Tag Archives: Potty Training

Dear World; I have to Poop!

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Babies are not born feeling embarrassment, which given their utter nude, slightly slimy, sometimes mucky appearance upon entering the world is probably a good thing. Embarrassment is something that we learn through self-awareness and exposure, it begins in the wonderful world of toddlerhood, think terrible twos and terrifying threes. I mean let’s be honest, that nonsense about terrible twos is just a myth fed to us by parents who are too kind to tell us that three can be even worse. So in the middle of all of this self-awareness, which can be the cause for those terrible and terrifying times, toddlers are learning a bundle of emotions: embarrassment, guilt, pride, shame, confidence, anger, fear, etc. and how to control all of these feelings. I can assure you, as the mother of a toddler and preschooler, what they don’t immediately learn is how their actions may or may not embarrass you. I feel like I should start writing all of this down for when they are teenagers and everything I do is embarrassing and I can be all like “Yeah well let’s talk about the two years you made it a public service announcement that you had to poop!”.

At first we want our kids to tell us when they have to go potty, it’s job #1 when potty training, communication, communication and more communication. You feel like your world revolves around pee and poop, literally and conversationally. But then there are you two years later, hiding behind a rack in the local Target because your son or daughter has just yelled for the millionth time “I have to Poop” and really to no one in particular. They do it at home, at Grandmas, at the library, the park, a restaurant, every. where. It doesn’t matter if they are perfectly able to walk their happy little self into a nearby restroom or their own bathroom and do their business by them self or with minimal help, they still provide an ear-splitting public declaration, that today, at this moment, I’m going to take a poop. It doesn’t bother them, not one bit, that you may not need or even want to know this information or that an entire restaurant has gone quiet at this loud declaration. In fact, if you ever want to silence a room to make an important announcement, stop yelling quiet, people ignore that, just loudly yell that you’re going to poop. Instant silence, the kind where you could hear a pin drop.

Perhaps this is what helicopter moms are creating, if you’re going to stalk me everywhere else I go, I’m going to tell you all my business, proud and out loud, on a bench on a church pew, wearing red or wearing blue, on the slide or by your side. In the meantime, I guess we’ll just keep trying to remind ’em that their preschool classmates probably don’t need this specific bit o’ information, that they can just use the restroom during potty breaks and let their teacher, not their classroom, know as needed. And Dear World, in case you were wondering, No I don’t have to Poop right now and I would be a-ok not knowing every time my son or daughter did.

Potty Training in the Dark

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Where the capital H have I been? I know, that’s clearly been on your mind, like you don’t have 30,000 other more important thoughts. But just in case, a teeny little part of you wondered, I’ve been heavily involved in shit, literally, I’ve been in the trenches. The trenches of potty training, oh and in Chicago and cutting all my hair off in some kind of last hurrah to my 20’s which are almost over. This is not a fun task [potty training, turning 30 seems painless so far but ask me in September], in fact initially it’s far worse than changing diapers unless you loathe diapers like me, then it’s about even. Taking Brecken’s lead he picked the date we would finally get rid of the diapers. I then grabbed a shovel, calmly scooped up all my mommy morals and natural parenting philosophies and buried them in the flower bed and went out and bought snazzy things to bribe him with. The results, we are nearly a month free of diapers. This sounds like victory but it’s kind of been like riding a roller coaster in the dark, that you’ve never seen before in the light so you have no idea when the twists and turns will hit you. The first day went super, he earned a shiny Thomas the Train backpack to keep all his future matchbox cars he would earn by pooping on the potty, really I threw away all scruples, buried them. Poop = car and it worked, the key is recognizing when to take away the cars. I think the only piece of advice that I could truly give that I believe could/should be repeated from our experience, we started on a Saturday when we both would be home and I think that was key! In the early days this is a two parent job, because at least one of you will occupy a LARGE chunk of time [like all day]to nagging, dragging, encouraging, cheering, entertaining etc. to, in and around the potty. Anyway it was smooth sailing for the first week, then he regressed and started pooping randomly in his pants except he wasn’t wearing underwear yet so it would just fall through, a good and bad thing all at the same time, see below. We went back to the cars briefly and he seems to be back on track, he seems to have finally got it down that we’re not going back to diapers and this is his life now. So as not to bore you with a novella about potty training, unless you actually want the stinky details, in which case send me a message, I give you:

