Potty Training 101

Parents of small children, potential parents, people who may inherit small children…lend me your ears!  I am about to blow your mind.  I have successfully potty trained two kids so that makes me an expert* in the field and I’m about to tell you my secrets.

First, let me tell you what I did wrong.  When Kamryn was barely 2 years old and I was pregnant with Rory, I felt this need to have my daughter potty trained.  I thought it would have been impossible to have two children in diapers.  I bought 3 potty seats/chairs, thinking I had to have these little chairs all over the house.  The main objective is to get your child to pee/poop in the toilet, right?  So why have them go in this little chair and then have to retrain them to go in an actual toilet?  Not to mention, cleaning shit out of a plastic bowl is a million times worse than changing a diaper.  You are almost guaranteed to get the dreaded “poop finger”.  It is what it sounds like.  Poop on your finger and it will most definitely get under your nail.

Apparently, I'm crazy - according to the date stamp on this picture, Kamryn was 19 mos when we first attempted potty training.

The second mistake went hand and hand with the first.  Kamryn never told me she wanted to do her business in the toilet.  She had been in the bathroom with me enough times to know what the porcelain throne was for, but it was my decision to start the potty training.  The first couple of times I put her on the toilet, we sat there for about an hour each time before anything happened.  It was sooooo boring.  We read books, watched videos on my laptop and I made up songs which I will share with you later.  Go ahead and see if your child is ready.  Put them on the toilet and if they don’t do anything for an hour – they aren’t ready.  If they scream that they don’t want to go – they aren’t ready.  If you are getting ready to smear feces on the wall out of frustration – neither of you are ready.  Stop trying and wait a few weeks or months.  Seriously.

Here she is 2 1/2 years old - Rory was born less than 3 weeks later - she wasn't potty trained.

The final mistake was bribing with M&M’s.  This sounded like a brilliant idea, but unless you want a tantrum every time you put your child on the toilet and they don’t “produce” anything, I suggest skipping this step.  So why not give a reward for trying?  Yeah, I tried that.  Suddenly, my child claimed she had to pee every 2 minutes.  Kids aren’t dumb.

Try this test.  Put a bucket on the floor or a potty training seat (this was the only time it was useful), get your child down to just underwear or preferably, nothing at all.  Place it in front of the TV, instruct your child to do their business in the bucket or potty and leave the room.  If they manage to do it without a problem, they are probably ready to start potty training.  If they end up peeing on the couch or wherever they were sitting.  You may want to hold off.  I like this test because it shows that the child recognizes the sensation of having to pee even if they are distracted by watching TV.  The reason I say to leave the room is to avoid the temptation of you saying “Do you have to go potty?” every 2 minutes.

Assuming your child passed the test, you can continue to leave their bottom half sans clothing for another day or two before putting the underwear on.  I did that with Kamryn and she did a pretty good job once we put her in underwear.  I didn’t really have that option with Rory so I took a different approach.

I downloaded an app on my phone called iPotty.  It was OK, but it kept shutting down my phone, which was more annoying than cleaning up pee.  Basically, I had Rory going pee every 30 min to start, then every 45 min for about 3 days.  DO NOT ASK YOUR CHILD IF THEY HAVE TO PEE!  They are going to tell you “No” and then piss their pants right in front of you.  I guarantee it.  Instead, say “Time to go potty!” and just take them.  Rory likes to race so all I would have to do is say “On your mark!  Get set!  Go!”  and we would race to the bathroom.  He thought it was awesome and I never had to argue with him about going pee.

Rock out with your ____ out! For as much as I swear, I despise that word - almost as much as the female "C" word.

After the 3rd day, I pretty much left him to his own devices.  I made sure he had on easy pants to get up and down and threw caution to the wind.  He did really well so the next day we went to the zoo.  I’m telling you, the anxiety you feel when venturing out into the public with a semi-potty trained kid is like none you will ever feel.  You are constantly scanning your surroundings in search of the restroom signs so you can jet into a bathroom should you see a pee holding crotch grab.  We made it through the entire time at the zoo with about 5 bathroom breaks, but no accidents!

