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!

Surprise Visitor

Marc and I have many couple friends we go out with for double-date nights.  Some of the couples have kids younger than ours and some are older.  This is a conversation we had with one couple (who shall remain anonymous).  The conversation started by debating at what age children start remembering things (long term memory).  Some things we want them to remember (like their first trip to Disneyland) and other things we don’t want them to remember, like this:

Husband: So has your kid walked in on you having sex yet?
Me: No (Marc also nods his head no)
Husband: Well, mentally prepare yourself for when it does happen because it is inevitable.  It happens to every couple at some point or another.
Wife: (nods in agreement)
Husband: It happened to us when my daughter was five.  My wife and I were enjoying some extracurricular activity one night, the kind where I get to lay back and relax while she does all the work…and I happen to look over to my right and see my daughter standing there in the dark.  She didn’t say anything and I have no idea how long she had been standing there.  I tried to sit up, but wifey here was so into it, so I mumbled something…
Wife: And I was like Oh My God!  and jumped away from him.
Husband: Yeah, we didn’t know what to say and so we just looked at her for a while and then we asked what she needed. I don’t even remember now why she came in our room that night all I can remember is how shocked I was and how I hope it’s not something she will remember.  Although I remember seeing my mom naked when I was 2.
Me: Two?!  Oh hell. Mason is 3 and I can’t keep him out of our bathroom.  If I have to shower during the daytime then I set him in front of the TV or with his toys and tell him to stay there until I come and get him, but half the time he just walks in while I’m getting dressed.  (Then I tell them the “boobie holder” story which is in another post.)

During this whole conversation I am making mental notes about how to avoid this from happening, but I can’t think of a full-proof scenario, so…oh well honey, I guess we can’t have sex anymore.


Welcome to Mommyhood

I’m sure it happens to every mom at some point…well maybe it just happens to me…but there is time when you realize you are no longer cool, sexy, hip or anything else for that matter, because now, you are just MOM.

The realization came for me when Mason was about 5 months old.  I was not quite in to the swing of being a SAHM (and for those of you who still have a life…the acronym means Stay At Home Mom).  Things were pretty rough around the homestead.  Mason was fussy all the time, I had no idea what I was going, and Dad wanted to run away.

It was about 6 PM and Marc was working late (aka Daddy) and I was tired and a little out of sorts.  The dog started going crazy to go outside.  We have one of those little rat dogs called Chihuahuas and they have very small bladders.  So I grabbed Mason and propped him on my right hip and proceeded to open the front door to let the dog out.  The reason we had to let the dog go in the front yard is because she refused to poop in the back yard…long story and not one I want to go into.  So…I open the front door…and all hell breaks loose.

The dog starts barking and going crazy so I look up just in time to see the a rediculously gorgeous woman…about 20 something…athletic…pink tank top with grey bike shorts with a cropped grey short sleeve zipper jacket…ear phones in her ears attached to an iPod…long chestnut colored hair pulled back in a slick shiny ponytail…tanned skin over lean muscle…well, you get my point.

So here I am in my baggy sweats, with floppy hair I don’t think I washed that day, balancing a screaming and squirming 5 month old on one hip (who has hold of my hair) and trying to grab a yippy dog with the other hand so she doesn’t chase the woman…

And the beautiful woman stops and stands there jogging in place…reaches up to take her phones out of her ears…and the whole time, I’m thinking “just keep going damn it, I can’t hold this freaking dog forever”…and she says to me, “Your dog is pooping.”

WTF?  So I look down and the dog that is now on my right hip is pooping all over me, because the she has a nervous bowl, and what do I say?  “Yeah, thanks.”  So gorgeous woman jogs off.  Mortified, I grab everyone and everything and head back into the house.

I drop the dog and walk into the bathroom to adjust my clothes my kid almost pulled off me in his attempt to get down and I look in the mirror.  Sigh.  No only was the dog pooping on me, but Mason had spit up all over me and it ran all the way down my shirt and I hadn’t even noticed.  My hair was a mess, and all over my head because he had grabbed my ponytail and almost pulled it loose.  Because he was grabbing at my shirt to claw his way to freedom, my post-pregnancy belly was exposed and hanging out over my sagging sweatpants…and…I started to cry.

Yep, welcome to motherhood!  But look on the bright side…it only gets better from here!

Bath Fail

If you have boys, you know how sometimes their rooms and bathrooms start smelling a little funky.  So when I went to dress Mason for school, I noticed a musty smell.  It made me wonder…when is the last time Mason took a bath?

I’m sure it sounds weird for a mom not to know when her kids had a bath, right?  Well, in our house we have an arrangement.  Since Marc doesn’t get home until around 7 PM at night and the kids go to bed at 8:00 PM, our evenings are a rush.  I try to cook dinner before he gets home and when he gets there he plays with the kids and gives them their baths while I am finishing dinner or doing whatever I need to do.  So basically, it’s up to Dad.  But usually I hear water running or hear them talking about bath time and it occurred to me I didn’t remember hearing about bath stuff in a while.

So when I went downstairs, I asked my husband:
Me: Marc, when is the last time Mason took a bath?
Marc: (Looks at me kind of funny and pauses) Hmmm, that’s a good question.  I think a week and a half.


Bottom of the Barrel Lunch

You know how things get…well I have not been to the grocery store in two weeks.  I am going today, but poor Mason, he’s getting scraps for lunch.  He got a “heel” sandwich because the only bread left was the two heels and no drink.  So I put a note on his lunch for the teacher.