Tag Archive | Bathroom

Potty-Training Attempt #3 – No Turning Back

This post was begun on January 30, 2014.

Success!  Well, sort of.

What happened was this:

Shlomo turned three in March.  Traditionally, when a boy turns three, you cut his hair for the first time (a ceremony called “upsherin/upshernish” by American Jews and called a “chalakah” by Israelis), and give him a kipa (religious head covering) and tzitzit. About a month before his birthday, his ganenet announced that there was NO WAY that he would have his chalakah in a diaper.  How can you put tzitzit on a kid with a poopy diaper?  I agreed with her, and said that I’m all for it, but as we both know, it’s not fully up to us.

She insisted that we go for it and try again.  It just had to work.  She’s been a ganenet for twenty years and never has a kid worn kipa and tzitzit with a diaper.  I agreed, not fully believing that it would work – after all, this is time three, right?  And the first two ended in failure because Shlomo was just too stubborn, and at the end of the day, no one can make you pee or poop in the toilet if you don’t want to.

So we went for it.  Diaper off in the morning, on only at bedtime.  Poop belongs in the potty.  And for some reason, which Yitzchak and I believe to be a desire to get us to leave him alone, it worked.  Sort of.  He held in his pee – usually.  Stayed dry, and peed in the toilet, just enough to satisfy us and get himself nominally out of diapers (which is what led to the title of this post – Shlomo was nominally trained, and therefore there was no turning back).  We think that he just figured that if he didn’t give in, we’d keep trying every so often until he did, so he might as well just give up, or at least pretend to.

After a while it became more frequent, with less accidents.  But still, poops were saved for the bedtime diaper.  We would put him in pajamas and a diaper, get ready to read him a book, and he would poop.  We were just happy that he wasn’t holding it in; a lot of kids do, and the ganenet, when she saw that he wasn’t pooping in gan, asked if he was pooping at home, because she was worried.

At some point, I’m not sure how, we got him to poop on the toilet.  Yitzchak says that it was the tablet that he received as a gift for his birthday, from Bubby (Yitzchak’s mother).  We also bribed him with cookies and make a big fuss over it.  After a while, when he was more comfortable pooping on the potty, we stopped making such a big deal of it, and on condition that one of us sit with him (usually Yitzchak because my nose is more sensitive than his) he agreed to poop prize-free.  When we started seeing him backslide, we at first returned the treats and then realized that he was abusing the privilege: He would put a small poop in the toilet, get the treat, and then make a big poop in diaper.  Haha, you silly parents.  You fell for it, again.  And again.  So we took away all treats until he made a successful poop in the potty with no poops in his underwear.  And that’s been our policy since.

We STILL backslide sometimes.  I’m not quite sure why.  This morning I was feeding him and something started to stink.  I couldn’t figure out what it was, until it hit me and I asked Yitzchak to check his diaper (Shlomo was still in pajamas).  Yep, poopy in the diaper.  But as mad as we were, we were also relieved – Shlomo hadn’t pooped in four days (and prior to that, had made a week’s worth of poops in his underwear).  This evening, Yitzchak brought the tablet, sat with him, and Shlomo pooped in the potty.  We praised him.  And he got his treats back.  Boy, was he proud of himself.  I just wish I knew how to keep the poop in the potty – and what motivates him to decide to go on potty-strike.

Yes, Yitzchak STILL sits with him.  Poops are in a potty.  Pees are standing up, peeing into the big toilet, like any guy on the street.  I think the poops go in the potty for three reasons: 1. He’s scared of sitting on the big toilet. 2. The toilet seat we have isn’t comfortable.  3. It’s easier to poop with your feet on the floor.  Plus, you get the lid of the real toilet as a table to drive cars on.

Shlomo is not potty trained at night yet, and honestly, I don’t expect him to be.  He stays dry when he naps during the day, even during long 4-5 hour naps (which we allow only when we are going to be up late and we need the quiet to prepare for a holiday).  But my siblings didn’t stay dry till age five or six, and even then, I remember walking them to the toilet in the middle of the night.  If I remember correctly, twice – once about an hour after they went to sleep, and once around ten or eleven at night.

