Sick of my Potty Chronicles? Sorry. It turns out this is one of those all-encompassing milestones. Suddenly, your whole world becomes "How long has it been since they last went potty?" and "Do you have to pee-pee or poo-poo?" and "Has she pooped yet today? Is he getting constipated?" and "Are they drinking enough?" or "Maybe they could drink a little less," and so on. Since it has filled our days, it monopolizes the posts here :) But this is the last...I think...I know that the very next post won't be potty related at least!
The morning after Allie's party (Sunday...church day...and we couldn't skip because I had nursery duty) was filled with accidents. In fact, we left for church without anyone actually making it to the potty in time. I was a bit of a wreck. I was exhausted. I was convinced those 2 days were a complete waste. I was wanting to go back to diapers (but we "threw" them away!). I lost it a little. And then we got to church and they both went on the potties there. And then we not only were accident free at church, the other kids in the nursery LOVED the potty practice theme. We sang songs, told stories, played games - all in the bathroom. And then we made it through the rest of the day with success (even poopy!). I started to realize that they were actually doing better than I thought, and I needed to relax. I did, and it hasn't been so bad. We haven't had an accident free day yet, but we've been close, and the majority of the accidents have been understandable (while playing outside or wrestling daddy).
A few things I've learned:
- it seems that potty training is one big trust-building activity. For the twins to stop whatever they are doing to go potty when they need to, I have to come through on my promise that they can go right back and finish. This meant that even though I wanted to go inside in 5 minutes, when Allie said she had to go potty, we went back outside after. Even though the potty process (with full snow gear) took roughly 15 minutes! It has made me enter their world a little more to see what is truly important to them.
- Getting them to sit on the potty long enough to fully do what they need is a challenge. They jump up every few seconds to see if anything is there, and their attention span on the potty is about 10 seconds. I quickly collected an arsenal of tricks to keep them there: reading books, watching potty movies (I'm not proud, but it helps when desperate),
magnets on the bathtub, window cling decorations on the mirror,
games, songs, and (their favorite) the camcorder (I was hoping to post a few videos, but every single one of them had a flash of parts of my children I don't want posted on the internet...and I don't have the time to edit...so they will only be for our eyes). They will sit forever while I record videos of them, and then sit longer to watch said videos! It is my ace in the hole, and I am loving all of the short movies I'm getting. This will be a well-documents phase for sure!
- My children apparently have to go potty every night, 5 minutes after we've put them down for bed. It is the ONLY time of the day where an accident is completely unacceptable, and it will take them 30 minutes to be finished...we are working in adjusting the routine to correct this situation.
- It isn't a guarantee that a girl sitting on the potty will actually hit the potty. At least with a boy, you can teach them how to aim...
- One should never under-estimate how many times a day their children can go potty. I thought I made their potty charts with enough spaces to get us close to their big potty prize (Sesame Street Live), but they filled them 11 days early. But I still needed incentive. So, they "made" banks (empty parmesan cheese and seasoning shakers that they covered in stickers),
and every time they go potty they get to put money in their bank to save for a special surprise when they "meet" Elmo. We save our change. They love to put money in their banks. And we would have wanted to buy something to remember the day anyways - now we are actively saving toward it. It is a win, win, win.
Update: The banks are both about 1/4 full. Like I said, my kids pee a LOT.
I'm learning to stay calm in all situations. A calm mommy usually means everything goes more smoothly. Because I already had 2 days where I didn't open my computer, answer the phone, do anything but be with them, I became slightly detoxed from the usual distractions of the day. Since, I have made a concerted effort to avoid distractions when they are awake and BE with them. Partly to keep an eye out for signs that we need to run to the potties. Mostly because this has been an unmistakeable sign that they are growing up, and I want to know I've cherished the moments to the best of my ability. The fun thing is that, after a day where we played a lot together, the twins have started to invite me to play with them. I like this.
Update: a little over a week after the potty parties, things are starting to settle back into normal life. We have had several consecutive accident free days. We have played outside, gone sledding, played at a friend's house, and been to McDonalds playplace twice (not as regular of an occurrence as it sounds from these posts) all without accidents! Right now, the biggest problem is getting Ryan to poop in the potty. He prefers to wait until he has pull-ups on. I've changed the rules and consequences several times to try to corral him into the potty (such as making it so that I get to pick the underwear he wears after an "accident" so he doesn't get the pleasure of wearing yet another favorite pair of car underwear). He always finds a loophole. I upped the incentive. First I offered a sucker each time they went #2 in the potty. Then the presents were delivered from the family Christmas party we missed, and I told them they couldn't open a present unless they pooped on the potty. Ryan gave me enough little nuggets to technically be able to open each present...and then really went in his pull-ups during naptime. When asked why he said, "I poopied in the potty enough today. I'll try tomorrow." He is an expert at getting around every tactic I try. They should employ preschoolers at law firms. But I remain hopeful. Mostly because I don't know of any teenagers who willingly soil themselves. It has to end sometime!