Saturday, May 29, 2010

Potty Training: Day 6

Ladies and Gentlemen, this will likely be the last post of this Potty Training series. The week is almost over, and Sunday is upon us.

I had dreams last Sunday of walking into the nursery tomorrow saying, "He's in big boy undies; please remind him to go potty every once in awhile." But I'm just not that confident, yet, so we'll be heading to church in diapers.

However, I feel that every day has gotten better. Today Caleb was in diapers when we went grocery shopping and to a picnic at lunch, but was otherwise in his undies. I was surprised that he kept his diapers mostly dry, and went to the potty when we asked him, even when he'd been in a diaper for awhile. So even with the safety net of a diaper, he held his bladder, which I thought was a good sign. And we had another naptime without wetting the bed! His one accident today happened at dinner, and I had tried and tried to get him to go potty beforehand, but he was more hungry than anything, and wouldn't hear of it. Then of course, he was pretty upset when he again had to wait while we cleaned up the mess. I tried to reason with him that if he'd gone potty before dinner, he wouldn't have to be waiting for it now, but I'm not sure that got through to him. Pretty sure it didn't.

All in all, I'd say this week has been a success. I didn't realize how hard it would be on both Caleb and myself (and Jon when he was home). It wasn't just the physical learning and cleaning up the messes; it was mentally and emotionally difficult. Caleb has gone to bed early almost every evening, wiped out from the emotions of the day. I've been asking him to grasp something he's never had to do before, to understand something about himself that he might not yet have noticed. And it's been very hard on me not to lose my patience. I have gotten frustrated at the obstinance that Caleb has shown, and his struggle to be in control of a situation. He didn't want to sit on the potty because it was not his idea and he was doing other (more fun) things. And then he would find out that his power-struggle resulted in a mess and another interruption to his playtime.

There was never a time when Caleb peed out of spite, and that reminded me that the messes he made were simply accidents, and I had no right to be frustrated at him.

So what next? Boot camp is over, so we'll again rejoin society and go about our normal days. If we're going out, I'll probably put Caleb in a diaper, then back to undies when we get back home. Hopefully, Caleb will continue to hold his bladder as he did today, and time will reinforce what he's learned about pottying. At some point we'll go on short outings with undies, and then eventually he'll be in his undies all the time.

Will I put the rugs back down? Maybe not just yet....

Though Caleb is not 100% potty trained, I am really glad we've had this week. I think it's been a good jump start to the process, and the concentrated effort has given both Caleb and Jon and I a chance to learn some things right at the beginning, such as Caleb's natural pottying habits and his response to apple juice! I feel that if I'd tried to switch between diapers and undies while continuing our regular schedules every day, I wouldn't have caught on to some of these things, and Caleb wouldn't have grasped the concept like he has.

So there you have it. He's certainly not fully potty trained, but I am very proud of the progress that Caleb has made. We've asked him to grow up a bit this week, and he's done very well with it. Thanks for your support through it all!

Caleb in is big-boy undies, getting ready for his first slip and slide experience. But that, my friends, is for another post!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Potty Training: Day 5

Well aren't you just so excited that I've posted a blog every day this week? And aren't you just so lucky that it's all about poo? You really should count your blessings.

The big news today is that Caleb made it through his naptime without wetting the bed. When he woke up and I got in there, he was looking pretty uncomfortable, and only took enough time to get his cup of milk before heading to the potty. Success!

I've also confirmed that apple juice is brutal on mamas. Man, it just goes right through my son. The same amount of milk or water takes much longer to reappear, but apple juice is out in minutes. And then again a few minutes later. And then a few minutes later. I can catch it the first time, but then I'm thrown off by the second. And I'm still cleaning up that mess when Caleb's working on another. Sheesh. Juice. Whoever thought to give it to kids.

So other than that, and then one accident when we were playing outside (he was being obstinate and didn't want to sit on the potty), we did very well today. Tonight we had a youth function, so Caleb was in a diaper. I noticed he still gave off signs that he needed to go potty, but I couldn't really do anything about it, so we had to leave it at that.

And that's the basic report.

