Friday, August 7, 2015

Potty Training Update and a Zoo Trip

Almost a year ago we ventured into this whole potty training business. In October of 2014 I decided to delve in with a weekly learning theme on potty training, read about that here, and then follow the Potty Training in a Day method. I read the book and took notes. I made copies of the tracking sheets. I ordered Carter's potty doll. I stocked up on juice and snacks. I was excited but a little apprehensive. I had found some different lists of skills that show your child is ready to potty train if they demonstrate them, similar to this one. Carter really wasn't demonstrating many of them at all. Instead of listening to those lists I made up reasons in my head as to why Carter was ready. My older brother had been potty trained at 18 months using the method I mentioned earlier so I figured maybe you could potty train earlier with that method. Well, I was wrong. Carter simply wasn't ready and potty training was a miserable failure. It got to the point where he would scream, cry, and run away if you even suggested having him sit on the potty. That was enough for me to realize it was time to take a step back. His actions were screaming out, "I'm not ready." So I waited and I waited and I waited. I had originally wanted him potty trained before Elise arrived but he still didn't seem ready to me. I felt like when he was ready I would just know. I've found when I listen to my momma instincts rather than what everyone else is telling me, I have yet to be wrong.
Carter playing with his potty doll when we first dove into potty training.
Wearing big boy undies now!

Finally in July I started getting the feeling that Carter was ready. I just felt it. I knew it was time. I looked back at the list and realized he could now do nearly everything on the list. Apparently the list was right and I should've put more stock in it the first time. So we tried again. And we had success. It was no longer a struggle to get him on the potty. He was so proud and loved it! He still only went when asked but he was doing it! I really made it a priority to stay home for longer periods of time in the morning to get more practice. I let Carter run around in just undies and a shirt or just a shirt depending on his preference. I would suggest he use the potty at different times, but sometimes he'd just run over and go on his own when he felt like he needed to. Then we had an exciting first when he pooed on the potty! We were so excited we took him out for ice cream. The next day he did it again. He had begun to realize it felt much better to poop in the potty than in his pants. We were making huge head way! I was so excited! I continued to put him in pull ups when we went out in public because he would get so upset when he had an accident, but I would take him to the bathroom and encourage him to go.
Why are you talking about me going potty, mommy?!!?

This week I decided it was time to switch over to undies or training pants on our outings. On Monday morning we headed out to the park to run and play at the playground. When we arrived at the park Carter said he didn't have to go and he had gone right before leaving so we didn't stop off at the bathroom and immediately took off on our run. When we were done with our run I headed straight to the bathroom. I went first and then put Carter on the potty. He cried and cried and cried, insisting he didn't have to go. I had him sit for a while but he was so upset and adamant that he didn't have to go that I finally had him get off and figured we'd go back later. We no sooner walked to the playground than he said, "I have to go potty!" Then he started walking funny and admitted he had already gone. I was disappointed, especially since we had just been in the restroom. I took him to the restroom for a clothing change and we talked about how if he'd gone the first time he would be playing right then rather than changing his clothes.
Later in the day after a clothing change.

Tuesday rolled around and it was time to try again. This time we were headed out to the aquarium and I had decided I needed a bribe for the public restroom as Carter didn't like going on the big potties. He loves his little potty at home and didn't want to use the big ones in public restrooms. I was prepared with a sprinkle doughnut cut into eighths to give him if he used the potty at the aquarium. When we arrived he said he didn't have to go and I didn't force the issue since he'd just gone before we left the house and it only took us 15 minutes to get there. When we got to the next bathrooms toward the back of the aquarium I took him in to go. Just like the day before he cried and cried and cried, insisting he didn't have to go. This time I didn't budge. I told him I didn't want to leave the restroom and him have an accident so I needed him to at least try to get out a couple tinkles. He cried and said he didn't have to tinkle. He was really crying and screaming and I could hear people coming and going, but I stood firm. I told him he didn't have to potty but if he got off the potty without going we'd have to go home so he didn't have an accident. He said he didn't want to go home. We were in a stand off. I was trying to keep my voice sweet and soothing, but I was frustrated and I didn't want a repeat of the day before. I was a little bit embarrassed that people were coming in and out of the restroom and hearing our shenanigans. But I really felt like we needed to just tackle the beast. I felt like once he pottied on a big potty in public he would be over his fear. Finally something amazing happened I saw a steady stream and heard the tell-tell tinkle into the toilet water! Woo hoo, Carter's first potty in a public toilet. It was amazing, it was exciting, it was the biggest accomplishment I felt like I'd had as a mother. We did it! Well, he did it, but I pushed him to do it. We left that bathroom champions. We had faced the beast and we had won. Carter was happily chewing his sliver of doughnut and I was wearing a grin that filled my chest with pride. I was so excited that when Carter stopped at the machine that smashed pennies and leaves an aquarium animal stamped on it, I happily pulled out two quarters and a penny so he could make one for the very first time. Over 2 years of a membership and I don't know how many trips to the aquarium and he had never gotten the chance to make one. It was the biggest treat for him and he glowed all the way to the parking lot.
Ready to be a big boy at the aquarium!

