Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Potty Training

This is Miss Bekaboo - and yes the hair dye was only temporary. Three years old is a little young to be doing a permanent punk rock hairstyle, but for Halloween, why not?

Beka is three and a half years old and already she is older than Elizabeth was when I began potty training her. I opted to wait for several reasons. First, Chris deployed shortly before her second birthday and came home a few months before her third. Second, during the deployment, she was weaned from breastfeeding (she became a biter) and the binky. And finally, I felt that since Chris missed potty training Sarah and Elizabeth (for the most part he missed Lizzie's) that it was only fair he be here for potty training at least one of his children.

I might not have shared this view, had he not acted like such a wise acre when he returned home and one week later, Elizabeth decided since Daddy was home it was time to become a big girl.

I spent nearly a year working with Elizabeth. Of course, when I started with her I didn't know she had special needs, which probably worked in her favor because I might not have tried if I had known. However, I was tired of lugging a diaper bag with me everywhere and we thought about taking a cruise and I wanted her to be able to play with other children on the cruise in the children's program. I know they aren't very noble reasons, are they, but they were mine at the time and I have to claim them as my selfish desires. So Mom and I tackled potty training. We took her potty with us when we would go and when she would potty for us or poop we would clap and say, "Yeah for the potty girl!"

After months of working with her, I came to the conclusion that she must be waiting for Daddy to come home. Imagine his surprise when he came home and as he used the toilet she stood by him and stared at him while he used the facility and at the end, began to clap and yell, "Yeah for the potty girl!" He looked at me and as I laughed I explained, "It's a positive reinforcement thing, just go with it." So a week later she decided since Daddy must be home to stay that she would start using the potty like a big girl. Of course, Chris, ever the smart aleck looked at me and asked, "I don't know why you're complaining. This potty training thing is easy."

I love my husband, but in that moment I could have killed him - months of banging my head against the wall in frustration and he has to be a smarty pants. He still thinks it was funny.

So here we are facing the prospect of potty training another child.

I began last weekend and we had lots of fluid and stayed near the potty chair we have in our living room. We have a princess seat upstairs that goes over the toilet, she is so excited because she helped pick it out. So we started drinking fluids and watching her favorite movies and this week put her in big girl panties. I might not have been this brave, but her teacher Ms. Hadley and I had talked about it and we decided it was time to bite the bullet. So now she wears big girl panties and she has had a few accidents, but they have all been potty accidents. Urine is much easier to clean up than feces. I've done both, and at least she isn't into fecal art. That one nearly broke my spirit with Lizzie. I don't know to this day what Chris did, but the last time she did it, I started crying and he took over. It only happened that one time and after that, it didn't happen anymore.

Beka did a little art, but not like Elizabeth who would smear it everywhere. I didn't know this was something a lot of autistic children go through. I cannot tell you enough, how happy I am that we are past that phase in life with Lizze AND Beka.

I am so proud of Beka - she is doing so well. Yes she has had some accidents, but today we took her with Lizzie out to eat at Taco Shop (they are out of school for Veteran's Day and Taco Shop is very cheap). Daddy took Beka potty before we sat down to eat and then after we got home, she started to dance a little and realized, I have to potty! She pulled those pants down and she used the potty like a big girl!!!!!! So I think we are almost at the end of this part.

I have to share this with some of you. . . I listened to my friends who have multiple children and I listened to Dr. Phil. Dr. Phil hadn't tackled potty training yet with Lizzie, but he is right - when the child is ready it will happen within days or maybe a few weeks. Also Sheri is right - waiting really is better. If you go to and other pediatric websites, they have a checklist of how to tell when your child might be ready to potty train. There are quite a few websites like it, but I found that BabyCenter seems to be one of the better ones and so have some of my friends.

I hope you all have a good weekend and Happy Veteran's Day weekend.

In Christ,
Maureen Koeppel.

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