Tuesday, January 08, 2008

an amazing trip trick: poop goes in the potty

I hesitate posting this as an amazing trip trick because although I might have one of my children completely potty trained during the day, and one of my children completely pee-pee potty trained during the day, I still have one child that will only poop in diapers and one child that doesn't care what they poop in or on, so long as it isn't a toilet.

Even though I may not be the most knowledgeable person about potty training a child ... I believe it is important to share the wisdom that I have gained thus far in the toilet training arena. So without further delay, pull up a chair, potty or other, and let's discuss.

First, children will not potty train until they are ready, even if you do pump them full of fluids and leave them pantless. Try as you might, potty training is all about control. They have the control. You do not. You know that saying "You can lead a horse to water..."? Same concept applies here. The sooner you come to terms with this simple fact - the easier it will be for everyone involved and the cleaner your floors will be.

Second, rewards may or may not work. One of our three-year old children is completely "day" potty trained. As a result of her potty training prowess, she has received a pair of princess shoes and a two-wheeled princess bicycle. She also receives a standing ovation and much hoopla every time she goes. Even though our other two three-year old children would love nothing more than fancy new shoes and a two-wheeled bicycle and exhausting praise, and they know what they need to do to get such favors, they are not willing to bid their diapers adieu. This is their choice. They and they alone, are in control. Refer to #1, above.

Third, the effect of peer pressure on potty training is overrated. People have long told me that once one of our children is potty trained, the other two will follow closely behind. Maybe I'm confused on what the term "closely behind" means, because after three months, I would think any kind of peer pressure would have been exerted by now.

Fourth, just because our children see how we - or small visitors to our home that do not mind having observers in the restroom - use the toilet, does not mean that they will want to hop up and try going themselves. Regardless of how much I plead with them to just try and hit the Cheerio.

Fifth, I'm not entirely convinced on the benefit of Pull-Ups or Easy-Ups or anything that remotely resembles the cross between diaper and underwear. The only reason that we use them is because sometimes, I find that they are easier to deal with when we are on the go. We have one child that will hold their poop until they are in a diaper. We have another child that will come up - holding a clean diaper and wipes - and instruct me to change them before laying down on the floor and sticking their feet straight up in the air. Both of these children are fully capable of going to the potty and have done so at some point in the past. But both of these children, if pressed, will go in their underwear and not mind in the least. When your child is ready to go potty, they will be terribly dismayed if they have to go in anything other than a toilet. At least if they are a girl. By the name of Elizabeth.

Sixth, a good potty training chair is a necessity and more than one potty chair is necessary if you have multiples. Fortunately, I only purchased one type before realizing that it was the wrong type and the best type is the kind that has little to no parts. I now have a fleet of Baby Bjorn potty chairs. I also have a smaller low-profile Baby Bjorn potty chair that I take with me in the car and on walks. The reason I love these potty chairs is because they consist of a small pot that is easily removed and (this is the most important part) easily cleaned. Now, if someone writes to tell me that the Fisher Price variety with the faux roll of toilet paper, lid, music box and flushing sounds actually worked for potty training their head strong child - I will eat my words, before rushing out to the store to purchase one. Until then, I'll also mention that from the research I've done, it appears that Once Upon A Potty also makes a chair that meets my stringent criteria for minimal parts.

Seventh, once you are feeling courageous enough to venture out of the house with your potty trainee ... make sure that you have a clean change of clothes with you. Also, try not to forget that you have a potty trainee in tow. I have been known to forget and am reminded only when a child with dripping wet pants comes up calling me Mommy. I try to encourage our children to use the potty before we leave the house - once we arrive at our destination - while we are at our destination - and before we leave for the car ride home. I also have with me a small foldable potty seat that I keep in my diaper bag that works great for public restrooms. After 36 years on this planet, I am convinced that there are few things in this world more horrifying than watching your youngster collapse bum first in to a public toilet.

Eighth, there are a lot of good books on the subject of potty training. I'm fairly certain we own them all. The favorites in our library include:

A Potty For Me!

Once Upon A Potty Note: we have both the Prudence & Joshua versions AND the movie.

It's Potty Time

Zoo Poo

Everyone Poops

Where's the Poop?

