small bowl of cereal, etc.  Bring on the non-mom advice.  One day, we were on the bus heading to daycare and my daughter was eating a 1/3 cup of Fruit Loops.  A woman sitting across from us kept scoffing under her breath and giving me the nastiest look.  I simply turned my head and continue to mind my own business.  Then I hear this;

“Do you know what you are feeding your child?” She growls at me.

“Um, cereal?”

“You should be ashamed of yourself.  What you are feeding your child is disgusting.”  At this point, her well vocalized opinion has begun to attract the attention of the other riders on the bus.

“Oh ok then,” I reply plainly. “What do you feed your children?”

It takes her a moment to answer.  “I don’t have children.”

Ah ha! The truth comes out.

“Well then, at the daycare you work at, what do you give them to eat?” I ask.

“I don’t work at a daycare.”  She begins to lower her voice and shift her body into a much less authoritative stance.

“Oh, hmm.  So what you are saying is that you have no experience feeding children whatsoever?” Zing!!

The woman says not a word more and turns herself away from me and refuses to make any further eye contact.   My daughter eats Corn Bran, Raisin Bran, Rice Krispies, whole grain toast, yogurt, eggs and oatmeal for breakfast, so while Fruit Loops is not exactly the most nutritious cereal there is, it is not so bad once in a while for a treat.  I only give her the little bowl of something to fill her belly until her breakfast comes at daycare.  Forgive me for being a bad mother for giving my daughter cereal so that she didn’t go hungry.  SHAME ON ME!!

It’s unfortunate that as mother’s that we are constantly subjected to outside opinions on how to raise our children.  Being a mother is hard enough without the ridicule and opinions of others, many of whom haven’t stepped one foot in our shoes.  I didn’t know before having my daughter what it felt like to only have 10 hours of sleep in 7 days.  What it feels like to be constantly worrying about another human beings well being, development, growth and mental psyche every moment of every day.  I did not know the frustration a parent feels when their kid simply refuses to eat or fights you when you are trying to potty train them.  I did not know about the public grocery store meltdowns when you refuse to buy their favourite cookies.

So for all you people out there about to make an opinion on how mothers should parent their children, remind yourself of this; We are mothers, giver’s of life,  maids, security guards, chaperones, chauffeurs, personal bank accounts, chefs, therapists, referees, teachers, wives, friends, alarm clocks, laundry service, entertainers.  We do not get sick days.  We do not get paid or receive vacations.  We are on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for the rest of our lives.  We choose to be mothers, but do not proceed to tell us how to raise our children.  In our heart of hearts, only we know what is truly best for our children.  We don’t tell you how to live your life, so return the favour.  We are simply doing the best we know how.

And the prize for the worst toy goes to…Baby Alive!

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Remember when we were kids, the toys we loved the most, were generally the toys our parents hated the most?  Mine was definitely Lite Brite, and my mother, while she loved my colourful pictures, a near choking incident put my favourite toy into a box and was never seen again. Well now that I’m a mom, I’m starting to sympathize with my own.  On my daughter’s birthday, one of her daycare classmates bought her a toy that is in my opinion is the worst toy!  While it is not a choking hazard that makes this toy so awful, its the fact that it poops on my carpet.  Yes, you read correctly.  It POOPS on my carpet.

Baby Alive

Or it did, until I quickly disposed of its fake food that makes it poop.  Baby Alive comes with a bottle that you can fill with water, a bowl and spoon, two diapers, and two packs of food.  My daughter was very excited to feed this doll and change her bottom, that as soon as we got home, we had to open it.  I prepared the food and then we began to feed Baby Alive.  Now, perhaps I was foolish to assume that the diaper that was on Miss Baby Alive was constructed well enough to hold its coming contents, but I now know that to “assume” makes an ass out of you and me.  Or just me in this case.  The diapers didn’t hold anything.  Just leaked out the side onto the carpet.   So in a panic, I tore off the diaper and picked her up to put the replacement diaper on her, the rest of her contents fell out.  SPLAT! While I am sighing in absolute frustration, my daughter is laughing hysterically. To further add insult to injury, the box actually warns that “It may stain some surfaces.” It was in that moment that the remainder of the food was thrown in the garbage.  I remember having dolls as a child that peed when you sat them on the toilet and when you flushed the yellow water went away.  It was not that the doll actually peed, but that the button on the toy toilet would flush away “pretend pee”.  This doll actually has BM’s.  It’s crude.

This doll was actually nominated by the Commercial Free Childhood Organization as one of the Worst Toys.  It lost the winning title to Barbie, who won for being scantily clad.   It warns that this doll actually limits using imagination and hinders the nurturing behaviour in girls.  Baby Alive is also very expensive.  The replacement diapers, food and accessories can definitely add up as it only comes with 2 diaper and 2 packs of food.  Any child would want to use this doll more than twice.  So while I may have taken away the funpart of this doll, my daughter will have to do what many other girls from generations past had to do; pretend.  Pretend feed it with pretend food, pretend to clean up pretend poop.  Use the imagination that was given to her.

I will also let you all know that there is another reason why this doll is the worst.  It speaks.  Its eyes roll in its head, open and close, open and close.  I was once walking through my daughter’s bedroom late at night when she was sleeping.  The room was dark.  I tripped on one of her toys that she didn’t put away and my stumble created enough of a vibration to awaken the demon.  In the dark, the blonde haired, doe eyed doll said these chilly words;  “You are a good mommy.”  Now, I understand that there are dolls that speak, but hearing words from a doll in the dark whose button I didn’t push, sent chills down my spine.  Reminds me of another doll…..

Chucky

* For the full article on Baby Alive, please see here *