Tag Archive | potty training

Poopy-Training and Tzuk Eitan

Remember how, during Tzuk Eitan (Operation Protective Edge), we were potty-training Shlomo and a siren went off while he was on the potty?

Well, 6 months later, we are about back to where we were then.  How we did it, I don’t know.  I think by just making a direct reward, a direct consequence, and letting it be.  In other words, the direct reward and direct consequence are the only things that we associate with pooping.  It was just getting to be too much, and we felt like everything in his life, and ours, was connected to poopng . . . something we didn’t feel was healthy or beneficial.

Direct reward: He gets his pacifier from the moment he’s off the potty until he leaves for gan the next morning.  There is no connection between the pacifier and the potty, you say?  You’re right.  Except that the pacifier was the only thing he really seemed to care about on a long term basis.

No potty, no cookie?  No problem, I don’t need a cookie anyways.

Potty and half an hour of uninterrupted playtime with one of us, even on a busy day?  Well, that’s nice, but I get it enough anyways, and when I really want it I’ll poop in the potty.

No potty, no pasta (because pasta is constipating and he eats too many carbs)?  Who cares, I like vegetables and as long as I’m not hungry it doesn’t make that much of a difference.

No potty, no tablet? Meh, who cares.

Poop in pants and pick it up with a wipe?  Who cares?

Poop in pants and pick it up with my hands?  Ewwwwww.  But it’s not so bad, it gets a reaction, and the solution is simple: Don’t poop.

No potty, no pacifier?  But I waa-aa-aaa-annn-ttt.

Originally, I suggested trying poop-f0r-pacifier for a single week to see if it would work.  The idea was that at the end of the week, something would have changed.  Either he would give up the pacifier, he would poop in the potty, or possibly both.

In the end, what happened was none of the above; and all of the above.

He is much less dependent on the pacifier, and can sleep well without it.  (If Tova wakes him up, we give him the pacifier whether or not he’s pooped.  Tova waking him up is not something that he can control, plus it means that he won’t become resentful of her waking him or us up.  Win-win.)

And when he wants the pacifier, which is nearly every day, he sits and poops on the potty.

If he poops in his pants, he helps clean it up.  Just like he would clean up after himself if he spilled oatmeal.  We clean up our poops, he can help clean up his.  Because he is a clean freak, this is a very awful punishment – which is why, when it was done by itself, he held in his poop for a whole week and became seriously constipated.

Shlomo isn’t pooping every day yet, but we’re averaging about three times a week, which is pretty good.  Sometimes he holds in his poop so long that he gets poop smear stains on his underwear – poop that tried to come out but got pulled back in.  When that happens, he has two choices: Put a big poop in the toilet, or touch the poop in the underwear.  It’s been about a month since the last poop outside the potty, and we’ve only had a few big smears and a few little ones.  Tfu tfu tfu, may it continue to get better.

Also, at some point more than a month ago, we switched from potty to toilet seat.  We took the stool and the toilet seat and sat him on the big toilet.  At the beginning he was afraid and held Yitzchak’s shoulders, until he realized he wouldn’t fall.  Then he had a choice: No toys and potty, or toys and big toilet.  Guess which one he chose – the big toilet.  He poops with his tablet in hand.  And if that means that he only poops 6 days a week and doesn’t poop on holidays, so be it.  The maximum is three days, and even that is only once a year, and not every year.

The toilet seat has this lid in the front meant for making sure that the pee won’t spray all over the place.  He complains that it hurts his peepee.  Solution?  Stick a wad of toilet paper between the plastic and the peepee.

We are still working on peeing while sitting on the potty.  At present he insists on standing up to pee and then sitting back down to try pooping.  Eventually, I think he will get it.  In the meantime, he has peed on himself a few times when we told him to push down his peepee and pee into the toilet while sitting.

I write the bathroom-appropriate details because I assume that some of my readers are parents who are potty-training boys, and I assume it will be helpful.  If Shlomo reads my blog when he is older and protests my explicit instructions meant for potty-training parents, I will let him reword it.  Otherwise, I will save it for him and his wife when his son decides to pull the same stunts.

I take comfort in the fact that Tova, unlike Shlomo, does not like sitting in dirty diapers.  She will cry until you change her diaper, even if it only has pee in it.  Shlomo did not care if his diaper was wet or dirty, unless it got his clothes wet or dirty.  The biggest obstacle to his potty training was that he simply did not care.  For all that he is a neat freak, having a gross bottom was someone else’s issue and not worth the break from playing.  Hopefully, since Tova seems to dislike being wet or dirty, she will be happy to learn how to keep herself dry and clean by going to the potty.  She is also a girl, and supposedly girls train faster – but this we will see in due time.