And after talking to Yitzchak’s mother, I found that she had had a similar experience with her kids.  So with a combination of genes like that, and the knowledge the a lot of night training is physiological and not necessarily within the child’s control – we still buy diapers for the nighttime.  One Shabbat, we had forgotten.  Since we had been planning to experiment anyways, we let him sleep in underwear.  Suffice it to say, experiment failed.  When we see that the diaper is dry several mornings in a row, we will try again.

And with this, dear readers, I [hopefully] end our saga of potty training until next time – which will hopefully be only with the next kid.

Hide The Medicines

medicine, medicines, various medicines, medicine bottles, syrupsThis past Thursday, Jack (Yitzchak’s brother) came for a short visit: He came Wednesday night and left Thursday morning for an appointment; then came back to get his bag, and left.

In the  meantime, I had a deja-vu.   Back two weeks exactly – to that Thursday.

I got in the shower, thinking everything was fine (that Thursday I was on the toilet when it happened).  In the middle, it gets a little too quiet.  I called Shlomo over, but he didn’t listen.  So I stuck my head out and saw that he was playing nicely.  Great.

When I got out, though, I saw that he had made a mess.  And as I clean the mess – I realize that he had gotten into Jack’s bag . . . and pulled out a ziploc bag of medicine.

Seriously?!?!  You left a ZIPLOC BAG with MEDICINE in your bag, didn’t tell me, and left it in Shlomo’s reach??  Are you NUTS?  (He also had a container of Tylenol, but at least it had a “childproof” lock on it – as if that helps anything . . . it certainly didn’t help last week.)

Great.  Just great.

Do I go back to the emergency room?  What will they think?  Two weeks in a row, a mother comes in with a toddler who might have swallowed medicine?  Isn’t that kind of suspicious?  I think it is.  Why didn’t this mother learn her lesson the first time?

But this time, it’s not my fault.  All of our medicines are out of reach – including my travel pack of Tylenol, that used to sit in my backpack, in its “childproof” container.  Jack said he was leaving his bag.  Fine, okay.  I don’t go through other people’s stuff.  He should’ve said something, or put the bag out of reach, or taken it with him.

I called Yitzchak, really mad.  As it happened, Jack was right next to him.

And what did Jack say?  “Well, you should’ve been watching him.”

I said, “Yeah, I’m not allowed to go to the bathroom?   I can’t watch him every single minute – that’s why we childproof the house.  Usually, when I’m in the shower, he plays with his toys.”

“You should’ve put him somewhere safe.  He can’t climb out of his bed, right?  So put him in there.”

“That’s not really fair . . .”

“He won’t like it, but too bad – you need to either watch him or put him in his bed so he can’t get into things.”

You’re telling me how to take care of my son?

That he should go in time-out every time I need the bathroom?

That I should interrupt his play sessions to put him in his crib?

Are you serious?

Now, to his credit, he is single.  And the youngest.  He hasn’t – ever – had to deal with a toddler on a regular basis.  I am the eldest.  My youngest sibling is thirteen years younger than me.  The second youngest – ten years younger.  The middle sibling – eight.  So, I kind of grew up with this.  And Jack didn’t.

Okay, fine.  It’s my fault – I should’ve put the bag away.

But it’s also your fault – you should’ve alerted me.

You didn’t.  That’s okay.  I understand.  But at least take responsibility for your own mistakes.

I hate it when people blame their mistakes on others, or simply don’t take responsibility for them.  It’s just . . . immature and irresponsible.

And after Jack told me how I should be dealing with Shlomo – he asks about his Kindle.  Is his Kindle okay?  Why do I not care about that, only about the medicine?

Yitzchak spoke to him.  My MIL spoke to him – or rather, he called her about the medicine, and complained that I was mad at him for leaving medicine in his bag, instead of keeping Shlomo in his crib.  And MIL told him off.

It just bugs me.

And about the ER?  We didn’t go.  I remembered last week, when the doctor asked if Shlomo usually puts stuff in his mouth.  No, he doesn’t, thank G-d – he’s learned that foreign objects in his mouth mean that we stick our fingers in by force.  I asked Shlomo if he’d eaten it.  He just grunted.  I showed it to him – and he turned his face away.  Since I was going to the walk-in clinic anyways, for myself, I figured I’d just watch Shlomo and take him along.