5 Highlights  Horrors of Potty Training a 29 Month Old Boy

  1. Poop Talk: Little Boys love to talk about Poop. The length, color, smell, you name it they discuss, describe and relish in their accomplishment. Albeit when potty training we want them to accomplish this, I could do without the narrative, because I assure you each time it happens, and having a son gifted with regular bowel movements this is quite often, I get to hear a fabulous narrative such as “Look Mama eees a big one ees lotsa poop, I flush it bye-bye, bye bye poop”
  2. Pooping in Party City: Nothing like a quick trip to Party City for some decorations and regardless of plenty of bathroom stops, he drops a deuce (Jeff’s term) in the middle of the aisle, remember the part above about not wearing underwear, so it literally was in the middle of the aisle. Clean up on aisle 10!!!! Apparently when your child poops in Party City you have to clean it up yourself. Lucky for me this was Jeff’s story.
  3. Penis Songs: In case you ever wondered when the male ego first begins talking about his penis, I would say around the age of 2. In our house he sing songs about it, and not just at home, when we visit Chicago too. It can take many different forms but usually includes some kind of ownership of said business “I have a penis, I have a penis” or This is my penis, this is my penis” I think my all-time favorite is when he sings “Don’t touch your penis, don’t touch your penis” Note we’re very big into repetition here.
  4. Peeing in the Grass: Clearly a milestone in all male children’s lives because I sure do not recall every relishing any experience that necessitated peeing outside lest ever actually wanting to pee outside. Brecken however will quite happily mark his territory. Newest Mama Mantra “Pee goes in the Potty” and I spent forever on a probably way over his head about how pee can’t go in the ground because it could make our plants sick but water makes them feel good story”
  5. Flashing in the stacks: We have really been working on Brecken taking his pants on and off himself, on a recent trip to the library Brecken told me he had to go potty. I was on the computer with Pippa in her car seat on the floor next to me and said just a minute, so I could gather all my stuff. Brecken knowing we were basically right by the hall with the restrooms promptly dropped trough and gave the entire library a show of his naked rear end  and his precious penis. Thankfully he didn’t break into song. I’m pretty sure I literally dove at him, mortified, pulled up his pants and hauled him to the restroom. He was oblivious to the whole episode.

Doesn’t he just look bigger now that you know he doesn’t wear diapers?

B checking out the water display at the Chicago Children’s Museum

Know you’re a Mommy When; Underwear Style

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Really, it should say, The WHOLE WIDE WORLD knows you’re a Mommy when…

Le sigh.

Epic. Potty. Fail.

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I think I’ve been ready for potty training since we had to switch from cloth diapers to regular disposable ones because no matter how many natural butt creams, not so natural butt creams combined with diaper liners, diaper stripping, fleece vs. flannel we tried, Brecken got horrible blistering butt rashes from cloth diapers. We eventually had to choose between screaming, tantrum filled, painful diaper changes with a miserable toddler suffering through cloth diapers or permanently switching to disposables. That isn’t to say they magically cleared everything up but it was like 20x better with only occasional teething/heat rashes. So we cringed and started to buy “disposables”, honestly how can something that is estimated to take between 250 -500 years to decompose be called disposable? They should be called diapers we use and leave for our future generations to deal with, DWULFGDW for short. It literally pains me every time I buy a package, like I am personally stabbing some future generation of me with a knife, feel that, deal with it, it’s your problem. Maybe you think I’m over reacting but in 1998 the Environmental Protection Agency found that diapers made up 3.8 million tons of waste or 2.1% of U.S. garbage in landfills and that was 13 years ago, I was like a freshmen in high school, can you imagine how many more diapers there are now. Then there’s all the nasty chemicals and crap that goes into them that we are constantly putting on our children’s bums, have you ever seen the inside of a “disposable” diaper, those little beads are like alien substance made from god knows what to be able to suck in the pee and just hold it there.

diaper: absorbing inside

diaper: absorbing inside (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So now that I’ve given you a small glimpse into why “disposable” diapers make my skin peel,, I could go on, all night, it could be an entire post in itself, but I won’t do that to you, at least not today, but now you may understand what I mean when I say that I’ve been ready for potty training since we started having to use them  around when Brecken was 14 months old. He is now nearly 26 months old and I barely have any skin left.

Needless to say my being ready, doesn’t mean he is ready. We have danced, tangoed, waltzed, and hokey pokeyed around it for months now. We have talked potty, sounds dirty doesn’t it, it’s really not, we have potty cheered, we have tried to lead by example and gotten excited about the potty. If for some reason you’re reading this and don’t have kids, don’t let it scare you, just think of it as the “SHIT KARMA” someone did this for you, and one day you must pay it forward and do it for someone else. We started trying to get Brecken to go potty between diaper changes and he had him all excited right after Christmas but then he kind of fell out of it, so we left it alone, then recently he seemed to really get back into it. He would happily go potty during diaper changes, cheering, clapping and happily accepting a few jelly bellies for peeing. We even got him to poop once or twice. So feeling high on all this potty business, never thought you’d hear that did you, I decided to go for it, NAKED POTTY TRAINING. Never heard of it? You can read about it here.  I couldn’t follow the recommendations precisely because who the hell has three whole days to give up with their spouse to do this kind of crap. Clearly these people don’t work. So I naked potty trained solo, perhaps had I had my husband here and we came up with snappy cheers like “Give me a P-E-E in the P-O-T-T-Y  You RAH RAH YAY Potty”, then we would have been more successful, or maybe said song would have driven me to hiding in the depths of our largest closet, either are possible.

