Madmumy would like to wish her readers a happy 2017! She would also like to apologise for the delay in writing a new blog post. As well as the usual manic routine featured in previous blogs, there have been 4 other events that have distracted Madmummy of late!
- The big push on the Hulk’s potty training.
- The big push on the Hulk’s talking.
- Madmummy making the tricky decision to give up work.
All the above will likely feature in her new posts. She hopes to be able to post more
regularly thanks to point 3, which will provide new subjects to write about …such as what fresh insanity comes from being stay at home mum (she believes SAHM as the appropriate acronym)
But today, it is a time to reflect back on 2016, and the long potty training journey that she is finally coming to the end of. Those who have read the first few of her posts may recall another potty training post on 17th March 2016. During the post, titled “Wee wee in the potty“, she was full of pride at her achievement of getting the Hulk to finally wee in the potty. Little did she know that that was only the beginning of what was to be a very messy and stressful 10 month long battle.
After much sweat, tears and other bodily fluid, the Hulk is finally at the point she can say he is potty trained. Yes, accidents do still occur regularly, but more often than not the Hulk is clean and dry both day and night.As of 2 weeks ago he is in pants, and last night was the first night that the potty was not left in his room. Looking back she can see that there were several steps on the rickety staircase of his training. She smiles to think that, back in March, she thought the hard part was over. No…that was only the first step.
Madmummy has created a reflective account of the Hulk’s progression. It looks nothing like the potty training plan of the many books that purport to get a 12 month old potty trained in four days! Maybe it is a more realistic account of the potty training journey or perhaps it is an example of Madmummy’s ineptitude. Either way, if you are having a hard time with potty training, this surely will make you feel better.
Timeline of the Hulks potty Training
17th March 2016
- The Hulk’s first wee in the potty
- Madmummy foolishly thinks this means he will be fully potty trained within the next 2 weeks.
- Madmummy starts buying pull-up pants
- The Hulk spends a few hours a day half naked.
- There are occasional wees and poos in the potty.
- There are countless accidents
- Madmummy tries to remain calm.
- A warm summer allows the Hulk to spend most of his time half naked
- The potty is getting used more and more often.
- Madmummy is developing new ways to praise. Bubbles are a big feature.
- Jabbermonkey regularly informs Madmummy of any bladder and bowel movements that the Hulk makes and they are both rewarded with bubble partys (a bubble machine is installed in the livingroom)
- As a result of being stopped every 30 minutes Madmummy gets very little done
- Madmummy buys some pants – the Hulk doesn’t like them.
- She puts shorts on him – they get wetted
September-October 2016 THE HARD PART.
- Madmummy decides to get the Hulk to start wearing something on his bottom half to move onto the next step.
- At this point she tried putting pants on him – They all got wetted and/or soiled
- She tried putting him in trousers without pants – They all get wetted and/or soiled
- Gradually she starts getting him to take his trousers off and go on the potty but he rarely does anything.
- She tries putting him in the car seat without a nappy
- The car seat needs to be washed several times
- The Hulk wets his trousers 80-90% of the time
November 2015 THE REALLY HARD PART
- Madmummy decided that there would be no more nappies come what may
- The Hulk is forced to wear trousers and wets through several a day
- Madmummy buys more trousers
- The Hulk starts removing trousers before pooing, which is nice of him
- The Hulk has no nappy at bedtime and wet sheets most nights
- The washing machine breaks!!
- Madmummy has to handwash the trousers in the sink and the sheets in the bathtub
- Madmummy calls on family and neighbours to help with the mountains of washing.
- Jabbermonkey gets sick, Madmummy gets ill, the potty training and motherly duties continue (accept the laundry)
- Madmummy loses the will to live a little
1st – 15th December 2016
- Madmumy complaints about the delay in getting her washing machine replaced
- Beko replace her washing machine
- The Hulk has begun to take his trousers off before every wee and poo – horay!!
- Accidents still happen and the Hulk lives in jogging bottoms
- Madmummy buys Telly Tubby pants- the Hulk doesn’t like them and wets them when he has them on.
- Madmummy downloads an app with a virtual sticker chart, which helps.
