Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Perils of Potty Training

* What follows is a long-winded and most likely TMI account of Kaitlynn's road to big girl panties.

After my last post about Kaitlynn's sad excuse of a potty chart, Kaitlynn really got into the sticker action and filled up the chart with over 20 stickers (each sticker represented a successful trip to the potty). So we went to the store and let her pick out a prize, and she chose yet another baby doll (surprise surprise!)

Dirty Baby added a sticker to Kaitlynn's old potty chart.

Then I got my rear in gear and downloaded an official Dora the Explorer potty chart from the Nick Jr. website. I hung it up and she definitely seemed more excited about earning Dora stickers by going potty. I'm not sure if it was the new chart or just the right timing, but Kaitlynn was showing many more signs of potty readiness. She would ask to go use the potty at home and school, she was keeping her diapers dry in between potty visits and overnight, and she began asking to wear her panties instead of diapers.

Kaitlynn's new Dora potty chart.

So before I really knew what was happening, I found myself in the throes of hard-core potty training. We started spending more time at home, and we experimented with princess pull-ups. We also began spending lots of time naked. For some reason, the nakedness seemed to help prevent accidents. Even though Kaitlynn was doing great with potty training, her stubborn nature was getting in the way of her success. Even when I knew she really needed to go potty, she would refuse unless it was HER idea. As long as I forced her to go, she would avoid accidents. What surprised me the most, though, is that she immediately began staying dry through her naps and overnight. She would actually have more success staying dry overnight than during the daytime.

Dirty Baby is potty training, too.

Kaitlynn also began potty training Dirty Baby. Good times.

Dirty Baby went potty! Yay!

After a few days of potty training (mostly naked) at home, it was time to see how she would do at school. I took her to school with 3 extra sets of clothes. (Her school day is only 5 hours but I like to be prepared, ha!) I warned her teachers about her stubbornness in using the potty, and I told them that I had to sometimes withhold privileges from her until she would use the potty. They asked me if she needed a pull-up for her nap but I said no.

Before venturing out of the house, I packed multiple changes of clothes.

I honestly didn't know what to expect when I picked Kaitlynn up from school that afternoon but I can tell you that I most certainly did NOT expect to see her in the same outfit. When I walked around the corner and saw her in the same outfit, my jaw dropped. Her teacher said that they had to coerce her into using the potty (they withheld her lunch until she went) but that once she got there, she did fine. She didn't have any accidents, even during her nap. I praised Kaitlynn over and over, and I kept telling her how proud I was!

The next day we had another successful day. We went to a birthday party at the home of one of her classmates. I was busy talking with the other mothers when all of a sudden, Kaitlynn was calling for me and saying she needed to go potty. And she told me again about an hour later while still at the party. I was floored! Not only was she staying dry, but now she was actually telling me when she had to go.

During all of this potty training, I have learned the hard way that potty training with girls is SO much different from boys. I'm still undecided which gender is more difficult to handle when using adult-sized toilets. To be honest, many of Kaitlynn's "accidents" have come from wetting her pants while actually sitting on the potty. Controlling the flow is much harder with girls than boys, so we have made a lot of messes trying to figure out the best way to position Kaitlynn on an adult potty. The best way is to unclothe her from the waist down to give her leverage across the bowl. Sometimes that isn't possible when wearing certain outfits or shoes, so I try to wad up extra toilet paper to block the flow from going where I don't want it to. And don't get me started on using public toilets. Let's just say we spend a LOT of time hand-washing after visiting public restrooms. It's always an adventure taking a 2-year-old to the potty!

After about a week of mostly successful potty training, we had a major setback. Kaitlynn had a VERY painful experience going #2 because she had been holding it in and got herself constipated. I sat with her while she was on the potty and she just screamed and cried. It made me cry, too, because I felt so bad for her. After that experience, Kaitlynn was SO scared to go #2 and refused to try. I immediately put her on Miralax (stool softener) but she continued holding it in. Finally after a few days, she began going #2 in her panties over and over. I tried bribes, comforting her, and even making her stay naked around the house. She responded by pooping on the living room rug like a dog. That was a low point in our house.

There has been a lot of nakedness at our house lately.

Jeff had a very stern talk with Kaitlynn and made her repeat over and over that "poop goes in the toilet." She reluctantly seemed to "get it" but was still too scared to try. We kept telling her that she could go poop in the potty when she was ready. Let me just say, that statement was KEY for both of my kids' potty training experiences. "Let me know when you're ready" -- giving them the control made all the difference for them but especially for Kaitlynn.

We hunkered down in the house, left Kaitlynn naked from the waist down, and watched her like a hawk for several days. Finally on the 3rd day, I noticed that Kaitlynn was trying to sneak away to a corner, presumably to do her business. I kept putting her on the potty and walking away saying I'd be right back. She cried and wanted down, and we did this routine over and over. After several times, she couldn't hold it any longer. I heard the most joyful noise as a waited outside the bathroom door -- a big plop! Yes, that's probably TMI but I've never been happier to hear that sound!

Kaitlynn exclaimed, "I did it!" and I ran in and began jumping for joy, praising her over and over. Then Connor joined us and we all just cheered and sang her praises for several minutes. I told Kaitlynn I was SO proud of her and then I gave her a handful of jellybeans to celebrate. She was definitely proud of herself and kept asking me if I was proud of her, to which I responded positively with praise and hugs. I was hoping that maybe this would put us over the hump.