And in the end, everything was fine – he hadn’t eaten any of it.  Thank G-d.  MIL (former pediatrician) also said that if he put it in his mouth, he probably chewed it.  If there aren’t any pieces stuck to his teeth, he probably didn’t eat it.  Well, thank G-d.

But please, please, please – take responsibility for your own actions.

Yes, this was my fault.  I should’ve asked Jack.  But it was also his fault – he should’ve said something.

Lesson: Think before you pee – or shower.

Don’t Flush The Toilet

Shlomo has finally managed to climb up onto the toilet and flush it.  Why did it take so long?  Because in Israel, the flusher is on top of the toilet, usually in the middle.  So, it’s a bit harder to reach than if it were on the side . . .

toilet with flusher on top, toilet, israeli toilet

This is [pretty much] what our toilet looks like.

He’s been trying to climb up on the toilet for a while, but since it’s slightly wider than a regular chair, his little arms couldn’t grasp the opposite side, and he couldn’t get up.  Now his arms have grown those extra few centimeters.

But we don’t flush the toilet just because.  We flush it only if there’s something in it.

So when he wants to flush, we ask if he wants to go to the bathroom.  If not, too bad.  If so, he sits on his potty, goes, and when we dump the contents into the toilet, then he gets to flush.

It’s one of those treats that he gets when he goes on the toilet.  Along with a star sticker and playing with his electronic butterfly with the loud volume (and no way to lower it) and the flashing lights that give me a headache.

It makes the toilet special.

But that doesn’t mean that he’s happy only flushing sometimes.  And he knows that he’s not allowed – he often “asks” first, and waits until we come.  Problem is, when we come into the bathroom, we tell him no.

Whoever goes in the toilet gets to flush.   And that’s how it’ll be for most of his life.  Until, that is, he potty-trains his own two-year-old.

Day Two: 3 Day Potty-training

Today (Thursday) was day two.

There was no marked improvement, except that our worries about Shlomo’s constipation were put at ease around ten o’ clock this morning – on the floor.

Yes, he goes in the toilet.  But he doesn’t seem to care too much where he goes.  He is happy to get the praise, and the stickers (he loves stickers, so I thought it would help), but he doesn’t care too much where he pees.

When he pees in the toilet, he gets praise and stickers.  When he pees on the floor, he gets disappointment and has to help clean it up.  But he doesn’t really care, as long as he gets the praise when he wants it.

Today I took a break and left Yitzchak with a sleeping Shlomo to go shopping for Shabbat.  By the time I got back, of course, Shlomo was awake.  I reminded Yitzchak that we had to take him out today, and we agreed (while on speaker, so Shlomo heard it all) that if Shlomo had made a peepee in the “toilet”, he would get shorts, shoes, and come out to meet me.  I told this to Yitzchak, then to Shlomo, and then heard Yitzchak telling Shlomo.

Of course, if he didn’t peepee in the toilet soon enough, he would just stay home till I arrived.

I got off the bus and started walking home.  About halfway there, I see Yitzchak – carrying a diapered, pants-less, shoe-less Shlomo towards me.  Something obviously was funny.

Had Shlomo peed in the toilet?  Yes.  What had happened was that after Yitzchak told him that he could go out, Shlomo waited a few minutes until he had some pee, peed a tiny bit (standing) straight into his potty, without missing at all, and then looked at Yitzchak expectantly, waiting.  Yitzchak, of course, praised him.  And Shlomo kept staring expectantly (instead of dancing and smiling proudly from ear to ear), waiting for his sticker.  As soon as he got the sticker, he went straight to the door and banged on it.

As we say in Hebrew, “nafal ha’asimon”.  Or, Yitzchak finally understood.  Rather, he understood what we had known since yesterday.  Shlomo was using this as an opportunity to have both parents staring at him, singing and praising him, and giving him stickers.  He saw that peeing in the potty would allow him to go outside, so he peed in the potty.  But did he care about potty-training?  Nope.

