Monday, July 15, 2013

Happy Pooping Party To You

The day after I posted this entry about how it was damn near impossible to potty train my boys, Henrik pooped on the potty! It was quite the celebration too! But a day after that, he had an accident. And for a few days after that he had an accident. It was like I put it out in the universe that I was fed up with potty  training and he did what he was supposed to, but then a day later I was being punished for sharing my sons' bathroom experiences on the Internet. I'll never win.

After a few days of no luck on the potty and even pee accidents, I was definitely feeling like there was absolutely no hope at all, but determined to stick with it, I told Henrik that if he pooped on the potty three days in a row he'd get a pooping party! His eyes widened, his smile grew, he clapped his hands and jumped up and down. REALLY? He could have cake and a candle, a pooping car and a sign! It wasn't even his birthday!

We talked about the rules: No pooping in Pull-Ups at night. Always listen to your body and go right away to the bathroom. Bring ONE car with you. The faster you go, the faster you can get back to playing. And I made a deal that I wouldn't force him to sit on the potty too long, all he had to do was try to make three toots. After three tires, he could get off. If he pooped, FANTASTIC. If not, we'd try later. This logic and these rules seemed to work, pretty soon, he learned that toots turned to poops and before I knew it he was telling me he had to go! He's not good at the advance warning, but when he says he's got to go, he will! Sometimes he even cheers on his intestines as he does the deed.

On the third day of successfully pooping on the potty we had a party! I grabbed the boys and they helped make pooping brownies, they helped make a banner and we had a pretty good little dance party too. It was fun, I was proud and Henrik was too, he was signing the "I Pooped On The Potty" song I made up as he colored the sign.

That night at dinner Henrik ate faster than he's ever eaten before. He was so excited when he finished his meal and we could bring out the brownies! After I delivered the brownies, Henrik wouldn't eat them, he just looked at me like I was missing something. "You have to sing a song" he said, "and, did you forget to give me a candle?" Oh, so this WAS a birthday-ish thing, OK.  Once I got out the candle and lit it I sang, "Happy Pooping Party To You" and all was right in the world.

Think we got it? NOPE, I kid you not, the VERY next day Henrik pooped in his underwear. I couldn't believe it. I was livid, there he was curled up in a corner in the playhouse outdoors, pooping. I was shocked and sad too. I thought I was getting somewhere with him. I thought I told him 1,000 times I was proud of him, I thought that we could finally move on from this little control game we were playing with one another.

I had to think quickly. As I cleaned him up I told him I was taking away his pooping cars that he'd just earned. I told him that he had to wear a Pull-Up like a baby, I told him that he wasn't allowed to have a pooping brownie and I even told him that we had to take down the sign we'd just made. I didn't do it meanly, or angrily, I just said it matter of fact: you don't poop on the potty, you don't get to celebrate. You would have thought I was the meanest mother in the world. When I stood on the chair to take the sign down, he grabbed my legs and sobbed, "Don't take the sign, momma! I'll be good! I want to be a nice boy and poop on the potty!" I took the sign down, it broke my heart as I did it, but, it had to be done. I put it away, and when I was done putting all the pooping toys out of his reach, I came down to his level. I explained that I wanted him to have the sign and the toys too. That I wanted him to be big and nice and have a celebration, but we couldn't until he pooped again.

That night at dinner Henrik was in disbelief that I ate a pooping brownie. "Why do you get one?" he asked. "Because I pooped on the potty today," I responded. I could see his heart sink as he looked at me with big doe eyes. I felt like a jerk. Seriously, how mean is it to eat your son's brownies right in front of him?

That night Henrik went to bed angry and sad.  At this point I was laughing on the inside at how big an A-Hole I was being. But I wanted him to know how serious I was about him going on the potty. When I tucked him in that night I told him that we'd start fresh tomorrow and if he pooped on the potty he could have all of his things back. He asked if I would be proud of him if he pooped on the potty. I felt bad for previously laughing at myself for being mean. OF COURSE I'd be proud. Didn't he know that? I tried to explain to him that I loved snuggling with him and I loved helping him with everything, but even more than that, I loved that he was growing up and getting bigger. I loved that he was turning into a boy and doing things that big kids do: like chores, washing their hands, putting on their shoes, riding bikes and scooters, and even going on the potty. I told him I'd be so proud and so happy if he did his bathroom stuff on his own and I'd even be proud if he just TRIED to go on the potty.

The next morning, as we were playing outside, Henrik came over to me and said, "I have to go potty. I made three toots." I rushed him to the bathroom and then, just like that, he went! It was the world's largest celebration. You would have thought Lightning McQueen and The Grave Digger were in our living room. We both were jumping up and down, we were both laughing and cheering. We quickly got cleaned up and got the pooping toys back, the brownies back on the counter and we even put the sign up together. It was a wonderful moment. "Mom, are you happy?" I just smiled and hugged him. "Of course I'm happy! You listened to your body and you did it! I knew you could do it!" He smiled back and held me tight around my neck.

Since that day, Henrik has pooped on the potty every day, we're now at six days in a row. I think the thing that makes me think we're VERY close to being potty trained, is that when we were on our road trip a few days ago, Henrik held his pee and announced when he had to go. He's been staying dry over night and even pooped on the potty in a hotel and while we were at a friend's house! He's starting to gain confidence and even grasp an understanding of what his body is telling him.

 We do have a long road ahead, literally, we have a 21 hour road trip in ten days and then we will move into a new house, sleep in new beds and figure out life as a family again, so the the bathroom stuff could easily take a backseat, but for now, I'm feeling pretty positive about what's going on with this new found sense of achievement. And if I have to look at a toilet full of poop and do a pooping dance each time he goes, I'll do it forever. As long as he's proud of himself and I'm getting him to use the bathroom, I'll do what ever I need to to keep the trend going.

End Notes:
Theodor, not even 18 months, has been telling me when he has to pee, and when he poops he tells me. He then tells me that he's stinky and needs a change. We may actually be getting somewhere after all! Think it's possible to have him trained by two?! 

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