This is my attempt at positive reinforcement, little posters where Michael and Sophie stick stickers everytime they use the potty. The picture was taken half-way through day four, and you'll notice that Sophie has four stickers, and Michael has ten. (Keep in mind, though, that the first three for both kids were earned by little trickles making it into the potty after I scooped them up mid-accident to finish in the bathroom.)
I'm not claiming that girls are harder, or that it has anything to do with gender, really. I believe it's just a matter of individual readiness. Teachers are supposed to believe that, though, aren't we? Michael has just been more ready for this challenge, which I've known for a while.
We've been taking the Potty Training in Three Days or Less approach for the most part, and I've spent the last four days in the house with the kids naked from the waist down. (Them, not me. I've been fully clothed.) They wear diapers for naps and bedtime, but the rest of the time they are in t-shirts and t-shirts only.
The first day I just took them to the potty every so often to get them used to the routine. There were a lot of accidents, as is to be expected (and is sort of necessary), and a lot of protest. We read books, sang the ABC's, counted to ten and back on our fingers, anything to keep them seated for a few minutes every time. I was considering throwing in the pee-soaked towel near the end of the day, but then Michael yelled "Potty!" and he and I ran-ran-ran to the bathroom where he successfully did his business with no mess at all. That gave me the push to go on.
The next day and the day after I set an online timer (the same one I use for timed writings at school)for whatever amount of time I thought was appropriate--every 20 minutes in the beginning, every hour or so the next day. The kids responded really well to that. Michael even heard my phone ding with a text message and said, "Potty time!" I went with it. :)
My little boy has blown me away with his quick progress. He has peed in the potty on the schedule, has self-initiated, and he shocked the crap out of me (so to speak) by doing #2 today as well. He even earned his Thomas the Tank Engine undies with his tenth sticker. We might do training pants when out of the house and at the child care center, but I'm trying to play it by ear. I'm not kidding myself that we're beyond the initial phase, but based on the results with Michael, I'd say this three day potty training thing is legit.
Sophie hasn't had any accidents today (day four) and had only a couple yesterday. However, she has only really gone on the potty twice. What this means is she has become an expert at holding it, so much so that it worries me. She holds out until nap or bedtime when she is in the comfort of a diaper. At least she's mastered that part of it. She was pretty bummed to be denied her Minnie Mouse undies when Michael donned Thomas, but I'm hoping to cash in on a little positive peer pressure!
Despite that advantage, I've found myself thinking something I haven't thought very much at all since the very early days with Michael and Sophie. Potty training has brought it to mind once again: Parenting twins can be exponentially tougher than parenting one.
True, I haven't parented one before, but picture this scene:
Sophie has been holding it since 7:30 this morning and it is now almost 1 PM. We're in the bathroom for one last try before naps. We sit down, me on the toilet and the kids on potty chairs that take up 40% of the bathroom floor space. I start to read "Marvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now!" a Dr. Seuss book not meant for potty training but with amusingly perfect content like "I don't care how, just go, go, GO!" Maybe that's just funny to people who've been locked up with potty monsters for three or four days?
We get a couple of pages in and Michael starts to go. We go through the whole celebration--dumping the pee, rinsing the bowl, flushing the toilet, washing hands--and I promise Michael that he can pick out a sticker after Sophie goes pee, all the while keeping an eye on Sophie knowing her dam is going to burst any second.
We sit back down and resume our book. Not a page is turned before I notice Michael trying very hard...and he does it! Amid the poop celebrations Sophie stands and protests, insisting that we dispose of of the poop immediately. Really she was just pointing at it and screaming, but I understood. It was a bit smelly.
While simultaneously convincing her to sit down and try again and congratulating Michael on his achievement, I help my boy dump his poo, and rinse, and the whole shebang. But Sophie still hasn't gone, despite her pained look, and Michael has done all he can in this little bathroom and is ready to escape. Sophie requests a diaper and I urge her to try one more time while we finish the book. I manage to get Michael to sit in my lap, and just as Marvin K. is about to finally go, so does Sophie, and she's pissed! She's pushing her t-shirt down trying to stop the flow, crying, and getting her hands and shirt all icky.
I set Michael aside (he climbs the toilet and plays with the sink), crouch by Sophie, and smile and encourage her to keep going, that she's doing it, she's peeing in the potty! But she doesn't want to go anymore, even though it's just a tiny splash in the bowl. It isn't until she's washing her hands that she says, "I did it!" with a big proud smile.
Imagine that scene with just Michael.
Now just Sophie.
I wouldn't wish for that life for the world, but man, that would be SO much easier!
|I replaced the kids' art display with this little learning arrangement recently. The numbers, letters, and shape flash cars all came from the dollar store!|