Potty Talk. Again.


The Elmo potty is back in our lives and I feel like the manic laughter is even more annoying this time around.

I was still working when Reese was potty trained so I missed a lot, but I am a firm believer that she went when she was ready, and there probably wasn’t much I could do to change that. James had started telling us more and more that he needed to be changed or he had a poop in his diaper, so I took this to mean that he might be ready. I decided one week when we had no plans, and the weather was nice, that I would let James run around for a couple of days diaper free and see what happened.

One of my friends swore by a method that she had used to train her son, who at the time, was almost 3. It’s 2 days of no pants or diaper, and then 5 days of just pants, no underwear, and then they start wearing underwear full-time.

For two days, minus bedtime and nap time and a few quick trips out where he wore a diaper, he ran around the yard, free as a bird, going potty wherever he pleased. Anywhere that was not the potty, that is. Then after that, I started putting him in his shorts with nothing under them, hoping for the best. He still went wherever he wanted, and a few times made it to the potty. He actually had remarkable skills and was sometimes able to poop right out the leg of his shorts, without even soiling the shorts at all. The days where he wore his shorts, but not underwear or diaper is when I think it really started to click. He realized right away that his shorts were wet and didn’t like that at all, and I think that’s when he started to recognize the feeling he got when he had to go.

There are lots of messes with this method. We stayed outside as much as possible but I still felt like I was constantly cleaning up messes for the first two days. I tried to keep James out of the one carpeted room we have, but that was his preferred place for number 2’s. What makes it even harder is that whenever he was distracted (i.e. watching TV), he would go without even noticing it. So, you really have to follow your kid around all day and can’t even leave them for a minute. This method also requires lots of wine at night so be ready.

Now, two weeks later, he is in underwear for most of the day and today is the first day we took him out with underwear. I do have to sit him on the potty every now and then because he doesn’t always tell me. So if it seems like it has been a while since he went, I will sit him down and see if he has to go. He wears diapers whenever he is sleeping, and he still has accidents, and struggles with going #2 for sure. I’m pretty sure that he holds in #2 until he is in a diaper. Then he can really let loose.

I forgot to mention that anytime James went in the potty, he got an M&M. This is a sure-fire way to get my kids to do anything. I would give Reese an M&M too, so she was super invested in James’s success.

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I Hope This Is My Last Post About Potty Training

Lately, I could talk for days about potty training. That’s how boring and annoying I am.

I am happy to report that Reese is completely potty trained. We think. It was a rough road and involved some light force at times, but we did it.

Sharing the story of how we potty trained Reese is a little embarrassing because it makes me sound pretty mean, but whatever.

As I have said before, Reese took to peeing in the potty pretty easily but refused to go #2. She took it so far that if we skipped nap time (her time of choice for going #2) she would hold it in, sometimes for days, until she had another nap time. Then, when she finally would go it would be a huge nasty explosion that I would have to clean up, often with a crying baby in my arms.

About a month or so ago, she went #2 in her diaper during her nap time. She then proceeded to smear the contents of her diaper all over her room. The walls, the windows, the shades, the rug etc. (we had to pull up the rug in her room because the smell would not go away.)  I took a picture of the mess on my phone and sent it to Andrew. “Come home please!” (I will spare you by not posting that photo here.) He came home early, we cancelled our dinner plans and spent the next 4 hours cleaning.

After this, we both had major anxiety about where/when this could occur again. One day I was about to tell Andrew something funny that Reese did at swimming lessons and I said, “You’ll never believe what Reese did today at swimming.” He said, “Don’t tell me she shit in the pool.” It was on our minds.

The Monday after the incident I decided I was D-O-N-E. I started putting Reese in underwear every day, which was mean of me, because I knew she wouldn’t go #2 in her underwear, so she held it in. After about 3 days of no # 2, I gave her prune juice, went into the bathroom with her and made her sit on the potty until she went. I promised her anything she wanted if she would go. Ice cream, candy, toys, entire cakes, the list goes on.

We were there for hours. Literally. The first day was probably 2-2.5 hours of me sitting on the tile while Reese sat, and sat, and sat. When she would finally start to go, she would freak out, try to  jump off the potty and cry for her diaper. It was so sad. I actually had to hold her down on the potty (this is the part where I sound like a fricking lunatic mom, but scrubbing shit off walls will make you a crazy person) until she went.

