I started this blog as a place to put the "mommy stuff" that just doesn't fit over on my other blog.

I became a first time mom at the age of 43 so this blog is written from *gasp* an older mom's perspective.

I love being a mom to the funniest little girl on the planet (check out the scroll over to the right ---> for some of her gems!) and I hope you enjoy reading about our adventures together!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Potty Trouble - a THEN and NOW tale

Empowerment - Foster individual self-discovery and self-esteem. Validate trying, taking healthy risks, and listening to inner truths.

 Everyday Mommy

Welcome to week two of the THEN and NOW Game! Time to dust off all your favorite old stories...This meme is designed to give us a reason to remember and chronicle our favorite tales. Pick a favorite THEN and compare, contrast or just wax philosophically about the differences between THEN and NOW.

If you are playing along, please post the button (above) in your sidebar OR as part of your THEN and NOW post and provide a link back to my blog's THEN and NOW post for the week (Mine will always be the first link listed in the Linky). If you want to add the Linky too just go ahead and grab the code!


This is going to be a Pictureless THEN and NOW segment. I had intended to show you a great little video but because I have so far been unsuccessful in editing it in any particularly useful way I have decided just to tell you about it instead. The THEN in my story begins in the fabled time before The Girl was born when I had time to devour 5-10 books at a time and because I was having a baby everyone and their mother felt the need to share their favorite titles with me. One such book is The Diaper Free baby by Christine Gross-Loh. I was mesmerized by this book with it's tales of training babies even before they walk to use the toilet. The book explained that our modern potty training practices actually train kids to go in diapers and if you follow some easy steps you could train your child to use a potty right from the beginning.
The Diaper-Free Baby: The Natural Toilet Training Alternative

The Sweetie and I thought this sounded like a great idea. We had already decided we were going to be baby wearers, this seemed to follow along nicely. Within weeks of Sweet's birth we had success. This is where I intended to roll that video footage which is of The Sweetie holding the tiny infant girl over the potty and her peeing in it. The system, which is called elimination communication, worked like a charm. We learned to recognize when our little girl needed to pee and poop and we could get her to the potty in time. By the time she was one year old she could tell us when she needed to go with a baby sign and we were all proud and happy that we had such a clever girl.

Sometime or another after this first year we took a plane trip and decided to put our girl in a diaper so we wouldn't have to worry about getting her to the potty on time on the plane. She also wore a diaper at night, the book tells many tales of successful night time potty goers but we never really tried this. The use of the diapers while traveling turned out to be a disaster. We unintentionally trained her that going in the diaper was ok and I think she began to see that a diaper was pretty convenient. She could pee to her hearts content and still continue with that block "towder" (her word for tower). She would still pee and poop on the potty if we put her on there. We have always had success when she first wakes up in the morning. We kind of realized we made a tactical error but figured since she knew what to do when she was ready ditching those diapers would be an easy thing.

NOW flash forward to today. The completely potty aware Sweets announces at the begining of the day whether or not she plans on using the potty or not. On the days she says yes she will wear her big girl undies and use the potty reliably even when we are out of the house. When she decides that she is a baby she asks for a pull up and then proceeds to pee and poop in that all day. A few months ago, after we had gone a good two weeks without any pull up requests I thought for sure we had seen the last of the pull-ups and then she got sick. Ten days of diarrhea that came so unexpectedly a diaper was the only way to contain it. She cried when I asked her to put a pull-up back on but it really was the only way to keep from getting the "pee-poop" all over everything in the house.

Shortly after she was sick she went two days in undies so I thought we were back on track until one day when she asked for a pull up. I told her she was a big girl now and she should use the potty. She had a tantrum and said no and then proceeded to pee and poop in her undies all day. This is a charming mess to deal with as many of you know so I once again, made a tactical error and allowed her a pull-up. I thought I would go the acceptance route and let her dictate what she wants to do. I figured she would once again go back to her full time undie wearing ways when she was ready.

We have tried bribery. She really wants to go to "bal-la-let school" and I told her that she needed to use the potty full time before she could go. I told her that if she used the potty for "10 sleeps" (that is how she counts days) then she could go to ballet class. Three sleeps into our game she announced "I don't want to go to bal-la-let school anymore. Can I have a pull up?" I said oh sweets you are doing such a great job, you don't need apull up... pee and poop in the undies again. For about a week I did my best not to react or say anything about the potty at all. If she wanted undies she got those, pull ups she got those but when I made no effort to talk about it she was back solidly in the pull up camp.

So here we are. Yesterday she told me that she wanted to use undies "amorrow" (tomorrow, or I suppose today when you read this.) We will see. I really don't know what I am supposed to do. Many tell me we should just get rid of the pull-ups and she'll "eventually come around. " But by then I fear we'd need all new rugs and furniture.

THEN -- Potty Using Infant
NOW -- Potty Shunning Preschooler

Help! Any ideas? 

