Friday, January 9, 2009

Potty Training Prayers

". . . Please help me, Lord. I'm doing everything I can. I'm getting up early; I'm watching him every second; I'm offering positive feedback and being patient. Help me keep being patient, and help me to know what to do because I really feel like I'm doing all a mother can do. And oh, please Lord, help him to . . . to catch on, and to have a desire to go poop in the potty. I'm exhausted, and I need Thy help. I know this may seem like a silly thing to pray for, but I know Thou answers even seemingly silly prayers and that Thou wants to help mothers. I need that help. I'm so thankful to know I'm not alone, Lord. Please help me remember that, and help me have faith that this prayer will be answered . . ."

Such has been my pleading the past few weeks in behalf of my two-year-old, and in behalf of me, as I have been attempting the all-too-wonderful task of potty training. I told myself this time would be different. After pulling my hair out three previous times with my other children, potty training my last child at the age of 18 months (my mother has always claimed her children were potty trained by this age and that this is the perfect potty-training age--she's wrong), I had decided to relax and wait until this child was ready to basically potty train himself.

So, eighteen months went by; then 21 months went by (the age I trained two of my four children), and then my baby turned two, and the vision of being completely done potty-training for my lifetime started forcing its way forward, and by golly, two weeks after his second birthday, I decided to go for it. After all, I told myself, I did wait longer than I had with the other three children. It's now been five weeks since I began, and as always, I've had moments of complete and utter frustration and discouragement.

The process started out so smoothly I could hardly believe it. After only a day, Boston was peeing in the potty and staying dry for hours at a time. "Ha! This going to be a breeze," I told myself. Famous last words. He did fantastic for a week and a half, even pooping in the potty a few times. And then I did something stupid--I went on an 8-hour trip across the state of Wyoming to visit my brother in Denver. Boston was dry the entire time, but holding it that long made him constipated, and ever since then, the pooping only occurred in his pants--or on the floor--not in the potty. Is there anything worse than cleaning up poop every day? Probably, but right now I can't think of what.

I finally decided I needed some serious advice, and so I began importuning the Lord for help, for inspiration, for DIVINE INTERVENTION. I told my children and husband that this was a family endeavor and I expected them to pray for Boston, too. Even Boston himself had caught on to the act and was praying, "bess go poop in potty." I offered treats to anyone who got him to do the act, and I tried EVERYTHING I could think of to get that little boy to sit on the potty to relieve himself. Then, I started getting really frustrated because it seemed like my prayers were not being answered. Not only was he not making progress but I wasn't feeling inspired either. All that was happening is that I was beginning to lose patience and sleep over the whole matter.

That's when I decided I had to let go a little. I stopped following Boston around all day, making sure he wasn't hiding in a corner pooping his pants, and I put more of the responsibility on him. I told him the consequences of pooping in the potty (some pop and playtime with Mommy) and I told him the consequences of pooping in his pants (sitting on a chair for 10 minutes). I really doubt he fully understood what I was saying, but it somehow made me feel some weight lifted off my shoulders. Then, it occurred to me that I should start paying attention to his behavior right before he pooped so I could work hard with him at that moment, rather than nagging the poor kid all day long. Lo and behold, the child is starting to poop in the potty.

Now, he still needs more practice before I can stop thinking about it throughout the day, but what I found (once again) is that my potty training prayers really were answered. It was so simple I almost overlooked it. I was doing everything to get him to poop in the potty; instead, I needed to put more responsibility on him. And I'm so grateful for the thought that popped into my head to concentrate hard at certain moments of the day.

So simple, so unprofound, so motherhood.

All I can say is I'm thankful for answers to prayers, even the "pooping on the potty" prayers!


Julia said...

I love it, Lori. (just remember in my eyes you are the potty training queen. I always remember taking Nate to Georgia on a free flight - which means he was less than 2 - and he was fully potty trained). You're such a good mom and your writings inspire me. Thank you! ps. in your potty training entry, every time I read 'popped into my mind', I had to make sure you weren't saying pooped into my mind. :)

The Shaver Gang said...

Lori, I can feel for you right now. I have been trying to potty train Kirsten. Santa even brought her a "Gotta Go" doll. I didn't think that she would use the doll's toilet for her own. I am glad they invented Clorox wipes. She was getting into a habit of taking her diaper off as soon as she went. So she would get in trouble. Tuesday, she came down stairs with poo all over her backside and down her legs. We began to scold her for doing this. She got a very confused look on her face. I asked her where her diaper was then followed her. She ran into the bathroom, the diaper was in the garbage and a mess all over the toilet. I felt so bad that I got mad at her. So now, before I react, I make sure I check out the situation first. Good Luck in your adventure.

The Martinez Fam said...

You're hilarious!! I'm so glad that things are finally going a little better in that department. I was beginning to lose sleep over it as well!!:)

Becky said...

I have a 24 month-old that you can work with next. ;)
I am dreading the whole potty-training experience. I could use any helpful advice you have.

Abby said...

You're so cute, Lori! Way to hang in there...doesn't it feel good to be done, though?

Heather B. Moore said...

I remember that angst well. My first 3 kids toilet trained the week of Christmas (even though they were all different ages). Maybe because there was no real "schedule" and things were more relaxed at home :)

Trisha D said...

I love your blog site. With my first baby, I was a stay at home Mom. Then I decided I HAD to work just part time for my own sanity. Although, I hated leaving her as much as I needed the mental relief and my own identity. We lived in England at that time and so I hired a British teenager to help me. I made that poor girl document everything for long my baby slept, how much she ate...( I mean many bites of food she had...I was nuts!!)

I have pictures of her potty training, sitting in front of the TV with a stack of magazines, completely naked except for her sneakers and socks of course. There she would sit, relaxing and I would wait. The best advice someone told me, which never occured to me until the second child is; When a child is tired, they will sleep. When a child is hungry, they will eat. So when your three year old doesn't want to nap anymore. It means, 'she is not tired anymore in the afternoon and no longer needs the nap. Don't force it.' Boy do I remember those battles of the will. My little one would end up wide awake and I would need a nap out of frustration. In the end, leave it in God's hands. It takes care of itself. The next best advice I got was, "How many 18 year olds do you see walking around wearing diapers? Stop worrying so much." So I made it through those it's homework dilemmas. ARGH!!

Mel1204 said...

I know this post is old but I came across it in a desperate search on google for potty training prayers for parents. I am at my wits end and reading your post was like reading my own thoughts (my little guy was great for a week got constipated and now refuses to go at all now as well) Thank-you for writing it and letting me know I am not the only one who feels this way and that there can be a light at th end of the tunnel. It doesn't feel that way now but I am hopeful God will answer one more silly poop on the potty prayer for me too :)