Sunday, April 20, 2008

on the flip side

Last weekend has another side and another story, but it deserved its own entry.
Some background:

Erin wasn't fully potty trained until a few months after turning 4. We started working with her off an on right when she turned 3, but we didn't get anywhere. By the time she was 3.5 we really began to give this some serious attention. We did several "boot camp" potty weekends, which many other people recommended as working for them. On these weekends we made her sit on the potty every 45 minutes or so all day long, because she never had any interest in sitting there on her own. Eventually, we thought, she'd start to get it and go, but she never did. These potty weekends never worked. Charts and stickers and rewards and candy incentives and inspirational DVDs and books never worked. Then a couple of months before turning 4 she suddenly started using the bathroom one day.

The following day I enrolled her in preschool (potty training is a prerequisite) and spent the next many weeks taking her to the bathroom at the preschool so that she would become familiar with it and be okay to use it once she started going to school. She still wouldn't use the bathrooms anywhere else outside our home, not even places she knew very well like Grandma's house, for several months. Then finally she would use other bathrooms but she didn't want to be in the stall or the room while we flushed. She was at least 4.5 before she got to the point of being able to use any bathroom, on her own, when she decided that she needed to.

The whole ordeal was insane and left me with a variety of PTSD, I'm convinced. It was either a situation of Erin being the hardest kid in the world to train or we were the worst trainers ever, and most likely, some combination of both.

And at 3.5 the twins have showed us no signs of being any easier to work with. They always objected when I asked them to sit on the potty before bath time, they never showed any interest in this whole topic on their own, and just like Erin, promises of treats and rewards if they starting trying meant nothing.

So as Erin and my trip to San Diego approached John decided this would be "potty training boot camp" weekend for the twins. We want them to go to preschool this fall, they need to be trained, and this diaper thing has long ago gotten tiresome. But oy vey, we've been here before.

John took them to Target to select their own potty seats and underwear, he layed some towels around and kept them in the backyard as much as possible, and when I called saturday afternoon to see how he was doing he reported that they each had actually gone a couple of times. The next day, they used the potty seats many times each. And through this past week, at daycare and at home, they've been doing mostly very well.

Yesterday was picnic day at UCDavis and we all planned on going and spending the day on campus--a very long day including the big drive there and back. I worried that this significant outing would create a setback on the twins' progress. I wasn't confident enough to put them in underwear so they wore pull-ups and I took them to bathrooms everywhere we went all day. To my surprise they actually used the bathrooms in all of these strange places, and asked to flush each time. We are definitely on our way, with Allison just a bit ahead of Kate so far. What an amazing difference in a week.

I can feel some degree of PTSD recovery.

I don't have potty training pictures that I feel like posting on the internet, but here are a few from picnic day. The girls all tried cow milking, saw sheep dog trials, baby chicks hatching, goat milking, dachshund races, cockroach races, and watched the parade and the battle of the bands.

Erin and a friend's daughter, Sophia:
Horsie muscles, illustrated:


MamaB said...

Congratulations on training the twins. Next year I really want to go to picnic day. I will of course have to remember not to volunteer to coach soccer in the spring.

mommieN. said...

I just heard another one of those "oh yeah it only took a few days" sorts of stories, with "she was dry at night within a week" and "all done by 24 months. I hope I did a good job of smiling admiringly while concealing my pitiful wail of envy and self-loathing! Where do these children come from?!

It's such a cliche, but it's such a good pun it bears beating into the ground: You go girls!

Trish said...

As Johnny Drama says, "Viiiiiiictory!" :-)

Jen said...

Did you tell the girls that you are a cow-milking champion?