*** (Note added at 11:00am) -- When asked by her Dad if she was going to use the potty today The Girl said, "No Dad, that's NOT how I roll." LOL (that's one for the scroll!) which I thought spelled doom for today's attempt but since that declaration she has been using the potty. Contrarian! Perhaps tomorrow I should tell her NOT to use the potty!

Visit other THEN and NOW players and let them know Everyday Mommy sent you!
The THEN and NOW linky will be live and available all week at the bottom of this blog. Just scroll down at anytime and join us!

Next Post: Humility Week kicks off!

My Thirteen Virtues of Great Parenting are:
Fun, Discipline, Creativity, Love, Wonder, Listening, Curiosity,
Compassion, Trust, Acceptance, Empowerment, Humility and Flexibility

This week is all about Empowerment. Next week we tackle Humility


  1. When my boy was small I was told that there are 4 things you cannot make a child do: speak, eat, sleep & use the toilet. You can establish routine, offer encouragement & opportunities (and also offer rewards or punishments) but, ultimately, the child in control. With my little guy, it's never worked to get into a battle of wills. I find that if I back off, he will eventually come around. He toilet trained according to his own schedule, pressuring him to eat has never worked and also, he does better academically when there is no pressure (he loves to read now and I firmly believe it's because I offered many opportunities & very little pressure...)

    Good luck!

  2. Oh Kathy - I just have to laugh again at this! I am so sorry for the struggles, but I've been there! We still have a few pull-ups in the house for every-now-and-then nighttime use, but li'l girl has been in undies for several weeks now with no accidents. (Am I jinxing myself now?)

    We never had a set way of doing things - of course, both of our children turned 3 before they were fully potty-trained. We tried "naked days" with both where we literaly had to clean up the floor...but they got the idea of it being uncomfortable. We tried rewards as well. Both things worked ok but never 100% of the time. Li'l girl asks for her pull-ups very rarely now - she's too into the character undies we got her. :) (Have you tried that?)

    Regardless, it will happen someday! Until then, good luck and wishes for dry days!!

  3. Wow. What a predicament! I've read about that method and can see how it could work. Wish I had an answer for you.

    You inspired me to write a post on the topic of potty training (my story with Kyle). I'm publishing it on Monday and will link back to you. Good luck!!

  4. My friend- C. Beth- recently posted a fantastic update to the issues she has had with training. It might be helpful...


    What ended up wroking for her is something very similar to what Mrs4444 did. Set a date or a limit. We have until this date or until these pull ups are gone and then we only wear underwear and go potty. Let her set that date (empowerment). And even if there is diarrhea... you have to stick with underwear from that date forward.

  5. As my friend Eternal Lizdom commented above, potty training is something my 4-year-old has just finally conquered. But my "method" (setting a date, crossing off the calendar) didn't work until my daughter was ready. In fact, I'd tried the same method (along with a zillion and one other tricks) unsuccessfully a year and a half ago. The blog post Liz linked to gives a lot more details...maybe more than you ever wanted to know. :)

    I know HOW FRUSTRATING this can be and hope it gets resolved soon for Mommy's sanity!

  6. Ummm, good luck. I say stick to your guns. Don't give in and buy any more pull-ups. Throw out or hide any that you have. It's a horrible headache and a mess for you, but if she does it on purpose make her clean it up (even though you have to clean up after she's done).

  7. Hopped over to say Hi after reading about you over at Half Past Kissin' Time. We just finished potty training, having deliberately waited as my daughter had shown zero interest (she was three in February). Now she is old enough to talk things through with, I finally was able to figure out that she was afraid to use the potty, afraid of the different feeling. So we talked about it and after that it was relatively easy.

    I have never used pull-ups but I don't think that is the issue here. Either your daughter has lost her confidence somehow or else this is an issue of trying to take control over when she does and does not use the potty because of other concerns. As she too is older I think you should be able to sit down with her, with no pressure applied, and try and get to the bottom of what exactly is making her behave as she does, by talking to her. Something is clearly going on and that I think might be the way to solve it.

    I say this because after completing potty training and doing great for a week my daughter started to drink less so she was using the potty less, because playing one afternoon she forgot she was now using the potty and had the tiniest of accidents in her underwear. So she was trying to drink less and avoid it happening again by doing so. So we had to have a long talk about the fact that everyone has accidents occasionally etc and now we are getting back on track again.

    Complex little souls we are dealing with :-)

  8. So how's everything with the potty going today?  We are in the middle of potty training...it's a nightmare.

  9. Thanks for stopping by! Sorry for the delay in responding... I have been concentrating on my new blog and have been bad about checking in over here... I am planning on coming back... just haven't been able to do both at the moment.

    Anyway... with regard to your question, things are good on the potty front. I told my turning point story in this post and am happy to say she has been 100% since that time.... everyone of my friends has a different story to tell... often totally frustrating like mine was... good news they do eventually get it!

    Here's hoping your turning point comes sooner rather then later!



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