In other news (because yes, other things have happened besides potty training), Caleb is officially 18 months old, and I'm officially 25 weeks along with Newbie2. Caleb is an absolute joy. I love being around him, experiencing his sense of humor, watching his sensitivity, and playing with him. On the pregnancy front, fatigue hit me like a Mack truck today, reminiscent of the first trimester. It really hadn't hit me until the last couple of days that I'm 6 months pregnant. No wonder I groan getting up and down off the floor with Caleb! No wonder I get tired of pulling Caleb in and out of the carseat, up and down from the changing table, on and off the potty. So, I'm trying to take it a little easier...mainly by allowing Jon to do all the heavy lifting, starting the minute he gets home from work. The poor guy never gets a break, but I'm so thankful for him.

More to come!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Potty Training: Day 4

I may be starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I'm thinking the tunnel will take longer than a week to travel, but at least there's light!

Today we had at least four good successes in the potty, and very few cleanups. Caleb spent quite a bit of time on his frog potty, though only one of his successes was there. The other successes were in the big potty. I'm not sure if it's more comfortable, more secluded, more grown-up, or just a random coincidence.

Other positives:
  • Caleb showed his teddy bear how to go on the potty, indicating that he has a good understanding of what he should do, even when he doesn't do it. It was also the most times he's said, "Potty!" to tell his bear about it. Otherwise he doesn't ever claim the need to go on the potty.
  • When Caleb wasn't falling asleep for his second nap, I checked on him and he was pacing his crib with his hands clamped firmly over his front-side. I quickly took him to the potty and he did his business! So he has some control over his bladder, etc, and felt the need to hold it during naptime.
  • Caleb asked to sit on his frog once, though the effort didn't produce anything. But at least he had the desire.
  • Caleb has long periods of time staying dry, as the last three days have shown a pattern.

The biggest negative right now is that Caleb does not let us know verbally that he needs to go to the bathroom. He also does not initiate getting on the potty on his own. We have to watch for the signs and sometimes find creative ways to get him to sit on the potty, but not so creative that he forgets why he's there. So some might argue that at the moment we, the parents, are the ones being trained. But today felt like we had some good improvement. The week's not over, yet!

More to come!

Random notes:
  • The reason my goal has been for a week is because I read an article about how to potty train a toddler in a week, and the training techniques were geared toward ages 18-24 months. So I've been following the article's advice pretty closely and hoping for success in a week. I know, though, that it's a very hopeful goal, and it's going to be quite okay if my kid is not potty-trained at 18 months. If this doesn't work, we'll probably go back to our original goal of 2 1/2 years.
  • I'm really a fan of the hardwood floors for this venture. For older kids who train in three days, it may not be an issue, but we have cleaned a lot of pee off of this floor. A lot.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Potty Training: Day 3

Day 3 of this 7-day experiment, and I'm not sure if I'm seeing a light at the end of the tunnel or not. if you'd asked me at 6pm, I would have said yes! At that point, we'd had almost all success, with only a couple of small accidents on our way to the potty.

What was different about today was that Caleb didn't need to go very much, though he was still drinking normal amounts of fluids. In the morning, he went 3.5 hours between potty times. Talk about nerve-wracking! I thought he was going to burst at any minute, and I kept whooshing him away to the potty, which he wasn't too happy about. He was busy playing with his friend who had come over for the morning. When his friend left, I called Jon in despair. Jon recommended I take him to the bathroom and turn on the bath water to inspire him. It worked like a charm!

After that we had a staff lunch in town, so Caleb went into a diaper which he wore through naptime. After naptime, nothing for another 2.5 hours! That was when 6pm rolled around and Jon had another brilliant idea.

"Why don't we give him juice so he'll drink more?"

Well, I thought he'd been drinking just fine, but Caleb heard the word "juice" and would have nothing more of his sippy of water. So...out came the juice. Now, I should have remembered Holly's words to me yesterday, to cut off liquids about an hour before bedtime, but I forgot. That boy went through at least 2 cups of juice, if not three.

And in the period of an hour he broke yesterday's record and peed 5 times, adding a 6th just a few minutes after the hour mark.

SIX times. Boy I was not ready for that one! Every few minutes I'd find Caleb marooned in a new LARGE puddle of pee. My day of avoiding messes was ruined in that one hour.

So lesson learned. Who knows whether he needed the extra fluids or not, but it certainly gives him more chances to recognize when he needs to go. Until this evening, I thought maybe he was catching and learning to control his bladder better, but now I don't know. We'll see what tomorrow holds! More then.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Potty Training: Day 2

While I wanted to tell you that we saw marked improvement today, I have to admit that Day 2 was just about as successful as Day 1, maybe even less so, if we count accidents and potty successes. At one point, Caleb managed to pee on the floor four times in an hour and a half!

