Saturday, July 26, 2008

And here we have Idaho . . .

We have spent the last three days enjoying the great state of Idaho. The weather has been beautiful. I can hardly believe it's as hot as the thermometer says.

Visiting family is more complicated now that we have children to tend. We have to make sure Victor doesn't wander off and that Zeke stays out of the sun. (That's harder than it sounds.)

Victor and Zeke are generally pleasant children, but when they miss meals and naps and play time, they fall apart.

Fortunately, we have lots of aunts and uncles and grandparents who have helped with the boys. Liz and Candice were life savers today. Liz accompanied Victor as he followed a dog he liked, and Candice showed him how to balance a spoon on his nose.

It's been wonderful to see all of my cousins and to visit all of the family sites. I hadn't been to Chesterfield in years.

When I was young, I thought Idaho was ugly. But I was wrong. It's really lovely.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Today we flew to Utah. Victor thoroughly enjoyed flying on an airplane and riding the shuttle bus from long term parking.

The four of us sat in one row, and it wasn't too bad. Zeke and Victor were downright good.

There was some crying from Victor when Zeke dropped a Matchbox car on his head. It was a 1957 Cadillac, so it really hurt.

There was also a moment of panic when the baby's rice cereal went flying. Most of the escaped cereal hit Victor's left leg, but some of it hit the man in front of us. Jeremy tapped him on the shoulder to apologize, but he waved it off. What a nice man.

The flight was just under four hours. Victor used the potty twice. Zeke used a diaper at least three times.

Jeremy adds that Victor flushed the toilet while sitting on it, which created a scary vaccuum noise and sensation. Fortunately, Victor gets a rush out of being startled (he has since he was a baby), so he thought it was funny.

Day 23 Report

Day 23 went pretty well.

Thanks to Aunt Liz's comment from Day 22, I am now wondering what on earth we will do in Utah.

I suppose they have toilets in Utah, but what if they aren't the same?

Monday, July 21, 2008

Day 22 Report

Today we started fresh and tried to get back on track.

The timer is out. I observed that it merely signaled him to have an accident.

The poop button was tremendous fun, though. We'll stick with it.

I also kept a log of what he did today and when. I hope to compare it to future data and see trends.

Finally, when Victor threw fits about sitting on the potty, I told him that we had to practice standing and sitting, even if we didn't have to go. He was almost okay with standing on his stool with his underwear up while I counted to ten. It seemed to take some pressure off.

Official Tally:
10 stickers
4 pairs of underwear (1 stayed dry)
1 pull-up (got wet on a long car ride)
1 diaper (stayed dry)
1 BM in the potty
3 wet accidents
1 messy accident

July Pictures

Photos of our July adventures are now posted on Jer's Superfun Family Extravaganza.

You can email me for the password.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Day 20 Report?

I have lost track of what day we are on.

Friday and Saturday were not terribly successful. We had some stickers, some tree watering, some messy accidents, and an increasing number of wet accidents.

We were also having lots of fun with Grandma Nancy.

After our second wet accident on Sunday morning and an tantrum on the potty, I pulled out The Idiot's Guide to Potty Training. I read two helpful sections.

First, tantrums are normal. Treat them like any other tantrum, and tell the child that after he is calm, he still has to sit on the potty. I'll try it.

Second, I read the section on constipation. The book said that messy accidents may be uncontrollable when you have this problem. Poor Victor has all the signs. I feel bad for being frustrated with his lack of pooping on the potty now that I know about his trouble.

Our action plan is to get him to drink more. Lots more. I think I'll make another sticker chart for drinking. I may even resort to juice. (We avoid juice around here--I don't want a juice fiend.) Maybe we'll have drinking times during the day.

Perhaps frustration with the messy accidents led to regression on the dryness front. I suspect that it did.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Another Breakthrough!

Zeke has a third tooth! It is on the bottom right, second from the center.

Three teeth explains our drooly, chewy, cranky baby.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Day 19 Report

Official Tally:
11 stickers
4 pairs of underwear
0 serious BM
1 messy accident
3/4 wet accident
0 accidents while shoe shopping
1 urgent insistance on going to the potty

Our potty dance button had no discernable effect today.

Although Victor got out of bed to make a theatrical attempt at BM.

Which was funny.

A Breakthrough!

Today we had a true breakthrough at our house. Zeke cut his first two teeth!

They are the middle teeth on the bottom. They were first spotted as Zeke chewed vigorously on a spoon after his dinner.

I am pretty sure this is a permanent breakthrough, and that there will be no regressing.

Maybe not

We just had a 3/4 accident. Grandma noticed; Victor did not initiate.

