Sunday, November 21, 2010

Landon's Progress

Landon and I have been doing great with pottying lately! I have been really relaxed and not all that diligent with him thus far. But I'm trying to get more motivated to really make a go of this. I'm trying not to be so lazy. I've been reading Laurie Boucke's book "Infant Potty Training" which is rather textbook-like. Reading things about it keeps me motivated. The biggest thing I've gained from her book so far is a clearer understanding of intuition (she calls it psychic communication, which just sounds so... froofy, but it's really just semantics). I learned how to hone my intuition from her book: to mentally ask the baby (or myself) if he needs to go and act on my first feeling or thought. What is my reflex answer to the question? I've been using that and it helps me to feel less stressed or less conflicted about when to take him. I don't sit there thinking, "Should I take him pee? Or not? What if he doesn't have to go? What if he does?" Now I just think, "Does he have to go?" and if my reflex thought is yes, I take him and if it's no, I don't. I've also been working on taking care of his first poo in the morning. That's been quite successful! As long as I don't wallow in bed for an excessively long time, he'll wait until I get him to the potty. I've been noticing how getting that one regular poop down and responding to just that one consistent need to go has been branching out and creating more and more success. It's like, since we successfully catch that one, he gets what we're trying to do and he'll at least try to go at other times of the day when I take him. Also, if I'm late in getting him to the potty in the morning, he'll just go a little, one little squirt and then wait for me to take him to finish. If I take him to the potty from the get-go, it's all taken care of in one load.

The interesting thing the last day or two though is with peeing. He was a great pee-er when we were first working on this. He'd pee in the pot all the time. I stopped being as diligent with it at some point and now, while he poops in the potty regularly, he'd stopped peeing in the potty. Then a day or two ago, he happened to go poop and pee at one potty trip. When I made the cue sound as he peed and then cheered for him when he was done, it was like a light went on. He smiled really big and since then he's gone pee in the potty several times. It was like he suddenly understood that this was the time and place to pee as well as poop. And he is totally willing to do it. It really is amazing at how well this works. I wish I was more diligent in taking him. Got to work on that dedication.

One thing I learned from Laurie Boucke's book, too, is that to be potty trained in Western cultures is a lot harder and asks a lot more of the child and mother than it is in tribal cultures. People who live in small villages in Africa and Asia just have to take the baby outside to go and they don't have clothes and diapers to remove. And no stairs to climb. The child, when walking, just has to go outside to the edge of the living area and pick a spot. But here, you have to remove all the clothes, go to the bathroom, get on the potty, and get the clothes back on. A lot more steps and a lot more rules for how to go potty.

But, because of how things went with Alaina, I'm motivated to work on it more consistently with Landon since I can see that even a somewhat botched attempt with Alaina yielded results I'm totally happy with. Out of diapers well before 2! I'll take it! And the completion of the training was painless. Also a huge plus and step up from how things went with my first two. Alaina was doing amazing, by the way, and wasn't having any accidents for days on end. Just when I thought we were totally done with all accidents, she started regress and have accidents here and there. Mostly during nap time and now and then during the day. I think that if we just start giving her little potty treats again for a few days she'll get back on track. I think what I'm seeing is that when a child potty trains so young, but also after being in diapers for so long (what I mean is that I don't think you'd encounter this if you trained steadily from infancy and pottying in an appropriate non-diaper spot was always the norm), they need positive reinforcement for a lot longer than, say, a 3 and a half year old would. I have a hard time continually being excited and cheering for her every time she uses the potty at this point, but I think that's what she needs to make it worth it to keep going in the potty. Though, she does dislike being wet a lot more now than she did when we first nixed the diapers. The hardest part right now is in the car. It's hard to know when we should pull over for her and when she'll hold it and when she just doesn't want to be in the car seat anymore. And to be honest, it's a pain in the neck to me to pull over for a potty break. It should be simple but it's just really not. It seems to delay things eternally. Eh, well. I'm really really REALLY happy with how things have gone with her. I'm just ecstatic to see her little bum in unders and not a diaper. I love that I don't have to change a poopy butt. Landon's poopy butt is a totally different sort, and even that is rare since we make it to the potty about half the time anyway.