Ninth, relax. Even though I have a platoon in diapers and spend a small fortune every month, I know it won't be like this forever. Although, recently one of my children has told me that they love their diapers and plan on wearing them "Ahways." Of course this is the same child that was the very first to use our new potty chairs - but hasn't gone since - and nowadays, won't go poop without a fight. I've let go of the belief that potty training for all of my 3-year olds is going to happen in one day. Or over a weekend. This is a process and if anyone tries to tell you differently, just nod your head and smile. Remember that many children aren't completely potty trained until they are 3.5 or 4.

Tenth, as much as possible - keep it fun and try not to get frustrated. A few months ago, a woman named Allison sent me a song by the band Over the Rhine. (Hi Allison, if you're reading. I hope your pregnancy is going well!!) In my attempt to make using the potty an event that our children should excitedly embrace, and also to remind them where their poop should go, I set OTR's song to a few of our pictures that I show to our children frequently. Make sure your volume is up.



Now, I'm off to buy more diapers. Because even though our children know where the poop is supposed to go, not everyone is entirely convinced they want it there.

31 comments:

  1. I think the Fisher Price seat is scary. And realistic? How can it call itself that when it speaks to you? Have you ever had the toilet talk to you? Because that would be one psycho toilet.....

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  2. LOVED the video Jen - so did my 5 yr old and 3 yr old ... I'll have to file that away for when it's time to potty train my little guy that should be here within the month!

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  3. That is AWESOME. Great editing job to the song! I am going to try to mine at the same time this coming summer....we'll see...I don't want that time to come...because I dread that...I have two VERY head strong and control freakish kids...not to mention I am too. :) Should be for a fun ride. I am sure I will have the same stories but only x2

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  4. I so agree with you on these points. I never knew how you could FORCE a child to use the potty. My mom says she had all of us trained by 18 months. Uh. Huh. I think mothers of that generation had THEMSELVES trained.
    Once when I was changing my son, I said "Soon, you'll be wearing big boy underwear, right?" and he said "Mommy, you're just going to have to be patient with me right now." A child that could speak like that couldn't use the toilet???
    Not fun times. But you certainly seem to be doing great.

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  5. Awwww...I'm laughing thru my tears. :) My biggest fear...potty training has just begun at our house!!! Thanks for the tips!! I hope your other two jump on the potty training bandwagon VERY SOON!!!
    ~Jen

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  6. Thank you!!!! Man do I wish my mom would read this. I could use her off my back for sure!!!

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  7. WOW! I'll bet you could sell that tape! Great work! I'll bet it's getting into their brain waves, and you will have success soon.

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  8. That video and song were HILARIOUS! I couldn't agree with you more on the minimal parts thing. I love those chairs and wish I had one like that for Austin. Is now a bad time to tell you he's been in underwear for 2 days and hasn't had a single accident? I was afraid we might need new carpeting, but it looks like it's going to be dark brown forever!

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  9. My daughter (3.5 yrs) loves the song and video and we have watched it like 10 times! Wow. I hope it works as a potty training tool!

    Leslie

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  10. This is coming from someone who hates potty training. My hubby... declared that when Lexie was 3 he would potty train her. Lo and behold he went out and bought the fisher price one where he could record his voice. It also played a flushing sound and had a dance number to it. She was potty trained in no time. My two older boys were potty trained at 2 1/2, and 3 1/2. Every kid is different, but you have to not be lazy like me hahahah.

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  11. YOu are so right about who has the power here!! I am long since past the potty training stage, but I did my share. I do, however, have three grandchildren (in the same family) that are pretty darn close together in age - 3 to 5. One is trained, the others are not. Their mother has gone five years with kids in diapers. The cost alone could be someone's college education.

    Anyway, I had one of those children that came with the fresh diaper and the wipes. That kid never did get the hint until I decided maybe, just maybe, I wasn't a terrible mother if I let him sit in that uncomfortable soiled diaper for a bit.

    Turns out he really didn't like that diaper dirty. When I didn't jump right to changing it, he took matters into his own hands. AFterall, he really was in control.

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  12. That was amazing! I am very impressed at the video - perhaps that will be just the thing that Garrett (who turned three at the end of October) needs to finally be completely potty trained...

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  13. One of many cuzzins!1/9/08, 7:52 AM

    Love the video! The things we sing to our children! Sorry to hear William didn't get a passing grade on "big-boy pee 101".