It didn’t go awful, we started out playing in the playroom and time just ticked away. After an hour I was like WTF there are no accidents, no going potty, no nothing. He claimed he didn’t have to go and wouldn’t try going. So I began, cringe, giving him juice. I’m not a huge fan of giving toddlers/preschoolers juice, it doesn’t have any particular nutritional value and I just don’t feel it’s really a necessary part of their diet but I knew that since he already had his morning milk that it was the one thing I could be sure he would suck down like his life depended on it. So he drank like a fish and we waited… that’s pretty much how the day went. After a couple of accidents, where he generally caught himself about half way through then wanted to finish on the potty I thought progress was being made. Then out of nowhere he decided he could only use the potty by himself and terrible screaming tantrums would ensure if I tried to help or be in the bathroom at the same time. When left to his own “business” he would pretend to potty and then wash his hands like 10x. As if that weren’t enough then out of nowhere he decides he is going to pee like Papa. This means he stands in front of the toilet, lifts his mini mandango up there so that it basically rests on the edge of the toilet because that’s about how tall he is and we have really short toilets. Thank GOSH he never actually peed like this or we would have really had an accident. By bedtime he was begging for diapers and absolutely refused to go anywhere near the potty.  I was not optimistic for day two. This morning he threw a total tantrum, real tears and everything, begging for his diaper, I’m pretty sure because he knew he had to poop having refused to last night and wouldn’t use the potty to do it. Regardless of my hate for “disposable” diapers, I am not going to force potty train my 26 month old under duress. I do not want him to hate the potty, at least not until he is almost 4 and still not potty trained, so we will chalk this up to an epic potty fail and wait, while I continue to take small stabs at my future generations every time we go to Target.

I Like Underwear & other Statements from a 2 Year Old!

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Two year olds are extremists in every sense of the word. In fact I’m beginning to develop a hypothesis that terrorists are really 2 year olds trapped in adult bodies and with unfortunate access to guns and weapons of mass destruction. It’s not just the radical shifting from happy to sad, happy to screaming on the top of his ever loving lungs, it’s the constant shifts from engaged to disengaged and from liking something to disliking something. Every day feels like training in psychological warfare just to keep up with him and his thoughts, emotions, and moods. If the FBI hasn’t considered including running a daycare as part of their training, they should, a lot can be said about the skills and patience learned in the grasps of a 2 year old. In addition to his radical mood shifting, Brecken has developed what he seems to think of as the super sneaky manipulative tactic of declaring his ever dying love for something in the form of “I Like [insert anything].

Brecken’s rationale is that if you like something then clearly you should be able to eat it, have it, do it. Why not? This has caused a lot of laughs and well those moments when you stare down at your child and think “really, your mine?”, today for instance after explaining to him that we didn’t use bathwater to brush our teeth, he stares at me and says ” No Mama, I LIKE to brush my teeth with bathwater” as he dips his toothbrush in my dirty draining bathwater. Um, gross, I think it’s time for a new toothbrush. He followed this up by desperately grabbing my shampoo and yelling “I like Soap”. I’m not sure if he’s just hoarding the soap out of some fear I may never let him bathe again, something he thankfully enjoys or if well he just loves the cucumber goodness that is my shampoo? That’s good as long as that equates to using soap, right.  His latest declaration which he has taken to repeating as we circle around potty training (he’s very hot/cold about the whole potty training concept, does well then awful) is “I Like Underwear” he says it often enough that I’m running out of ways to politely tell him that until you actually shit  poop on the toilet, I’m just not going there, because you don’t seem to be the kid who is bothered by having accidents in underwear. So as you may ponder what things you like, here are a few things Brecken likes:

Brecken  likes…

Soap!

Brushing my teeth in bathwater! (Don’t forget it should be dirty bath water)

The Potty Training Years 1988–1992

The Potty Training Years (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Coffee! (future coffee addict apparently)

Iced Tea! (this I actually let him try just to prove him wrong, I know I’m a meanie)

Underwear!

the Mail!

the Moon!

Cupcakes (well really who doesn’t)

Church (that’s promising)

the Highchair (yeah sorry bud that’s no longer yours)

garbage bags (yup good times can always be had with garbage bags)

shoes (well they’re useful and I like them too!)

Police Cars (as long as you don’t like riding in police cars I guess that’s okay)

and the list goes on and on…