Potty Training May Kill Me: Journey to the john

For all of you who aren’t into all the potty talk, I apologize. Next week’s post will not be about potty training, I promise. But whenever we have a success that has potential to help other parents, I like to share it.  I love to hear about your successes too, because God knows I need all the help I can get! 


vector_toilet_original_1I thought it would never happen. But it did. It DID! This week my son pooped in the potty! And all it took was two bribes, lots of frustration and a whole lot of trying.

As I said last post, thanks to the herculean efforts of his preschool staff, my son learned to pee in the potty in about three weeks, but pooping was a whole different story. Every day he pooped in his underwear and every day I cleaned it up. My husband has always changed diapers but changing poopy underwear made him “sick.” He did gag pretty convincingly, I’ll give him that. Having poopy underwear did not seem to bother my son. He didn’t enjoy it, because the few times I said he’d have to wait to get changed, he wasn’t happy. I made him wait because I was weary of changing him, and I thought maybe giving him a disincentive to poop his pants might push him closer to the toilet. I was wrong.  read more

Potty Training May Kill Me: #2

vector_toilet_original_1Potty training has begun! It all started when my three-year-old son went to his new preschool. On his third day, when I picked him up, his teacher said “How do you feel about potty training?”

I said, “He’s just not interested in it. They’d ask him every time they changed his diaper at his old school and he never wanted to do it.”

She said, “We’d like to start potty training him next week.”

It was all I could do not to say, “I’ll give you a thousand dollars.” read more

The Finger

imagebot (6)I picked up the phone. My husband was on a conference call and had already missed his call waiting twice. “This is Sherry from preschool. Your son hurt his finger and the nail has ripped off. He’s been a trooper so far but can you come?”

“We’ll be right there.” We were already in the driveway, on our way to pick the other car from the mechanic’s. We headed straight for preschool as I cursed the 15 minutes it takes to get there. We finally arrived, jumped out of the car and they took us to him. He held up his thumb and started to cry as I picked him up. A Band-Aid hung loosely around his thumbnail. His thumbnail hung loosely at the top of his finger and his hand was covered with blood. The preschool director explained to my husband that the kids were cleaning up and a little girl dropped a block on his finger. He’d asked them for the Band-Aid. She gave us a wet washcloth to wrap around his finger to absorb the blood. read more

Preschool Dropout

I hate preschool. There, I’ve said it. I should clarify. I don’t hate all preschool, just my son’s class. My daughter’s preschool is great. I drop her off. I pick her up. She does fun, educational things in between. I love it.

My son ’s preschool is a different story. He goes to preschool once a week. I take him and stay with him for two hours. They have all kinds of toys and experiences there, and he has a grand ol’ time, but the class is pure hell for me.

When we get there, all the kids just play around for a while, then we sing a little song to each child. They seem to like the recognition – some of them. Others don’t notice. After that, they split up the moms – half go to “parent education” and half babysit all the kids while they play some more. It sounds like it would be a great opportunity to meet some other moms, but it isn’t. They pretty much hang out in their little cliques and don’t talk to anyone else. I chat briefly with some of the non-cliquish moms, but we move around with our kids and never really get to have a whole conversation.

I prefer discussion group to babysitting, but I only have discussion every other week. Although it’s better, discussion’s not really great either. The other day, they talked about potty training our kids. My son is not even two, and he’s one of the older ones in the class. I am not considering potty training for at least another year. There was, of course, one mom who said her oldest potty trained at eighteen months, putting ideas in these moms’ heads. More power to her. Mine was more like four.

After discussion group, the kids have snack, which, in my opinion, is the cutest part of class. I love to watch toddlers eat. They all sit at a long table and they eat parent-provided snacks. When it was my turn to do snacks with another mom, it was a little more work. We had to clean the tables using a three-step process, with three separate cleaning solutions. I appreciate that they want everything so clean, but it’s kind of tough to spray bleach water all over the table when the eager beavers (like my son) are already sitting there. I did enjoy providing snack, though. It gave me something to do and another mom to talk to for a little while.

After snack, we do some songs with the kids and go home. By the time I get out of there mid-morning, I’m so exhausted that I feel like it’s dinnertime. My son used to fall asleep in the car on the way home, but he doesn’t anymore. It’s just as well. We have pick his sister up ninety minutes later, so he never got much of a nap.

The other thing I hate about taking him to preschool is that I can’t work at all that day. I write for a living. I love my job, and I hate to have to take off on a weekday. The rest of the week, he goes to babysitting. Work is a break from the kids, too, and I have a hard time functioning without it. When he first started preschool, he and his sister would take a nap at the same time, so I’d get a nap of my own or some quiet time, but his sister doesn’t nap anymore, so I don’t get a break all day.

So I made the decision to take my son out of his preschool. Yes, he loves it, but I really hate it. I don’t see that the benefits of preschool outweigh the benefits of a happy mommy. On preschool days, I’m irritable and snippy and I give a lot of time outs. He can’t possibly benefit from that. I’m hoping he can start drop-off preschool early, like his sister did, but it depends on his development. From what we can tell, my son is smart, but he’s a late talker, so he may not be ready by two-and-a-half, as she was. We’ll see.

If he doesn’t go to preschool, we’ll just keep him in babysitting. Though the variety of toys there is limited, there are other kids there and we have a great babysitter who really loves him. Will his education suffer? Maybe. I feel guilty about that, but I tell myself that any new toy for a two-year-old is a totally new learning experience. So we’ll make sure he plays with a variety of toys. He loves books too, so we’ll read to him a lot. And I’ll take him on a lot of field trips. And since he won’t have to deal with guaranteed Cranky Mommy once a week, I’m sure he’ll be just fine.

Would you make the same decision?

Cooler Keester Prevails

Cooler keester!

Sometimes nothing is the best thing you can do. A while back, I wrote about our frustrations with potty training my three-and-a-half-year-old daughter, Rose. For eight months, we’d tried to get her trained. After four months it looked like she’d graduate, and then she backslid and I had to pull her out of potty-trained-kids-only summer camp.

When we first started her potty training, we tried positive reinforcement. My psych degree kicked into high gear designing her reward system. We had a sticker chart, a candy reward for each success, and cumulative rewards — a marker for every 10 successes and a Barbie for five days without an accident. read more