All in all, I LOVE infant pottying! It is SO the way to go for me!

Okay, I'll stop talking. How is it that when I intend to just write a short little paragraph, I end up writing a 5 page essay? I digress--shutting up and signing off now. Bye!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

By Golly George, I think she's got it!

Alaina is doing amazing! Since we got back from our vacation to California, she's had a bout of stomach flu and the diarrhea was a bit tricky. A few accidents there, but that's understandable. She had one accident in the car because I didn't believe that she really had to go (she uses "go potty" as a way to get out of her car seat, high chair, crib, etc.). She had two accidents at a birthday party which was at a park. Lots going on. Other than that, she's been clean and dry for two weeks! She stays dry in the car, at the store, at other people's houses, everywhere! She initiates everything, takes herself often without even notifying me first, and sometimes even gets her pants back up on her own. Which is hilarious to watch, by the way. Picture Steve Urkel.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Potty go-go!

I really need to get more pictures to document this whole thing.

So, two weeks ago, I started full-scale cold-turkey potty training with Alaina. Meaning NO MORE daytime diapers. My plan was to keep her confined to the kitchen and living room (and sometimes the backyard) and keep her naked until she was reliably going in the potty. Then I would add unders (aka underwear) to the mix and get her to keep them dry. Then pants. Then teach her to get them up and down on her own.
I've stuck to this plan for the last two weeks except that I added pants and unders earlier than I planned because we were out and about a few times before she was reliably going and because we went to California this weekend and I wasn't willing to put potty training on hold despite the vacation. I felt like it would be confusing to her to go back to diapers--she wouldn't understand that it was because we were on vacation. So I just kept at it and dealt with the mess. I armed myself with lots of unders, prefolds, pants, and carpet spray. And two potties. Amazingly, I didn't use the carpet spray or the prefolds! She had accidents throughout the vacation, but very few of them were when we were hanging out at someone's house (I carted her potty with us wherever we went). Most of the time it was in the car or during naptime (yes, I kept her diaperless for naps from the get-go too!). I think, in the last two weeks, I've only had to clean poop off the carpet once and out of the unders twice (but it could have just been once... can't remember). I had to clean it off the wood floor a couple times, but I'll take it because it's been DAYS since I've had to clean a poopy diaper or a poopy mess off the floor. And today, our first day home from vacation, she didn't have a single accident!!! Not one! AND I didn't ask her ONCE if she needed to go--she initiated it every time!

So, how has it been working? Well, the first week, I just kept her naked and let her pee on herself and the floor. It's awfully hard to ignore pee streaming down your legs! Every time she peed, I said, "Pee goes in the potty." And cleaned it up. Fortunately, it was almost always on the kitchen floor and was a cinch to clean. I'd ask her now and then if she needed to go, but I didn't push it. I just made sure she always knew where the potty was. At the end of the week, I had a few things going on that took me out of the house and I knew she was going to wet her pants a bunch because she was still hardly going in the potty at all. The only reason I wasn't discouraged was because I could see her tuning in big time and not liking the pee on her legs and puddling at her feet. She stopped whatever she was doing and stared at it and said, "uh, oh! pee." So I knew it was working and she just needed to connect the dots. Anyway, changing her clothes was no biggie and I lined her car seat with a waterproof mat and a prefold. The second week I stayed home and kept at it and she started making progress. She would pee or poop in the potty one more time each day than she had the day before. Then, on Wednesday, we left for California. (Oh, I should also mention that part of why this was taking a long time (at least, it seemed long to me compared to what I was expecting) is because she only pees about 5 or 6 times a day, even though I packed her full of fluids. That gave her very few opportunities to learn.) So, California. I was so busy and caught up in the fun of our vacation that I didn't really pay close attention to the numbers. But I did notice that she was taking herself potty often and peeing in the potty often. Most of her accidents were during nap and in the car. But since she hardly ever goes pee, it wasn't that difficult to deal with. And I'd already committed myself to pushing through whatever came and NOT going back to diapers no matter what! I think that was my biggest mistake with my other kids. I would give up and go back to diapers because I just couldn't take the mess. I think confining Alaina to an area where she was never out of my sight and making a solid commitment to it is making all the difference.

