Potty Training is the Devil

Have you seen the new Nick Jr. Nugget for Pull-ups training pants?  It’s a short informational video showing a little girl and her mom doing fun activities to encourage potty training.  They play dress up like a supper hero and make potty training fun!

Oh HELLLLLLL no!  There are tons of upbeat, positive and useful advice out there for parents who are potty training their children.  You will NOT find those posts here.

Potty training sucks!  It’s horrible, messy, disgusting, frustrating, and makes you want to bang your head into the wall.  REALLY HARD!  I’m sure there are some parents whose experience was not as bad as mine…so they may tell you different…but I’m more of a plan for the worse case scenario kind of person…but there is no way to plan for this.

My posts may make me sound otherwise, but overall, I’m a pretty patient person.  And I always try to do things the right way, the less stressful way for both me and my kids and try to keep harmony in the home.  I don’t usually yell at my kids or loose my cool…but if there was ever a time for it…it is during potty training.

I’ve comprised a list of the “useful” advice I found on the internet just in case you want to think twice before trying them.  But if you do…I wish you success with my utmost sincerity…since no one should have to go through what we went though.  ;)

  • Wait until your child is ready: I do agree with this statement, it makes it easier than trying to do it when they are not ready, but it doesn’t mean it will be EASY.  We tried briefly for one week to potty train when Mason was 2.5 but I almost became a run-away-mom, so I gave up.  We waited until Mason was 3 and he asked for “big boy pants”.  You can wait until they turn 20 and with some kids, it’s never going to be easy.
  • Pull-ups: We tried pull-up training pants and they didn’t work for us at all.  He just went in them like he would a diaper (and they are more expensive than diapers).  I even tried one woman’s suggestion of putting on his underwear with a diaper over them (so as not to get ALL his clothes wet but would still make him uncomfortable if he wet in his pants).  I thought this was a great idea at the time, but it didn’t work at all.  He just kept going in his pants like it didn’t matter.
  • Potty poster chart with stickers: I made a potty chart using a pattern from some website with Mason’s favorite characters on it.  Mason got a sticker for each part of the potty process.  He just learned to be happy enough to get stickers for all the steps of the process except going in the potty.
  • Read books about potty training to them: We found a simple children’s book about potty training…the problem was the book had one line about “I tried to go potty but I’m just not ready yet” and then when the child tried again later, he went in the potty.  I can’t tell you how many times Mason quoted the line from the book as an excuse not to have to go in the potty.  He used it as an avoidance tool against me.
  • Make them try at timed intervals: I started by taking Mason to try potty every 30 min until he sort of figured out the process.  Then expanded to every hour and then every two.  I had to keep widening the process because Mason would throw huge fits every time he had to stop what he was doing and go to try the potty.  I offered him games or books while he tried, NO!  So, he started regressing at several points just because he would refuse to go when I asked him and then have an accident immediately after.  So I had to start relying on him to tell me (somewhat) and of course he didn’t want to tell me because he didn’t want to stop what he was doing.
  • Make them clean it up: Boy did this backfire on me!  I saw several blog posts about women who were so frustrated with cleaning up dirty pants so they had their child clean it up themselves and the child magically started going potty in the toilet.  (Because the child didn’t want to have to clean it up either.) Oh yeah, Mason was all about cleaning it up himself.  He had an accident while I was putting my daughter to nap and went to the bathroom on his own to “clean up”.  It was on the carpet, the floor mat, the toilet, the tub, the wall, the sink and on the couch in the living room where he had originally taken his clothes off before going to the bathroom.  Oh, and it was all over him too, his bottom, his legs, his feet, in his hair (WTF?).  It took me 2 hours to fix “his help”.
  • Candy: Yes we even did bribes.  Mason would get 3 M&Ms every time he went in the potty.  It worked pretty well on peeing so after he was good with peeing then we cut off the treats for peeing and only gave them for pooping.  It worked somewhat but the drawbacks were he wanted to “try” just to get the candy at random points during the day not because he needed to potty just because he wanted candy, and he still went in his pants anyway.  So he got extra sugar and no result.

