Potty Training

Potty. Training.
Two words that make every parent cringe, and rightfully so.  I've heard horror stories of poop masterpieces on the walls and splashing in pee puddles in the living room floor.  I have also heard of the mystical toddlers who magically potty train themselves.  I was really hoping that I had one of those, but it looks like I am going to have to put the hard work in myself.  Olivia has been showing signs of potty training readiness for several months now, but I decided to wait until after she turned two, which turned into after Jack was born.  A huge belly really gets in the way of cleaning up pee out of the floor.  Since Olivia has asked to poop on the potty multiple times and comes and tells me to "get the tee tee off" I really thought this process was going to be a breeze and I had nothing to worry about.  Big girl panties on and no turning back now!

Day 1
A few days before the big day I began to tell Olivia that soon we were going to be done with diapers and she would get to wear big girl panties like her big cousins.  We got her a little potty and put it in the bathroom downstairs next to the big potty.  I read a few different methods of potty training and we decided that she would go straight to panties and skip the pull ups (except for nap and bed time). The night before I laid out a selection of new panties and t shirts with her favorite princesses on them.  When she woke up, we took the diaper off and went straight to the potty to give it a whirl.  She didn't go, but I didn't push it.  She was excited to have her new undies and shirt on.  That is about as happy as the morning got.  Things went downhill fast.  I set the timer on my phone for 20 minutes and we returned to the potty, no luck.  Approximately 1 minute off the potty and she pooped in her panties, expected that but yuck.  Then pee in the floor, times 4.  Still no luck in the potty.  She then gets frustrated with going to the potty and proceeds to pitch a huge fit if I even say the word potty.  Screaming, crying, throwing herself on the pee soaked floor.  I was ready to throw in the towel and try again later and I called my sister.  She encouraged me to keep going.  I know every child is different and I have a super stubborn, strong willed one.  She takes a bit more encouragement to get her to do anything that is not totally her idea so the bribing with candy, stickers, my left kidney just wasn't working.  I knew she was ready and the reason she wasn't going wasn't because she didn't get it, it was because she was being defiant.  I am not at all saying this works with all kids, but just like everything else with this mothering thing I have learned that you have to do what works for your child.  I put a diaper on her to go down for nap and mentally recharged myself with that break.  Up from nap I tried putting leggings on top of her panties so she would feel the wet on her legs and hopefully not like it and want it off.  Still didn't work.  She had one success on the potty that evening after I had to force her to sit there for maybe 10 minutes through a crying fit.  We practically threw her a party right then and there and it gave me a little glimmer of hope that maybe this thing could work.  After we put her to bed I read about a 3 day potty training method where the child goes bare bottom and you pump them full of liquids for more chances of success on the potty.  I decided to give that a shot, couldn't be any worse than today.  So to wrap up, day one was pretty horrible for all of us.  She had lots of accidents and only one success.

Day 2
We started out with no panties and a t shirt.  She still was not very happy to sit on the potty, but she did go after a little persuasion.  Yay!  Chad and I made a conscious effort for one of us to have our eyes on her at all times if we could so we could catch her in the act and whisk her to the potty immediately.  I caught her straining and we made it to the potty and she pooped on the potty, double Yay!!  We went about the day as normal, still trying to go to the potty every 20 minutes and letting her sip on watered down juice on the reg.  She was playing and all of a sudden said, tee tee potty hurry! And she had gone just a few drops on the floor and ran to the potty.  I consider this a huge success.  Even though she didn't quite make it, she realizes what it feels like to go and knows to try to make it to the potty.  She had one more little accident like that a little later and then was accident free after nap to bed time!  I am so proud of how she is doing.  Turns out just making a big deal out of her success and letting her take the lead and tell us when she needs to go (even though I do ask her about every 5 minutes) made things go a lot more smoothly.  I am amazed at how much better today went than yesterday.

Day 3 
Only one major fit over trying to go potty.  She had a couple of little accidents, but she made it to the potty after and did go in there.  After lunch I was on the phone with Chad and I saw her run to the potty and open the lid.  I asked her if she needed to go to the potty and she said very enthusiastically, Yes I do!  She sat down and sure enough she had to go.  I was shocked that she can already tell me when she needs to go.  I really didn't expect that for a long time.  She also told me she needed to poop and then did it.  She absolutely loves dumping her pee and poop in the big toilet and flushing it.  She says, bye-bye tee tee, every time and it cracks me up.  The more she goes, the more she wants to go.  I am still going to take her and make her try every 30 minutes or so for a while, but also let her tell me when she needs to go.  I know we have a long way to go, but I am very pleased at her progress so far.  More importantly, she is proud of herself :)