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Update from after Shabbat, Feb. 28: Apparently, I need to stop posting poop-training updates.  Shortly after this was published we found poop in his underwear – or rather, slime in his underwear.  It was much more than just a little stain.  Then he pooped in the toilet.  The next day, we found another stain in his underwear.  And the day after that.  Sigh.  Today I told Shlomo that my contract includes washing poopy underwear for maximum eight months, and that it applies to one-, two-, and three-year olds, but not to four-year-olds.  Then I got a brilliant idea: My contract doesn’t include washing a 4-year-old’s poopy underwear, right?  And the extra loads are a waste of water and electricity; if I don’t do the extra loads I suffer from the stink and have to make sure nothing touches it.  Solution: He can hand wash his own poopy underwear.  Fair enough, no?  It takes the task of my hands, and saves electricity and water . . . and teaches him some responsibility.  We’ll see what happens now.

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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.

Potty Training, Round 2: Failed

Remember when we tried the 3-day method?  Then, we gave up after two days, since it was obvious that Shlomo understood what he was supposed to do, but didn’t seem interested in doing it.  We gave up after a discussion with Yitzchak’s mother, who didn’t hold too much hope, since she’d trained two like this herself (one, of course, was Yitzchak).

no potty, potty training, refusal to potty train, potty, toilet, training, pee on the potty, poop on the pottyThe ganenet (preschool teacher) trains the kids in twos, the older ones and more ready ones first.  Shlomo is one of the oldest kids in the gan, and I knew that she was planning to start right after the holidays.  In other words, when she told us last Wednesday that we should bring Shlomo in underwear, I was already expecting it.  She told us to put him on the potty every ten minutes, and not to ask if he had to go, since he’ll just say no, just put him on the potty every ten minutes and make a big deal of it when he goes.  I saw no reason not to go with her method, since ours hadn’t worked, and figured that maybe this time, because it’s both at gan (which he loves, and has a potty-training partner) and at home, maybe it would work.

Thursday morning I brought him in a diaper and she changed him into underwear at the gan, in front of all the kids, while praising him.  He let her put underwear on him, but as I walked out I saw his face.  It said, “Uh-oh.  I don’t think I like this idea.”  Mind you, on Wednesday afternoon, when I came to pick Shlomo up and got the details of the plan from the ganenet, I had said, “You want to go on the potty like a big boy?  And wear underwear?  You’re going to be so big!”  And Shlomo said, “Uh (his version of uh-uh).”  I tried again, “Right there are other kids who also go on the potty?  And you’re going to make pee-pee in the toilet just like Abba?  What a big boy you’ll be!”  And he said, “Uh.”  The ganenet and I just looked at each other and she said, “He’s already big, just bring him in underwear and he’ll learn.”  I told her that he knew, but refused, and she just said we’ll train him and he’ll be fine.

Well, I’m not going to argue with an experienced ganenet who’s been doing this for thirty years, and has grandkids herself, right?  After all, even if I helped potty-train my siblings, I’m still a young parent who’s trying to train her first kid.  And hey, if this works it’ll be worth it, right?

Thursday: One in the potty and one in his pants.  He woke up from the afternoon nap dry, and the ganenet is in shock that he can hold his pee that long.  At home he went once in his pants and twice (big pees, too) in the potty.

Friday: In the morning before we left he made a big pee in the potty.  These big pee-pees give me hope, because last time we did this, we only got little drops.  Now, it actually looks like he peed everything into the potty; maybe he’s willing to work with us, after all.  At gan he doesn’t go at all – not in his pants and not in the potty.  I pick him up at 12:00, because it’s Friday.  The ganenet says, “He just holds it in, he doesn’t want to go.  He definitely has his own opinions.”  Yep, he does.  We sit him on the toilet, and he goes again.  He wakes up dry after his nap (which was pretty long).  Then three pee-pees in his pants, one of them with poop, too (obviously, right after Yitzchak left for shul (synagogue).

Shabbat: Twice he made teeny drops of pee in the potty, probably just to get us off his back.  Three poops and two pees in his underwear.

