Potty talk

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Yes, it’s the obligatory potty training post. Something every parent can relate to because we all have to go through it! I’m sure there are many stories out there – here is ours so far.

So our second daughter, Hannah, is 4 ½ years old. And at the rate at which she’s been potty training, she’ll probably be fully potty trained by, oh college maybe. Honestly it feels like that. Abby was very easy to potty train – she potty trained fairly late, not until just before her 3rd birthday, but once it happened, it happened fairly quickly or so it seemed. She was dry at night from the very beginning even and I don’t think she has ever wet the bed. At the time that we were training Abby, Hannah was about 18 months and she was really interested in that little potty chair too. I have pictures of our little toddler sitting on the potty chair and she even would go in it (both kinds!) if we sat her on it. We didn’t want to push her, but inwardly we were cheering and looking forward to the diaper-free days we saw before us not too far away. Or at least diaper-free until baby #3 came along anyway. After over a year of two kids in diapers, we were more than ready to save some of the cost and effort.

Yeah, um ok. Maybe we jinxed something there or I don’t know what. We started ‘officially’ potty training Hannah when she hit about 2 ½. It was summer, seemed like a good time, plus I was newly pregnant with baby #3 so we were figuring on at least a few diaper-free months. Hannah did great at first – even started being dry at night, so we thought we were done. Nope. After a few great weeks, she backslid completely and was back fully in pull-ups (we refused to go all the way back to diapers) by fall. We let it go and waited until her 3rd birthday in November then started again. So a year and a half later – we’re still working on it. I can’t say that she has ever been what I would consider ‘fully’ potty trained. She’ll go a couple of weeks with no accidents and we’ll breathe easier. Then she’ll go a couple of weeks with accidents every day. It was a big problem at preschool this past year. We’ve tried sticker charts, incentives, dis-incentives, everything we can think of other than outright punishing her for accidents (which Ron wants to do but I refuse since I don’t think it’s entirely her fault). I think it’s at least partly a control issue – Hannah is one of those children who only does things (like learning to walk) when she is darn good and ready and not before. It’s very hard to give a child an incentive (or dis-incentive) when she changes the things she cares about and thinks are important almost weekly. Candy, stickers, stuffed animals, toys, money – she could care less if she gets them or not. We have yet to find the ‘one thing’ that matters most to her. And believe me, we’ve tried.

I have to put in a plug here for Pediacast, a podcast that I started listening to a couple of months ago. Dr. Mike gives wonderful explanations of things that doctors just don’t have time to go into in the office. Thanks to his infamous ‘poop’ episodes, I came to realize that part of Hannah’s problem may be constipation. Something I’d never really considered before (even though I’ve struggled with it lifelong) because she does go on a regular basis. But, as I learned from Dr. Mike, you can still be constipated even if you go regularly, and constipation can be one reason for older children to be having wet accidents. And Hannah has been complaining of stomach aches for a while now too. So I made an appointment with our pediatrician and as of this morning we are trying a two-pronged approach. First of all – back to basics. We will have her sit on the potty every 2 hours (I’m going to find a timer or something this weekend so it’ll be easier to keep track of) with no incentives or dis-incentives for now. We also have a prescription for MiraLax, which hopefully will help the constipation issue – we’re going to try for a month or so and check back in when we go for Becca’s 18-month appointment at the end of July. At this point I’m hoping we have some luck or at this rate, Becca will be potty trained before Hannah is! Do I see diaper-free days ahead again? I’m not getting my hopes up this time, but we’ll see…