My Adventures in Potty Training

10923540_10203510072893205_7128857653647731869_n

The types of messages my best friend (Punky’s godmother) gets to read from me.

Potty training has been the single WORST part of parenting I have ever experienced. I mean, don’t get me wrong. I’m loving the idea of my kid not having to wear pull ups anymore and the financial awesomeness that comes with that.

But.

This Kid.

She’s been sitting on the potty for over a year, she knows what it is, and she’s been familiar with the potty for a long time now. We started actively trying to potty train around July. I don’t really remember, we weren’t super consistent with it.

We had tried all sorts of rewards. Stickers, candy, dances, tattoos. Blah, Blah. Nothing worked.

This kid was stubborn or not ready. I’m not sure which. But really, she was completely aware of what we were doing. She knew what it meant to be potty trained. We got lots and lots of panties for her in all her favorite characters.

We finally got around to actually being consistent. Right after the new year and the holidays. We eliminated pull ups during the day and it was sort of working. We removed her panties all together and let her run around with a bare bottom. That worked the best.

She recently asked us for panties again.

We decided to take her lead and use the panties as an incentive.

So she was able to have one pair a day. She had to take care of those or she didn’t get anymore for the day. And this strategy worked for a minute.

Then, we noticed that she was starting to stay dry at night, so when she woke up she would have a dry pull up. So, we thought maybe we would start training even more.

Grammy came up with the strategy that has seemed to work the best. That has has the most longevity.

Money. My kid is motivated by money.

IMG_1755

Introducing our Potty Pig. We all put our change in the potty fund and she gets a “penny” when she pees and a “nickel” when she “number 2” and if she has no accidents all day she gets a “quarter”. I put quotes around the money value, because she has no idea what I’m handing her, but if I’m out of pennies, I may give her a nickel or if I’m out of nickels, she may get a dime. At the end of a period of time (this weekend) we will count up her potty money and she gets to go shopping with her own money and pick out her own stuff.

The pig stays up on the fire mantle, because I have noticed that the idea of having the potty pig in her hand is the incentive mostly. She loves to hold and play with delicate things. She likes to nurture them and kiss them and play with them. (We learned that with the Nativity around Christmas). So I don’t really think it’s the money, but it will be when we finally cash out the money for a special toy. I guess we will see.

So there’s a whole ritual thing we do, because we are all a bit of creatures of habit.

She then gets to dance around with the pig for a minute. Mommy dances and sings and we make a big spectacle about it. So far it’s worked out.

She’s had minimal accidents for about a week. And I have taken her to places for an hour at a time, or visit family member houses with hour potty breaks – with little to no issue. So, I thought, why not take her to the park. She’s started to recognize when she has the urge to go and she is pretty good about stopping and holding it before she has an accident.

Soooooo, I thought, let’s enjoy the nice weather we are having here in the midwest of the US. We have been having great weather. And while I am dealing with my own agoraphobia, it really stems from going anywhere without my kid, so the park was fine. I could take her to the park without an issue.

IMG_1974

We were there for a little over an hour. I would ask her frequently if she had to go potty. She would tell me no. We hit the hour and 15 minute mark and then … disaster struck.

ParkTime

So that happened. And she had diarrhea for the rest of the day and it was what I thought would be the end of our successful streak. We waited it out a few days and then when her upset belly cleared up, I told her yesterday that if she had a day without an accidents we could go to bed without a pull up and wear panties instead.

She’s been asking for this for a few days and I had been reluctant to do it, because of her issues with diarrhea. But, yesterday, she did really well. She even took a little nap on the couch and had no accidents. I had to wake her up, sit her sleepy bottom on the potty and then she went back to sleep.

IMG_2061 IMG_2063

So. we put some plastic down on her bed and bit the bullet. She ran around the house in this ridiculous outfit for quite some time when she realized that she wouldn’t have to wear a pull up to bed.

IMG_2066

She’d been waking up dry for about a week, so I wasn’t super worried about it, but you know – our streak was hindered for a minute, so I got concerned.

This morning, Kim posted this.

Success

I was reluctant to announce it to the world. Potty training really has been the single worst job of my parenting so far. And you know how it goes, you brag about your kid doing something awesome and then the kid proves you wrong and there’s some crazy setback. It’s like the, for real, law of toddler successes. Don’t post it or brag about it, because it is just a fleeting moment! Haha.