Day 4
Today has been a very good day.  She had 2 tee-tee accidents this morning, but I think those were my fault for not taking her soon enough.  Jack has been just a tad demanding today.  Which makes me think I must be absolutely nuts for starting this potty training process with a 4 week old ;)  Anyways, big girl graduated to the big potty today and she thinks she is so grown.  We put panties back on today so no more bare bottom.  I really think that helped at first, but now that she has the hang of it I can't stand her naked booty on everything anymore.  I think we will be ready to try an outing in the next couple of days. She is doing great!  Here's a little funny to end the day...I had to change Jack's diaper and right before I did I asked Olivia if she needed to go potty to which she said no.  I am in my bedroom changing him and she yells, I go poo poo Mommy!!!  Trying to hide the terror in my voice I say good job, don't move I am coming.  Before I can go anywhere I hear little footsteps pattering my way.  She round the corner in my bedroom holding the bottom part out of her potty that comes apart to expel the waste, sloshing pee with every little step - AAAHHHH!  She was grinning ear to ear that she had gone on her own and even gotten her potty apart to dump the tee tee.  She didn't in fact poop so thank goodness for that, but I had a lovely trail of pee to clean up after.  I couldn't even get mad though because she went on her own and was so proud of herself.  Oh the joys of
otty training!

Day 5
We got brave today and took a trip to target.  Brave and so stir crazy from being cooped up in this house for 5+ days now.  Little lady did fantastic.  She even tee teed on the big potty and flushed it herself, yes I cringed when she grabbed the handle but she was so proud.  After a thorough hand washing of all parties involved we did a little shopping.  I let her pick out a prize and told her she could have whatever she liked.  We were in the girl's clothing and she laid her eyes on a bright pink Dora trucker hat with a gaudy pink flower and rhinestone.  It was love at first sight.  She said, "how about that Dora hat Mommy".  She put it on backwards and wore it all through the store and the rest of the day.  We don't even watch Dora so I am not sure why she picked it.  Funny little girl she is.  She was accident free today!
I still took her to the potty every 30 minutes and sometimes she went and sometimes she didn't have to.  She's doing so great, proud mama here!

Day 6
We had friends come over for breakfast this morning and she had two tee tee accidents in a matter of 20 minutes.  I guess all of the excitement going on and the huge cup of orange juice she drank just got the best of her.  Plus, I might have forgotten to take her to the potty, I will take credit for those accidents.  She likes to drink a lot in the morning so I will have to be extra diligent about making sure I take her every 30 minutes or sooner.  She did great for the rest of the day though! 

Day 7
We had some errands to run today and Olivia went to the potty at Gap, CVS and twice at the mexican restaurant :)  No accidents either - BOOM.  Still trying to take her at least every 30 minutes, but so far so good.

Wrapping Up
Potty training is a process and I know we are far from complete.  I am sure we still have a few accidents in our future, but for now she is doing great and tells me most of the time when she needs to go.  For reference, Olivia is 2 years and 2 months old.  I honestly think she has been ready for a while and may have even done better (been less resistant at first) if we had tried earlier, but it just wasn't feasible when I was huge pregnant.  I am by no means an expert, but I am happy to share my experience with you!  If I have any advice, besides don't do it while you are breastfeeding a 1 month old unless you are crazy like me, it would be to find a program that fits your needs and be consistent.  Even if it is horrible and it doesn't seem to be working at first.  Even if you are both in tears.  Even if your living room smells like a litter box.  It will get better, I promise.  Another thing would be to set aside a good week where you are able to watch them closely (or have daycare workers in on the plan).  Keeping positive, but also letting them know that it is not ok to go potty anywhere besides the toilet. Ultimately, you know your child better than anyone so do what fits the needs of your family.  So there is my two cents and you can take it or leave it.  Hopefully we are out of the trenches and on the upswing of this thing now.  I am so proud of my little girl.
I leave you with a picture of my big kid wearing her potty prize Dora hat, just look at that sweet face.

(no potty pictures here since I am usually taking her with brother strapped to me in the carrier and it is all hands on deck)
Good luck friends!

Life with TWO

Now that I have almost a month under my belt being a mom of two I thought I would share a little of what life looks like around here at the moment.  This past month has been a crazy whirlwind to say the least.  There are a lot of things that I expected like sleep deprivation and crazy hormones, but quite a few unexpected obstacles as well.  I find myself wondering why I ever thought having one kid was hard.  I am sure I will look back on this time and laugh, but for now it is survival mode one day at a time. Luckily, my recovery has been a breeze this time.  I am so thankful for this special, hectic time.

