Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Potty training (literally)

Before Benjamin was even born we made a trip to IKEA and picked up a wooden train set. I don't think that's what we went to IKEA for but I saw it and I loved it and we knew we wouldn't have an IKEA close by out here so we got it. And it's been sitting in my closet ever since, waiting for the perfect moment.

Holidays have ticked by and my little baby has finally grown into a little boy and like many little boys he loves all things that go. Planes, cars, trucks, buses, boats, trains...doll strollers (there's definitely an older-sister influence at our house, so, yes, he also loves pushing dolls around in strollers). Still, we haven't yet given him that train set. 

I decided around his second birthday that we'd wait until Christmas. I wasn't sure he had the fine motor skills needed for putting the tracks together at that point and thought it would be better to hold off until he did. That way I wouldn't be stuck putting together train tracks all day every day for the next however long. So we've been working on puzzles and things and his fine motor skills have improved and he still loves trains and it was going to be the perfect Christmas gift.

But now we're not going to be home for Christmas. We're going to be in Utah. And I don't want to cart all our gifts out there so we'll either be doing Christmas before we go or after we get back. Either way we won't be doing Christmas on Christmas...

So when I needed a really good bribe I went ahead and brought the train out. I showed it to Benjamin and that boy went berserk. He was crazy excited about it. He wanted to play with it right then

And then I dropped the bomb on him.

"This is only for little boys who go potty on the potty," I said. 

Benjamin has been potty trained for quite a while (except for at night) but has recently been suffering from a bit of a(n extremely infuriating) regression. Instead of going through 1–3 pairs of underwear a day (little accidents are understandable) we were going through practically every pair we own, every day. And he just wasn't caring. 

The final straw for me was when I was cleaning the shower and Benjamin was playing beside me. He was actually playing on me, dancing little toys around on my toes while I scrubbed. And then I smelled something funky.

"Benjamin, are you pooping?" I asked.

"No," he said.

"Yes, you are! You're pooping! Benjamin! Why?! I'm right here. The toilet is right there. And you didn't say anything?! What is hard about this? Just tell me you need to go and I help you get on the toilet."

It was so frustrating.

The final straw for Andrew was a couple of days ago when Benjamin was wearing nothing but underwear and t-shirt (probably because he'd had an accident in his previous outfit and no one bothered putting new pants on him—though, I mean, we got underwear on him so kudos to us). He walked into our bedroom and started peeing so forcefully that it was spraying through his underwear. This was kind of cool, Benjamin thought, so he started dancing around a bit, seeing where he could squirt next. 

The irony (or, ya know, coincidence) is that his target was a new box of diapers we'd picked up that same day (because he's stopped staying dry at night and can't wear cloth diapers to bed because he gets a terrible rash—he just can't have urine sitting on his skin for any amount of time, sensitive boy).

"Benjamin! Stop!" Andrew said.

"No!" Benjamin yelled, running away from Andrew...while still peeing. 

And then, like, that was it. I just couldn't take one more accident. Well, maybe I could take one more accident. But these weren't accidents—they were bordering on belligerence!

So, I printed out a sticker chart with a train on it, showed Benjamin the train, and laid down the ground rules. We haven't had an accident (actual or otherwise) in four days. Four days and we've gone through four pairs of underwear. It's a miracle!

He's still not staying dry through the night...but we have an entire box of diapers to work on that. 

He still hasn't told me when he needs to go potty, in so many words, but he has said, "Come on, Mom. Me want 'nother sticky!" 

I can live with wanting another sticker being code for "take me to the potty"...because at least we have a code now.

He's fourteen stickers away from earning (part of) his train, and then we'll print out another chart and let him fill that one up to earn the rest of his train. Maybe we'll even pick up another train set at IKEA while we're out in Utah; they have a few different sets and I have a hunch it will be a popular toy at our house.

While we're on the topic of toilets, I do have a few stories to share.

The first is an embarrassing sacrament meeting story. Benjamin seems to come up with something along those lines every week. This week he decided to inform us that he has a rash on his bum (he doesn't) and that it hurts. The problem is that he can't say rash properly. He leaves off the initial /r/ and that /sh/ turns into a plain /s/. 

So there he is, standing on Andrew's lap in the middle of sacrament meeting, loudly proclaiming that his "rash" hurts, while pointing to his rear end. 

"Mine (r)as(sh) hurts! Mine (r)as(sh) hurts! Mine (r)as(sh) hurts!"

Andrew turned bright red and turned to me. 

"What is he saying?" he wheezed in a whisper through his laughter.

"Rash," I whispered back. "He's saying rash!" 

It was not the most ideal thing for a child to be yelling in the middle of a church service.

The other story is from today. We went for a walk/bike/scooter/stroller ride to the park for lunch and from his perch Benjamin spotted a penny. We stopped to pick it up and he held "mine money" all the way to the park. When we got to the picnic table he put it down and then went to get his lunch from the diaper bag.

"Hey! I found a penny!" Rachel said.

"That's Benjamin's," I said.

"No, no," Rachel said. "I'm the rightful owner. I found it right here."

"Yeah," I said. "Benjamin just put it there. He found it on the street on the way here."

"Oh," Rachel said. "I didn't know that. I guess it's really his then. A penny can't be found twice."

That penny sat on the table in a place of honour beside Benjamin's lunch. At one point he grabbed a bit of carrot (he'd already eaten most of it) and put it into his mouth but I thought he'd grabbed the penny so I told him to stop and spit it out. He wouldn't.

"What's in your mouth, Benjamin?" I asked. "Show me right now or I will make you show me."

He opened his mouth. All that was inside was chewed up carrot.

"Where's your penny then?" I asked. "I though I saw you put it in your mouth."

He showed me his penny. 

"Oh, good!" I said. "We don't put pennies in our mouths, do we? That wouldn't be safe."

"Or maybe...if he swallowed the penny he'd just always be lucky!" Rachel imagined. "Until it came time to poop the penny out, I guess. That might hurt. But at least he'd earn a sticker for it so it might be worth the pain!"

"Yeah, no," I said. "How about we just don't swallow any pennies?"

(On a completely unrelated note I swallowed a penny when I was four. I can't remember why I had it in my mouth. I know it was part of some game I was playing. I do remember being very scared about it. But it came out in the end, so...)

Here's hoping our house continues to be accident-free (and our bowel movements continue to be penny-free) for the next long while!


  1. I mean this did you not kill him! Oh my...these little ones are taking us for a loop. We had our other kids long under control before this...but A and B those kids are nuts!

    1. There were a few close calls. ;)

      But seriously...I had my fair share of mommy tantrums.

      My main concern now is that he'll never be intrinsically motivated to use the potty and I'll have to keep giving him stickers for life.

      These two certainly have given us a run for our money. And they cost a guess we still have a bit of running to do! :)