July 8, 2013

potty time - the aftermath

Happy Monday (she says with a forced smile that comes after a long holiday weekend)! Thanks everyone for the kind words about the CNN feature and my birthday. 'Merica and I had one great birthday celebration. Here is hoping your weekend was filled with summer fun.

I'm going to diverge from design today to give y'all an update on the potty training front and share some successes and some rather stinky failures. If you don't want to hear about the bodily movements of a toddler, I totally understand and I'll talk with you on Wednesday. For the rest of you, let's chat.

As I said before, I changed up my tactics a bit this time around to accommodate for my independent Eve. I read blogs, books, articles, and talked to anyone and everyone to find out what worked for them. And from all of that research the only thing I learned is that there is no magic potion. For every person who said, "Blank worked really well for my child", I had someone else who said, "Don't do blank, it didn't work for my child". Only you know your child - their temperaments and sticking points - so don't follow one theory or method, but instead follow your gut and go with the flow (I couldn't not have a pun).

So with that in mind, I'm not going to give a tutorial or the 10 best tips etc, because I don't think this is something that can be wrapped up that easily. I'm simply sharing what we did. Take it as advice or just a funny antidote. Whichever you choose.

I want to be just like you.
Eve has no interest in following my directions, however she is more than happy to do anything her big sister does. So for several weeks before we officially started training I left the door open while Amelia went to the bathroom (I know, eww). Eve would hang out in there, sometimes watching and sometimes just playing in the sink. But she noticed.

Take your pants off.
We took the standard trip to Target where Eve got to pick out any underwear she wanted (Dora) and any candy she wanted (Peanut Butter M&M's). But for the first few days she had no underwear on at all and she's worn only dresses. This saves valuable seconds between the 'I have to go' and the actual...going. It may not seem like much but that could be the difference in those first days between celebrating success and just almost making it.

Cold turkey.
This goes right along with the whole pants thing - No pull ups. We go all the way in this house. It makes for a messy few days but I think its worth it in the long run. How confusing to put on things that look and feel just like diapers but be told they aren't diapers. We do however do wear the night time pull ups but that's mostly because I'm lazy and don't want to change sheets in the middle of the night. One battle at a time I think.

Clear the decks.
I have a hard time hiding my frustration when my favorite pillow/chair/rug is hurt in any way (mean mommy) and if there is one time when a child's ego is especially delicate it is when they are trying to master a new task. So to decrease the chance of injuring any of mommy's favorites and keeping spirits high, I covered furniture with towels and rolled up any rugs I was concerned about. We also tried to hang out in the yard whenever possible as nature doesn't care about her floors as much as I do.

House arrest.
This goes right with the no pull ups and no underwear thing. Eve and I hunkered down and didn't leave the house until we had a full successful day, (Well, that isn't entirely true but I'll get to that in a minute) which turned out to be about four days. Amelia was at camp every day so Eve and I had the house to ourselves and it was all about her. I didn't let her out of my sight until we had a few successes as I didn't want her failure to be because I wasn't there to help her get on in time. That potty was two carted around everywhere.

Don't ask me again.
The first day I did the 'let's sit down every 10 minutes and see if anything happens' theory but I quickly found that it created more anxiety than necessary. It is a big change to all of a sudden have to sit on this little throne and Eve was confused as to why she was being made to sit in that chair so often. It was starting to become a frustration for her and I wanted that chair to be something positive. So I changed course and backed off the regimented schedule. Instead I'd ask her after snacks, short walks around the yard, a tv show or anytime I went. This kid is far more 'go with the flow' so by making our training more relaxed she felt more comfortable and willing to give it a try.

Pavlov's Dog.
If there is one thing this girl loves, it is candy. Stickers work better for some kids, little figurines, whatever. The point is it is a prize. However, the prize is not given just for sitting on the potty. M&M's are only handed out once there is a success. I know a lot of people give out the treat anytime the kids says they need to sit down, whether they do anything or not. But (again mean mommy) I think this is silly and confusing. If all I had to do to get something I wanted was just do 20% of the job, hell I'd be asking to sit on the potty every 5 minutes. Nope. You give me something to flush and I'll give you some chocolate and peanut butter goodness.

And the oscar goes to. Hand in hand with the M&M's come the theatrics. Accomplishments need to be celebrated much in the same way a Kardashian throws a wedding - over the top. We cheered, we clapped, we danced, we sang, we called people to tell them. In the words of Kool and the Gang - Celebrate good times, come on.