That was a few weeks ago.  Have we had accidents?  Yep, but they aren’t daily or even every other day.  I say we are averaging about one a week.  We got rid of all the diapers last week and are using a Pull Up at night.  I’m happy to report that Rory’s Pull Up is dry every morning.  I debated on whether I should even put him in the Pull Ups at all, but I’m not very pleasant at night when I get woken up to change sheets.

The bottom line is this.  If you try to force your child to potty train early, you are wasting your time.  Don’t worry about all of those other parents that are claiming their children were potty trained while still in utero.  They are liars and probably lost years off their lives because of the frustration and anxiety that I spoke of previously.

*I am not an expert, but this really is common sense.

It’s Better Out Of Context

I have a 5 year old little girl and a very soon to be 3 year old little boy.  As a full time mom (what a stupid expression) rather a woman that is around her children all day, I have found myself doing things I swore I would never do.  Like using my hand to wipe snot off my kid’s face and then wiping that snot on my pants.  Or eating that last bite of super soggy cookie that my child fell asleep with in their hand on the way home from somewhere.

More than just doing things I find odd or disgusting, I find myself saying things that shock me.  Some phrases are just bizarre and for some reason, last week was chock full of these odd snippets of conversation that are still making me giggle.

I am choosing to not elaborate on the context in which these were said because that’s like having to explain a joke.  Go ahead and try to figure out what I was talking about – I will tell you this, each and every one was said to Rory.

  • I’m pretty sure goldfish don’t want to live in your eye.
  • Can you think of a better name than Super Nipples?
  • How many times do I have to tell you that Mommy doesn’t have a penis?
  • Do you think you would like to eat blood?
  • Get in Sissy’s hole!

The last one was said in mixed company, so my friend, Janis, and really anyone else within earshot, got to enjoy that one.  I did kind of yell it too.

A Yummy Run

I was out on my run this morning and was feeling pretty good about it.  I was only going about 2.5 miles so I knew it was going to be fast.  Plus, the sun was shining, it was warm and I was hungry.  I’m not using “hungry” in the figurative sense, but in the literal.  I was hungry for food.  Not I’m hungry for a good run.

One thing I like to do is work out when I’m hungry.  I know I’m not tapping into secret fat reserves or anything like that.  I  just feel lighter on my feet and I feel like I can breathe easier.  Sometimes when I run, I get a feeling that I’m going to puke.  I have to keep forcing myself to burp and it eventually goes away.  If my stomach contained even a little bit of food, I fear that I would be yacking it out all over the sidewalk.  I never know when the potential puke fest may happen so I choose not to eat before I work out.

I was about a mile into my run and I heard someone coming up behind me on a bike.  I thought it was odd since I was going against traffic, but whatever floats their boat, I thought.  I glanced over to see this lady run past me.  I didn’t care that she was passing me – I have said it before, I am not a fast runner, but what irritated me was that she didn’t even crack a smile in my direction.  (You can read how I feel about this here.)  Seriously, lady, you are close enough for me to reach out and punch you, the least you can do is acknowledge me.  And for the record, she wasn’t going that  fast.  I could have chased after her, but she turned the corner.  I’m assuming she used all of her energy to pass me and then had to collapse in exhaustion and this was her only escape.  The little world I live in is awesome.

I really didn’t get too worked up about the rude runner because almost immediately after this incident, all I could smell was bacon.  If I am running through a neighborhood, I almost always come across a house that smells like food.  And honestly, 9 times out of 10, it smells like bacon.  I also always run in the morning so people are frying up delicious pork belly and the aroma wafts outside.

Maybe it was because it was Sunday morning and I think people are more likely to eat a breakfast including bacon on a weekend versus a weekday, but the smell of bacon led me all the way home.  Some areas were a little stronger than other, but there was a definite bacon bouquet in the air for over a mile.

This is where my hunger plays against me.  My mouth was watering, I was almost drowning in my own saliva.  But what really sucked, was that I knew when I got home, our own house was going to smell like bacon because right before I left, I made Kamryn eggs and bacon and I gave her the last two slices.

What's a post about bacon without at least one Kevin Bacon reference?