So maybe there was no breakthrough.

A Breakthrough?

Three minutes ago, Victor urgently clutched his underwear and started dancing in place. I can't remember what he said, but his need was clear.

Since the shower was occupied, we ran outside and Victor watered a bush.

I'm going to call this initiative and hope it's a breakthrough.

Day 18 Report

Official Tally:
11 stickers
a bunch of underwear
1 1/2 messy accidents
2 wet accidents
0 accidents at the park

Grandma Nancy found a new reward for BM in the potty. It's a big black and orange button that plays Wild Thing when you push it. It sits high up above the over-the-range microwave where Victor can see it.

When Victor makes BM in the toilet, he gets to push the button and we all dance around. He also gets a sticker.

It's a big hit so far. We'll see if it actually motivates toilet use.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

I'm Stuck

Victor has a new way of resisting commands. He makes a great show of trying to obey, and then pronounces, "I'm stuck." Or, "I can't reach it." Or, "It's too hard."

Mom: "Victor, close the door to Mama's bedroom."

Victor [putting one foot in the way of the door and then closing it as far as it will go]: "Can't Mama. Can't. My foot's stuck."

Another favorite is:

Mom: "Victor, come here please."

Victor [lying on the ground]: "I'm stuck. I'm stuck."

I didn't think two year olds could do this sort of thing yet. It's kind of funny, but I never laugh at him. I don't want to encourage a behavior that will no longer be charming when he's five.

Day 17 Report

We're almost three weeks in, and we've hit a wall. I fear these posts are getting tedious, but for the sake of recording history, we must press on, dear readers.

Official Tally:
11 stickers
2 pull-ups
4-ish pairs of underwear
1 wet accident at the science center
2 or 3 messy accidents

Grandma Nancy and Victor went on an outing this morning to the science center and McDonald's. They had a wonderful time, and Victor used the potty 5 times.

He ought to have used it 6 times, but it's difficult to remember when you're two and playing at the boat table.

We're still butting against the BM wall. I think it's a diet issue, at least in part. We've cut the cheese and introduced raisin bran. We're also trying to get him to drink more water, but it's hard to convince him that he's thirsty.

I also realized that I haven't been checking his pants and praising their dry-ness. We'll have to start doing that again.

We had a great moment in the late afternoon when Victor announced with some urgency that he needed to water a tree. We opened the door, and out he went . . . and kept going.

(His new favorite game is to run out the front door and in the back door.)

Maybe I'll get desperate and start rewarding BM with cookies.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Day 16 Report

Morning: Good
Afternoon: Not So Good

Official Tally:
7 Stickers
2 pairs of underwear
2 pull-ups
2 messy accidents
1 wet accident
o accidents at Target, Supercuts, and the grocery store

A new pattern is emerging: good morning, not-so-good late afternoon. We also continue to have severe resistance to being told to go use the potty.

My set the timer/show him the stickers strategy has resulted in refusal to use the potty unless the timer goes off AND he feels like he has to go. Sigh.

We bought new stickers today that Victor finds very exciting. They helped a little.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Day 15 Report

Today was better.

Official Tally:
8 stickers
4 pairs of underwear
1 pull-up
2 messy accidents
1 wet accident

Resistance to being told to use the potty continues. I discovered that the resistance occurred when he didn't really have to go. So I have spaced his potty times further apart.

Also, I show him the stickers for his chart in the morning and we talk about which ones he wants. Then I hang them up high on the refrigerator, where he can see them but can't get them (unless he gets a chair, which I can usually hear and head off).

A few minutes before I want him to sit on the potty, I tell him that before our next daily event, be it Sesame Street or lunch or going outside to play or Banzuke, the timer will go off and it will be time to go to the potty. Then I set the timer and remind him that he'll get a sticker once he goes.

When the timer goes off, I act excited. And if I've timed it right, Victor gets excited and marches in to the potty and goes. Ta-da!

If I've timed it badly, Victor flops on the floor and won't cross the bathroom threshhold. I say, "Oh, you don't have to go? Okay. March into the potty when you have to go. I know you can do it."

We'll see how it works tomorrow. Jeremy's mom is in town, so we'll have lots of extra praise and encouragement for Victor.

The pull-up was a precautionary measure while we were visiting teaching. I didn't think it was right to risk someone else's carpet. He kept it dry, though.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Day 14 Report

Official Tally:
6 stickers
3 pairs of underwear
1 pull-up
1 wet accident
0 messy accidents
0 accidents at church

Today got off to a bad start. Victor threw a fit every time it was time to sit on the potty. Jeremy accidentally left the door unlocked and Victor ran outside and had a big wet accident in the yard.

