Note: If you don’t like reading about pee and poop, this is your cue to exit. You have been warned.
It is a very trying time in our house right now, and by that I mean Kaylee is trying to potty train. Before you all jump up and down for joy, this isn’t the first time she’s shown an interest in the process. Unfortunately we made little progress last time, and she then refused to sit on the potty for about 4 months before showing an interest in this past week.
Potty training has always been a tough subject in this house. Because of his other developmental problems, Brendan did not potty train until he was 4 and a half. Cameron, being his typical stubborn self, didn’t potty train until he was about 3 and a half. We are hoping to keep up with this trend by getting Kaylee potty trained by 2 and a half. I’m not holding my breath however. Given that there are 4 years between Brendan and Cameron and 2 and a half years between Cameron and Kaylee, I’m guessing you can all do the math and see that we haven’t had a single break from diapers in 9 years. Needless to say, we are very excited at the prospect of getting our third and final child fully potty trained.
I can’t tell you how frustrating it was to have a newborn at home who needed changed every couple of hours, and to have a 4 and a half year old who we had to change at least twice a day. Brendan was wet trained by that age, but not poop trained. We tried every technique under the sun. We tried the cold turkey technique and put him in underwear so he’d feel when he was wet or dirty. We tried reward systems varying from M & M’s all the way up to a trip to the local arcade every time he managed to poop in the toilet, but to no avail. We even got frustrated enough at one point to try negative reinforcement and took priveleges away when he soiled his diaper.
Matt’s family helped where they could and researched some less conventional techniques for us. Two still stick out in my mind because they were so far out there. One involved orange juice and oreo cookies (which didn’t work), and the other was at first glance so far out there that we didn’t think it could possibly work, but amazingly it was how we got Brendan trained. Basically how it worked was you were to get your child out of bed in the morning and take them directly to the bathroom. Once there, you stripped them of all their clothes and told them they were not able to leave the bathroom until they’d pooped.
I couldn’t understand how this could possibly work. I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m not able to poop on demand. I was concerned about the welfare of my 4 year old and how this would scar him for life. But we were desperate to get him trained, so we tried it. We took some precautions and emptied all of the cabinets and drawers in the bathroom so there was nothing for him to get into. We were also forced to put a baby gate up in the doorway of the bathroom because Brendan wouldn’t stay put unless he were “trapped” in there. The first day was awful. My poor baby screamed for almost 45 minutes. I called Matt at work 2 or 3 times to help regain my resolve. I was on the brink of letting him out, when miraculously he pooped.
The second day got easier, he cried for only 20 minutes before again following my instructions. By the 4th day, there was no crying he just sat there and waited for the urge to hit him. After about a week, we took the gate down and would allow him to take one small toy in with him to keep him entertained until he did his deed. After 3-4 weeks we no longer had any accidents and were able to move him into underwear during the day time. We were still having some trouble night training him, but I’ll get to that later.
Cameron was in some ways much more frustrating to train. Whereas Brendan didn’t seem to understand the signals from his body, Cameron fully grasped the concept, and the technique. What he lacked was the ability to give a crap. He could have cared less if he was wet or not. And if pottying interrupted his play time, well…playtime would win out every single time. We were having almost zero luck with him at home, and no incentive in the world interested him enough to get him to stop playing and go to the bathroom.
I never thought I would say this, but thank goodness for daycare. In his toddler room, the daycare had a schedule on which they sent all the kids potty. We mimicked the schedule at home to keep him “trying” at regular intervals hoping that the repetition and monotony of it may break through our barrier. However, it wasn’t until most of the kids in his class were successfully trained that Cameron seemed to get the picture. Once he had other kids to compete with, he was right on board. It only took a week or two for him to fully get the concept and potty consistently in the toilet. By the time he started his first year of pre-school with the 3 and 4 year olds, he was one of the few who didn’t need a pull up at nap time. Overnight training for him was just as simple. He just stopped wetting himself overnight one day and never went back. Which amazed us to no end, because when he was an infant we had to buy special overnight diapers to contain the massive amounts of urine that he produced overnight, and even then he had some nights that he wet through them.
By the time Kaylee was born, we were about at our wits end. Brendan was still not night trained, and was wearing special pullups for bigger kids (which were pricy as heck) at night. Cameron was still in diapers during the day, and in the special overnigt diapers at night (also very pricy), and then Kaylee was going through 8-10 diapers a day as well as 2-3 outfits because she pooped constantly. We kept 3 full outfits at daycare for her, and there were still days she’d come home in the daycares spare clothes because she’d soiled so many outfits.
Then finally, when Brendan turned 7, we caught our first break. I took him in for his 7 year check up and talked to the doctor about his continuing bedwetting problem (we’d discussed it with the doctor when he turned 6, and he said at that time that most kids who have bedwetting problems grow out of them and to give him more time). The doctor did some testing and found that Brendan lacks a hormone which tells your kidneys to go into sleep mode. So his kidneys were producing at full capacity even overnight which is why he’d wet the bed. Combine that with being a very heavy sleeper and that explained why Brendan would wet the bed and then sleep in the soiled sheets all night long. We were given a prescription which he still receives on a daily basis in the form of a nasal spray. He’s due for another checkup in the next couple of weeks and I’m hoping to get additional information on how long he’ll need this.
That got one kid out of diapers. And it was just a couple of months before Cameron had his breakthrough as well. So in the span of about 4 months we went from 3 kids in diapers to 1. Somewhere in that whole series of events we also switched diaper brands for Kaylee and at least contained the massive quantities of poop she produced. So while we still went through a billion diapers a day for her, at least the massive amounts of laundry that were going with those diapers decreased ten fold.
This is definately one baby milestone that I am looking forward to getting beyond.