Monday, May 13, 2013

Potty Training Learned

Beware: I will be using my potty-mouth for this post (heck, I would like to use a few choice words!)

I hate failing at something. It feels like I have been failing at parenting; and that is the worst feeling ever! I've been through it before with Little JCrew's eating situation and sleep training, and now I am going through it with potty training.

Little JCrew has a sensitive stomach, so we have to watch what he eats. For a while it was playing a guessing game of what caused it and most of the time it didn’t make sense. His sleeping habits were just as troublesome. He is a light sleeper and didn’t start sleeping though the nights until he was 11 months old! We tried everyone’s advice out of desperation and nothing worked. But it was my goal to get him sleeping through the night before Mr. Brigglesworth came along. The downside was that once Little JCrew was sleeping through the night, pregnancy insomnia was keeping me up!

So, here we are with the latest parenting fail… Potty Training. I will start off by saying it really helps if you have a great support system. Everyone that has a role in your child's life needs to be on the same page as you. I am not a full-time mom, so there are many people involved in raising my kids. Making decisions are hard. People are looking to you for answers you may not have and then they will question your given answer. Just pick a position and stick with it!

It was and it wasn't my idea to potty train Little JCrew. He appeared ready. Mimi was going to start when she got back from Florida. I decided to start before she got back because I was home all day with him for a week. I really wanted to take credit for something my child learned (a goal for a part-time mom.)

My engineering brain kept stats of the week.
potty stats
“Sprinkles” were just that; he’d sprinkle as he was learning to hold his bladder. An “Accident” resulted in more than just a sprinkle… it was a puddle.

The first two days were horrible. I could see where people want to give up. It only fueled me more. We went pants-free around the house. There was lots of sprinkling. I literally had to keep my eye on him and every time he started to sprinkle, we took him to the "potty." By Day 3, he knew what to do! We were able to leave the house that day, too! We went three places and he used a public restroom. We later discovered he thought it was cool to use urinals.

I was waiting to write about this experience because I wanted to verify the success. The first two weeks were great and he got it. These last month has been frustrating. The first month overall was good. We had normal accidents, but he was proud to use the bathroom. The second month went downhill, and fast! He started to not tell us that he had to go. So, it was back to watching him like a hawk like we did the first week. Then he got strep throat and potty’ing stopped completely. He rebelled taking his antibiotics twice a day and his poor attitude continued with deliberate accidents.
As of today, we have stopped trying with potty training. We take him to the restroom and he goes, but he has stopped telling us he needs to.

Reasons Why It Wasn’t Working:
  1. Little JCrew is approaching the terrible two’s. The timing was horrible with him learning about his independence.
  2. Little JCrew can’t talk. He couldn’t tell us he needed to go, but he’d run to the restroom in a panic! It will be nice once he finally talks.
  3. I was not the only one in control. This sounds bad to say, but breastfeeding has been my only success. I only had to rely on myself and it worked. I know other things played a factor and I’m lucky my babies have been champs at eating, but seriously, it’s the only credit to my name.
  4. Little JCrew’s will is just as strong as his mama’s. I am the most hard-headed person I know. I research things like crazy, make a decision, and don’t back down. This is good and bad. I DON’T do things because others are doing them or because someone told me I should. Little JCrew doesn’t like to do things because he was told to either. He wants it to be initiated by him. The last month he was not happy about being told to use the restroom. He would do it, but only to please us.
I gave this challenge my all. I read how persistence was “key” and to not give mixed signals. Little JCrew never wore a diaper while awake for ANY situation. I may have been told to put a diaper on for ease on the parent, but I was willing to forgo making things easier on me so that he would learn. And he did learn.

Potty-training is not for the weak. It is hard. It tests your patience. I became much more patient through this all. I would keep going if all the parenting decisions were up to me. But I’m listening to my other half. We have decided to stop the training and to go back to diapers. It eats me up to claim a failure on a task, but I have to be realistic. I can understand if I was cheating or didn’t give it my all, but I gave 110%!
IMG_1018 (400 x 600)
So, I’ll end on a positive note and share what was working for us.