15th -26th December 2016
- The Hulk has begun to pull his trousers down instead of removing them
- The Hulk has been on several short car journeys without accident
- He has slept overnight without a nappy at Nana’s house
- He still has accidents when upset, tired or distracted
- Nappies are removed from the change bag
- The Hulk has a major accident (poo) at a party, but generally is okay to go out without a nappy on
- The second potty is kept in the car and the Hulk has managed to use it in the boot!
- The Hulk has managed to use different pottys at relatives’ houses
- The Hulk wees all over Madmummy during their Christmas Day naps – yuk!
27th December 2016 – 8th January 2017
- Madmummy buys Paw Patrol pants and the Hulk agrees to wear them
- The Hulk manages to pull both trousers and pants down successfully and (usually) stays dry.
- The Hulk has had 3 dry sleepovers at Nana’s, Aunty Gs and Aunty Fs house!
- He still refuses to sit on the toilet.
- The Hulk starts to go upstairs to use the potty during the day
- Madmummy disinfects the living room floor for the last time
- On the 4th January he attends Pre-school for the first time and attempts to use their kiddy toilets. Madmummy tries to help and the Hulk wees all over her hand (nice) . Within the 1 hour session he gets through 3 pairs of trousers!
- Over the following 4 days he has a bit of a relapse, including 2 day time accidents
(one which ran all down the hallway) and 2 wet nights.
- As of the 8th January the potty now stays in the toilet both day and night.
- That afternoon the Hulk manages to use a toilet for the first time. Madmummy had forgotten the potty and had forced him onto the public toilet 3 times before this joyous success.
Some of you who managed potty training with more grace a dignity may be smirking at the
above timeline. You may have been one of the many whose potty training journey wasn’t half a gruelling. In fact, Madmummy recalls that her experience with Jabbermonkey
wasn’t nearly so prolonged or stressful (although she may have blocked it from her memory, along with the pain of childbirth). But at this point she will point out that Jabbermonkey was already able to speak, before she began his potty training. The Hulk, on the other hand, has been entirely non-verbal. He still doesn’t say the words “potty”, “wee” or “toilet”. He says “poopoo” occasionally, and in the last week has been able to mutter something that sounds like “accident”. So despite the lengthiness of the journey, Madmummy is proud to have finally “gotten there” with her wilful, change-aversive and silent son.
Now that she has survived the process she would like to offer some pearls of wisdom based on the many mistakes she made:
Madmummies 10 mistakes you should avoid when potty training
- DON’T BUY PULL UPS.
Looking back Madmummy can see that this was her biggest mistake. In doing so she gave her clever child two options.
Option 1) stop playing, go all the way over to the potty, pull pants down and bend down to sit on the potty. Then wait to do a wee or poo, pull pants and trousers back up before going back to play
Option 2) Cary on playing, do a wee/poo in the pull up and let mummy deal with it.
It’s a no-brainer really
2. DON’T BUY PULL UPS!!!
Madmummy really must stress the point that pull ups are a money making scam designed to inhibit successful potty training and keep kids in nappies longer! Okay, so maybe they have worked for some and you may be ready to come to their defence.
In the case of the Hulk, however, he did not use them for the purpose they are marketed for – ie Pull down and “Pull-Up”. He also began to associate all items that could “pull-up” as being waterproof. So, after she began putting trousers or
cotton pants on him, the Hulk just treated them as he would a pull-up nappy. After the first few days of mummy calmly changing his pants/trousers after every “accident” he gathered that this was the norm. He apparently felt no shame in weeing his pants within 5 minutes of coming off the potty (where Madmummy forced him to sit every 20-30 minutes).
Pull ups are sort of like stabilizers. They are comforting to have but won’t really teach you to ride a bike.
3. DON’T LEAVE A CHILD IN WET BOTTOMS
Madmummy read several website forums on potty training but this one stands out in particular. Some mum’s viewed it as cruel. Others believed that children learn more quickly that potty is best, if they were left with a soggy bottom. Some reported that, having left there 2 year old with a wet trousers for a few hours, they miraculously started going to the potty and never had another accident again!
Madmummy tried this with the Hulk. (There isn’t much she didn’t try). However, the Hulk had no problem being wet all day and would rather be wet than bother going to the potty. Meanwhile, on the few occasions that Madmummy left him wet for over an hour, she was reduced to following him with the disinfectant wipes to clean wherever he sat!