Anyway, I’m thrilled with our success, thus far. I am hoping this isn’t a fluke and we can soon announce that she is POTTY TRAINED. We are so close I can feel it, but then, here I am posting about it and bragging about it, so we will see what tomorrow holds in store!

In other happy news, my sister had her fourth baby this week. A beautiful baby girl named Aurora. I will be calling her “Rory”. She’s beautiful and healthy and hopefully her last one, cause my goodness she has her hands full with the four of her kids in her beautiful and very active family!

11622_1750485188510522_3903613689261689629_n

Advertisements

Teaching Emotions To a Toddler

I’ve been in a bad place for a little over a month. I’m not really sure what the problem is. I do know that my Agoraphobia has gotten much worse. I am having the most difficult time leaving my house. I can’t decide if it’s because I don’t want to leave Punky – even though I have never wanted to be a stay at home mom – or I just can’t find the energy to do anything but sit and ponder my predicament.

Thank goodness for FMLA, because I swear, I don’t know how I would be able to do this without it. I wake up every morning and I get dressed and get ready to go to work, then something happens. Something always happens that causes my heart to race and my stomach to tighten and I just get so anxious about leaving the house.

People don’t realize that it’s the illnesses you can’t see that cause the most trouble. My therapist believes that part of the issue is that I was not allowed to express my feelings or my emotions growing up, so now I don’t know how to deal with it. Instead, I just shut down. Like now. I am just shutting down.

Going through this makes me very in tune with how I want to make sure that Punky has a different experience. It is difficult though, since she’s two and I think she’s made it to the threes early (which I hear is worse than the twos). She’s got a short temper, an attitude, and her mouth does this thing where is says mean things and does a lot of screaming. She’s sassy and strong willed and she has her own little opinions and thoughts and feelings.

10603768_10153568600284148_6774935982099387091_n

So, its pretty hard to help her see that her behavior isn’t acceptable, but she can still feel the way she feels. Basically, I don’t want to punish her for being upset or being angry or sad.

Instead. I want to help her identify the emotion she has and find a way to cope with it that is not as disruptive to the rest of the people in the house. I’m trying to do this. It’s hard when there are four adults to the one toddler and we all take care of her at the same time. It’s not always consistent, which I’m sure can be confusing for her.

IMG_1987

I just know that when I was a kid, if I was upset about something my parents said, it didn’t matter. If they told me no, I just had to be silent about it and not have an opinion. If they told me to do something, I wasn’t allowed to ask why or negotiate. I’m sure that’s how most people grew up. It’s probably not out of the norm for today’s parenting either.

But, I’m finding that, with my blind faith in religion and then my inability to express myself or my feelings, I have had a hard time coping with my own emotions. Instead, I bottle everything up and I don’t confront people for fear that I will have a negative consequence. I don’t like conflict, I can’t say no to anyone for the most part and I don’t assert myself the way I should. Instead. I don’t talk about anything. I just sit there and keep inside the emotions and thoughts I have until I can’t keep them in anymore.

I don’t want that for Punky.

IMG_1982

I want her to express herself. I want her to be able to feel mad or sad or happy and not feel ashamed about it. I want her to also be able to deal with those emotions without screaming and having an attitude about it. I’m sure its more complex that it needs to be for a two year old. I know I’m probably making it more difficult than it needs to be.

This is the problem with residual brainwashing from church where you blindly follow and obey whatever you are told and PTSD from the childhood of repressed feelings – it causes me to project my fears onto my kid. I hope that doesn’t damage her more. I work so hard not to be the same parent I had, making sure Punky feels heard and loved and important. I spent my energy making sure she’s a kid, that she enjoys life as a kid, doesn’t grow up too fast and has a childhood where more good memories are found than bad ones.

Is that more damaging to her? I don’t know. My working so hard to break the cycle and sometimes I’m afraid that I will be a different kind of parent that damages their kid.

I know the last few posts have been a bit deeper and depressing than usual. (if you missed the password protected post before this) I’m sorry for that. I’m just in a funk and I can’t really figure out why. But, going through this and having a disorder like this, makes me more and more concerned that I will break my kid.

Even though I know – its not the truth.

IMG_1968

I know this kid is a kid. She’s a happy kid. She’s an active, sweet, beautiful, smart little girl. And I just hope my insecurities don’t rub off on her. Instead, I hope she can learn to articulate her feelings and find healthy ways to deal with them and express herself.