When getting undressed in the bathroom for bedtime tonight, Molly flung her shoe in the air behind her. It was just a little moment of panache for Molly, who was in a frisky mood. The shoe flew in the air and landed right in the toilet. Molly briefly looked like she was afraid she was going to be in trouble, probably because of a previous incident where she had put a rock in the toilet on purpose. But we all started laughing and taking pictures, etc. Then we reminded Molly it’s not okay to put stuff in the toilet. But this was pretty funny.
Molly has seen plenty of movies at home, but today she saw her first one in a movie theater. While visiting Corpus Christi for Thanksgiving, in a breakthrough in the saga of Molly’s toilet training, Molly finally managed to poo in the toilet! We had promised her we would take her to a movie if she did that. So she got to see Frozen, her first theater movie.
Molly’s toilet training has been a bit of a saga. Molly first successfully peed in the toilet almost a year ago. And two months ago, we finally got rid of Molly’s diapers for good. So that’s the end of the story, right? Well, I am writing about this now, so… no.
Actually, the transition to underwear went pretty well at first. Molly has been peeing in the toilet pretty consistently for two months now. She also spent the first diaper-less week or two putting her poo in the toilet. Then she decided that she would rather poo in her pants. Every time. She wouldn’t even try the toilet any more. She would often poo in her pants while standing in the living room five feet away from you without a word. She pooed at the table Jason’s deli after swimming. That one was the worst since we didn’t have anything to clean up with; just a long, messy trip to the men’s room. She comes home from school with poo-stained underwear in a little plastic bag.
When queried as to why she does not want to use the toilet for poo, Molly usually replies, “I dunno.” We eventually got out of her that she felt more comfortable standing up. To her credit, Molly tries to clean up after herself. Sometimes we’ll find her in the bathroom trying to empty her underwear into the toilet and wipe down any mess.
This situation has lead to some vacillating about what to do. Does Molly need an incentive to poo in the toilet? Or would an incentive make things worse? Or can we do anything at all? In the end, we did promise her some treats, etc. if she poked in the toilet, but so far to no avail.
So here we are. After a year, Molly is potty trained… kind of.
Molly is down to her last diaper. Once this diaper is gone, she will only have the toilet (or her pants) available for her urine and BMs.
It has been a long and winding road getting this point, but Molly is finally pretty much using the potty now, and we do not feel the need to pay Target for any more diapers.
I have not written a whole lot about the long saga of Molly potty training because, frankly, it has been a confusing topic devoid of concrete milestones. There have been false starts, regressions, and slow progress that you don’t even notice until later. There was some traction way back in January and February. But progress has been fuzzy since then, and nothing could really be pinned down to a single event or milestone. Until now. The picture to your right is Molly’s very last diaper. Molly understands this and is even excited about it, at least for now.
Now it’s off to London with Kit while Grammy deals with the consequences for the next week on our behest. What timing! 😉
There is a period of about 10 minutes between tucking Molly into bed and then finishing up Claire’s bedtime story and tucking her in too. During those 10 minutes, Molly almost always does her daily poop. It’s to the point where I literally now just expect to change Molly’s diaper when dropping Claire off to bed. Molly has a poop something like 85% of the time. You can tell for sure as you walk down the hall towards the girls’ room. The odor is unmistakable. I wonder how this will play out if/when Molly finally gets out of diapers.
The other day, Molly’s teacher called me at home in the middle of the afternoon. This is usually a bad sign. A mid-day call from school is reliably preceded by vomiting, fever, both, or some other type of trouble at school. Molly’s teacher sounded a little upset or nervous, so then I knew it was trouble. But it was not as bad as I had feared. Molly had just thrown a fit at school over her pre-nap toilet duty. She had stubbornly refused to sit on the toilet for the second day in a row, and this time Molly was especially furious and indignant about it. Not only has she refused to sit on the toilet, but she had also disrupted the class and made it hard for her classmates to get their rest. Molly is only three years old and still given to bursts of uncontrollable emotions. This one was bad enough, though, that the teacher had to essentially send her to the principal (school director). This was not the first time that Molly has been sent to the principal for being disruptive. Still, it was not meant as a punishment. They just had to get Molly out of the classroom to restore order and to help Molly calm down. Apparently Molly and the school director had a nice calm talk in the hallway where they found Moly’s happy place again. At some point, Molly stated that she would rather just wear diapers because it is easier; she doesn’t have to stop what she is doing and go to the bathroom. She can just go whenever she wants to.