What is really depressing about this story is the following: Besides for the fact that since yesterday, Shlomo hasn’t really shown improvement (we know he understands, because he’s peed little bits in the toilet at least twenty times, sometimes stopping, getting praise, and then continuing for more praise), Yitzchak spoke to his mother.

And his mother said that both he and brother #2, Ron, refused to potty train until they had no choice.  For Yitzchak, what changed that was daycare.  He saw other kids peeing in the toilet and decided it was a worthwhile thing to do.  That was at three years old; it took a month.  For Ron, it took until four years, when his parents locked him in a room for a whole week and didn’t let him out for anything other than to go to the bathroom (meals he ate in his room).  Within a week, he was trained.  Both potty-trained themselves.  MIL tried the 3-day method on Ron, and it failed utterly.  He simply didn’t care if he pooped on the floor, and in his mind, it was better – he wasn’t sitting in it.  Because of Yitzchak’s similarity in personality to Ron, she didn’t even bother trying it on him.

And then Yitzchak has the audacity to complain that Shlomo is taking advantage of us.  It’s his genes, after all.  Or rather, the not-caring is his.  The intelligence required to not care is mine (intelligence is on the X, and Shlomo’s only got one of those).

We are thinking of where to go from here.  I don’t mind the diaper changes (though underwear would be cheaper), but Shlomo fights, and it’s getting harder and harder to force him to let me change his diaper.

At least we only lost two days.  We’re not giving up yet, but we definitely need a change in strategy.


Pacifier Update

This is an update on today’s earlier post

It is 11:08pm.  We Yitzchak found Shlomo’s pacifier about twenty minutes ago, buried in the bathroom garbage under a pile of dirty diapers.  The clip we salvaged, and put it away for the next one.  The pacifier got moved to the kitchen garbage, for some reason that Yitzchak did not explain to me.  Now we know what happened to it, and Shlomo saved us the trouble of throwing it away.  The downside?  He will have to learn, the very hard way, that things which are put in the garbage do not come back, ever. 

Maybe we will tell him where we found it, after the garbage has already been taken out.  We will not show the pacifier to Shlomo, or dig it out.  Things that go in the garbage do not come out, and for everyone’s sake, he needs to know that.  However, I am counting on Shlomo to remember that he left the pacifier in the garbage.  I think, and hope, that the memory alone will do the job.  Perhaps this is why, when I asked Shlomo where his pacifier was, he did not get it.  Dirty diaper garbage is gross, and he knows that.  I certainly would not want to dig something out of it, which is why Yitzchak was the one to find the pacifier.  So, it makes sense that Shlomo did not retrieve his pacifier, all throughout the day.  (In fact, thinking about it, he just ignored my question, and when he was not ignoring it, he kept staring at the bathroom.)  But, Shlomo needs to know that I cannot read his mind, and if he doesn’t tell me, or show me, where he put it, I cannot help him.  Oops.

I am glad (or rather, hoping, because my favorite scarf is missing) that Shlomo is learning this lesson on something that I wanted to throw away, anyways.  I am glad that he is learning this lesson on something that is his, easily replaceable (if we chose to), and has no sentimental value.  May it be a one-time lesson that he never has to learn again.  May it be the hardest lesson Shlomo ever has to learn.  Amen.

My Very Own Toilet

toddler toilet seat, toilet seat, kids toilet seat, soft toilet seat. padded toilet seat with handlesA couple months ago, we got a little toilet seat.  You know, one of the padded ones that you put on top of the big toilet.  Well, for the past two or three weeks, every time I go to the bathroom when Shlomo is awake, and yes, that means every time, he follows me in, takes his toilet seat, and asks to sit on the toilet.  Somehow, the idea that the toilet is occupied has not yet registered.  Yesterday, he tried to move me a bit, to expose a bit of the toilet, so he could put the seat on.  Um, a little bit of the toilet isn’t enough, kiddo, you need the whole thing.  And, only one person can sit on this throne at once.  I got here first.  Plus, asking every time that I go to the bathroom really doesn’t make me too motivated to put you on the toilet and give you the truck book.  It just wears on my nerves.  Ask when you have to go, not when I have to go, and maybe I’ll feel differently.

To his credit, he does ask when he has to go, sometimes.  And sometimes he asks just after he went in his diaper.  Oh, well.  I guess it’s part of the package.