So we put on a pull-up for church. After yesterday and this morning, I wasn't up for the drama of underwear.

Church was good. Victor kept his pull-up dry and used the potty twice.

The pull-up stayed dry through his nap, and he refused to sit on the potty after his nap. He finally went after I showed him the sticker he would get AND set a timer to determine when he'd go to the bathroom.

He wanted real underwear after that, which he kept dry until bed.

Bed was interrupted by potty-using. This confirms that he can control himself, which is good.

I have high hopes for tomorrow.

Day 13 Report

Official Tally:
8 stickers
Lots of underwear
3 messy accidents
1 wet accident

We had our worst carpet accident today. Victor's accident was compounded by a little friend of his who stepped in it and, well, you can fill in the rest.

The little friend's mom gave me a great tip about cleaning carpets: use Windex. By golly she was right. Her dad was in a business that knew such things.

I also poured alcohol on it, per Grandma's suggestion. It worked, too.

But it all made for a stressful social engagement. At least it was my own carpet.

It is getting difficult to stay calm about accidents.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Folding table begone!

When Victor started eating solid food I decided that we needed a kitchen table. You know, so we could eat family dinner together.


We had a table in our (carpeted) dining room, but it was much too large for the kitchen. So we thriftily pulled out a small dark wood laminate folding table with dark brown metal legs and set it up. Voila!

The folding table had a few disadvantages.

One, it was unattractive.

Two, the finish started to wear off with cleaning, making it even less attractive.

Three, it was so light that Victor pulled it to his chair instead of vice versa, thus scratching the dickens out of the linoleum under each of the four legs.

Four, one could only sit on the long side of it. But since the long side wasn't very long, it was hard to eat without bumping elbows.

Five, it was very narrow; you could not put serving dishes on the table.

Six, it was unattractive.

Seven, it was dark in a light kitchen and called an undue amount of attention to itself.

Eight, it was unattractive.

So today when Jeremy drove past a yard sale on the way home from missionary meeting and saw a table and chairs, he stopped to look.

We are now the proud owners of a pine table with white legs and four white chairs with pine seats.

Now our kitchen looks finished. The difference in visual weight is marked. Instead of being drawn to the dark table, my eye now goes right over the table and out the window. The dining area looks larger, even though there is more furniture in the room.

Jeremy is also relieved to have four new chairs. It is a constant stressor to him that we might not have enough chairs for everyone when company comes over after a baby blessing. Jeremy is a big fan of having places for guests to sit.

What a great way to spend $30.

Day 12 Report

Official Tally:
7 stickers
8 pairs of underwear
3 messy accidents
Some other accidents

Official Notes:
The underwear tally includes one pair that was removed because Victor sat in orange play-doh, not because he was wet or messy.

The underwear tally also includes one pair of underwear that was dry at the end of the day.

The messy accidents seem related to digestive issues. As such, they are not difficult to clean up.

Today was discouraging. The bright spot is that Victor now resists wearing a diaper at all, and stays dry during naps and even overnight (although less reliably). I am glad he sees himself as a boy who wears underwear.

He has been asking to wear pants this week (we skip them unless we're going out in the car--why launder 8 pairs of shorts with the 8 pairs of underwear?). Maybe I can use that desire as motivation.

In an effort to economize I pulled out some bug and bird stickers that were left over from my mission album to use on Victor's potty chart. But Victor was not as enthusiastic about them (except for the peacock stickers). His interest revived when I found another pack of car stickers.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Six Months

I wondered what Victor looked like at Zeke's age. Here is Victor at just about 6 months:

And here is Zeke at approximately the same age:

Oh, that hair!

And then there's Zeke

You may be wondering how Zeke spends his days. What does he do during potty training, you ask. I will tell you.

Zeke likes to play on the floor near Victor. He sits with a little pile of trucks and tries to pick them up and chew on them. Victor takes away some trucks and gives him others.

Eventually, Zeke falls over.

When we go to the park, Zeke spends the first half of the time in the stroller and then fusses to be picked up. I hold him for the second half. He also likes the baby swing.

When we go to the science center, the same drill applies, minus the swing.

Zeke spends a large potion of his day blowing bubbles and raspberries at me and giggling.

He loves to eat rice cereal from his high chair, without the tray. He also likes bananas, pears, and green beans. He's less hot on squash and peaches.

Zeke wakes up for breakfast around 7:30 a.m. He takes a nap around 9:00 a.m. and wakes up for lunch around 11:00 a.m. Then he takes another nap some time in the afternoon. We're still working on getting a set time.