If you are a mum taking on the challenge of potty training, Madmummy would suggest that once an accident is detected, you take your child to the potty at the earliest possibly opportunity. If you are in the middle of something you may wish to leave them for a few minutes so they can sense the dampness, but there is no point leaving them wet on purpose for hours.
4. DON’T BE NEGATIVE – ACCENTUATE THE POSITIVE
This was the hardest part for Madmummy. Once the Hulk had mastered using his potty when half naked, she would giddily praise him after each success. But when it came time to put bottoms on, she was disappointed 90% of the time. The Hulk had no way to communicate his “needs” to Madmummy. He also didn’t have the will to pull his bottoms down himself – he had got into a nice routine, where mummy changed his wet pants after every wee or poo. It got to the point where she didn’t bother calling it an accident because it was the norm rather than the exception.
So she had begun to look into whether he should be punished for his purposeful cloth wetting. He clearly knew what to do when he had nothing on, so maybe he was just toying with his poor mum and exerting defiant behaviour. Either that or he was lazy. All manner of crazy thoughts popped into her mind, having been up twice in the night changing bedsheets and spending the morning hand washing his jogging bottoms. Retrospectively Madmummy is ashamed to have thought this but its was desperate times and she felt she was stuck on a potty training plateau. Other mums on web-forums were unanimous that physical punishment was cruel and ineffective, and that shouting or negative comments should be avoided at all costs.
Many potty training guides stated that every wet or soiled item should be removed calmly, while the mum cheerily repeated phrases like “in the potty next time” and “never mind- accidents happen”. They also stressed that mums must go all out with the praise when their child used the potty. The trouble was, unless nude, the Hulk almost never used the potty. So what did she do?…
**** MADMUMMY’S TOP SECRET POTTY TRAINING TIP!! *****
She began to praise the Hulk whenever he was wearing bottoms for 20 minutes without any “accidents”. Yes, every 20 minutes, instead of forcing him on the potty, she would point out his dry trousers and praise him for not wetting himself. It seemed silly at the time. BUT IT WORKED!!
So, if you too are struggling with a toddler who doesn’t go in the potty at all, try to praise them for NOT having an accident rather GOING in the potty. The Hulk started understanding that dry was good and wet, not so much. Of his own volition, he soon started taking his trousers down by himself. Yipeee!!
5. FORGET PANTS
Madmummy swapped and changed between pants and shorts and trousers. But the Hulk just wetted his pants all summer. By winter Madmummy decided that she had to push the Hulk to the next step by stopping nappies completely. So trousers were a necessity when going out and about. She tried with pants too, but this complicated the issue for two reasons.
1) because puling both up and down was to difficult and a drag for the Hulk
2) due to the first two mistakes she made (getting Pull-ups) he seemed to get confused and think that he was still wearing something absorbent.
So Madmummy high recommends stocking up on the jogging bottoms (not jeans which can chafe and are tougher to pull down in a rush).
6. DON’T PLAN DAY TRIPS
By mid November the Hulk had been nappyless for 3 weeks and had made great progress. He was actually weeing and pooping in the potty the majority of the time and even went a couple of days and a nights without an accident . Unfortunately, a overnight stop in a hotel and a 5 hour journey demanded that the nappies go back on for the majority of the weekend. Despite Madmummy’s best efforts in taking the Hulk to the potty several times during the course of the day, he did regress a lot during the following week.
7. DON’T BREAK YOUR WASHING MACHINE!
Around the second week of the potty training Madmummy’s washing gave up the ghost with an almighty bang. Having been put on 2 times a day, washing bedding and trousers and the occasional rug, a belt had busted and taken out some electrical cables with it.
Luckily she was covered by the manufacturer’s warrantee, as it was less than 12 months old. Service Force was out within a week to diagnose the fault and order parts. After 2 weeks of waiting and two cancelled appointments, the parts were still not in. Madmummy decided to complain to Beko directly. After all, her previous Beko machine had survived 7 years, two newborns, one toddler and a house move. Not to mention having the transport bolts left in for the first 12 months of its life (she had wondered why it made such a racket and walked across the room). But now her 11 month old machine was beyond repair after just 2 weeks of moderately high use.
Within a week Madmummy had a new washing machine, free of charge. Although she had a happy ending she must stress that living without a washing machine for 2-3 weeks is difficult . Living without a washing machine when one child is potty training, and the other is vomiting all over his bed sheets, is hell on earth! So other mums would be advised to do one of 4 things before starting potty training.