We have been using diapers for bedtime. She pees twice in the night and I've tried taking her in the night, but it hasn't worked so far. I think I'll work on mastering day first and then work on night. But I felt bad leaving her in a wet bed with pee all over herself. But half the time, she takes off her diaper herself anyway, so she must not mind much. I also put the potty in her crib during bed and nap and that has started working! She uses it for sure if she has to poop (she does NOT like poop in her crib!) and she used it today and maybe one other time for pee.

All in all, I think this is working wonderfully! I mean, today she stayed clean and dry all day despite being babysat this morning and going to Walmart this afternoon! Not one accident!! And she's 20 months old. I think that all our efforts at baby pottying with Alaina has made a huge difference and made this part go really smooth, but I also think that confining a child to an area you can see and having them go naked for a while to see and feel what is going on with their body is totally effective even without the EC foundation.

Studies say that the average potty training rigmarole takes a year. The longer you wait, the shorter the potty training efforts, but the longer you've had to change poopy diapers. With part time EC in infancy, I think I would estimate our investment to be about 10 or 11 months by the time she's fully potty trained. I think another week and she'll have it. In the first 9 months of her life, I worked on it a few days a week and a few hours at a time, which, I guess, is kind of how people do it with their toddlers. I don't know too many people who use a cold-turkey method. After the first 9 months, I hardly worked on it at all. Now and then I'd try to get her to go in the potty and I've always let her sit on the potty if she wanted to but she hardly ever went. Now, with this method, I think this will be the last week of daily accidents. After this week, I think she'll pretty much just use the potty. BUT! Even though it's taken close to a year of effort to get her potty trained, I didn't have to change a two year old's poopy butt! She won't be 2 until January and she'll be fully potty trained well before that! So even though it was a lot longer of a road than I'd planned on or hoped for, I still only had to change her diapers for 20 months instead of the culture average of 36! I'll take it! And I think it will go MUCH better with Landon. I hope...

So while I was at it with Alaina, I figured I might as well work hard with Landon too. My sister and her 6 month old joined in the fun as well. I just kept Landon naked for most of the day and tried to tune in to his cues and take him when I thought he needed to go. My intuition got MUCH better! Still not great, but it's coming along! He'll pee and poop in the potty about 5 times a day if I'm paying attention. And that doesn't mean that I'm offering the potty 100 times when he doesn't need it. I offer it and he goes about 5 times a day. Only about 2 times a day will I offer it and he won't go. I did get peed on a few times:
I was holding Landon and he peed ALL over me! It ran down the couch and onto Alaina's back. Gina snapped a picture right after it happened. Oh, I was also just about to take him potty when I got a phone call. Two seconds into the call, he peed. At least my intuition is on!

I've been thinking a lot about this and I really want to dedicate a week or two to carrying Landon around naked all day. I really think that other cultures learn the baby's cues and have fully potty trained babies at WAY early ages because the alternative is to get peed on and messed on. If that was what was at stake, you'd better believe you'd be motivated to get it figured out pronto! So I thought, maybe I should just go for it and risk getting peed on for a while and get this handled quickly! The learning curve would be so much shorter if I had something to lose by not tuning it. I have a lot coming up that will impede this idea, but I think I might just do it anyway. We'll see.

Alternatively, I found a super small study of four babies who began a potty training program when they were between 3 and 6 months of age. Even though it was a small study, it was 100% successful! All four babies were fully and independently potty trained by 12 months old! I'm so doing this program! Assuming I don't have more/faster success by getting peed on...

Oh, by the way, "potty go-go" (the title of this post) is what Alaina says when she has to go potty. It's particularly cute and funny when she's just woken up and she calls, "Mooooommmmmmyyyy!!!! Potty gooooo-gooooooo!!!"

Thursday, July 22, 2010

A good day with Landon

So, given the fact that I have four kids and it's summer so there's no school and that one of those kids is 18 months old and into everything and that another one of them needs me to breastfeed him every 2 hours, I've decided not to stress about pottying Landon. I think it's been an asset in getting MORE catches though. I've just been taking him if I think of it while I'm changing his diaper or if I notice any cues and it's a convenient thing to do right then. His cues have been pretty easy to read compared to Alaina's (or maybe I'm better at it?). I can even recognize pee cues, though I don't recognize them as such when I decide to take him--I just think, "oh, he has to go potty" and then he pees.

