Monday, February 06, 2006

I hate potty training...

and so does Mitchell, I'm pretty sure. I think the thing is...we've tried to be really laid back about the whole thing...making everything available and offering to help, but not pushing it. Usually we'll ask and he'll say "No thanks" or "Not right now" or something along those lines. The thing that Chris and I have COMPLETELY had it with is that the kid won't even TELL us when he needs a new pullup if he's pooped. It is just disgusting and nasty and the MOST irritating thing in my daily life at the moment. I mean, he's 3 years old, we haven't AT ALL pushed him in the potty training, we're not even requiring him to sit up there, we just want him to tell us when he needs a new pullup. That's it. Not hard. No punishment. But boy howdy do I get angry when I go to change him (if I haven't smelled it) and it's obviously been there and stuck on and mixed with pee and the whole 9 yards. Nothing guaranteed to get my goat sooner than that these days. Chris is right there with me.

We've told him OVER AND OVER that all he has to do is tell us, we'll get a new pullup, change him and be done with it. Nope. Not happening.

Well, I had reached my wits end Saturday night when he did it. I just told Chris we've got to start making something happen...I can't do this anymore. I can't explain why it makes me so angry/irritated, it just is a major hot button. (I'm sure preggo hormones factor in there somewhere, but it could be the fact that we've been doing this for so long now.) Anyway, Chris and I decided that yesterday, whether he liked it or not, Mitchell would be spending a good chunk of his day on the potty.

So he gets up yesterday morning and I inform him that before we go downstairs for the juice, cheerios, vitamins and cartoons ritual, he will be sitting on the potty. I got some minor whining and complaining, but nothing major. Sat up there, nothing happened, but at least he cooperated. Well, I also told him that I'd be setting the timer and when it went off, no matter what we were doing, we'd stop and go upstairs to try pottying again. "Okay, mommy." (Yeah, right...I've learned to add that mental response.) 45 minutes later, all hell breaks loose when the timer goes off. He just completely loses his mind. You know those hysterical crying, drooling, swatting instead of hitting, completely out of control meltdowns? Well, that's where we were when I was getting him on the potty.

Now here's the dilemma I faced...do I let him learn the lesson that if you throw a big enough fit, you'll get your way? Or, do I let him learn the lesson that he's going to have to start taking some active role in this even if he's not all that excited about it, and if that means stop playing with toys for a potty break, then that's what he needs to do. I do have to pat myself on the back and say that I remained super calm (on the outside -- I was really upset inside) but held him on there and told him that we could let him down when he calmed down. Chris was awakened by the commotion...I wouldn't be surprised if we woke the neighbors-- so he quickly came to my aid. He held him on there and it was a good 15 minutes or so of just freaking out on Mitchell's end. We asked "Is it hurting you?" "No." "Are you scared?" "No." If either of those had been yes...he'd have gotten down, but he was just being a stubborn little pill who didn't want to stop playing. (That's been the problem all along.) Now keep in mind that we have SEVERAL incentives built into the whole operation and we were reminding him of them...some are natural, some are tangible. When he finally stopped his freak out session, we talked a lot about why we were doing what we were doing.

We came back downstairs with the understanding that the next time the timer went off, he would again need to sit on the potty. We were really, really playing up the "big boy" part of all of this, as that's a big deal these days. Well, I'm glad we stuck to our guns and gutted out the 15 minutes of chaos because the timer went off and what do you know? He literally RAN to the stairs and said "Come on, mommy...it's time for me to sit on the potty!!" By the time I waddled up the stairs, he had his pants off and was climbing on the toilet seat. I about peed my own pants. Nothing productive, but hey...it was a start. Same thing the next 2 times the timer went off. And last night, there were two times he got this funny look on his face and said "I need to go potty." We got up there and you could tell he had JUST peed in his pullup, so I think he was starting to hook the two things up. This morning, he came over to tell me something and stunk to high heaven. I said "Mitchell, is there anything you need to tell me?" He said "Yeah, mommy. I pooped and I need a new pullup." I think my jaw dropped to the floor. I said "Well, please go get one and come right back." "Okay, mommy." And he did!!! Afterwards, he said "I told you mommy, I told you!!" He was so proud, heck, I was so proud...it felt really good.

This little teeny bit of progress makes me wish we'd been more forceful earlier, but the meltdown thing was always in the way. I just couldn't get past it because I had all of these "voices" (experts, friends, etc.) telling me that holding him up there and making it a negative experience was the worst possible thing I could do. Well, I tried to combat that by not letting him down until he was okay and it wasn't so bad anymore. I'm so glad we did because it does seem to have made an impact.

In the meantime, I still hate potty training. I think I need some tangible reinforcers to stay with it more than he does!!

1 comment:

Kim said...

Tara, I completely agree. Potty training sucks. And so does giving up nap time. All right around the time you've got a new baby arriving. UGH! Good luck with Georgia comes!