So, another frustrating day. However, there were some glimmers of hope.

First, Caleb was much more compliant today about sitting on the potty. He sat often and long, though it did not prevent the (seemingly) immediate accident afterward. Because I was not fighting him all day, my day went much better, and I am in a better frame of mind at the end of the day.

Caleb continues to be concerned about the messes he makes. He immediately stops whatever he's doing and cries out. Sometimes it's "uh oh" or "poopy" (though it's pee), but mostly it's "Mommy! Mommy!" and, to my amusement, when Jon got home, "Daddy! Daddy!" Caleb stands in the middle of the puddle as if it is an island on which he is marooned. He waits for us to whisk him away to be cleaned up.

Caleb once again went to bed early and tuckered out. It's such a big step for such a little boy. I've heard so many stories of kids training over a weekend, but I have to remind myself that Caleb is a good year younger than most of the kids in those stories. That year makes a big difference. So this week may just be the beginning of potty training for us, or it may be the big red flag to let us know that our boy is just not ready yet. As of today, I really don't know how it will turn out.

More tomorrow!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Potty Training: Day 1

Ai, ai, ai...has it been a day.

We've gone through 8 pairs of underwear, 1 set of sheets and blanket and mattress pad, 4 towels, had 4 pee accidents, 1 poop accident...and 2 successes!

Yikes. I'm worn out and Caleb's in bed a good 30 minutes early without a peep of protest. It's been a long day. I was never as happy as I was tonight to put a diaper back on my boy.

Caleb has done pretty well. He sat on his potty most of the times I asked him to, though it almost always took some kind of distraction: a book, a tv show, a snack, etc. And when he had an accident in his underwear, he let me know pretty quickly.

Jon and I? Well, we could probably use a dash more of patience, and a pinch of experience wouldn't be bad, either. Maybe we'll have more of both tomorrow.

I'll keep you posted!

24 Weeks

We've made it to 24 weeks in this pregnancy! I just realized yesterday that that's 6 months along! Crazy!

My belly seems to have grown in just the last couple of weeks, and I finally look like I'm pregnant. I've sort of looked it up 'til now, but given the right (or wrong) shirt, it's still been questionable. Now the bump is rounding out nicely, and it's actually starting to get in my way for normal activities like tying my shoes.

I've also taken off my wedding bands and replaced them with my aquamarine ring that Jon gave me for my birthday a few years back. The wedding bands always get tight in summer, so when I had to tug a little extra to take them off on Sunday morning, I decided to go ahead and make the switch.

For the most part, I'm feeling great! I get heartburn every once in awhile and wish there were a magic pillow to make me comfortable (and not hot!) at night.

We had a dr. appt. right before we went on vacation. I let the doctor know I would be bringing food to snack on during labor, and she said that was fine; the nurses would object, but that she would handle them. When I was pregnant with Caleb, my doctor then had said something similar, but that I should just sneak the food. So I might still be a little sneaky about it to not cause any trouble with the nurses. But really, it's ridiculous to expect me to push out a baby when I haven't eaten anything but ice chips in over 24 hours. Let's hope, though, that this labor/delivery goes much faster, and I won't really have to deal with that!

I've gained about 20 pounds so far. Last pregnancy at this point I'd only gained 10 pounds! Yikes! But I'd lost 15 right before getting pregnant this time, so I'm pretty sure much of the 20 pounds is regaining some of that weight back. Poop. But maybe inevitable. I won't worry about it until well after Newbie2 arrives.

Speaking of Newbie2, he weighs about a pound now and is almost a foot long! He kicks all the time to let me know that he's there. I'm so ready to have a name for him, but we just haven't decided yet.

More news later!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Potty Training: Preparation

We're taking the plunge. This week is the week to make a good effort at potty-training Caleb. We'll see how it goes!

Since Caleb is so young, we'll be approaching potty-training a little differently than I had originally thought. He doesn't understand the concept of "big boy," so "big boy undies" and "big boy potty" really have no meaning. Also, the demands and rewards idea doesn't really make sense to him yet, either, so no, "You get a sticker if you...." Nope, it's going to be a simple, this is what we do and how we do it, like we taught him about how to drink from a sippy or where his books go at the end of reading time.