Grrrr Moments

Oprah has “A-Ha!” moments, I have “Grrrr” moments.  I know I’m not alone because my friend, Jen, sent this to me:

amy, i don’t blog, but if i did it would be on how annoying it is to go to the pantry and pull out a bag of pretzels, only to find 2 sticks and a handful of salt inside. or a box of cereal that has like 2 spoonfuls of chex and it’s so NOT worth pouring! almost as annoying as completely empty containers that haven’t been thrown away. got any of those issues up your sleeve?!?!?!?

Oh Jen…you have opened one big can of worms.  Cereal, snacks, coffee creamer, just the heels of bread all left in their respective boxes, bags and bottles with the illusion of containing at least one actual serving.

My kids are still too young to be really helping themselves to their own food without at least a little supervision, but my husband is not.  He is the guilty party in our house when it comes to this offense.  Sometimes he’ll do it right in front of my face.  Like leaving 3 fries on the baking sheet.  The worst is finding the empty box of waffles taking up space in the freezer.  I always happen to find that empty box when one of the kids is dead set on having a waffle for breakfast.

I tried to think of different ways I could retaliate.  I thought of leaving notes in the empty containers, but I thought those would go unnoticed.  Afterall, Ryan is the only one in the house that knows there isn’t anything left in those packages so why would he go back and look in them?

My husband is fully aware of my irritation with this and claims it isn’t intentional.  If he could say it with a straight face and not a shit eating grin, I may be more likely to believe that he is sincere.  He has told me that he does things at times because he knows I hate it.

I guess it just comes down to not understanding the reason behind not finishing the products and disposing of the empty containers.  I can’t say it’s laziness because it seems much easier to toss the package into the trash or recycling.  I don’t think it’s a psychological thing of finishing a bag of chips and feeling like a glutton.  It’s one of life’s great mysteries.

So I guess I have to apologize to Jen for not being able to come up with a workable solution to this epidemic.  All I can offer is my empathy.  Together, we can get through this.


It’s A Sign

I have a tell.  Like in poker, but my tell involves a change in my day.  The morning started off wonderfully.  Kamryn was off from school so we met up with some friends from her class for a playdate.  The kids had so much fun and I could tell they were a little tired from playing, but perked up once they had lunch and a couple of minutes to relax.

I had a few errands to run in the afternoon – jewelry store to pick up my wedding ring, the mall to find some pants for Kamryn and Costco.  Each and every stop was a piece of cake – the kids were awesome and my wedding ring is so sparkly and shiny, it looks like I got married yesterday!

Things were going surprisingly well for me until we got home.  I was approaching the door to unlock it and go inside when it happened.  I pointed the keyless entry remote for the car at the front door and hit the unlock button….twice.  I have done this a few times and each time the day took a terrible turn.  The first time I laughed about it, but the rest of the day it was clear that my mind was elsewhere.

So with that and my commitment to posting everyday, that’s all I can muster up.


The Most Terrifying Words I Have Ever Heard

Rory has been in the midst of potty training for about 3 weeks.  I think I can finally say we are officially potty trained.  I’m even getting rid of all the diapers since he hasn’t worn one in at least a week – maybe even 2.  At night I’m still putting him in a Pull Up, but it’s been dry in the morning and he has actually even woken up in the middle of the night to pee on two different occasions.  The reason why I’m going into such detail is because I want everyone to know he is really potty trained.

One thing that I have discovered since becoming a mom is that parents are terribly competitive when it comes to the accomplishments of their children.  The major milestones are always big scorers.  Things like walking, potty training, reading, riding a bike, getting a tooth and then losing a tooth – all big deals for kids and parents.

I don’t feel like I’m too competitive in announcing my child’s accomplishments.  It’s mostly I’m genuinely proud of them and want to share my excitement.  One thing that really bothers me is when a parent is boasting about their child’s accomplishments before they are indisputably doing them.  Let me explain.

When Kamryn was just shy of 1 year old, we met up with some friends.  Before the playdate, I was told by this friend that her child, who I’ll call Pof (Pants On Fire – as in liar, liar), who was a month younger than Kamryn, was walking.  I admit, I was a little surprised and immediately thought what is wrong with Kamryn?  She should be walking!  I was getting all worked up until we actually had our playdate.  Guess who wasn’t walking?!  POF!  What Pof was capable of doing was pushing around a toy, chair or stroller and walking behind it.  That is not walking.  If you took away the props, Pof was on her ass.