It took us over three months of daily poopy pants clean up before Mason was trained enough to avoid accidents for long periods of time.  Even to this day he still has occasional accidents (which is to be understood) but three months or pretty much daily clean up was about to put me in the insane ward.  Some tricks I resorted to which did offer some success were:

  • Don’t cater to them: After the 2 month mark on training, I imposed a new rule.  If mommy is busy, and you have an accident because you did not want to stop what you were doing to go potty, then you have to wait until mommy stops what she is doing to get cleaned up and changed.  Yeah, it’s gross, but Mason had to feel the uncomfortable consequences to realize loosing 5 minutes of playtime to go potty was preferable to waiting 30 minutes in poop clothes if he did not.
  • Don’t carry around changes of clothes: Even after Mason started doing well with training at home (due to new rule #1 above) he would consistently have an accident when we went on a playdate or to a restaurant.  So every time I would have to change him wherever we went.  So I implemented new rule #2.  No change of clothes come with us.  If you poop, we have to leave and you have to ride home in poopy clothes.  The first time it happened, I had tried to get Mason to go potty before we left the house because I knew he probably needed to.  No, he didn’t want to take the time.  So sure enough, within 5 minutes of us arriving to the playdate with his friends, he had an accident.  So we packed up and left, immediately.  He was completely devastated.  It happened twice more and then stopped.  It was very inconvenient for me as well, but it was the quickest way for him to learn the consequences.  And after more than 2 months, I was ready to try anything.

If you are going through this process, I really do wish you the best of luck!

The Have’s and Have Not’s

There is a huge disparity between those who “have” and those who “have not”.  And I’m not talking about prosperity, I’m talking about kids.

I also am guilty of this sin.  I turned 35 before I had my first child.  And I was as guilty as anyone for thinking I understood what it meant to be a parent before I actually was one.  And it’s not like I was one of those people without any exposure to kids.  I think it’s even worse when you are “around” kids a lot vs. “having” kids of your own.  When you are “around” kids a lot (aka daycare worker, Sunday School teacher, nursery worker, have a lot of kids in your family) then you think you know everything there is to know about raising kids.  WRONG!  There is a world of difference between “working with” or “keeping” OTHER people’s kids than having one of your own.

When you interact with other people’s kids…you get to send them home at night…you work with them for a limited period of time (vs. 24 hours)…you see them in specific situations where they are either performing better than normal or worse than normal (depending on the situation) and the truth is…YOU HAVE NO FREAKING CLUE WHAT IT IS LIKE TO HAVE A KID UNTIL YOU HAVE ONE YOURSELF. So…yes, you can know more about kids than the average non-kid person…but just trust me, when you have a kid of your own…you will learn.

I worked for many years as a nursery school director and kid’s Sunday school director in churches and I felt like I had a solid understanding of how kids behave.  For the most part, parents really liked me and trusted me with their kids and it gave me a sense of thinking I understood child rearing.  I was very sympathetic towards parents and I tried to help out when things weren’t going so well (a kid throwing a temper tantrum, teens acting out, etc) and I always thought…having kids is not for me.  It’s too much work and not enough return.  But as I got older, the biological clock started ticking.  And I realized my life wouldn’t be the same without kids.  So I had one…and oh, holy hell…it was not what I expected.  It was WAY HARDER than anyone had ever told me it would be and it was WAY MORE REWARDING than I could ever imagine.  I though, “Why had no one ever told me how this would REALLY be?”, and I realized at that point…there really is no way to explain it.