Sunday: Two pee-pees in his pants at gan.  At home, once a little pee in the potty that continued even after he got dressed again, and one pee-pee just in his pants.  He ran away from the door to gan in the morning and ran away from the door to the house in the afternoon.  Both, presumably, because he knew he’d be put on the potty when he came in.  Big temper tantrum when we tried to put him on the potty.  Eventually he calmed down when we gave him his awful butterfly.  When I drop Shlomo off in the morning I speak to the ganenet.  I tell her what happened on Friday and Shabbat, and she just says, “Oy yoy yoy,” and sighs.  Then she says it’s easier to train them at age two, and now it’s a little later so it’s harder.  I remind her that we’ve tried to train him already and tell her that we did that at two years and a month or so.  She asks if I want to give up.  I say no, he’s big enough, he needs to be trained.  On the way back from dropping Shlomo off at gan, I remember that my youngest brother also refused to train, until he was almost three and my mother forced him.  Great.  He gets it from both sides.  Is this like teething, where late gene + late gene = super-late gene?  I hope not.

Monday: One pee-pee on the floor when we were getting dressed, right after he insisted on getting off the potty.  To his credit, there is also some pee in the potty.  (I tell Yitzchak that we’re saving the pee till the afternoon because I forgot to make a fuss about it and let him flush the toilet.  Ew, but whatever.)  One more little drop while we were heading out the door (didn’t change him, though).  Three pee-pees in his pants at gan.  One pee-pee in his pants at home.  Again, temper tantrum when we tried to put him on the toilet.  This time, lasting longer and only stopping right before I got home.  Eventually he agreed to sit on the potty and play with his awful butterfly (which is his official potty-training toy).

Tuesday: No pee in the potty this morning,  but none on the floor, either.  The whole walk to gan I tell him, like I did on Sunday and less so yesterday, that he needs to go in the toilet for the ganenet and not in his pants.  That what the ganenet says, goes (just like you can’t ignore her and pretend you don’t know Hebrew).  Yitzchak picks Shlomo up at a quarter to four and calls me: The ganenet said to just give him back his diaper, he’s not interested.  I wonder what she thinks about all this . . .

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.

 

3 Days of Watching

potty training, biohazard shirt, warning potential biohazard, three day potty training, toddler with no pants, toddler potty training

Shlomo is producing potential biohazards on our floor today.

(Note: This post is from yesterday.)

We are potty-training for real.  At least, we hope so.

Shlomo was interested in sitting on the toilet (with one of those little toilet seats over it), but then it wasn’t comfortable for him, because for his peepee to point into the toilet meant sitting with his legs tight together, and the little “cap” on his toilet seat hurt his peepee.  So we got him a potty chair.  First we put a bag into it, but he didn’t like that on his tush.  So now we put a bit of water into the bottom, so that it’s easier to dump the contents into the toilet.

But, he wasn’t thrilled with either one, and lost interest pretty fast.

Which was fine with me – I knew we were starting early.  And as long as he let me change his diapers, I wasn’t going to complain.

However, for the past two weeks or so, diaper-changing time has gotten increasingly difficult.  Shlomo doesn’t want me us to change it – even when it’s leaking – and he fights.

Last night, I was reorganizing Shlomo’s drawers, for the change of season and because Yitzchak’s mother just sent us a whole summer wardrobe and I had to fit those clothes and his other clothes into three little drawers.  We came to the training underwear that she’d bought six months ago for us.  Most of them hadn’t been worn yet.  I told Yitzchak that either we put them away, or we use them.

I had heard of the three-day potty training method, and it sounded better than six months of potty training.  I told Yitzchak to look it up.  Obviously, Yitzchak would find a problem with something no one thought of: There isn’t always grout between tiles in Israel.  And then poop would get stuck between them.

Since Yitzchak couldn’t find anything better, we are doing it anyways, tiles or not.

Yitzchak wanted to try it with underwear.  After two consecutive accidents within one hour, we quit that.

The accidents didn’t stop, though.  We had two consecutive pee accidents, plus a poop with the second pee, within fifteen minutes.  And then one spritz onto Shlomo’s plate of olives.

But, since then, we’ve been good.

A drop of poop and a pee in the “toilet”.

And a whole bunch on the floor.

We’re only on day 1.  If this doesn’t work, we’ve lost only three days.  If it does work, we’ve gained a few months.

The picture above is Shlomo wearing his new biohazard shirt.  I thought it was an appropriate shirt for a day of poop and pee accidents.