So proud of this big girl!

Sure enough, from that day forward, Kaitlynn has been accident-free. She still needs some coaxing to go #2 when it's time, but she has been wearing her big girl panties for 2 weeks now. And ironically enough, Kaitlynn has completely lost interest in her new Dora potty chart.

We have resumed our busy schedule without any problems, although I'm always aware of the closest nearby restrooms while out in public. Even the nights are going great. If Kaitlynn needs to go potty overnight, she just cries out for me to get her out of her crib and take her to the potty and then goes right back to sleep. I am just SO proud of our big girl!!

And can I just say how happy we are to have reached this major milestone in our family?! No more diapers...EVER!!!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Sleepover Fun

Yesterday was our turn to host a sleepover with Connor and Kaitlynn's friends Brady, Benjamin, Timothy, Tanner, and Lily. (My friends Julie and Michelle and I take turns keeping all 7 kids for a sleepover in exchange for 2 free nights without them.)

On the agenda for the evening: lots of outside playtime, pizza for dinner, quick baths, and watching "Spy Kids" the movie. The next morning, we enjoyed donuts and kolaches followed by more outside fun. The kids were so well-behaved and had a blast. This is such a fun overnight activity for all the kids and I look forward to many more of these nights, especially the ones when Jeff and I get overnight alone time! :-)

Here are pictures from our fun night.

All 7 kiddos, smiling for a bribe of marshmallows.

Playing football

The boys aren't the only ones who had fun. Kaitlynn loves playing with Lily!

It's never been more exciting around our dinner table!

Here's a video of our dinnertime fun:

Our very own "Spy Kids"

Watching the Spy Kids movie

Bedtime with 5 sweet boys

Silly time!

More silliness!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Western Day

One of my favorite things about living in Houston is the annual celebration when the Rodeo comes to town. Even all the local schools get in on the action. Connor's school hosted their annual Western Day a few weeks ago to celebrate the kickoff of the Rodeo. All the kids were encouraged to wear their best western gear. Connor and his neighbor buddies got all dressed up for the big day and I took their picture before school. I told them to give me their best cowboy pose and this is what I got. I LOVE this picture!

Now those are some tough-looking cowboys.

In support of Western Day, each grade put on a little program of rodeo songs for the parents. The kids were so cute! Here's a video clip of one of the songs the Kindergarten classes performed.

Kaitlynn and her Daddy were in attendance for the Rodeo program.

Here are my little cowpokes before school.

In addition to the Rodeo program, the Kindergarten classes were able to participate in what is called Rodeo Round-Up. Throughout the entire day, the kindergarten classes rotated through various Rodeo-themed stations to learn more about what the Rodeo means in Texas. Some of the stations included storytime around the campfire while eating campfire beans, branding the cows (using paint), face-painting, horseshoe throwing, pony races, and so much more. I was volunteering during the stations and so I didn't manage to get any pictures. The kids had SO much fun while learning all about the Rodeo and I was so grateful to be able to witness the fun in person.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Photo Dump

Time for another photo dump! Some of these pictures are months old but I wanted to make sure they end up in our family blog book.

Connor and Kaitlynn wearing funny faces during a football watching party in January.

Recently Connor celebrated his 100th day of Kindergarten! He decorated this posterboard with 100 beans to represent the 100 days. When his teacher saw the Texans logo on there, she responded, "Of course!"

We are so lucky to live in the cul-de-sac of the most friendly street I've ever experienced! We regularly have parties like this one - the celebration of our oldest neighbor's 86th birthday. The turnout (and food) is always incredible!

Recently my girlfriend Julie and I ran into Andre Johnson (Texans star wide receiver!) at the Houston Galleria. I was so starstruck and Julie took our picture. I don't think he was too happy about it, but I don't have to tell Connor that!

Kaitlynn developed an ear infection last month and loves taking her medicine. She is usually the one to remind me to give it to her every morning and evening.

Remember the "playhouse" that the kids got for Christmas the year before last? They still love it!

These two are so cute sometimes.

Connor's recent homework assignment was to draw someone smiling and write 2 sentences about them. Melt my heart!

Silly girl playing with q-tips.

My new car decal for our Houston Texans family. I love it!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Visiting Collin at College

Last weekend we made a family trip to San Antonio to visit Collin at college. He is attending University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), which is where his Mom and Dad both attended. The whole family was excited to see Collin and have a little belated birthday celebration for him. Here are some pictures of our fun family weekend.

Collin with his 3 roommates in their on-campus apartment at UTSA.

Here's the outside of Collin's apartment building.

Collin requested raquetball gear for his birthday.

We went on a mini-tour of the UTSA campus.

Kaitlynn loved the steps leading to one of the campus common areas.

It was a gorgeous day to explore the campus.

The guys.

When Connor learned we were going to San Antonio, he immediately begged us to visit the Alamo. He had just learned about it at school and wanted to visit in person.

Jeff and his 4 kiddos at the huge live oak on the Alamo grounds.

We had a great visit in San Antonio and it was nice catching up with Collin. If you look back through the pictures, you can probably see a certain little sister that has really been missing her big brother. Kaitlynn (and Connor too) were so excited to spend time with Collin and didn't want to leave!