Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Our potty training adventure

Every parent dreams of the day when their child is FINALLY potty trained. I think sometimes we can try to rush things along for our benefit and end up causing more harm than good. Our middle child started showing interest in the potty at 18 months. He would tell us when he had gone in his diaper. He didn't quite know how to tell when he had to go, only after. I thought with practice he would get it for sure.
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We bought a potty and pull-ups and started working on potty training. I found myself frustrated very quickly. Then I found out I was pregnant with our third child. I had hypermesis gravidarum. Long story short, VERY SEVERE ALL day sickness. I couldn't hold anything down. I lost 20 pounds and had to go to the ER for fluids many times. Needless to say we stopped trying to potty train.
After the baby was born I wanted our middle child to get used to our new normal before trying to train again. We started a few months after the baby was born but now he started regressing. I thought maybe he was just getting used to the baby still. I decided to wait a few weeks and try again.
When he turned 3 I REALLY wanted to push forward and crack down on training. We put up a sticker chart and I set a timer. Every 45 minutes we would try to go potty. Sometimes we got lucky and he would go. We got stickers, did the potty dance and called people to help us celebrate. If we made a big deal about how proud we were of him, it would encourage him to try again right? Wrong! Way wrong! He started throwing major fits and not wanting to go potty. If I tried to sit him on he would jump off and pee on the floor. Now long after his 3rd birthday we bought our first house and moved out of state.

I was beginning to lose hope and starting to feel like a failure. We took some time to unpack and settle in. That's when I started noticing other things like tags bothered him, seams in socks drove him crazy, everything was scratchy he would say. I asked his Dr about it. After a VERY LONG process, MANY prayers, a lot of sleepless nights laying awake worrying, and a whole lot of research we found out that he has some sensory issues. Some he has been able to overcome, and others he will probably keep for life. I tell you all of this because sometimes it can interfere with potty training. Another setback and I reached an all time low. I ended up putting him back in diapers. After all you don't get as many pull-ups in a box and with 2 kids in diapers it was getting too expensive to buy both. This didn't last long.

As his 4th birthday approached all 5 of us got bronchitis and I was DONE! By now he said he didn't want to wear diapers anymore because he was a big boy. One morning he woke up dry and I said "Let's try to go potty." I held him on the potty kicking and screaming and all of the sudden he went. He stopped kicking and screaming and started smiling. Of course I made a big deal about what a big boy he was. I don't know what was different this time, but he was ready! We haven't looked back since. He has been going over a month and a half now and has only had a handful of accidents. It was like something clicked and all of the sudden he knew.

Here is my advice to anyone about to take on this journey. 
  • Remember each and EVERY child is different. 
  • Learn from my mistakes and DON'T force it before they are ready. It only does more damage in the long run. 
  • When you feel like giving up, keep trying. 
  • Now I'm going to totally contradict what I just said and say; It's okay to take a break if you need to. When you're not making any progress at all and you both dread the whole thing, maybe it's time for a break. 
  • Remember EVERY child WILL potty train in their own time. 
  • Try to make it fun instead of such a chore. 
What is you're story? What advice would you give someone who is about to potty train their child?

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