Wednesday came around and I just knew we had done it. No more trouble with public restrooms. We had this down. Carter went potty before leaving the house and then again before playing on the playground. He initially didn't want to go but I told him we'd have to go home if he didn't and he immediately let go. I knew we were golden. But then as he climbed the ladder and asked for some help, the smell coming from his pants as he reached the top and his hiney was in my face told me otherwise. He had pooped. I was disappointed but I also knew accidents would happen. He made up for it with two poops on the potty at home. Both times running in and going without even telling me he had to go. Thursday was another successful day during our outings with no accidents. At Target I let him pick out a bag of Goldfish to carry with us as a reward for going potty. He picked the Princess bag of goldfish. All the fish are pink. He calls them Pretty Princess Goldfish. Then we got home and he pottied while feeding the animals. Ty and I started to realize that Carter knew when he had to go but if he was engaged in an activity he didn't notice the feeling. We had seen him when he'd had his accident and he was shocked.
Not only can he go in the potty, he can build train tracks by himself!

This morning we dropped Ty off at work because we are leaving for my parents' house when he gets off work and it saves us some time for us to pick him up and leave from his work. My plan was to go straight from dropping him off to the zoo. I realized we would get to the zoo before it opened so I decided to stop at Panera. I had a coupon for a free bagel from the summer reading program and I'd let Carter pick out a treat. I was a little nervous about how the trip would go. We would be out and about for around 4-4.5 hours when all was said and done. Carter pottied right before leaving the house. Then he pottied as we left Panera and then again at the zoo entrance. After seeing a few animals Elise started crying and wanted to be fed. We were right by the playground so we hustled over and Carter took off to play while I fed her. There was a bathroom right by the playground and I took Carter when Elise was done eating only to find he had pooped already. In hindsight I should have taken him to the bathroom before playing and would have had Elise not been hungry, I should have anyway. He still went potty though so I considered it a success. We had 2 more successful restroom breaks at the zoo and I was pumped. Every time we went to the bathroom he went without a fight. A couple times he even had to sit a while and really strain to push something out. He only had one accident while out for 4.5 hours and it was partially my fault! It's funny because the most exciting part of our trip to the zoo for me occurred in the bathroom. I never would have thought I would be saying that! Potty training a toddler you begin to appreciate different things. I was so glad we frequented all of our favorite places when I was pregnant because I already know where every single bathroom is! Before I was pregnant I knew of 2 bathrooms at the zoo. Now I know where all of them are and it came in so handy today!
Enjoying a free pastry thanks to my Panera card and my birthday!

Our zoo trip this morning was the most fun I have ever had at the zoo. Elise was awake for part of the trip and got to look at some of the animals. It's hard to know what she thought of them because she looked at them with her wide eyed surprised look that she does for most everything. I assume she was fascinated, but her bugged out eye look can mean almost anything. Carter was so sweet with her wanting to hold her in his lap for pictures and being so careful with her. He was so excited to turn to a girl by him and tell her, "That's my sissy!" I love that he's so proud of her! Moments like that just melt my heart. By the sea lions Carter made friends with another little boy and would shriek in excitement mimicking him as they ran from side to side watching the sea lions swim. It was the cutest thing. On the playground Carter made friends with 2 little boys and they ran and played together. I giggled hearing Carter yell, "Hey, friend!" or "Come here, friend!" I guess what I say when we play cars has rubbed off on him. It's the teacher in me, I called my students friends all the time. In the elephant area there's an elephant statue for kids to climb. Carter climbed to the top and was so proud of himself. Then he stood next to a girl about his age watching the elephants eat lunch and discussing which one was a mommy "elphalant" and which one was a daddy "elphalant". When the girl left he sadly sighed. As we stood watching the meerkats Carter laughed his deep down belly laugh as one of the meerkats ran and dug into the ground. Listening to his laugh I wished I could bottle it up and save it for later like they do with screams in Monster's Inc. Then I could pull it out when he's older and listen to that perfect, little toddler laugh that filled my heart with happiness. In times when he's testing me as a teenager I could open the bottle and release his sweet toddler laugh and be engulfed in the happiness that is our life today. Man, do I love it! Days like today are what staying at home is made of. Small victories, moments seemingly insignificant to the outsider but everything to me. Bliss, happiness, love. I'm so thankful that Ty has given me the opportunity to be the one potty training my child, living the every day excitement with him, filling my memories with laughs so I can access them later when times are stressful. There are frustrating moments in potty training, as in all other parts of life as a parent, but it sure is rewarding.
Elise posing with the otters, daddy's favorite animal.
I wanted a picture of Carter and Elise here and he said no so I asked him to take one of me and Elise.
It worked, after that he wanted in a picture with sissy!
Elise with my favorite animal, the elephant!
This little girl was the one Carter was chatting up later.
Carter and his buddy watching the zoo keeper work with the sea lion.
Carter doesn't say the meerkats are his favorite, but he enjoys watching them the most.


  1. Very cute. I love Carter's undies picture, and he took a great one of you with Elise, if only he hadn't cut off your head. :) And Jeremy was early at everything. He could do a somersault at 18 months and ride a bike without training wheels when he was three. You and Thomas, though...

  2. I'm so proud of Carter & I must find out more about these pretty princess goldfish...they sound fabulous!

    1. Haha, they're just regular goldfish that are pink and the packaging shows a goldfish wearing a crown with a castle in the background. I'll get you some next time I see you! :)