I am way off track here, but here is another example:  I recall another parent telling me that their child had been potty trained since 18 months, but now, at age 3, would only shit in a diaper.  Uh, guess what…your child isn’t potty trained.

Remember the scene in Big Daddy, starring Adam Sandler?  No?  Watch….

My only regret is that they didn’t include Adam saying “I know!” in the clip.  That is what makes it funny.  Moving on, once you get to the point of your child wiping their own ass…well, (wiping a tear from my eye) it’s a pretty big damn deal.

Today, when I was in the shower I heard all kinds of things going on in the kid’s bathroom.  We share a wall so I knew something was amiss.  The minute I turned the water off, Rory was trying to open the door to my bathroom.  I knew it wasn’t going to be good, but I tried to remain optimistic.  I took one look at my little boy with a shirt on and absolutely nothing on the bottom and I was scared, but only when he said “Mama, me go BIG POOP!” did I realize I had a major situation on my hands.  I wrapped the towel around me and ran to the other bathroom, leaving wet footprints on the carpet (one of my biggest pet peeves, besides the actual phrase, pet peeve).  There was no evidence of any feces.  He toddled behind me and I asked him if he wiped and he said “No me wipe my buuuuuttttt!”  OK…crisis averted.   See, until a child actually knows how to wipe their own ass, you don’t want them to even attempt it.  It’s a mess.

Until that exact moment, I thought I was going to be cleaning off excrement from the walls, toilet and any other object that Rory came into contact with in the moments following his “big poop”.  Nope.  Rory just hopped off the shitter and didn’t sit on anything until he presented me with his achievement of pooping on his own.

What had started off as terror, soon turned to elation!  The boy knew not to put his underwear back on, avoiding “bacon strips” in his pants and didn’t sit on the carpet and scoot his butt around like a dog.  AWESOME SAUCE!!!

My non-shit wiping kid.

Still Searching

On January 29, 2009, I was given the arduous task of coming up with 25 Random Things About Me.  It was one of those Facebook things that we have all seen – most of which I ignore, but this one decided to give a shot.  As it turns out, once I started, I almost couldn’t stop!  Surprise!!

I was going back through my old journals, notes, etc and came across my list.  There are a lot of things on there that I would change now either because they just aren’t true anymore or I have changed my opinion for one reason or another.  For example, #22 on the list was about Kamryn sucking her thumb.  She hasn’t sucked her thumb for almost 2 years now.  #15 was about how much I swear and that I need to stop.  I don’t think I really need to stop – I just thought I should say that so I don’t sound like an asshole.

The one item on my list that still makes me wonder is #12: I think I have a hidden talent that I have yet to discover and this is what I should be doing for the rest of my life.

In high school everyone had to take a career test to see what they would be best suited for.  I was either a freshman or sophomore and what I really wanted to be was an Interior Decorator.  I showed little to no promise in this field at all.  The one thing that made me believe that I had great taste was that I had the exact same comforter on my bed as Uncle Jesse in Full House.  It was this southwestern mint green thing.  We also had the same Elvis poster, but I was more impressed with the bedspread.  As I was taking my career test, I was trying my best to weigh the answers in my favor.  That damn dot matrix printer was going to spit out my destiny and it was going to be glamorous!

We had to wait about 10 minutes for the Apple II to compute all of my answers.  My creativeness was obviously way too much for it’s processor.  (Did Apple II’s even have processors?  Probably not.)  I was so sure of the outcome, I almost didn’t stop to look at the education needed to become a…Hotel/Motel Manager!?!?  WHAT?

My immature high school brain had no idea what a hotel/motel manager did, but this is what I assumed:  Hotels are open 24 hours, ergo, I would never get a day off!  I used to feel sorry for radio DJ’s because they had to work on Christmas.  Now I was going to be working on Christmas along with those on the radio, but at least they got to play hours of Sir Mix A-Lot, Boyz II Men, and Kris Kross (remember this was the early 90’s).