The next day it was another 2-3 hours of Andrew and I taking turns sitting with her until she went. She was rewarded once she went, and after that it seemed to click. She started telling us when she had to go, and was happy collecting her reward once she did. Now, about a month and a half later, we are still rewarding her every time, and we may continue until she’s 12. We don’t want to screw this up.

Here is Reese showing off one of her “potty presents.” She was promised at least 100 different presents but seems satisfied with “a toothbrush that goes buzzzzz.”


Potty Training Part Deux

According to mom message boards, “poop phobia” is  a real thing.

If in fact this is true, then Reese has it.

Since we began offering an M&M every time Reese went in the potty, we got her to go pee in the potty on a regular basis. I swear she can pee on command now, and the potty is now becoming something she sits on when she feels like a snack.

On occasion she will still go in her pull-up, and she still wears a diaper at night.

Number two however, is a different story. This is a gross post, just to warn you, but this is my life now.

Reese has gone number two in the potty maybe three times, and these times always involved sitting on the potty for long  periods of time. Like 45 minutes. It also involved screaming and last-minute frantic pleas for a diaper. There is clearly a fear of going in the potty but I thought if she just did it once, she would see it wasn’t scary and she would be over it. Not so.

Every day during “rest time”, which would be more aptly named “take all the books out of the shelf and throw them on the floor, knock over your hamper and kick it across the room, jump on your bed, bang your cup on the wall repeatedly and throw blocks at the door” time, Reese does her “business.” It is not pretty. When rest time is over and I open her bedroom door, she often greets me with, “there’s poop on my back.”

If we miss rest time one day, then there is no numero dos.  This is the only time she will do it; alone in her room, in her pull-up. I have even tried watching her on the monitor and when I think she is about to go, running upstairs and busting in to try to get her to the potty in time.

As I write this, I am realizing for the first time how creepy that sounds.

When I did this, she didn’t go for three more days. Pretty sure I made her feel that she wasn’t safe anywhere.

And so that is where we are with this.

I look forward to the days when there is no poop on anyone’s back but I know these are far off. In the mean time, if anyone has any ideas for dealing with this please let me know. I will try anything at this point.



Potty Dances

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This is our Elmo potty. Note the pretend “flusher.” When pushed, Elmo’s creepy laughter echoes throughout our house. The back of the potty shows Elmo wearing a scuba mask and swimming underwater. I have a problem with this, as I feel like it is implying that Elmo is swimming in the potty which is gross, and in my opinion, sending the wrong message about how potties are to be used.

We haven’t been great about consistency with “potty training”, if you can even call it that. We put Reese on it every now and then, but up until this week she had probably only gone in it once. The rest of the time she just sat on it and read books or “magazines.”

She has also learned to use it against us. She quickly realized that whenever she would say “pee pee” or “poo poo” we would stop whatever she was doing, take off her diaper, rush her to the Elmo potty, and read books to her. She used this to escape bath times, bedtimes, naps, and basically anything she deemed unfavorable.

The past two nights Reese has done a poop (TMI?) in the potty before bath time. Each time she does it, we make a big deal. There is applause and a song and dance that includes roof raising on my part and circular running with arms raised on her part. The song goes “Reesie went in the pot-tee, Reesie went in the pot-tee. Yea Reesie yea!” You can tell she is extremely proud and it might be the best part of the day for all of us.

Reese particularly enjoys the cheering part. Sometimes, she will sit down, make a few grunting noises, then stand up, point to the empty potty and say, “Yay! You did a poop!” (there is some confusion surrounding pronouns) and clap for herself. Sometimes she’ll add a, “Good job!” in there as an extra pat on the back to herself. When she fakes it like this, Andrew and I always remind her, “No Reese, you didn’t do a poop, but thanks for trying.” The other day she sat down, pretended to go, jumped up, started clapping and pointing at the empty potty and said, “Yay, you did a poop! No you didn’t.” then sat back down.  We had witnessed an internal battle and truth had prevailed.

So this is our method. There is no real method. We sit her on the potty at the same time each night and if she goes, we have a party. If not, that’s ok too. If she pretends to go, we just remind her of the cold, hard truth,  “No you didn’t.”

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PS Please disregard the giant bruise on Reese’s head. She fell the other night in the kitchen and knocked her head on the floor. She took it like a champ but it was a nasty one.