Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Potty Training: A 2 part endeavor!



Down to one kid in diapers, yeah buddy! So I've been meaning to do a potty training post because well everyone wants to know how it went, what you did, and mostly they really want to hear you tell horror stories about how awful and hard the experience was so they don't feel so bad that it hasn't been a piece of cake for themselves.

Am I right on that one folks?

If nothing else, I want to write this down so that I can refer back when the wee one is ready to do this so I can remember what to do and what not to do. So I offer the following, just a tad bit of horror and then a lot of piece-a-cake. We started the potty training endeavor when Dude turned 2. So out came the potty chair, the pull ups, and the potty treats!

Endeavor #1, little bro
being very supportive ;)
Things were smooth sailing on the first two days, we went totally diaper free during the day (be prepared for your family and relatives to completely NOT understand this method and side eye you when your kid is constantly running around naked) and we would do pull ups at nap time and night. One thing at a time, no need to go crazy right. He was great, peeed and poo'd his little heart out on the potty chair. I already knew what his typical bathroom habits were at this point (ie. poop once a day, etc.) so I just made sure to keep on track and remind him frequently to go to the potty.

There were accidents, it was like having a puppy in the house and I'd find pee puddles across the house all day. But he was still peeing in the potty, so this was progress in my eyes. This went on for about  5 days or so. Naked toddler during the day, pee puddles, potty treats, woohoo! I noticed that he was tapering off on the poo part at about day 3, I knew this was going to be the hardest part but I figured with enough positive encouragement we'd get past the hurdle.

Poo Problems: After about day 3 there was no more pooping in the potty. I knew he had to go but he wasn't going. He wasn't afraid of the potty, he just wasn't going, and he wasn't going anywhere else either. I had heard of kids holding their poop but this wasn't the issue. Something was up. Long story short after another day he appeared to be physically in pain, like he was having the urge to go but wasn't going and I just kept telling him "it's OK, just go, you get a treat!! you're doing soooo good!" But he wouldn't, he'd sit there and cry. Finally ended up taking him into the ER... wish I was joking about this part but for real, we went to the ER. He was screaming in pain, they ended up giving him an enema and about 15 minutes of ear piercing screams later ta-da, let's just say he was "relieved".

We went home from the ER just shaking our heads, what in the world had happened, he was so excited about potty training, things had gone so well... what did we do wrong. I figured we would stop and try again in a couple of months. Quite honestly I was a little freaked out thinking we had probably just traumatized the hell out of the kid and he was going to have a crazy poop complex for the rest of his life!

So potty training endeavor # 1.... well pretty much a FAIL.

After a couple of months I started to lean towards trying again but I went back and re-analyzed everything a hundred times over to figure out what we could do differently. This is what I think went wrong...

Potty treats.

The kid is really not allowed to have candy, like ever, unless it's a special occasion or a sneaky relative or grandparent brings it over. Therefore, what better potty treat than candy- m&m's etc. What happened, I think, is that he would get SOOO excited that he was going to get the coveted candy treat that he would literally jump off the toilet mid stream cheering himself on and run to the kitchen to get his treat. Not a huge issue I guess until it came to poo time. He was literally stopping himself in the middle to get his prize and ultimately ended up constipating himself so bad that we needed an enema in the end. Talk about random.... who in the world has this happened to other than me.... if it has please comment so I feel better about it ha!

So the first change for endeavor #2 was NO treats!! We went with a sticker board instead. He really loves getting stickers, we do this for his behavior board and I figured it would probably work for potty training too. We picked some cool stickers for pee and then extra special big stickers for poop. And sure enough, he responded like a champ to the stickers!! We didn't change a single thing other than that the second time around. Naked toddler, no more pee puddles (so obviously something worked the first time), and sticker rewards.

I paid extra close attention to the poo problems, making sure he was going and he did just fine. No weird potty complex, he was great. I guess I can attribute this all in part to just waiting a couple extra months for him to mature just a tiny bit more, who knows? We continued with the pull ups at night and naps and did so for about 3 weeks. Finally there were only a handful of accidents during the day if we were out and about.

Once he started to wake up from naps with a dry pull up, we pulled the plug on those. Now he was diaper free at nap time. Smooth sailing there. Of course there was an accident every rare once and a while but that was ok with me. And we applied the same concept to night time, we started cutting off drinks a little earlier in the evening. We'd make him go before he went to bed and then immediately after he woke up. Once he started to wake up dry (for the most part) a few days in a row, we pulled the nighttime pull ups. And that my dears is it.

That's the end of the story, Dude is/was potty trained 4 months after he turned 2. So what I took away from the experience was that he certainly WAS ready the first time around but we went about it the wrong way. The second time just made it a tad easier since he already knew the point. NO treats. And go with the cold turkey approach. No undies, no pants, no diapers at ALL. No giving in. Once you can see that they are dry at naps or night jump on it! Take them away and deal with extra laundry from accidents for a week or two, it IS worth it.

I will also add that we have had maybe 2 or 3 occasions that we ended up having to do another enema at home, which sounds scary but it actually super easy, they sell very gentle acting bulbs in pediatric form at the drug store that work like a charm. Clearly this problem is not from him just merely "holding" it in, it may be diet related, a little too much dairy one week- who knows. But this is a quick fix and I've come to terms that he may just have an issue here or there with it that he'll surely outgrow. Bottom line is we're done with diapers, only one more kid to go!!



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