I’ve wanted to write so many times over the last…2 months, and yet I’ve been too exhausted and drained to form my thoughts into actual words. I did, once, even draft a post highlighting my twins’ third birthday, but I never finished it. I’m just too damn tired.
BUT. There’s one topic that I couldn’t NOT talk about, and that’s potty training. And potty training is THE WORST.
I was always in the “wait until they’re ready” camp. I truly believed waiting would make it so much easier – and that when they were ready, I would somehow just “know”.
No. These are lies. Or maybe I’m just clueless and didn’t know what signs I was waiting for – but as I’m now realizing, they’ve BEEN ready. I waited way, way too long. So long, in fact, that they were both super defensive about using a potty, and had been for a long time. People get antsy, they see a 35 pound child talking like he’s in kindergarten and watch me strap on his Size 6 diaper and want to know – how’s the potty training going? What training? I hadn’t started yet.
I didn’t mind diapers until about 3 weeks ago. Suddenly, my twins became super fidgety on the ground again, as they were when they were little. WHY was I wrestling these larger children to put their diapers on? And C – C is obsessed with the potty (just not, you know, sitting on it and using it) – her dolls use the potty, she watches Daniel Tiger potty episode on repeat, she chooses potty books.
I realized that I was the one who had not been ready. I didn’t want to deal with all that comes with a newly trained preschooler. But suddenly, I was SO ready. Let’s just do this. The twins are past ready, so better now than when they’re – what, 4? Truly, there was NEVER going to be a day they woke up and said, “I think I’ll use the potty today!” They were in too deep. I had to pull the plug.
So 5 days ago, they woke up to a “special day”. I took the diapers away (not counting nap and nighttime). I bought them special undies fitting their current interests (Cars the movie and Peppa Pig). They LOVED their new undies. I got them “special day donuts” for breakfast. I was fully in Phase 1 –
overconfidence. We got this! They’re both so damn old that this will be a breeze, I thought.
Day 1 and Day 2 were like that – overconfident on my part. The kids were actually fine with ditching the diapers. They were fine wearing their new undies. Just one thing – they wouldn’t sit on the damn potty. Oh, they say – those accidents will fix it. They’ll hate how the wet clothes feel and that’ll be it. Well, I couldn’t find the manual on the internet that told me what to do when the potty trainee fools the trainer – and decides to simply hold it all day. That was B. He held it every day, for the first 3 days, all morning until nap, and then all afternoon until bed. Despite a full glass of water. Camel boy. Not a single peep from him of even HAVING to go. How could I train a child who didn’t have to go??
C was a different story. Day 1 – she had to poop. And, to not be graphic, she essentially became more and more unpleasant as the morning wore on, because this poop was coming and she was holding it in. It all came to a head (sorry…) when she could. not. hold it any more and she screamed and screamed and screamed with pain, as she tried SO hard to keep it in but just couldn’t. She was old enough to know she didn’t want to go on the floor, but she was too scared for the potty. And I happened to take a peek just at the right second and was able to throw her on the potty just in time and she went – and then she felt like a million bucks. But it was traumatic; I felt like an ER surgeon and B stood and watched it all. That sort of screaming doesn’t make anyone want to use a potty. She also had two pee accidents through her undies, and even though I had her help clean up and remove her soaked clothes – she didn’t seem to care that it happened. “It’s okay if I pee a little bit in my undies, right Mommy?” No – this was like the Niagara Falls of pee.
Day 3 – Phase 2, Denial. Denial that anything is wrong. It should be easy, I’m sure it will be soon. As soon as they just figure this out. Yes, but while they were playing on the deck I heard them continue to challenge each other as they had been (they currently like to push each other’s buttons) – “Are YOU going to go pee pee on the potty?” “NO!” “But I thought you LIKED to go on the potty!” “NO I DON’T LIKE TO GO! And DON’T TALK TO ME!!” (That was C.) And then B stated – “Well I don’t like to use the potty either. I’m DONE with that thing.”
No amount of bribery was working. Candy, ice cream, phone calls to Daddy, a present from the store, a special chart – not happening. It was on Day 3 though that I realized these undies were not helping the situation, that the twins needed to see their bare-bottomed selves as a reminder that hey, something’s different and I need to remember to sit on the potty. This bribery-fail day led to:
Day 4 – Phase 3, Despair. I mean I REALLY bottomed out. Screw this, there’s no end in sight. They’re just holding it all day. I was able to get C to pee on Day 3, but with the same amount of screaming as Day 1. I waited WAY, WAY too long to do this. I was a hot mess on this day. Waking up 2+ times a night to feed my infant wasn’t helping my parenting game.
Day 5 – Phase 4 – Renewed Hope. My saint of a mother took them to her house this morning, and continued the fun potty training adventures on her deck instead of mine. She pumped them full of liquid – they’re so damn stubborn, and they won’t drink juice, so you better make up a fun water drinking game! And C knew that if she went on the potty by herself, without screaming – we would get ice cream. And…..she did. Well, she started to pee on the deck and then was able to finish it in the potty. Without screaming. Close enough. Thank goodness. B finally, on Day 5, also did a half-pee on the potty for the first time yet. He’s still not sure how to let it all out, I think. (And after holding poop in for 5 days straight, he went during his sleep.)But progress was made.
There’s no end to this story yet, because Day 5 was today. What a process. I stupidly hoped this would only take a day or two, but now, I think it could actually be more like weeks. I can only imagine what Phase 5 will bring!