Toileting


***Disclaimer:  This is a somewhat graphic bowel movement story.  You’ve been warned!***

The toileting adventure is going better than expected.  Other than separation anxiety, she was always good at transitions.  She went into her crib after 8 months of co-sleeping with no problems or screaming.  She weaned beautifully, although I secretly wished for her longing need to hang on to this one.  She moved from a crib to a big girl bed without missing a beat.  So, I guess I’m not that shocked that she took to this new challenge with such vigor. She was a little concerned at first about letting go of number 2, but she quickly realized that she literally couldn’t hold it in.  I mentioned in the past, at home she typically is either naked or in panties.  Today she was naked and busy playing in the playroom when she exclaimed, “Momma, I gotta poop”!  Now, she is 13 stairs away from the potty chair.  She starts walking up the stairs when it starts coming out.  Lucky for me, it was not a runny one, and it was easy to clean up.  I carry her up the last few steps and help her to the potty where she happily finished her business while reading.  In the past, I’ve talked about ways to extend literacy at home and this is no exception. 

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Please see my previous entry, The Readin’ Room, if you are so obliged.  She is coincidentally reading the book, Everyone Poops by Taro Gomi.  I have to say in the past four days, she only had one miss when Daddy was in charge and I was at the grocery.  He forgot that she might need some reminders while playing outside.  We had some unscheduled outings today and she did fabulous.   We visited a preschool for the older sister (she used the toilet there), we went to Target (she used the toilet there) and made two other stops before getting back home.  We were gone about 4 hours and no accidents!   If I didn’t think that she was up for the task, I wouldn’t do it, but she was so ready.   I know we still have some rough waters ahead, but for now, I’m so proud of my Big Girl!

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Since it is January in Michigan and we really don’t leave the house much I figured now is a good time to be under house arrest.  No, I didn’t commit any crime (at least none that I can think of).  I’ve decided to start toileting my two year old.  I figure a good one week in the house should do it.  She actually has been interested in doing this since she was about 18 months old watching her big sister and since I am never able to use the bathroom in private, I too am an apparent role model.  I figure I should use the lack of privacy to my advantage and teach some useful life skills.  I dream of the day when I can be like their father and actually use the readin’ room without child assistance.  Oh, the dreams I have!!

Anyways back to my plan.  I have strategically placed potty chairs throughout the house.  Since we live on three different levels, I need the potty chairs to be conveniently placed within a few steps of the words, “I have to go potty”!  So, I have one near all three bathrooms of my house.  I keep her mostly naked (just in a pair of panties and perhaps an undershirt) since she prefers to be that way anyways.  Besides, clothing really gets in the way of emergency bathroom breaks.  This also reduces my laundry load.  Wet panties only take up a small amount of space.   Here is a picture of her usual wardrobe.

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Today is day two under house arrest and things are going wonderful.  Yesterday we only had three potty misses.  Today only one, but that was my fault.  I forgot to put the potty seat back down on the floor.  In my experience toilteting success is only worthwhile if the adults help the child focus with lots of assistance, even more adult supervision, and lots and lots and lots and lots of reminders. 

In all actuality this is only one week or two of being stuck in the house.  It does take some planning, but we are finding all kinds of things to do.  We are packing away the holiday decorations, sorting the toys for Goodwill donations or to sell on Ebay, and de-cluttering the house.  I wouldn’t do this if she wasn’t physiologically ready for this step.  She was already displaying the typical signs of being ready to use the toilet: 

  • Can grasp a small object between her thumb and forefinger. This shows she is developing control over various muscles, including bowel and bladder muscles.
  • Uses words for urinating and bowel movements.  Child lets you know they have wet pants or needs to use the potty.
  • Consistently lets you know they have wet or wants their diaper changed.
  • Is aware of a full bladder and the urge to have a bowl movement. They may pace, jump up and down, or pull at his pants or genitals.
  • Can dress and undress herself.  Learning to use the toilet will be easier when they can do these tasks for themself.
  • They are dry for periods of two or more hours at a time. If they are not dry for this length of time, they are not physically ready to use the toilet.

When I was toilet training my oldest, I purchased the Once Upon a Potty set.  It was very helpful and useful.  We are excited for this rite of passage in our household.  Later this week we have our first outing planned as the big sister attends dance class.  I’ll keep you posted.  Wish us luck!

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First of all, some of my friends make fun of me saying the word, ‘toileting,’ instead of ‘potty training.’  So laugh if you want, I’m sticking with toileting.  Anyways, when I was toilet training my oldest, she enjoyed reading on the toilet, much like all of us.  So what I would do, I would assemble some of her favorite books along with some appropriate bathroom titles and leave them in a basket in the bathroom.  I found that when she read while learning to use the toilet, she made sure to finish her business in the bathroom.  When I was teaching, I found that some children will go a little bit in the toilet, say, “I’m done,” and when you get them dressed they end up finishing somewhere else.  This gets very frustrating, especially when you are not at home or just getting ready to leave.  Some of my favorite bathroom book titles include: 

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I think these are hilarious stories.  Preschool aged children are fascinated with body parts and all the kinds of things that those body parts entail.  I think this is a great way to include literacy as part of their daily routine, so to speak.  When she was exhibiting the signs of being ready to learn how to use the toilet such as:  being able to undress and redress and to verbalize the elimination process, I would sit and read to her, but now she just ‘reads’ on her own.  I found that by not making this routine stressful, the process was easier for her to master.  Since she was ready to learn how to use the toilet and since she had some entertainment, she was willing and able to let go, pardon the pun.  I purchased many of these stories through Amazon, but they can also be found at your local bookstore.

Walter the Farting Dog by William Kotzwinkle and Glenn Murray      

The Gas We Pass The Story of Farts by Shinta Cho  

Clay Boy by Mirra Ginsburg

Everyone Poops by Taro Gomi

The Story of the Little Mole Who Went In Search of Who Dunit by Werner Holzwarth and Wolf Erlbruch