What Worked:
  1. Little JCrew liked peeing standing up. We started by him watching us use the restroom. It was easier for him to watch the pee go into the toilet if he was standing up. We didn’t have to use the Cheerio trick. He just liked watching it. I don’t know how I’d train a girl. She can’t stand and watch.
  2. Little JCrew liked high-fives as rewards. Every time he used the restroom, he turned around to get a high-five. He walked in on my dad once and gave my dad a high-five. Dad came out and told us Little JCrew gave him a high-five for using the restroom! Both of them were so proud! I thought that story was too cute not to share.
  3. We were persistent. He only wore a diaper for sleeping. He wore underwear to go to church and run errands. The church nursery staff was great working with him. We didn’t let him wear a diaper in the high-chair or to go outside and play. He had to learn how to hold his bladder. We never had an accident in the high-chair or even the car! He knew better.
  4. He was naked from the waist down. When we were at home those first few days, I didn’t even put underwear on him. It allowed me to see the “sprinkles” start and I could rush him to the restroom. All the tips I read said to not use Pull-Ups. But you wouldn’t believe how many people told me to use them! Pull-Ups don’t give the undesired feeling of peeing in your pants. I still don’t understand how Pull-Ups would help. Again, I think it is for the ease of the parent to not have a mess to clean up when an accident happens. I probably made my life harder by giving myself messes to clean up, but if you know me, you know I don’t take the easy route.
I wish I could claim success on this one, but it didn’t work. And I wasn’t ready to give up. But if it causes stress on other family members, then I have to let it go.
IMG_1045 (400 x 600)

When the second month started going downhill, we reached a middle ground and went with Pull-Ups. (I know, I said I was against it, but I'm not the only one in charge around here.) The first day that we decided no more potty training, Little JCrew was telling his Mimi he had to go! She wasn’t going to stop if he wasn’t willing to stop. He was very good about telling his Mimi and the Nursery workers when he had to go, but never us! We did Pull-ups because it was easy to pull down when he used the bathroom. He was still holding his bladder, so Pull-Ups just caught the dribble before we reached the restroom.

Then a few weeks later he realized Pull-Ups catch accidents, so he stopped holding it in. Little JCrew knows what the restroom is and knows what to do. This will make it easier for when we start this process all over again.

What’s Up Next:
  1. Take a Break. We need to cool the training until he loses the two-year old attitude.
  2. Still Take Him to the Bathroom. We just won’t be strict about it. We didn’t really punish for accidents, but we acknowledged they weren’t good. For now, we’ll ignore the accidents.
  3. Use Diapers. Pull-Ups are expensive if we are going to allow accidents.
  4. Monitor the Situation. We’re going to watch his attitude every two weeks and see if he starts to improve and he isn’t rebelling anymore. When he shows interest again, we will start back up.
I honestly am so confused on this situation. He goes to the bathroom when we take him. He’s just so hard-headed! Through this all, I have learned I have a strong-willed child. Thank goodness he doesn’t say the word, “No.”

IMG_1058w (600 x 400)

To my friends that had successful potty-training results at 18 months and earlier, “You rock!” As they say, every kid is different and that’s why there is a BIG range when it comes to developmental skills. I hope all mothers remember that, especially myself. It doesn’t hurt to try things, but we can’t get frustrated when it fails. My only goal is that Little JCrew is potty-trained before he goes to school. If he isn’t by the time he is four or five, THEN I can be worried. Mr. JCrew asks me the following questions:

1. Do I know of an adult not potty-trained?
2. Do I know an adult that cannot talk? 

I do not need to worry about when Little JCrew will do things. It’s just a matter of time.

I can’t wait to see that tush in underwear again. Little underwear is sooo cute!

Happy Parenting!


  1. You did an awesome job, and the time will be right eventually! You've put a lot of time and effort into it, so you can say with certainty the timing just isn't right. I'm pretty sure I have some boy pull-ups around here that I can give to you.

    1. Thanks, Blakeley. I think part of the reason why I didn't want to quit was because it took so much effort! However, I will say, he is back to his old, happy self already!


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