Monday, October 8, 2012

Potty Training Hail Mary

What do you do when you need to potty train a child who has been almost fully potty trained in the past, only to then experience horrifying constipation? I will spare you the details of our constipation experience, but I will tell you that it involved almost a year of medical treatment. During this treatment our little lady continued to use the potty for #1 until the last few months. Shortly after the initial constipation episode she began to hold her #2 rather than go through the pain of trying to go potty. This compounded things, and to sum it all up many diapers, pull-ups, bottles of milk of magnesia, suppositories, tears, battles, and bottles of miralax later we finally have the go ahead from our pediatric gastroenterologist to potty train again.

But how to do it?

We already have the princess potty that sings. We already have big girl panties. We already did sticker charts a year ago.

So I began to plan. The plan had to be big. It had to be something exciting, to make pottying fun. Parties are one of her favorite things right now. So why not have a special party? I also knew we had to get rid of diapers and pull ups because that was where she felt comfortable doing #1 and #2.

I investigated cloth training pants and found the Best Bottoms Training Pants. When I saw the cute patterns on the soakers I knew she would love them. Maybe they would work?

I ordered them for both girls, and let them choose their colors. Of course they chose bubblegum pink. I also began to talk about our training pants that would be coming in the mail soon. I kept reminding her that we were getting ready to stop wearing diapers and would be wearing "big girl training pants" soon.

These would be one present for our party, a new nightgown was another, a new princess potty seat that sits on the big potty was another, and lastly a watch that sings every so often to remind you when to go potty (this was one of the biggest problems the first time I potty trained because I couldn't remember to take them often enough).

They also love to get mail, so I decided to make out an invitation and let them check the mail to find out about their surprise big girls party. After reading the invite we walked around to our back deck where the party was all set up.

They were so excited to see the decorations and presents. I spent very little on the party itself, but the presents did cost a bundle (I was willing to try anything at this point). The party food was left over from our niece's birthday party, and all the decorations came from Dirt Cheap for 50 cents each.

There is one last huge element to this entire plan, the poo poo bucket and pee pee bucket. The gastroenterologist nurse practitioner recommended the "poo poo bucket" and I thought it was a good idea, but I was hesitant because I have 3 children at home on a daily basis who would all need to partake from the bucket, but in the end I was ready to try whatever it took, so i went as far as making a pee pee bucket too for emphasizing both, because frankly 2 of the 3 children needed to work on both.

This is how it works. The buckets are filled with goodies, my pee pee bucket has stickers, straws, and small toys, and the poo poo bucket has slightly bigger suprises. Pens and small notebooks seem to be a favorite prize along with candy of course. The buckets are placed out of reach in the bathroom and the children are not allowed to touch them unless they use the potty. When they use the potty they can choose something from the bucket!!!! Now if the bucket is not tempting enough, mommy can go through the bucket and ooh and ahh over all the neat prizes to tempt the child to try to potty.

The party was a blast. We ate and opened presents. I explained the bucket system and we played with all the new presents. Right away they wanted to try on the training pants. Review to come later on.

After the party we practiced singing a potty song we learned from Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood. It goes like this:

"When you have to go potty, STOP, and go right away.

Flush and wash and be on your way."

When I see that someone needs to use the potty, it sometime helps to start singing the song and let them finish it, so that they are reminded to go potty without me suggesting they should. This independence that older children feel is one major difference between potty training an 18 month-2 year old and a 3- 31/2 year old.


Here are some more shots of the party.

Other tips I have found out through this experience are this:

Stay in the bathroom with your child, encouraging but not pushing them.

Make sure they try to potty by first attempting to make a #1 and then making 3 pushes for #2 whenever they sit on the potty. If nothing happens fine, trying is enough. Mommy and child should be pleased with trying.

Emphasize that they will not be fussed at or punished for not being able to go in the potty or for having accidents.

Emphasize that they are learning to potty.

If the child feels comfortable with one certain person helping them, then fine, stick to that one person. It is that important that the child feel comfortable using the potty. Do whatever possible to keep the child comfortable.

So how did this all work? You may ask.
  • The training pants work pretty well for a child who needs something waterproof. After only about a week in her training pants, Cinderella was ready for panties again!!!! She begged to wear her training pants to school the second day she had them, and I reluctantly let her. She soiled them the first day, but then had no problems for the next week. Then she begged to wear her panties to school because I had been letting her wear panties with a soaker laid in or snapped in just like the training pants around the house. So, again I gave in because I didn't want to discourage her. She was successful!!! She has been wearing the panty with soaker combo for almost a week now and it seems to suit her just fine. She does have accidents but changing out the soaker is usually all the cleaning up it takes.
We are wearing panties to bed also and are wetting the bed about 50% of the time, but hey we are getting it all worked out at once.

  • They all 3 love the princess potty seat. This is the first one we've had that goes on top of the big potty.
  • We didn't really use the potty watch. We did play with it and sing the potty songs it came with, which everyone enjoyed, but I never did set it to alarm and remind us of potty time.
  • As you can see from the pictures above, the girls loved their new pajamas that came with a matching set for their friends.
I fully realize that this party was a bit extravagant, but for a little girl with terrible bathroom experiences I knew it would take something super duper fun to get her excited to use the potty again...

And so far it's worked!!!

YIPPPEEE. I'm one happy mama.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Congrats!!! You are one smart mama!