But here's the point of this post: Today Landon kept his diaper dry for about 6 hours straight! I caught a poop this morning and a pee midmorning. Then I missed a poop and maybe a pee too. I changed the poopy diaper and then I caught the next poop and then he took a long nap. I was just sure that he filled his diaper during his nap because he got all squirmy a couple of times and had gas. But then after his nap I went to change him and, not only was he not poopy, he was also DRY! I thought, "well, surely he's got to poop then. He must have been holding it despite all that squirming." So I took him potty and he peed! A lot! Who says babies have no bladder control?!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Yay! Alaina pooped in the potty! And Landon's pottying

Yay for Alaina! We've been putting her in unders (that's what Ryker calls underwear--we love it!) the last few days because life has been crazy and I haven't been washing the cloth ones often enough and we've been out of disposables for a long time. She does pretty well. She's only wet in them once and messed in them once. But the other day, she was toddling around in the nude and I stepped into another room for a second and when I came back, she was getting off her little potty. I looked in it and there was poop in there! A full load too (most of the time, if she poops at all in the potty, it's a tiny little bit and she finishes the rest in a diaper later). And she'd gone all by herself! I hadn't suggested she go or asked her if she needed to go. She just took herself! Good job, baby!

In other pottying news, Landon is doing great with it too! Actually, I caught his very first poop in the middle of the night after he was born. He started squirming and when I checked to see if he would root (meaning he was hungry), I got no response. Then he grunted and I thought, "Well, I'll have to change his diaper in a minute anyway, so I might as well see if I can get him to go in the potty instead." He kinda wiggled and fussed at first, but then he calmed down and pooped the biggest pile of meconium I've ever seen! Holy cow! That would have ended up on everything if it had been in the diaper! At the same time, he peed all over the place! The penis thing is going to be a bit of a learning curve. Fortunately, I was sitting on the plastic we had down for the birth so clean up was easy. Since then, I've taken him potty here and there when I think he might have to go based on his behavior (fussiness that isn't because of being hungry or tired, scrunching up his legs, grunting) and had quite a bit of success with that. I also offer him the potty any time I'm changing his diaper and I think of it, just to see if he'll go. Almost every time I offer him the potty, he'll go. Sometimes not, but I've been surprised at how much easier it seems to be to recognize his cues compared to Alaina's. I've caught both pee and poop, though I can't really distinguish a "pee cue" from a "poop cue." I've been using a different cue with him for some reason. It just kind of naturally came into existence. The way that I hold him to go potty, I have a clear view of his "boys" so I can see when he goes. For some reason, it crossed my mind to blow on his boys as a cue--it seemed like a natural way of indicating, "you're free to go." It also seems less ambiguous than an auditory sound, any of which would overlap into speech and perhaps be confusing at first. This seems a little more clear-cut and direct. You're naked=go pee.

My sister has a 3 month old baby and she's been working on baby pottying with him the last little while too. She's been doing GREAT! She's so dedicated! She catches a lot of his pees and she can clearly see that when she's been doing a good job of offering the potty, he will hold it and his cues (fussing) will be more pronounced. If she has a couple of busy days where she isn't as diligent about taking him potty, she notices that his cues are more subtle and he doesn't hold it as long. It really does work! I encourage any of you who have thought about giving this a go to GO FOR IT! It is my opinion that when pottying is a regular part of a child's life always, there will be less resistance to it and they will be happier and so will their parents. I also think that babies do not want to pee or poop on themselves and that they will be much more comfortable eliminating NOT in their diaper. Lastly, some statistics that I heard (but can't remember precisely) indicated that diapers are one of the very worst things we send to the landfills and that we send them there in unbelievable quantities. And our country is by far the worst. Now, I'm not usually one to preach about being "green" since I'm really not very green and, to be honest, I'm not really worried about the fact that I'm not green (now don't go thinking that I'm "black" either, I'm just...normal). But the statistics I read were so crazy that it motivated me to work a little harder on this potty training thing so that I wouldn't be counted among those sending bazillions of diapers on their merry way to spend the next half a century decomposing. It's just kinda gross.