- Save money to purchase a new washing machine if it breaks
- Make sure you are covered by a warrantee or insurance
- Find out your local laundrette in case you cant get it repaired quick
- Read the instruction on you washing machine and the labels of all the items you wish to wash, to ensure you are using it correctly. Not only will this prevent a breakdown, but also to prevent your insurance being invalid due to mis-use.
8 DON’T EXPECT YOUR CHILD TO FOLLOW THE RULES
It’s a cliché, but it must be stressed that “every child is different”. In so many ways the Hulk did not follow the path that he should have .He was clean before he was dry, for example. He was also unable to tell her that he needed a wee. Madmummy had to learn to trust him to go to the potty of his own accord. It turns out that he prefers to do many things independently and now insists that the bathroom door is closed and even empties his own potty! This can be messy and Madmummy highly recommends purchasing some of these.
9 DON’T MESS ABOUT!
Buck up, rip off the bandage and say “no” to nappies .
In the case of the Hulk he needed strong encouragement. On many MANY articles she has come across Madmummy has read the message that mums must wait until their child is ready. But sometimes the peer pressure is too much.
Before you judge, please imagine you are Madmummy. You have been patient all summer and endured 3 months of mopping up puddles, wiping up poop and washing trousers and/or pants. You have pretending not to be disappointed when, after stopping every 30 minutes to force a flailing toddler on the potty, he proceeds to wet his trousers within 10 minutes of you pulling them up again. Your child then turns 3 and has made no progress in 6 months. Winter is coming and soon there will be no option to go running around without trousers on. Potentially all the progress that has been made will be undone , as your child will get used to wearing nappies during the winter months. Your child may still be in nappies until next summer, and then he will be four and you will be a laughing stock! (Okay, that’s a tad over-the-top)
But Madmummy believes that a firm shove, rather than “gentle encouragement” was ultimately what her passive and chilled-out child needed. In fact the Hulk seems much happier in general since the success. Furthermore the skills Madmummy has developed on positive affirmation, and giving firm and clear instructions, can now be applied to other aspects of the Hulks development. And, from the experience, she has gotten to know the Hulk more as a person and has a better idea about how his little mind now works. (yeah, right). He has certainly proved to have a fiercely independent and stubborn nature- but then he is a Scorpio.
10 DON’T BE EMBARASED
Children will always embarrass their parents until the day when they are old enough to be embarrassed by their parents. One day Madmummy will have her revenge. She smiles as she imagines his 16th birthday, the lampposts with baby pictures tied on, the red lipstick kiss-mark on his forehead , his face when she tells his friends all her pet names for him – mwahahahaha.
Potty Training = accidents
All a mum can do is pray that soiling doesn’t occur when out and about. On the whole, this was the case for Madmummy. There was one particular occasion, but she has decided to cast into the pensive (Oooh, Harry Potter reference!)
Potty Training= Another item to carry
When it came to the “BIG PUSH”, the potty had to come everywhere. Madmummy quickly got over the embarrassment of carrying a turtle shaped potty in a carrier bag, everywhere she went. She got used to having to stop conversations every 30 minutes, to either praise the Hulk for being dry or rush him out to the loo for a a sit down or (if too late) a change.
On one occasion Madmummy was in the carpark of Toys r Us (who don’t have toilets apparently) and had to force the Hulk to wee in the potty in the boot of the car. She focused only on him, not looking to see if anyone was watching. After 2 hours trolling around for Christmas presents, she knew that he needed a wee. Every success helped him improve and every failure set him back. No amount of temporary embarrassment or shame was worth him wetting another pair of trousers and ruining his confidence. Luckilly the Hulk managed to do a wee in the potty and they got home without an accident. She feels no shame for making him wee in public, it would have been more shame if she had let her inhibitions foil his progress.
She recalls now that Jabbermonkey was made to squat near a bush on a fair few occasions, as she attempted to shield him from the view of passers by. All mums must accept that when they need to go they need to go. Yes, you can stay indoors for the first few weeks. However, unless you are a hermit who grows their own food, sooner or later you will need to venture out of the house. Yes, it did feel a bit wrong to Madmummy, pouring wee on the carpark of Toys ‘R’ Us, but that’s what had to be done. She urges all mums to do what must be done and remember…it will all be over soon! Hopefully sooner for you than for her