It was right after Molly’s loud outburst that Molly’s teacher called me with a trembling voice, imploring us to do something. She said this toilet thing was getting to be a real problem, and was there something we could try at home? After some discussion, I agreed that we would get Molly some underwear and let her try going diaper-less at home as much as possible this weekend in hopes of sparking interest in the toilet.
So this is how we officially began a push on Molly’s toilet training. Claire and I rushed to Target the next morning and picked out (among other things) some Tangled (Rapunzel) movie underwear. Molly was very excited to try out her underwear! She adored the princess on her underwear. The smallest size that Target had, though, was 4, which was pretty baggy on Molly. Still, it did the trick for now, while Kit ordered 3T undies from Amazon.
Molly did had a “leak” in her underwear and did not like the itchy sensation on her legs. She has so far been very positive about sitting on the toilet, but aside from some initial success a while back, she has had no recent success in putting her urine on the toilet. Molly’s teacher says her attitude is much better at school, and order is restored. So at least that part of the mission is accomplished.
Part of Molly’s bedtime routine is to sit on the toilet for a while. She actually loves her toilet time. She pulls up a step stool with a stack of books and sits on the toilet and looks at her books. Normally we have to put an end to her toilet time after a few minutes because she is just relaxing but not getting ready for bed. But tonight while Molly was browsing books on the toilet, I went off for a minute to check in with Kit. When I got back to Molly, she was yelling, “I went to the potty! I made urine!” Now, Molly has been known to have an active imagination at times, but I did not get the sense she as making this up. She was grinning ear to ear and super excited.
I congratulated Molly on her fine toilet work. After wiping and washing hands, we went back to tell Kit and Claire. Kit screamed really loudly with delight and started jumping around. Molly got super excited too and started doing the same. Personally, I was excited too, but my ears were literally ringing from all the noise. Molly was so proud, though! She said she wanted underwear now, and she thought Santa would know she used the toilet.
Claire, who was in a grouchy mood, initially tried to be excited but get a little irritated, maybe from the noise and/or maybe a little hint of sibling rivalry. This was the first small whiff of sibling rivalry we have ever seen from Claire in her 3 and a half years as a big sister. Claire complained that we were screaming too loud, and we are always asking her and Molly to quiet down if they are anywhere near that loud. (She had a really good point. We were really quite loud.) Claire also said, sourly, “I but you’re going to email everyone in the world!” and then left the room. Later she could complain about having to go out in the hall with just Muffin and her last remaining fish to get some quiet. We had a certain amount of recognizing that Claire uses the toilet many times a day, and nobody ever says anything about it, but when she first did it as a toddler, we were really excited for her. Molly was feeling sympathetic and started a “Claire used the potty!” chant and dance.
It does not seem so long ago that Claire started kindergarten. Today, Claire successfully completed kindergarten. Her final report card indicated that she has officially been promoted to first grade. She also received a “Certificate of Commended Attendance” for showing up most of the time. I am happy to say that Claire was not late to school once all year, and our morning off-to-school routine was “spit spot”. It became such a solid routine that I could (and sort of did) go through it in my sleep.
The last month of school has been full of fun-themed days such as Friendship Note Day, Water Day, Pajama Day, Pillow and Movie Day, Bubble Day, and No Shoes Day, to name a few. In fact, there were only two “normal” days in all of May. Totday, the last day of school, was Game Day. The kids got to bring in non-electronic games to play with their friends all day. Claire brought in Zingo, which is sort of a fun, kid’s bingo. We saw at least two other kindergarteners carrying the same game into school today. Kit has the week off, so we were all able to take Claire to school together. When we dropped Claire off to school, all the chairs tables were cleared to the side of the room to make space for games. Claire told us later that they really just played games all day. They took a lunch break, but no recess. This was a serious day of playing.