Sleep with two.  When Olivia was born I thought I was so tired.  She ate every two hours and didn't sleep through the night until around 4 months. I used to get her in the bed with me after Chad left for work and she would nurse and we would both sleep until noon some days...yes noon.  And I thought that was hard? Luckily, Olivia sleeps great through the night now.  But now I have two babies and one of them isn't cool with laying in the bed until lunch time, can you guess which one?  Mornings when the babe decides he needs to eat every hour on the hour through the night I still have to get up and entertain a two year old all day.  This brings on a whole new meaning to being sleep deprived.  There isn't enough coffee in the world some days.

Eating with two.  I swear there is a sensor in my butt and when it hits a chair to sit down and enjoy a meal my son wakes up and is starving to death himself.  Even though he just ate 10 minutes before.  Add on bribing a toddler to eat her green beans and stop pushing her chair back from the table and you get a little picture of how meal time goes around here.  I end up giving up on warm food and feeding him and of course Olivia thinks since Mommy got up that she can too.  Hey, maybe I will lose those pregnancy pounds from starvation.

Nursing with two.  Breast feeding this time has come even more naturally than last time.  Still have the soreness, but not nearly as intense.  I decided not to pump at all this time since I already have a surplus of milk and created a huge oversupply with Olivia.  I will pump when I need to be away, if anyone ever decides they need to come keep my two kids ;).  Thinking back to nursing Olivia, it was such a special bonging time, no interruptions, just special one on one time together.  It is a bit different than that this go around.  Trying to help him stay latched through my fire hose of a let down while a toddler is climbing on my legs and almost kicking Jack in the head.  I am screaming at Olivia to stop screaming in Jack's ear while she gives him 43 kisses as he yanks his head back and almost takes my nipple with it.  I am pretty much a sweaty mess by the end of a nursing session.  I have to admit I was a little smug about my breastfeeding experience with Olivia.  It was so easy and I am still proud we made it to a year.  So now I am eating my humble pie.  To all of you breast feeding moms of multiples out there, my hat is off to you!  I will definitely try to make it to a year, but I am not making any promises and I won't beat myself up over it if I don't make it.  I am still a huge breast feeding advocate if that is what works best for you ;)

Outings with two.  I have come to terms with the fact that it takes me at least two hours to get my little three ring circus presentable and ready to leave the house.  I cannot say enough how much baby wearing has helped make going anywhere in public easier.  I am obsessed with the solly baby wrap.  It is super soft and Jack is asleep within minutes of getting him all snuggled in.  I was a little intimidated with the wrap at first, but the tutorial on their site is great and it I so easy to put on.  The best part is I can tie it on at home and it's so lightweight (feels like a soft t shirt scarf) that I can wear it while I drive.  One less step to getting everyone out of the car is huge!  I put him right in it out of the car so no need to lug the heavy, bulky car seat in the store.  I can put Olivia in the front of the buggy and still have room for groceries in the back.  I also recommend packing your diaper bag as light as possible.  With the first I pretty much had her whole nursery in there and this time I only have the essentials so I am not carrying a 10 pound bag on top of a newborn and trying to hold a toddler's hand. 

Staying at home with two.  I remember sometimes feeling lonely when it was just Olivia and me, before she could talk to me.  Now, there is not a moment during the day that someone is not touching me or talking to me or needing me for something.  It is truly a selfless time in my life and to be totally honest it is hard some days.  I absolutely love my family more than anything, but being a stay at home mom with two small children is a tough job.  There's more laundry, dust on the floor and toys to pick up than can ever be tended to in one day.  But there are also more newborn snuggles and smiles and little arms wrapped around my neck than I could ever deserve.  For every moment in the day that is trying there are 5 more that melt my heart.  I lay in bed and memories of the day tug at my heart.  Did I talk to harshly too Olivia about something or did I miss out on too many snuggles with Jack while tending to Olivia.  At the end of the day I just want my family to know how much I love them and although I am far from perfect I try so hard to be the best I can for them. 

Life with two.  When Chad is home in the evenings and on weekends, we divide and conquer.  He is such a big help and I probably don't tell him enough how I couldn't make it right now without him.  He tends to Olivia and I take care of Jack.  We try to get Olivia out of the house and to do something fun while I have the help.  We both try to do as much as we can around the house while the other plays with the kids.  We each have a kid to bathe and get ready for bed and after they are asleep we are both ready to pass out by 9 pm every night.  Jack is still in our room for a few more weeks and still wakes up every 2-3 hours to eat.  Things are slowly starting to normalize and I am sure the more Jack sleeps and lets us sleep the easier things will get.  Although things are busy at home, we really enjoy the weekends just the four of us. All of us laying in the living room floor crowded around Jack, watching Olivia love on him and seeing happiness in all three of their eyes is pretty much as good as it gets for me.  I am loving this new, crazy life with two and want to savor every sweet and sour moment with my little family :)

Photography by my very talented friend Heather Kemp Photography