To prepare, we've had to take the plunge and buy a potty that sits on the floors. While I abhor the idea of cleaning out that thing, the simple fact of the matter is that Caleb can't reach the regular toilet on his own. That seems kind of important, so now we have a happy green frog that's perfectly Caleb-sized. Caleb loves it. He understands it's both a frog and a potty, which is pretty cool, I guess. He can get on and off of it on his own. He can also take out the pot part...which I can foresee causing some problems if he decides to pull it off right after peeing in it.

On that note, Jon and I just pulled up all the rugs in the house. We're thankful for an all-wood floor that will be easy to clean! We're back to an echo-y house, but it'll just be for a week (hopefully!)

We're basically going cold-turkey: putting Caleb in underwear in the morning and letting him figure it out! Today he was giving some signs--kind of messing with his diaper and getting that contemplative look in his eye--so I plopped him on the froggy potty and we had our first poop/pee success! Reminds me of the first time I put him in a cloth diaper. Both instances, he pooped on the first run. Doesn't want to make it easy on his mama!

I'm not sure these "successes" so far are Caleb knowing what to do, or me knowing what to do. We'll find out this week! I'll keep you posted!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Is it time?

The potty training discussion has been going on at our house for awhile now. While we were (and still are) fully prepared to wait until Newbie2 is born and our house has settled a little--probably by the time Caleb is 2 1/2--Caleb himself is showing signs of readiness. As a matter of fact, he only lacks 2 of the "readiness signs" on this checklist. He can't pull his pants down on his own, and he doesn't seem to be able to recognize a need to pee yet, though he does know when he needs to poop.

Our potty seat is Baby Bjorn, and I would highly recommend it. It's very stable and easy to take on and off the toilet. Caleb can take it off himself, and he even tries to put it on himself, so I know he'll catch on to it pretty soon. That will be handy when he's using the potty consistently. The toilet won't always scream "toddler!" when you walk in the guest bath.

In general, Caleb is compliant about toilet training. Yet he can be fickle about it. Yesterday he had an all-out crying/screaming fit because I asked him if he wanted to go potty. After I got him calmed down, I explained that he had to choose: go to the potty or put on a diaper (he was wearing training pants at the time). He whimpered, "Diaper...." So that was that. Off went the big boy pants, and back into the diapers. I thought it was interesting that he was able to make a choice like that, though. It shows he has more understanding of things than I thought.

Speaking of training pants, I have two problems with them. One, they're expensive. Gerber has three pairs for $15, and from what I understand, we could potentially go through more than three pairs in one day, and there's still the next day, and the next, etc. Also, unless potty-training takes an inordinate amount of time, it seems that most concerted efforts take less than a week or so--certainly less than a month. So I'm spending $5 per pair of training pants that will only get used for a month. Second, training pants don't come in Caleb's size. He's almost 18 months, but without a cloth diaper, he's got the heiney of a 12-month-old. Gerber's sizing chart shows that they offer an 18-month size, though I've never found them on the shelves.

So, I rigged something up. I bought a 5-pack of 24mo boys underwear for $7. I stuff one with a newborn insert from my cloth diapers, and then roll the top elastic over a couple of times to get a better fit. It works pretty well, but it is kind of bunchy and probably not as comfortable as the pre-made kind. I guess I could whip stitch the inserts in and take them out later. But for now, this works. If/when Caleb has accidents, it gets his underwear all wet, but doesn't just drip down everywhere.

Speaking of, though, I've read and heard from other mothers that sometimes that's what it takes. No training pants or pull-ups, just normal underwear. A few experiences with that will remind a child that he really wants to go to the potty instead of stay in that mess. So maybe I'll have to take out the diaper inserts and see what happens.

So far we've done this all very casually. I use the training pants only after Caleb has successfully used the toilet--mostly because that's when I know for sure that it will be awhile before he has to use the bathroom again. And while Caleb's used the toilet successfully several times, it's certainly not consistent. Our biggest inconsistency is Caleb's willingness to sit on the potty, though once he's there he's fine. He really enjoys looking at books while he's sitting, so that's a good enticement for him. He's also brought his blanket and puppy along, and anything else that he's interested in at the moment.

I'm kind of thinking that if I took a week of concentrated effort, Caleb would be potty-trained. And if it doesn't work, we could wait another month and try again. And if that doesn't work, we can wait until after Newbie2 is born. Anyone have thoughts on this? Suggestions about potty training?