This was a good if sometimes bumpy school year for Claire. She learned a whole lot, including a solid start on reading, writing, and math. But not just that; she also gained some maturity this year, such as a better ability to focus and listen to directions. There was also a slightly confusing monkey bar incident where Claire was apparently unkind to another student and even had to visit the principal. Claire learned a lot about being sensitive to others from this incident. Luckily, this was not quite as serious of a situation as we thought it was at first. At first, we had bad information and thought Claire might be asked to leave the school!
Claire seemed to really enjoy kindergarten, and never complained about it or asked to stay home from school. She would clearly have missed playing with her friends too much. Her enthusiasm only flagged early in the year when she had a little trouble adjusting to her new school. Claire also learned to love Extend-a-Care after school. She seems to have figured out that Extend-a-Care is just a big play date every day after school. She made some good Extend-a-Care friends, had lots of extra outdoor play time compared to coming home, watched almost no TV on weekdays (no time), and even started Girl Scouts.
We went to pick up Claire early from Extend-a-care, around 3:00, on the last day so she would not be the last, lonely kid at school. When we got there, there were lots of kids, and Claire asked to stay at school a while longer so that she could do the water balloon fights and make sundaes. So Kit and I went back home for a couple of hours to let her have her final fun at school!
The rest of the evening featured melted frozen yogurt and a shared bath in which Molly peed in the water. Claire calmly noted that yes, the water did turn yellow, and kept playing. We had to get them both out quickly and sort of sponge-bathe them. Oddly enough, that was the first — and now clearly the last — time that happened all school year.
I was fortunate enough to miss the following series of events since I was off working hard on my side project. But from Kit’s description, here is what I am to understand Kit and her parents endured this Saturday…
At some point during the usual Saturday morning hubbub of getting the girls fed and Claire off to swimming class, our dog Muffin slipped into the guest room, where Kits parents were staying, and peed all over the bed. So they got that cleaned up and started a quick load of laundry for all the urine-soaked sheets and bedding. The comforter, which was new, had to be sent off to dry cleaning.
The morning’s plan was to take the girls to a birthday party directly after swimming. The party involved water balloons, so they would need to wear swimsuits and, in Molly’s case, a swim diaper. So Molly, who had been playing outside in the warm morning sun, and accordingly drinking a lot of water, was wearing a swim diaper when she stared to yell, “Pee! Pee! My leg! My leeeeeg!” And sure enough, urine was running down her leg and on the floor, apparently due to both the volume of water consumed that morning and the peculiarity of the swim diaper. Kit picked up Molly to help clean her up and then discovered that Molly’s urine had spread all over her own pants. Another load of laundry was started, and Molly received a fresh swim diaper.
Swimming and the birthday party went fine until the very end of the party. Kit had been trying to gather up both girls to leave at the end of the party, a process which can take some time to get both girls off to the car at the same time. Finally when walking out the gate, Molly’s face appeared stricken, and sure enough, there was a little trail of pee on the ground around here. So it was back inside for another diaper and yes, at home, another load of laundry.
After started, checking, and changing laundry at home, Kit went upstairs and laid down in Claire’s bed to get a few minutes of peace. I am not sure why she laid down in Claire’s bed — maybe she was too tired to make it all the way back to our bedroom. Either way, you might guess now what Kit discovered in Claire’s bed. Yes, dog urine. Muffin struck again, this time at Claire’s bed. Surely Muffin skipped peeing on our own bed only because it was too high for her Muffin to jump onto. And another load of laundry was started.
Claire’s bed was not dry of urine and bleach in time for bed, so she had to sleep in our bed, which may have been a nice bonus for Claire. There was no bonus for anyone else. Muffin may have made her point, if only we knew what it was. We may never know.
According to Molly’s daily note from school today, “Molly put a lot of urine in the toilet after nap — it surprised and scared her”, apparently including some crying. That must be a weird feeling the first time it happens!
This milestone comes after a few weeks of experimenting with the potty at school as well as the little plastic one at home, including looking at it, playing with it, pushing it around, sitting on it with a diaper on, sitting on it without a diaper, and occasionally proposing to use it as a container for her toys.