“Potty training was the worst experience of my life.”
“Potty training is the best birth control.”
I dreaded it. For years all I heard from friends and family was how terrible and hard potty training was. Traumatic! Agonizing! Awful! I. Was. Petrified. Thankfully, I had a good friend who calmed my nerves and told me how she potty trained her two kids. I took her advice and vowed to take the journey in the least stressful way possible.
We bought Audrey a potty almost a year ago. For a long time it just sat in our bathroom downstairs and she really had no interest. Eventually…she was curious. She started just randomly sitting on it at times–and funny enough–the first time she sat on it she pooped a little! Every time she did even the littlest bit of something, I jumped around and celebrated like a crazy person. We had a timer that I would set during the day every 30 minutes or so and I would have her sit on the potty for a few minutes. Most of the time nothing happened and sometimes she refused. I never forced her. Not one time.
I slacked off for quite a few months with the timer thing and encouraging her to try sitting on the potty. I was always so distracted by Lauren who was always needing me for something or other. Once I decided to start trying again, Audrey had zero interest. I was frustrated at first but then once I thought about it I quickly realized that wasn’t going to help either one of us. So I let it go–Frozen style! When she was ready she would let us know.
A few weeks went by without even looking at her potty. Then a few months ago she was sitting on the couch one morning watching a show and she just looked at me very matter of factly and said, “Momma, I want to go peepee on da potty!” Um…OKAY let’s GO!!! So to the potty we went. She excitedly exclaimed, “Momma, I’m peepening!” The next week she peed on the potty on a regular basis. No prompting by us whatsoever. When she had to go, she told us and she went. Before long she was asking to go first thing in the morning and right before bed. After a week of peeing on the potty and having a dry pull-up all day, she told her teacher at Kids Church that she had to go potty. Huge step for her–to not only not go in her pull-up–but to tell someone who wasn’t me or Chris that she had to go. That night we took her to the store to pick out her own underwear. Of course, she picked Frozen. The next morning for the first time we put our big girl in underwear and off we went.
Poop took a while to master. She either went in her underwear or she waited till she had a pull-up on. But our reward and sticker system worked and eventually she just got it. We only ever had one poop accident outside of the house. Not bad if you ask me!
We are using her sticker chart and rewards for a few more weeks but even now we are fairly confident she is full speed ahead as a big girl. She hasn’t had an accident of any sort in weeks. She poops on the potty like a pro and doesn’t even need our help when she goes pee anymore. In the past week we have stopped putting a pull-up on at naptime and she is currently only wearing a pullup at bedtime. Even then in the last 3 weeks or so she has only had a wet pullup one morning. She goes potty right before bed and even wakes us up in the middle of the night! (Yay? I think?)
We couldn’t be more proud of our big girl!
My advice to those of you who have not yet entered the land of potty training is to not force it. I would highly recommend introducing it early around 20 to 24 months. But just let them explore. Don’t pressure them. Let them get comfortable with the idea of it and when they’re ready they will do it. No sense in traumatizing everyone in the process.
So what are your tips and tricks? What advice would you offer others getting ready to take this step?
One night a few years ago we were out walking our dog Belle. She was sniffing around in the grass and found something she just had to eat. Next thing we know she is looking at us in a panic with her mouth covered in poop. Soft smelly poop. She immediately knew the error of her ways and appeared just as disgusted as us as she tried to get it off her face. Dogs are gross, but at least she realized it and didn’t continue to try to eat it. Toddlers on the other hand…
The list of why toddlers are gross is in-depth and long. But lets just talk about licking things. Stop licking the dog, stop licking the couch, etc. A few weeks ago we were at a splash pad. Audrey was having the time of her life running in the water, screaming and splashing. She absolutely loves the splash pad and would probably spend the entire day there if she could. We were starting to wind things down, LoLo was done and just wanting to sit on the sidelines drinking her water. As Chris and I were focused on getting our stuff organized and LoLo changed, I turned around to find Audrey licking a huge vent on the wall. Repeatedly! Um EW!
Here’s the thing I want to know. I get it–kids are weird and curious and are going to lick things and eat random weird things. But, after that first lick why would you go back for more? Like I would have to assume it didn’t taste great, so why the need to lick it again and in this case two more times?! It just makes no sense to me. Toddlers are weird, gross and totally random. Don’t lick the dog, stop licking the couch, don’t lick the wall and on and on it goes. Just this morning LoLo was pulling hair off of the dog and putting it in her mouth. Like a monkey picks fleas and other things out of each others fur and eats it. It was gross! When we noticed and told her to stop she smiled and did it again. She thought it was funny. Again, EW!
I realize that licking a vent on a public building or pulling out and eating the dogs hair isn’t the grossest thing either of them will ever eat or do. I realize that there are many more times ahead of me where I will utter words that I never thought I would say in this life. Bring it on, show me what you got tiny humans!
I DO NOT do vomit!
I HATE vomit!