Monday, May 24, 2010


ALAINA PEED IN THE POTTY TODAY!!!!! YAY!!! I'm not really even sure at this point how it happened; I was sleeping (it was 7:15 in the morning). Brice just brought her over to me and said, "Tell Mommy that you went pee in the toilet!" We all clapped and clapped and she was so happy! I really, really, REALLY hope this is the beginning of the end. I hope it clicked. It's been a really long time since she went in the potty and I'm hoping this will be the start of a trend. Wish us luck!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Full-time cloth diapers!

Yup, I'm doin' it. My mother-in-law and sister-in-law found a large set of cloth diapers at a garage sale for a great price (those things are pricey, even second hand!) and brought them to me last week. They are great for around the house, but they are REALLY bulky and Alaina kinda doesn't like that (which is a good thing, but I'll get to that) and they also don't fit under clothing at all. At least, not anything that fits the rest of petite little Alaina. I could dress her in 3T clothes, I guess, but I decided to take a different route. I decided (with Brice's input) that it would be worth the investment to buy some cloth diapers that were more fitted to use along with the giant stash we now have (between prefolds, homemade (which are the only ones that fit under clothes), hand-me-downs, and the new used garage sale set, we have a bundle) so that we could go at this full time and not just around the house on days when it's warm enough for Alaina to toddle around naked. So I shopped around (I love the Internet) and found a great deal on For less than what it would cost to buy a three month supply of the cheap disposables from WalMart, I got six gDiaper sets with cloth inserts (I told you they were expensive). I plan to convert a portion of our vast prefold collection into inserts and not buy anything else for diapering for Alaina EVER! Even if Alaina is potty trained in three months (which is a possibility), I will still feel justified for two reasons. Without the feedback of cloth diapering, potty trained in three months is much less of a reasonable goal. Second, we will have this set of cloth diapers for the next baby and won't have to spend money on disposables for him/her. If this goes well, I may buy some more of these cloth diapers in a smaller size to use before he/she is big enough for the set we now have.

The first time we tried to put one of the garage sale diapers in Alaina, she freaked out! I couldn't get within a mile of her with another diaper for 20 minutes. Since then, she fusses about half the time I try to diaper her in cloth! She'll tolerate the disposables, but the cloth kinds create a momentary uproar (once the diaper is on, she's over it). The good part of that is that it motivates me to let her run around diaper-free, which facilitates both her awareness and mine of when she needs to go. Even though her initial objection to cloth was due to the bulky kind of diaper, I think that she also associates the cloth with feeling wet because after she pees, she comes to me to tell me, whereas she doesn't tell me when she's wet a disposable. This was my main purpose with going to cloth full time. Until I got the new diapers in the mail yesterday, I was using just a prefold without a cover held on by one of those waist scrunchies I made a while back (I think I posted about those). Those are not bulky at all, but also not secure enough for regular use--I only use them when I'm keeping a close eye on things. But she still objected to those some of the time. She's fussed about the gDiapers once or twice, but she's mostly okay with them. She fussed when I tried to put a new one on after the first time she pooped in one.

Alaina poops in the bath A LOT! She hates it, I hate it, we all hate it, but I think it's actually a good thing. It means to me that she doesn't like to go in the diaper and that some awareness is still there. I usually put her in the bath to play and I sit on my bed to read or piddle around on the computer so I can hear everything going on but I don't have to sit on the floor of the bathroom. Today, I got my yoga ball and a book and sat in there with her because I could tell right at the beginning of her bath that she had to poop. She tooted and signed potty to me. So I sat there with her and any time I saw her straining to poop, I took her out of the bath and offered the potty. Mostly we just caught gas. But eventually she did get one tiny little piece of poop out. Not enough for me to do a full on happy dance, but she's trying! I watched her really close for the next hour or so hoping that the rest of the load would come, but it didn't. She got so tired I had to put her down for a nap and I knew she would poop then. I was right. She woke up poopy. Drat. Oh, well. We're getting closer! One step at a time.