Monday, January 25, 2010

Wearing the Brown Pants has been well over a month since my last blog. I swear, there is never any time for anything...

The last several weeks have consisted primarily of the following:

1) mind-blowing work stress ("when you have a minute, Baker, can you....")
2) doing laundry
3) getting my 3 year old to stop pooping her pants

Since the first two are rather boring (and blogging about #1 would likely get me fired), let's study #3 (which would be funnier if I'd made it #2....heh).

I have blogged about potty training in the past. Getting started with potty training is a unique time between parent and child--parent is trying to get to know the child on a whole different level. I spent time trying to learn Rachael's 'tells', kept eyes on the clock, had her bladder at the front of my mind. During these early stages, there's a 'win some, lose some' mentality that allows the occasional pair of wet undies to do little but raise an eyebrow. I was down with this process.

Proud of my patience, and prouder of Rachael's mastery of her bladder, we warped to Level 2: Poop.

She seems unwilling (NOT unable) to take ownership of this bowel situation. I honestly don't get it. I've tried to explain to her that the same techniques used for bladder management can be applied to her bowels. I ask, "what do you do when you feel you need to poop?" and she says "I go poop on the potty." She then poops in her pants. Really? REALLY?! The fierce denial is what really gets me: "Rachael, did you poop in your pants?" (while she is standing there with a load in her drawers). Answer: "No! NO NO NO!" Arg!

Perhaps realizing that I was nearing the brink of insanity (did I mention the mind-blowing work stress earlier?), husband shows up with an article he found about...Rachael. I kid you not--it's an article about smart kids who simply will not give in on one lingering piece of the whole potty training experience. I read through it three or four times, considered its advice, and decided to give it a try.

The whole premise of the article is to put your kid in control by letting go. Stop pestering, stop asking, stop issuing punishments if pant-pooping occurs, etc. My previous technique was, if Rach pooed up her pants, she wasn't allowed to watch Dora the Explorer on TV that night. She quietly accepted the Dora-free nights, but it wasn't changing her behavior one bit.

So, on Tuesday this week, I had her go pick out her underpants, explained that the underpants are very pretty and don't want poop on them, then....closing ceremonies: "Rachael, you are a big girl, very smart, and I know you can go potty all by yourself. If you feel you need to be on the potty, you have to do it by yourself now, ok?" She nodded, and that was the last time we've really talked about potty.

So how much poo have I cleaned up since then? Zero. No accidents--three poop successes at school, too. I'm not expecting that this chapter is entirely closed, but I have a totally new outlook now, which helps. If she has an accident, I have to go along, business as usual: no Dora blackouts, no tense rides home from school. So I'm gritting my teeth and talking my type-A self into making poop a non-issue.

Once we get the poop under control, we'll move on to graduate-level topics like 'nighttime bladder awareness'. But for now I'll be satisfied with a bachelor's degree in 'daytime bowel management.' :)

Rach on a school day--she's such a great kid!

And here's my pretty, super-motivated Erin, who is desperate to walk (because after all, Rachael walks, and Erin thinks that everything Rachael does is amazing):