By 4:30 p.m., Zeke is up and wants to eat and be held.

He gets crankier and crankier until Dad gets home around 7:00 p.m. Then he cries flat out until Dad picks him up. He is Dad's monkey passenger until he eats again around 8:30 p.m.

Then he goes to bed and sleeps all night until breakfast.

What a life, eh?

Day 11 Report

Here we are at Day 11. Today was less encouraging than yesterday, but I think I have confirmed one of our main obstacles. As Victor told me, "It hurts make poop." Oh dear.

6 pairs of underwear
1 wet accident
3 messy accidents
10 stickers
0 accidents at the park

Victor did take initiative on one pottying. He said, "I go water tree." And since I'm one to reward initiative, I opened the door and out he went.

The other day Liz told me a funny story about potty training in which the punch line was a mother who opened the door to let her son go potty outside. Except I didn't realize that was the punch line. It sounded like such a good idea.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Day 10 Report

Our return to Mom-prompted pottying was a great success today. Relieved of the pressure of doing all of the work on his own, Victor used the potty with very little complaint (and watered the trees with gusto).

1 pair of underwear
10 stickers
0 accidents
1 tree watered
1 tree dunged (oops)

We are going on an airplane in two weeks, so this is a good time to master the potty.

We also made a new potty chart for Victor today. This one says "Victor Uses the Potty" across the top. How's that for concrete praise!


Victor used a new word on Tuesday. I don't usually remark on new words, but this one was particularly noticable.

The word is "because."

I asked Victor a question. He answered, "Because." He repeated it throughout the day.

For example:

Me: "Victor. Why are you standing on the chair?"

Victor: "Because. Be-cause"

We'll have to work on stringing the real answer after the because.

And if he says, "Because there are no fishbones in ice cream," I'll know Grandpa Munk has been up to something!

Day 9 Report

Today I decided to let Victor use the potty when he felt he needed to go. Instead of helping him feel excited and independent, I think he felt less successful and more defiant.

We will return to the Mom Reminder system tomorrow, and try the independent system again later.

Official Tally:
10 stickers
8 pairs of underwear
3 messy accidents
several half accidents
1 fully independent potty-using
0 accidents at the Science Center

The Science Center was the highlight of Victor's day. We hadn't been in a couple of weeks, and he has been asking to go for some time. I thought, "What the heck. Let's go." I put an insurance diaper over his underwear, but both were bone dry when we got home. Victor was very proud of this feat.

He also thoroughly enjoyed himself.

Victor's day got better and better because he got a cheeseburger with pickle and fries for lunch.

We have been napping sans diaper for two days now, with perfect success, so far. He has been waking up dry from his nap for at least 6 months, though, so it's not much of a risk. And really, cleaning sheets is much easier than cleaning carpet.

Another banner note is that Victor woke up yesterday morning and today with a dry diaper. This morning he went to the potty without prompting before he ate his breakfast. That's saying something, because Victor really, really loves his breakfast.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Day 8 Report

It's the start of Week 2! Victor is doing spectacularly well on the potty. Today we went through:

11 stickers
2 pairs of underwear
1/8 accident
0 messy accidents
1 totally independent potty experience, with good aim

I still remind him to use the potty every hour or so. I check his underwear frequently and act very excited when it is dry. It's not an act--I am excited.

As he becomes more aware of when he needs to go, he resists my suggestions more vehemently. I think I will restrict required potty-time to before and after naps, before car rides or outings, and when he hasn't gone in a really long time. It will take guts, though.

Constant vigilance is our watchcry!

Day 7 Report

Today Victor wore underwear to church. He also wore underwear home from church, but it was a different pair.

Church Tally:
3 pairs of underwear
1 wet accident
2 pairs of shorts
1 messy accident
4 trips to the bathroom with Dad
0 accidents in Nursery

All in all, not too bad. Although it was Jeremy, not me, that handled all of the potty issues. What a man!

Jeremy also taught Victor to use a urinal. He said it went well, but I can't verify that. The idea of a toilet substitute that requires very little aim is very attractive to me, though. Maybe I'll put it on my dream-house wish list.

The Cards came over for games last night, and Victor showed them his potty chart. They very kindly and enthusiastically admired it. Victor was so proud.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Day 6 Addendum

Right after I posted our Day 6 Report, in which I expressed our need to help Victor use the bathroom on his own, I heard a tell-tale sound from the bathroom.

That's right--Victor was in the bathroom, standing on his stool, using the toilet. Then he sat on it. He was very happy and proud, and I was happy and proud. We were just like Joshua and his mother in Once Upon a Potty.