    You have the most important aspect figured out...its all about control. There isn't much a 3 yr old gets to decide on his/her own. Eliminating one's own waste is in independent action. As frustating as it may be for parents, the ability to control where & when they "do it", whether its where you want it done or not, is an accomplishment. And, it is an indicator that the child has some sense of self reliance and autonomy, which are indeed positive life skills.

    Keep laughing and keep trying to take it all in stride. This may be a longer phase than you anticipated...but it will be over eventually.

    Hugs!
    ~Regina

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  14. Now I'll never get that song out of my head...

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  15. That was a fantastic video. Really talented of you!

    Leeann
    niccofive.blogspot.com

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  16. Oh and by the way, you haven't lived until you have treated yourself and your kids to the "Super Dooper Pooper" song!

    Here's the link:

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=wHU0LXYJdO8

    Leeann
    niccofive.blogspot.com

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  17. I shared your video with my 3 year old. He was quite impressed. Yes, I am trying to use that peer pressure you talked about! I told him, "Look! They are using the potty!" He was very interested. Then we went on to watch the Japanese You Tube video about potty training. He liked that one too. Maybe we are onto something here. I just need to have him watch all the You Tube videos.

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  18. I once read an article that said there are 3 things you absolutely cannot MAKE any child do...you can't MAKE them go potty, you can't MAKE them go to sleep and you can't MAKE them eat. I have 5 year old twins and a 7 month old and I wholeheartedly agree with ALL 3 things!!! My twins were daytime potty trained at 3yr3mo old and that was after several failed attempts. I finally just said "when you are ready let me know" and I let them tell me. LOVE the video as well!!!

    Kelly

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  19. As someone who has no desire - EVER - to potty train her two (read - petrified), I really appreciated the advice. Since they've started to say 'di(r)ty' when they go, I've been looking for books to start reading - I can't wait to add these to our collection! Sounds like things are moving along at your house, albeit slowly :D

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  20. You and Charlie have wonderful singing voices... LOL! Just kidden!

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  21. Just when I thought I had that song out of my head after sleeping it off last night, I overhear my kids singing it at the table. We only watched it 50 times last night!

    Isaac was asking this morning, "Which one of Jenna's kids was holding the little poop?"

    That song will live in infamy in my home! My kids are infatuated with talking about poop and pee! Maybe my four could encourage your three!

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  22. Love the song and especially the video! That's great.

    Just today, my pediatrician said the same thing as a commenter above mentioned: You can't make a kid eat, sleep or use the potty. (She was referring to sleep, in my baby's case.) Good luck to you guys in this process!

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  23. Oh thanks Jen. It's bad enough when I have some '80's New wave song stuck in my head. I guess I better not sing outloud in public!

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  24. Very Funny! James thought it was you and Charlie singing! Of course I told him yes! -- That's what a very expensive education will get ya! (another reason to homeschool)

    Think I already told you this but -- after going through 3 boys of potty training I can assure you that -- The summer after his third birthday. William will be ready to go, go, go!!!!!!! With an accident here or there. Enjoy.

    Love, Marg, (James, Alexander and Brian too)

    PS The boys really enjoyed it; they laughed so much! - I had to keep replaying it!! ;-)

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  25. This is a classic Jen! Hmmmm....wonder when that video would best be shown? 16th b-day? HS graduation? wedding day? So many choices!! Two of my girls went pee on the potty 1 time and have shown little interest since. I'll be working on it towards the summer time and will probably be buying 3 MORE potty seats with less parts. This post came a couple months too late for me and my potties have too many BERRYING parts!

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  26. We received the fisher price singing potty chair thingy as a gift, after several attempts to get my daughter to use the thing and not just want to play with it, I've come to the realization that I need something simple and sound-free, funny that you posted about it at the same time!

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  27. A friend sent me a link to your blog on a bad day. I laughed until I was on the floor and parenting two children suddenly seemed easier.

    My 4-yr old (today) boy will not potty-train. He will wear his "big-boy underpants" until he has to go and then beg for a diaper or hold it until it hurts. Your post made me feel better. I have committed to not letting him get his driver's license until potty-trained.-rlr

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  28. Those are great books and tools for teaching your kid. However, I just believe that the little ones ultimately decide when there ready to be potty trained. Too much pushing can turn them off. My kid actually used his first bathroom alone at the fair... ha ha a nasty porta potty rental in denver.

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