Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Toilet Training: Appendix A

a.k.a. I'm here to talk about poop. At length.

Another installment - for those approaching or in the potty camp.

Our journey continues, and here are some things I wish to add to my strategy sum-up:
  • At some point, ye ol' sticker chart has to be retired, yes? Unless you want to keep dispensing those things through puberty and beyond, be my guest. For me, it was time we graduated to "peeing in the toilet because it's the right place to pee", and removed the extrinsic reward. Phrases I used to tackle this prickly beast: "You have done so well! Look at that, Esky! You are so good at peeing in the toilet now that you're a Master! Your chart is full! You did it!" Then I heaped up the praise for the next few successes to ensure she understood she was still awesome-pants.
  • The poo problem remained (that would be getting the poo in the toilet). While I considered the possibility that removing Esky's main source of affirmation (stickers for peeing and her visual representation of doing well) could be risky, I started to think the stickers on this particular chart had served their purpose and it was time to get out while I was winning. Or ratherrrrrrrrrrrrr...redirect Esky's efforts to a new chart; "The Knicker Chart!" I explained it was time to become the Knicker Master now - and that every time she did a poo and had clean knickers she could decorate the knicker chart. The stickers are not gone, but their cause has been elevated and made relevant now that Esky has been peeing in the toilet (any toilet presented) for two weeks - on demand and on cue.
  • Esky has handled these changes well - considering they are the first inconsistencies. She seems to understand that she has accomplished one task, and that it was finite. She's also ceased jogging on the spot asking for chocolate raisins after tinkling. Win.
  • I anticipate phasing out incentives entirely could be trickier (right now we're experiencing more of a redirect than a removal)...or perhaps we can use the current scaffolding - chart = full = task done. But those pesky raisins will haunt me. I suspect we will have a mysterious end to their supply, perhaps replacing them with normal raisins, then nothing but hugs.
  • When the fridge repairdude came and Esky had her first accident in a loooong time, I wasn't embarrased at all. It's our house - and he looked like a dad, if I'm wrong, who cares? What I was slightly bummed about was that the timing of his arrival made it difficult to talk out what had happened and manage the situation as I'd like. Fortunately she bounced back to the uphill climb towards dryness.
Additional Anecdotes Also (that's triple-A, peop's!):
  • I recently had a store manager do about 42 things for me after she'd turned her flippy sign over to "Closed," including fitting a new carseat in my vehicle. She was gracious. Then, Esky interjected our pleasantries and wrap-up with, "I need to go the toilet." The store manager rummaged for keys and bolted for the restroom door at the rear of the salesfloor. We trotted behind her, and as soon as the door was open we were inside and I was whipping Esky's stockings down while lifting her. Big mistake. The streak of poo was dark and thick. After cleaning up the surprise, "already-here" poop, I did my best to smile breezily as we reemerged from the bathroom and I whisked a pair of training pants from their hook on our return to the counter, "I'll take a pair of these too, thanks." The worst part: Esky had developed a habit of crying whenever she pooed her pants - she so desperately wanted to please and knew she wasn't achieving it yet...she would cry no matter how much I would comfort her; "It's an accident, sweetie! We'll keep trying, and you'll get this right just like you got the pee right! You don't need to cry - you can say, 'Oh, I'm disappointed I had an accident.' Disappointment is normal." I'm pretty sure the woman thought I scolded my child. I shouldn't care what she thinks - ya ya ya. I do.
  • At the library, Esky did the poo-face over by the play table and tea set with another parent watching. He knew the face. He stifled the riot going on in his funny bones - I saw. We went and cleaned up in the bathroom, and when we came out Mr Stifler's wife was outside with her boys. She'd heard the crying from within and most likely concluded I'm a smacker based on the din. Again - shouldn't care...do.
  • Esky has stopped crying. Her last two accidents she uttered the words I'd fed her! ("Oh, I'm disappointed. I had an accident.")
  • We had a breakthrough! Two weeks after the successful pee pattern was initiated, Esky did her first giant poo in the toilet - she said she needed to go...and she went. Yes, I realise what I'm typing. Back to the poo...I say "giant," because Esky treated the thing like a baby she had to deliver, I coached her, "You're doing it! You're doing great! You can do it! Another push! That's it! Look, you're not making a mess, you're doing it in the right place! You're amazing! Aaaah! I'm so proud of you," ...with much leg rubbing, hair stroking and clapping. This toddler sure seems to prefer a quiet standing poo - sitting for the job seemed like hard work (and I checked the thing, it was not hard work. Ahem).
  • My mom told me green poop is good poop. Try to forget that next time you check out if you've wiped clean. I sure haven't forgotten it. And I wipe more than one butt every day. That's a lot of remembering my mother over poop.
  • Night-times are still usually dry! (back to Esky now.../second "ahem")
We are almost there!

More about Toilet Training:
Read about how mentally challenging I found the first few weeks of this, how we went about it - or grab some clipart to help you soldier on.
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