It's another step in the right direction. Go Victor!

Day 6 Report

Official Tally:
7+ stickers
3 pairs of underwear
1/8 wet accident
1 messy accident
0 accidents at Home Depot
0 accidents at Little Caesars
0 wetness in his diaper this morning

Our next big step is going to be independance. Either Jeremy or I walk Victor to the potty every hour or so, and he decides if he needs to sit or stand.

So I would say that we're doing well on control, but need to work on initiative. I suppose I could accomplish this by not taking him to the potty every hour or so, and waiting to see what happens, but I don't want to clean up the mess. Is there any other way?

We are going to try church tomorrow. We'll see how it goes!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Day 5 Report

13 stickers
2 pairs of clean underwear
2 pairs of soiled underwear
1 wet half accident
1 messy accident
0 accidents on our walk
0 accidents on errands with Dad
2 exciting trips up the ladder to the attic

A banner day for Victor!

Day 4 Report

Official Tally:
11 stickers
6 pairs of underwear
2 BMs in the potty
3/4 messy accident (while he was running to the potty)
1 wet accident (but he was standing in the bathroom)
3 1/4 accidents
0 accidents at the park (but he was wearing a diaper--I am not that brave)
0 accidents at the grocery store in his underwear (Jeremy is that brave)

Day 4 was a banner day until 4 p.m. Victor came running in to show me his underwear in the morning after Jeremy had changed his night diaper. He was so excited. But then he had an accident about half and hour later while standing in the bathroom. I think he thought someone was coming to help him.

He then wore the same pair of underwear from about 7:45 a.m. to about 4 p.m. At that point, things went south. We went through three pairs of underwear between 4 and 7 p.m.

While talking to Grandma on the phone, I learned that JoAnn (Mom) was the easiest child in the world to toilet train. Grandma says she didn't even have to explain it--JoAnn just knew what to do. Good thing, too, because she only had three pairs of training pants.

Maybe Victor's pants would have stayed drier if I had not been on the phone.

We continue to improve our BM-in-the-toilet ability. Making BM in the toilet is a huge rush for Victor--he gets sooooooo excited.

The more Victor goes to the potty, the more he identifies with the boys in his potty books. It's like a little light on a little dimmer switch is growing brighter. He was the same way with his Bye Bye Crib book. It's like he derives comfort from sharing an experience with a fictional character. I remember feeling that way.

Finally, props to Jeremy for braving the grocery store with an underwear-clad Victor. Victor was perfectly dry when they got home, and he looked so grown up without a diaper under his shorts, just like a real boy.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


Victor said "Swindlehurst" for the first time today. It's written on a name plate (with his first name, too) in his copy of Go Dog, Go!, and he used to have me read it over and over and over before we started the story.

Tonight, he asked for Go Dog, Go! for a bedtime story. I happened to open to the name plate, and he looked at it and said "Swindlehurst."

It's such a big name. Hooray for Victor!

Day 3 Report

Official Tally:
13 stickers
7 or 8 pairs of underwear
2 real live actual BMs in the toilet
1 messy accident
0 full wetting accidents
Many 1/4 accidents

The BMs were the real breakthrough. Victor was very, very proud of himself for achieving them.

I have determined that training pants are better than regular underwear. They both hold any wetness against the child, causing appropriate discomfort, and are more likely to keep any wetness away from furniture, carpets, and the like.

Victor has lost interest in having stickers on his hand. Now, we only put stickers on his chart. He gets a real kick out of counting them.

Day 2 Report

Official Tally:
10 stickers
7 pairs of underwear
2 messy accidents
2 wet accidents (after which Victor ran to me yelling, "I had accident!")
1st successful no.2 in the potty (after a 3/4 accident, but who's counting?)

We also had the emergence of a new kind of accident: the 1/4 accident, which is still 3/4 success.

I'm going to go ahead and call it a successful day.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Day 1 Report

Day 1 of potty training went well. Victor earned 8 stickers on his potty chart and wore 7 different pairs of underwear. We had 2 true accidents (1 was messy) and many half-accidents. And we watered our neighbor's tree.

Most importantly, Victor grasped the idea of a potty chart, was excited about counting his stickers throughout the day, and was excited about wearing underwear. At bedtime he tried to explain to Dad that he wore underwear now, not diapers.

All of the potty books we have been reading for six months have paid off. Victor compares himself to the boys in his books. He says he goes to the potty "like Joshua," for example.

In other news, Zeke sat up in a shopping cart seat for the first time today. Yay Zeke.