Sunday, November 16, 2008

Potty Time Pain

Okay, about the potties...I know you've all been desperate to hear about the experience so far. Well, here goes...

Let me start with Plan A. A is for Ambitious. Here are the thoughts that formed the framework for Plan A: 1. I want to train them all at the same time so peer pressure can work in my favor. 2. I want to go straight to underwear so when they go they know it, they don't like it, and they'll want to use the potty next time. Pull-ups are just going to slow the whole process down! 3. I want to reward them for success, but not scold them for failure. I expect a lot of accidents, and that's okay! Doesn't it sound like a great plan?

So I acquired 4 potties (We borrowed 2 of them. Thank you kind friends!) and I set a date. I picked the first Monday of November. Halloween was over. There was no Ladies Bible Class that week. I could stay home the whole week and devote all my time to potty training! Genius, right?

Now, I had been talking to the kids about the potties forever, and everyone but Zachary seemed pretty pumped about the idea. So Monday morning, we got up, we ate breakfast, and then I said, "Who wants to wear big underwear today and go in the potty?!?" Everyone was excited! I let each child pick out a pair of undies, and we shucked the diapers and put them on. I did not give them any pants to wear.

Then I said, "Who wants to go sit on the potty?!?" We ran to the bathroom, and I helped them pull their undies down. None of them liked having them around their ankles, so they kicked them all off in the floor. They sat on the potties. Nothing happened. "Nobody needs to go potty? No? Okay, we'll try again later." At that point the boys decided they'd rather not put the undies back on. Naked is much better! Reagan really wanted hers though, at least for a little while.

The rest of the morning passed in a blur of accidents that couldn't always be matched with a corresponding child, lots of trips to the potty, many encouraging words, and two successful pottiers (Jonathan and Thomas), but ended with one of my success stories in tears and begging me to get him a diaper, please! Heartbreaking!

By naptime, all four children were back in diapers. And they have been ever since. Here's what I learned from my Ambitious morning:

1. Some kids can have accidents all day long and hardly notice. They just don't care. At least not yet. For these kids, nudity is useless.

2. For other kids, having an accident on yourself can be more than just yucky. It can be terrifying if you're 2 and new to this whole new big kid potty world.

3. A terrified toddler who delightedly sat on the potty this morning, doesn't want to go anywhere near it in the afternoon, even if he got M&M's and stickers for his morning success and knows he could get more.

4. Perhaps Pull-ups are not such a bad idea after all.

5. Perhaps it's time for a new plan.

So I have since instituted Plan B. B is for Back Off. We are staying in our diapers for awhile. The potties are still there in the bathroom. The bathroom door is always open, so the kids can see them anytime they want. Occasionally I bring them up to see if anyone is interested. Occasionally they mention wanting to sit on the potty and I happily assist in that process. I'm not pushing anything, for now. I have gotten Thomas to sit on the potty with his clothes on. That's a step in the right direction. I don't think Zachary has sat on it once since the very first time Monday morning. He simply doesn't care one bit about it. We'll do this a little while longer, and then move on to Plan C. C is for Cautious. It involves Pull-ups. I'm considering moving just one child to plan C, maybe Jonathan or Reagan, and leaving the others in Plan B land a little longer. They will be allowed to enter Plan C land whenever they want, but right now I'm thinking that once you enter the land of Plan C, there's no going back to the land of Plan B.

Disclaimer: All plans are subject to change at any moment and without warning. All changes will be related to the reader after the change is already in affect.


Judah and Michelle said...

Let me say that I admire and find a great deal of satisfaction from the fact that you were able to combine an alphabetical and a numerical system in this post. :)

Bridgette Boudreaux said...

I love all your plans and I really hope it all goes well so that you can share all your tips with us. I really admire you for putting them all in underwear that morning. Very brave!

Misty said...

Uh-oh! I just got some potties, and was thinking of plan A too. Hm..... Your plan b doesn't sound bad though!
Good luck and know their is another MOM and 4 little girls right behind you!
MOM to gggg quads

Abby's Mom said...

I wish you luck with any plan. I am scared to death of potty training.

Anonymous said...

Wow, your adaptability is the stuff of legends. I would say that you are well on your way to being fully potty trained. Now about those other 4...

Jenn M said...

This is a great post! Having potty trained four kiddos, I can tell you that each one does it differently! Your plan B mixed with plan C is a brilliant idea! Good luck - it's a wild ride!!!

Callie said...

I don't know if they still make them, but Tekia and Hunter were both potty-trained with the assistance of a Betsy-Wetsy doll, and it really helped! Of course Hunter was also three years old when he was potty-trained (that was a Camp Granna endeavor!), so that may have had something to do with it.

The Perkins Girls said...

Oh, Ali! Your post is cracking me up. Just let Jim tackle the potty training this weekend. Ha! It'll come in time. I like plan B mixed with some C. :)

Emily said...

I do not envy this process one bit! Good luck in Plans B and C!! Plan A was hilarious to read about though. :)

I'm just going to throw this one out there knowing good and well every child is different: my best friend tried Plan A with child #1 right before having her second child and decided to go with Plan B right after the baby was born (too difficult!) Completely left it alone. Then one day, with no prompting, the oldest walked right up to her and said "I want to use the potty today mommmy." And they never went back to diapers. I hope the same happens to you! :)

Wendy Hames said...

One of mine trained in about 3 days (he was Ambitious) and the other took more than a year (he totally needed me to Back Off). I started them both at the exact same age (2 years, 9 months) and followed the same process of wearing underwear at home, pullups in public. They will definitely do it on their own timetable! (of course I only had one at a time, so this really doesn't compare to you ...)

Candace said...

It is nice to know that I am not the only one with a 2 year old in diapers. We attempted that and well we have since backed off. Good luck!

The Mast Family Quadlog said...

Just stumbled onto your blog. Thought I would put my two cents in! Hope that's okay!

Okay, here is my advice having just finished this process. Nakedness. I don't know why but when I had them naked on the bottom, they did much better with remembering. I also set a timer for every 30 minutes and had them "try" when the timer when off. You will find that you LIVE in the potty so bring a magazine with you.

Also, I didn't start potty training until one month before they were three. Not to discourage you, but you may want to hold off a little longer.

Mom to GBGG quads (3 yrs old!)