Friday, September 6, 2013

Mission: Potty Training Status: Accomplished!

As a single mother of one child and alone in most of the things that I do, I find that everything is a HUMONGOUS learning experience for me.  I always feel like I am doing EVERYTHING the hard way.  I feel like no matter what I do, Liam (my son) likes to drive me to the edge with the big things.

For example when it came to sleeping through the night.  My son did NOT sleep through the night for 15 months.  I tried EVERY method that I could find in EVERY baby book that I could get my hands on using every tip I could find late and night to the glow of my laptop with Liam in my arms eyes wide open.  Towards the end I was literally falling asleep at the wheel driving to work.  I would be in the middle of working on something very intently typing and writing and creating and next thing I know I am nodding off.  Some of the guys at work thought that it was so hilarious that they would start to take bets on how long it would take for me to nod off.  It was getting bad, and I was starting to lose my mind.  My only saving grace was that Liam was luckily an extremely happy fairly silent baby.  He just liked to be awake and be held and not miss anything and would smile and gurgle up at me and it would help me keep my sanity.  I would talk with the lady at his home daycare and we decided that he must not need sleep to function and that he might be an alien because he wasn't even sleeping a lot during the day at daycare to explain the lack of sleep at home.
Towards the end around the 15 month mark, I had finally reached complete mental and physical and emotional exhaustion.  I don't even know how I was functioning anymore at all.  I remember just crying by myself all the time or starting to get so frustrated about the whole thing.  I called my mom (who lived 8+ hours away from me at the time).  I told her that I just really didn't think that I could take it anymore, and that I was not meant to be a mother, I wasn't sure how I was going to make it through this, and if I didn't sleep I wasn't sure how anything was going to happen.  She offered to meet me half way that week end and have Liam stay with her for about a week.  Even at that time I was saying " No way a week is way too long, just a day or two so that I can do nothing but sleep and I will be good."
So I think it was on that Wednesday or Thursday, Liam must have known, because he FINALLY slept through the night, and was a great sleeper.  People used to marvel and how easily he would go to bed and stay to bed for me, and I would just tell them that it was my reward for the 15 months of Hell that he put me through haha.  That is until Liam got the sides of the the crib and into his toddler bed...  he still doesn't sleep through the night because he has to get up and potty or get a hug or look at the stars or sing a song or have a kiss or get a drink......  Still working on that one.

Reading was one of many methods that we tried
Please forgive me for getting side-tracked there.  Back to the celebration at hand:  The potty training mission completion.   I started potty training Liam a few months back.  Once again, knowing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about how to potty train a child let alone a boy I was freaking out inside and consulting every parent and book I could get my hands on.  I remember one of the first thoughts I had when I found out I was having a boy, was how in the world does a single mother potty train a boy with no male for him to see to stand up and pee?  Liam wasn't even born yet and I was asking anyone I knew with a son about methods that had worked for them....  let me just say that there was absolutely NO (yes NONE) one method that worked for Liam.  He always loved stickers, so naturally we started out with the sticker chart.  However, I had made different column for peeing, pooping or just sitting on the toilet to get him to feel happy about it.  (I did buy a really super awesome potty seat that he picked out that played songs and made noises, and NOT ONCE did he EVER go potty in it.  I did and still do however get a lot of use from the top of it that fits onto the toilet.)
Back to the sticker chart...  Liam likes things a certain way and it would turn into a fight over why he couldn't put a sticker in a separate column and so eventually I lost that battle and there were stickers all over the paper.  Needless to say he got bored with that idea, and going potty was no longer fun, he didn't want to go in there if you said the word "potty" he would run out kicking and screaming and saying "No."  So I tried food (using mostly leftover halloween candy, and then toys and then movies and back to stickers, etc.)  I tried to stick with methods used at school and had many "naked weekends" to help Liam to recognize when he had to go.  However he didn't really seem to care when and where he went.  so then I went to the underwear and he wouldn't care if he peed on himself.  I felt like he was NEVER going to be potty trained.  Although the last few weeks of straight underwear saved me on diapers, I am sure I spent about the same on water and laundry soap to clean up all of his messes.  I was last weekend once again reaching my breaking point.  We had been trying and trying and I was getting super frustrated.  Especially when I saw that Liam had move up to the officially potty trained list in his class and I would hear raves about how wonderful he did at school and how he would go on his own without any prompting.  I was starting to get a little bit angry at this point.  Angry at myself wondering what I was doing wrong and why did I suck so horribly at this, at Liam for KNOWING that he needed to go and refusing to do so, at potty training in general because it seemed to make my life Hell.
I re-engaged online avenues for methods, I would grill my friends on facebook if they even mentioned anything about potty training, and everyone was so chipper and bragged about how easy it was and about these 2 day methods and 3 day methods, and "just put them in underwear" or "let them run around naked" and it will just click for them in the "potty training weekend."  I read and re-read "Potty Training for Dummies."  (That book really talks down to you, such as FAILURE is because of YOU as the Parent)  That book was really making me feel bad, I personally wouldn't recommend it based on it's tone.  It had good information but as a first time parent, I need uplifting advice and encouragement.  I even almost paid $40 for this online program guaranteed to work in 2 days...  although once I read the steps she wanted to start from scratch and NEVER use Pull ups and have all these specific rules such as NOT having tried to potty train yet that I didn't fall into.
So last Thursday Liam had an especially HORRIBLE day of potty training at home.  It seemed like he was full of accidents and I would clean one up and he would be going potty somewhere else in his pants.  I knew he knew when he had to go because he would try to hide in another room.  And then he got poop ALL OVER my living room floor and was walking and it was EVERYWHERE.  I had had a REALLY Long week and was sick and needless to say.  I just lost it.  There was some screaming and some yelling and some crying and some thinking for the umpteenth time that I really had a puppy and not a son and that I wished I could put him outside and he would go on the grass....
Needless to say Liam and I hugged I apologized for yelling (I must say that really I just screamed in frustration and yelled You know you need to go why can't you go IN THE POTTY) and so we consoled one another and I felt like a horrible mother and I called my mom again and was ready to give up and told her how I wasn't meant to potty train a child and that I just couldn't do it, it wasn't possible.  I needed to find someone else to potty train my child because it just wasn't going to happen.
Of course my mother told me about how at some point we all reach a frustration level and he was still young and he would be potty trained before he was in Kindergarten.  I went to Liam's school and again asked his teacher for advice and she told me to do things I already was, and she gave me  a sheet of stickers she uses at school.  On Friday Liam went pee ALL by himself at home and it was momentous and then he had an accident and then the weekend was accident filled again.  Monday was like a light switch Liam was in going potty by himself but still having some trouble with making it to poop.  I started to think that maybe Liam was trained to be potty trained during the week but just not when he was home with me especially on the weekends.  He got better and better all week and had NO accidents at all with Pee, and finally got poop down as well.  It was glorious and wonderful.  And I think nothing really worked that great but he does get a cookie we baked and iced together that stay in a container on the window sill and a sticker if he does a good job.  So far that seems a fitting reward for him.  I have absolutely NO advice for anyone else, except that by the time you are about to pull your hair out and give up they will sense that it is time to stop Fing with you and get down to business.  Or maybe it will be a complete piece of cake.  Every child is different and try what you are comfortable with until you find something that works for you and your child/children.   I wish anyone else the best of luck no matter what kid they are on.  If anyone needs a hug, to vent or to cry it out a bit, I am here to listen and share with you :)  One day it will FINALLY happen and we can celebrate together!
At least he LOVES cleaning the toilet, still working on training him to splash less though haha

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