The best part, though, is that we went away for Shabbat, and left the toilet seat at home.  From Friday afternoon, until last night at around ten-thirty, I got to go to the bathroom all by myself.  That is, except for once on Friday night, when Yitzchak couldn’t watch Shlomo, and everything was kind of chaotic, so I had to take Shlomo with me to the bathroom.  It wasn’t too bad, though, since we didn’t have his toilet seat.  However, I was kind of bummed that just after I had been looking forward to 36 hours of going to the bathroom alone, I had to take Shlomo with me.  For the rest of the time, though, I enjoyed the solitude.  Man, was it nice to go by myself.

Anyone share the sentiment?  Or have I just randomly rambled about a topic that is disgusting, [supposedly] private, and completely non-interesting?

A Whole Roll of Toilet Paper

baby, toilet paper, unrolled toilet paper, stuffed toilet, baby and toilet paper, baby and toilet

I guess I thought that Shlomo knew the difference between sitting on the toilet, which is allowed, and playing with the toilet or stuffing things in it, which is not allowed.  I guess I thought wrong.

Really, I should have known better.  After all, we’ve gone through this before.  After the first few times he was on the toilet, we got one of those little toilet seats for him.  Shlomo loved it; I sat him down on it and his face lit up.  You could see him thinking, “Wow, I feel safe – I’m not going to fall – and I’m sitting on the toilet just like a big person!  This is great!”  After that, though, he decided that the toilet was now permitted – in all respects.  He started playing with it (because, as I said, our toilet lock broke), and put some toy or other into the toilet.  Obviously, we told him very quickly that the toilet is NOT a toy.  And, other than the duck incident a week or so ago, he has been pretty good about it.

Today, Yitzchak was changing Shlomo’s [poopy] diaper, and saw the poop hole move.  So, feet sticking straight up into the air, perpendicular to his torso, Shlomo was taken to the toilet.  Just when Yitzchak had given up and was putting the diaper back on, Shlomo looked like he was going to poop again.  So back on the toilet he went.  In the end, nothing came out into the toilet.  But, Shlomo pooped out a couple of crumbs (that stuck to his bottom) while on the toilet.  Better than nothing, right?  It’s a step in the right direction.  We let him keep his truck-sounds book (which is the toilet book, because it makes the toilet fun AND spares me from having to hear truck noises all day, every day) for a while after getting off.

And then, later, I walk into the bathroom to start a bath for Shlomo.  And I see a very common, but also widely dreaded, scene: The toilet is stuffed with toilet paper, and in the middle, right on the top of the toilet paper, is one of Shlomo’s socks.  I called him over and asked him what he had done.  He gave me the guilty look, and started backing away.

I said, “What are you going to do to fix it?  Do you need an idea?”  He didn’t respond, so I said, “See all this paper?  We can’t flush it down the toilet, because that would clog the pipes.  It needs to go in the garbage.”  At this point, he looked at me like I was crazy.  I repeated that it had to go in the garbage, and I took his hand and helped him take some out.

Now, you have to understand:  Shlomo is a clean freak.  Touching soggy toilet paper is not his idea of fun.  He pulled his hand away; I took it back.  I’m a clean freak, also.  That doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have to get done, and that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have to help.  He did this; he will have to help clean it up.  So I took his hand again – and he pulled it back, again.

Again, I took his hand, and with me doing most of the picking up, we took some of the toilet paper and put it in the bathroom garbage.  He clearly wasn’t enjoying it; he also clearly understood the reason why he had to help.  By the time we were done, he was helping me pick it up, instead of holding his hand stiff.  We stuck our hands in the toilet and pulled out the cardboard.  Apparently, this was at least half a roll (I tend to think it was a whole roll, but maybe I’m imagining it).  When it was finally at a flushable amount, I flushed the toilet, washed both of our hands, and praised him for helping so much.

Then we changed his diaper, and he had a bath – which, if you remember, was the original reason I had walked into the bathroom.  Hopefully, the fact that he hated taking soggy toilet paper out of the toilet and sticking his hand into pee, will make sure that he never does this again.

It’s all about separating the business from the play, right?