Here are a few examples of the variety of ways you can NOT KNOW what it is like to have a kid until you do:

Myself and some other moms I know recently befriended a woman who was pregnant with her first child.  She was a 1st grade teacher.  All she talked about was how she was soooo ready to be a SAHM and how she was “mailing it in” as a teacher for the rest of the year because she was “over” the brats in her class.  My friends and I thought it was not a healthy way to think (because at any point in time, any child, even your own, has the potential of being a brat) and we really saw a storm brewing on the horizon.  The storm hit right after she gave birth to her beautiful baby girl, who for some reason wouldn’t sleep through the night.  (I got quite a laugh over her calling her daughter “vampire baby” because somehow she thought her baby would be completely perfect and automatically sleep through the night…unlike most regular children…seriously…WTF?  Did you not pay attention in your early childhood development classes when you studied for your teaching certificate?)  We ultimately broke ties with her because she couldn’t quite figure out how to get her kid in a car seat and make it to a playdate because her life had turned upside-down.  And it wasn’t because she was just late…she routinely didn’t show up at all and even had events at her house where others attended and she didn’t!  She couldn’t cope with life with a kid…her kid didn’t follower her rules and she couldn’t cope, and she had been a school teacher for God’s sake.

Another problem my husband and I often have is going on outings with people who don’t have children.  We have  a lot of family members and co-workers who don’t have kids but want to seem “kid-friendly” although they don’t have the slightest clue about what “kid-friendly” means.  They invite us to events and say “please bring the kids” but the events are scheduled at “trendy” places that don’t have high chairs (the first clue a restaurant is NOT kid-friendly is no high chairs and no kid’s menus), or they schedule it after the kid’s bedtime (FYI kids go to bed earlier than most adults) or they show up late while you are trying to entertain the kids at the table (kids can only last 45 min to an hour, at most, when you go out to eat before things get really scary).  Sometimes people give non age-appropriate gifts…like giving a newborn a “walk and push” or a “pull along toy”.  These are only things parents would understand and realize.  So as parents, we grin and bear it, because after all, these people are trying to be understanding…but it ends up being more of a hassle to us than what it is worth.  I was recently invited to a girl’s outing for a lunch and a pedicure and the invite said “we love kids, bring them with you if you have them.”  AYFKM?  That means ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME? Bring my 3 year and less than 1 year old to a lunch and pedicure?  LOL  OK whatever….I would bring them with me, if I felt like committing suicide.

But what do you say to them?  You can’t bitch at them because at least they are not the people who glare at you while your kid throws a fit on an airplane, or a restaurant, or wherever.  But still, even though they may “love” kids…they still don’t understand them.


The Un-Perfect Mom’s Anthem

Do you ever feel like everyone around you is judging you as a mom and no matter what you do or what you say, and you are never good enough and never do enough?

They say: My kids have more toys, the best electronics, I give them better parties with polished precision so I’m a better mom than you- bullshit
They say: I  am more attached to my kids, attend to their every need, carry them strapped on my body 24×7, and kiss them constantly so I’m a better mom than you- bullshit
They say: I work harder, have less time for vacation, no time for myself, and get more things done in a day so I’m a better mom than you- bullshit
They say: My kids are more cultured, have toured every museum, read every book (twice), and made 10 documentaries by themselves so I’m a better mom than you- bullshit
They say: I pray more, read more Bible, sin less, volunteer more and attend more church so I’m a better mom than you- bullshit
They say: I feed my kids more organic, whole-grain, vegan, gluten-free, dairy free, allergen free, sugar free, use more disinfectant, recycle more, cleanse more, and exercise more so I’m a better mom than you- bullshit
They say: I am more creative, entertaining, energetic, positive and open-minded so I’m a better mom than you- bullshit
They say: I am more conservative, more frugal, have more traditional values and am more all American so I’m a better mom than you- bullshit
They say: I am more beautiful, smell better, enhanced my body more, have less wrinkles, less fat, more tan, and better hair so I’m a better mom than you- bullshit

Trying to be your best in everything you do is never wrong, but constant competition is not good either.  Good Moms try their best, admit their mistakes, realize they are not perfect, dust themselves off and keep trying.  Love your kids, try your best and baby, you are just fine in the skin your in!  Those who claim they never make mistakes, are LYING!  You are a good mother, wife, worker, family member and friend and you don’t need the bitches to tell you any different!