-Dr Seuss (probably)
The smell is enough to send me over the edge and vomit myself. It’s also a terrible word, so I suppose it fits. Vomit reminds me of the time I worked as a night janitor at the University of Alberta. It was about 5 am and I was on my last set of bathrooms. I walked into a ladies room and the second the door opened and I was hit by that awful telling smell. I moved my shirt over my face and headed in to assess the situation. It was much, MUCH worse than I could have imagined. It was in a sink, up the sides, on the counter and splashed on the mirror. One look and I turned and made a quick exit. I thought about how to proceed. I knew there was no way I was going back in there. The bathroom itself was rather clean, so I made the decision to leave the vomit where it was and pretend it happened after I had already cleaned the bathroom. Yep! I did that and I have no regrets! Who knew this blog would be a place to confess my deepest darkest secrets…but there you have it. I left a sink full of vomit and pretended I had never seen or smelled it. But I did. And I’ll never be the same. But I digress, I really did have a reason for talking about vomit!
I knew the risks of vomit becoming a regular part of my life once I had kids. Sadly there is no hazard pay in parenting, although there probably should be. I had always hoped when the time came that my husband would be around to deal with it. My oldest will be 3 in August. She actually made it 2 years and 2 months before she ever threw up. Even then I would barely qualify it as such. We were in the car headed to the pumpkin patch and she was coughing after drinking an entire sippy cup of milk and we think she coughed a little too much and her milk came back out and all over her and her seat. It was pretty gross but not normal vomit gross.
Fast forward to May 1st 2017 and my vomit-free lifestyle ended. Ohhhh lordy did it ever. Lauren was sound asleep in her swing and Audrey in her bed. I was upstairs folding laundry enjoying my only hour or two of quiet for the day. My quiet ended with what sounded like a gagging noise coming through the baby monitor. At first glance everything seemed fine…until I noticed the glistening on Lauren’s chin and then it hit me.
It was only 4 PM and I knew Chris wouldn’t be home for hours. I was alone. I made my way downstairs. It was so much worse than I could have imagined. She was covered. Her hair, face, arms, shirt, and legs were covered. It was everywhere! I stood there trying to come up with a battle plan, trying to figure out how I would get her out of the swing and out of her clothes without getting it all over me and the floor. She was looking at me with a look of confusion on her face and probably wondering why the heck I was just sitting there staring at her instead of helping her. First thing I did was run and grab something to tie around my face. I carefully tied a t-shirt around to tightly cover my nose. I then laid dish towels on the floor next to the swing. There I was…looking like a bandit armed with baby wipes. I carefully picked her up and placed her on the dish towels. I slowly removed her onesie and wiped her down from head to toe. Next, I carefully took the swing seat apart and immediately threw it in the washer with her clothes. We made it upstairs, put on the washing machine and threw her in the bath. For someone who had just threw up probably all of the liquid and food inside her, she seemed in a pretty good mood. In that moment I felt hopeful it was a one time occurrence, haha I am such a vomit rookie. Thirty minutes later she threw up again all over our bed, sheets, pillows, comforter and me. She threw up 2 more times that night and for the next 5 days I lived in fear. Fear of vomit, fear of having to clean it and fear of wondering who was next. We made it through until morning with no more episodes so we started to think that maybe we were in the clear. She went all day Tuesday without vomiting and through the night and into Wednesday.
That was great, but as the hours passed we realized more and more that she wasn’t peeing. We called her Dr’s office and they had us bring her in that evening. They weren’t overly concerned and sent us on our way telling us she should have a wet diaper by the end of the night. Well, she didn’t. So when she still hadn’t peed into Wednesday afternoon (and had thrown up 2 more times that day) they sent us to the hospital for some potential fluids. By this time, whatever horrid virus had invaded my baby it was now invading me. I didn’t vomit, we will just leave it at that. A little immodium and peppermint candies to curb my nausea and it was off to spend a lovely evening at the hospital.
We were all checked in, both kids given popsicles and Lauren given some Zofran for nausea. Both girls were having the time of their lives. When the doctor observed the fact that Lauren looked like she was ready to hold an all night rave in the hospitals atrium, he made the decision not to give her fluids. At the time I was super annoyed because that was the whole reason our pediatrician sent us there. Instead they brought her juice and wanted to see if we could get a wet diaper before we headed home. We settled in to watch a movie.
And then it happened.
Audrey was its next victim. She was sitting with Chris and all of the sudden she vomited all over the place. On a stool, the bed, the floor and the sink. IT. WAS. EVERYWHERE! She had no idea what was happening, she was visibly shaking and scared. I immediately grabbed Lauren and went to let them know at the nurses desk. This–of course–was my excuse to be in the hallway away from the horrid, horrid smell. Not my greatest mom moment, I will be the first to admit it. But once Chris and the nurse cleaned some of it up and gave us these peppermint scented air fresheners, it was much better. But man…my girl Audrey was in a bad way. For some inexplicable reason we had like two changes of clothes for her so we got her changed and laid down on the bed. Chris went to check her in so she could also get some Zofran. We asked if there was a family discount or a 2-for-1 special….ha! Doubtful. Audrey threw up 3(!) more times at the hospital, burned through ALL her changes of clothes, and ended up wearing OHSU-provided toddler pants home. Oh and that’s not to mention she puked twice in the car on the way! That night we all slept in our room, I figured if there was going to be any more vomit I wanted it all contained in one place! Haha! And even though Lauren didn’t end up with fluids we were so SO thankful we were the hospital when Audrey did all that vomiting, since there already was enough vomit in my house from Lauren.
Over the next few days my little sickies were pretty mellow and clearly not feeling well. We ended up having to reschedule Lauren’s first birthday party. But slowly and surely, my loud, spirit filled littles were back to themselves.