I was going to shoot for that Interior Design job anyway…until I read that I had to have a portfolio.  Aaaaannnnddd, I’m out.  That’s a lot of work and I’m pretty sure pictures of my Uncle Jesse bedspread wouldn’t suffice.

I don’t think I missed my calling as a decorator.  In fact, I know I didn’t.  So I will continue on my path and see what pops up along the way.  I made some really good soup two nights ago…does this world need another Soup Nazi????

Oh, Rory…

I debated on whether I would actually write anything when I posted this picture or just let the picture doing the talking.  Well, for those of you that know me, you know I can’t keep my mouth shut.

Rory wanted to watch Mickey Mouse (or as he calls it, Dicky Mouse).  I could tell he was tired so I put him back on my bed and found an episode On Demand.  It was quiet in the bedroom and that meant he had fallen asleep or he was smearing Vaseline all over his face again (that was what he was doing when I got out of the shower).

I did not expect to see him pulling an Al Bundy!

Real nice, Rory.

Paula’s My Girl!

I have one thing to say to all the people who are hatin’ on my girl, Paula lately.  You best back the f’ off!  I love Paula Deen not only for her fabulous culinary skills and her intoxicating Southern charm, but for her humble nature.

Paula has been called everything from a hypocrite for not announcing her diabetes diagnosis the minute she got her first insulin injection to “the most dangerous person to America” by Anthony Bourdain.  Pipe down, Tony…I think that’s a little extreme don’t you?

I have made some of Paula’s recipes.  My favorite one is called Double Chocolate Gooey Butter Cake.  It is absolutely wonderful.  Do you know how many times I have made it?  Once.  Do you know why I have only made it once even though it is my favorite recipe?  Because there are 2 full sticks of butter and a full box of powdered sugar in it and I know that I can’t eat that everyday or there is a good chance that I might die.  You may be surprised to learn that I am not a nutritionist.

I’m curious, do Paula’s critics think that she was eating 2 sticks of butter per meal everyday and then advocating that everyone else eat that way?  I don’t understand how any adult can, in good conscience, blame another person for what they, themselves, put in their mouth.  The more upset the person is about Paula and her delicious recipes, the more I question the intellect of that person.

There was a suggestion that Ms. Deen state that her recipes were for entertainment purposes only.  Are you kidding me?  Warnings on food, alcohol and cigarettes aren’t for your average to above average intelligence folks, if you catch my drift.  If you don’t catch my drift, go read some warnings and leave Paula alone.


I have bloggers block!  My mind is a complete blank!  I was going to write about my trip to Target today and about 2 minutes after I started formulating that post in my head, I had this thought:  That is lame as shit!  This is like when I was a kid and we would get all excited to get out of our small, Iowa town and make the trip to Des Moines or Omaha to go shopping.

For the record, I wasn’t really excited about my trip to Target, it was just the first time I had ever bought groceries there.  Also, there are about 10 stoplights between my house and Target and I made it there with only hitting one red light.  I’m not making the compelling argument I think I am.  Am I?

At first, I thought that the post was lame, but then I started to think it wasn’t just the post, it was me!  I was the lame one.  That was kind of sad.  I thought I needed to completely revamp my life – give it a shot of steroids or something.  Then I realized that not only do I not need to do that, I shouldn’t.

I always love watching kids get so excited over minimal things.  My mom likes to tell people that she could give me a box of Kleenex and a bowl of water and I would play for hours.  I don’t doubt that, because my kids have been playing with the couch pillows for the last half hour.

I’m back to that state (hopefully not my second childhood already) where simple, everyday things are floating my boat!  I don’t have to search high and low for that thrill – I just have to walk outside or make a really good dinner.  Then, when I do have a night out, it’s a pretty big deal.  I was out last Thursday with some friends and didn’t get home until midnight.  For a girl who is usually in bed by 8:30 and asleep by 9:30, that is really livin’ it up.

I’m not sure how long this stage of easy amusement will last.  Hopefully, it lasts as long as it needs to.  Once my kids can be left to their own devices, Ryan and I can start living lives like those couples in the erectile dysfunction commercials.  I mean besides the obvious shortcomings, they are busy folks!  Boating by day and taking baths in side by side tubs on a cliff under the moonlight at night.  A girl can dream…