The P word.
Our downfall. Eve got the hang of peeing on the potty pretty quickly (day 2), but the other P word however was not so easy. The first day she didn't have one at all and the second day we had an accident. No biggie. The third day we had one success and one failure. Moving in the right direction. Then we arrived at the fourth day. Ugh, the fourth day. We had been doing so well up until then that she and I got a little cocky and decided to break one of my cardinal rules - Stay HOME. We picked up Amelia and her friend from camp and I decided to treat the girls to McDonald's. Eve had just gone to the bathroom before we left and I even brought the potty in the car, just in case. We waited in line, got our food and found a seat right next to the play place, all without incident. But then Eve walked over to the slide. The horror. I'll spare the specifics but my tiny 2-1/2-year-old managed to  horrify and disgust two 10 year old. Boys that just a few minutes before were enjoying a very creative burping contest. The janitor had to be called over and gave me the look of death as he put up the yellow cones. I had been shamed out of McDonalds. I didn't think it was possible. And all because I broke the 4th rule of fight potty club - stay home.

So with all of this, I'm happy to report that Eve has gone thru a whole cup of M&M's and is now a successful potty training graduate. (With a master of the other P word about a week and a half after we started.) We have had a successful trip to the zoo and several stores and it feels good to be out of the house like a normal person again and not changing any diapers. Now we can enjoy the rest of the summer, even if we can't step foot in McDonald's again.


  1. I've said it before, I'll say it again. It's a good thing little ones are soooo adorably cute and precious, because the things we go through on their behalf are often just the opposite.

    Congratulations...you made it!

  2. Ha! Love this post! I'm still waiting to start potty boot camp.... I'm a lazy scaredy cat. I know. Congratulations on your success!!!!

  3. Oh the memories this brigs. I love that you figured out not to 'sit and see if anything happens'. That was our downfall. Do you think McDonald's got you on the security camera? Don't worry, the employees change over so quickly, by fall...you can return.

  4. Oh yes, the joys of potty (and poop) training! Don't miss it, and not looking forward to it again :D It definitely felt like we got a pay raise getting rid of the diapers though! Congratulations!!!

  5. Oh my God. I've been doing potty training for a couple of months now. I think we're finally at the point of no diapers. But it's been a long haul (she still wears them for naps and nighttime...there is no way I'm tackling that now). The number 2 P is the hardest though! Sometimes she'll hold it and go during her nap so she doesn't have to use the potty for it!

  6. You're bringing me back with this post! I used M&Ms when I potty trained my daughter (the child is obsessed with chocolate). Worked like a dream!

  7. Great job Eve and Mama! I resorted to the treats to train my little ones too - worked like a charm. Sometimes I put the jar of M&Ms or Skittles back on the windowsill in the bathroom just for fun, even though my kids are big. It's kinda a joke around here.

  8. Yay Eve! Such great news. Thank you so much for sharing, I'm going to need all the help I can get pretty soon!!

  9. YAY!! I love your candy idea. Now I'm wanting some m&ms!

  10. My chin is still on the floor about your McDonald's story. Poor Mommy. Poor Eve. :( We had a similar incident but lucked out that no one noticed in Target, but I left a cart full in the middle of the aisle.

  11. Hahaha that is so funny, i can just picture the poor janitor and your walk of shame. They say you learn something new everyday and thanks to you I now know you do not leave the house while potty training!

  12. Yay! You survived it! Nice going Mama!

  13. Congratulations are in order! Things go uphill from here!
    Happy Tuesday.

  14. big news!!! yeay!! Congrats to your baby and you, super mama!! I can say that most of the rules you have here applied in our case as well. Cold Turkey is the way to go. Now you can celebrate!

  15. Way to go Eve!!!! And Elizabeth :)... I hope I'll be back soon with the same good news :). PS--I think I already told you but love the new foyer.

  16. Aww well done Mama and Eve!! I had to read this even without kids - her little face is just too cute even if we are talking about erm.. unpleasant things. Bless her and you for sticking through it!! M&Ms and claps for all!! xxx

  17. hahaha I can't stop laughing at the story at the end, but hurray for sweet success!! It feel so good when they are potty trained!!

  18. Oh my gosh, I feel for you but I am SO happy I'm not doing that again!! In a month you'll look back and feel like its been years since you changed a diaper...good for you for knocking it out!!


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