POTTY TRAINING & DRIVING
I think I should have titled this post THINGS NONE OF US WANT TO DO BUT HERE WE ARE because that’s what it seems to be about.
This weekend we started to potty train Kensi. It’s gross and exhausting - enough said.
When I knew that she was going to be nearing the time that society says we should start potty training, I flagged to Dan that he needed to lead this initiative with her. Not to sound all sexist or anything but as mothers, we do a huge majority of child rearing, planning, development, etc. Nobody seems to realize the amount of work and effort it takes to: ensure they’re eating properly, that they always seem to have clothes that fit their growing bodies, they’re enrolled in social activities, ETC ETC ETC
Also nevermind that I carried her for 10 months (sacrificing my body), and then sustained her and grew her with my body (effectively ruining my body because breastfeeding is hard AF), and removed myself out of the workforce with implications to my career to boot. SO in conclusion, MOTHERS DO A LOT.
So with all of the above, I personally didn’t have the mental capacity to lead potty training as well… ENTER DAN!
Dan read the book, made some summary notes, and created the calendar invite for the weekend we would start.
We borrowed the book OH CRAP which seems to be a really popular book about potty training. It talks about stages or “blocks” as the author describes, and alleges block 1 and 2 likely takes about a week or so, and that everything after takes much much longer (i.e. months).
Block 1: NAKED/BOTTOMLESS BABY. No diaper. No underpants. NOTHING! The idea is they need to learn the sensation of peeing and pooping without anything, and then they need to initiate sitting on a potty near by without us prompting. Stay at home and don’t leave the house!
Block 2: ADD PANTS. Once they master the above, you put on bottoms on them (no underpants) and teach them to push DOWN their pants when they need to sit on the potty, and then pull it UP when they are done with wiping, which we help them do. Again, still stay at home and MAYBE go to the backyard (with a potty within steps reach)
Block 3: YOU CAN FINALLY LEAVE THE HOUSE for small trips (i.e. 30-45 mins). Pray they don’t soil themselves when they’re out.
Block 4: LEGIT OUTINGS. Try to get them to use toilet in the public.
Block 5 & 6: I have no idea, because all I’m living right now is block 1-2.
Be warned I had unrealistic expectations based on the title of the book that you can potty train within a few days/week. This is not true. There’s still LOTS of accidents. But I guess you can initiate going through block 1-2 within a week and then everything after is where the learning by trial and error really takes place… which can take MONTHS. Again, so gross.
True Tiger Mom I just interpreted the title of the book as flawless execution within days. I was VERY WRONG.
So with that being said, we are actively working on teaching Kensi about her bodily functions and how everything goes in the toilet. So far here’s been the progress since Saturday:
Day 1: Bottomless - 1.5 accidents (pee) and then she was always going to the potty after. She even pooped in it which I guess is rare because normally toddlers don’t want to poop the first few days because they’re afraid of the sensation without a diaper.
Day 2-4: Peeing in the potty for the most part, but keeps shatting in her shorts which WHY does mom have to be the one at home witnessing and having to clean. HAVEN’T I SUFFERED ENOUGH.
OK by Tues I was like what is going on - she seems to grasp the concept of peeing in the toilet but she refuses to poop in the toilet. A friend said they used a sticker chart and reward system, so I made that. See below - considering I spent 10 mins making it I thought it was a pretty solid poster.
Then I decided to kick things up a notch, and thought what would be the one thing that she thinks is sooo special that would really motivate her. Then I knew.
MARKERS (washable). We don’t give her markers so whenever she goes anywhere and gets her hands on them, she knows it’s REALLY special.
Day 5: BREAKTHROUGH. I showed her the marker pack first thing in the morning, and then I placed it on display in the bathroom she’s been using. I let her admire all the colours, and then I looked her dead in the eye and explained: “If you poop IN the toilet, not in your shorts or on the floor, but in the toilet - you can choose FIVE MARKERS after. FIVE!” (Five is meaningful for her because it’s her favourite number)
FAST FORWARD TO LATER THAT MORNING: My mom texts me and announced SHE POOOPED IN THE TOILET and was SO proud of herself, and is now playing with markers.
I repeat, this is a BREAKTHROUGH because I had been cleaning up her poop accidents for the past 2 days and I was feeling pretty traumatized by it.
So we’ll see what happens because I know they can regress, and I also now realize this is a total process/journey for her that can span months so… we’ll see how it goes.
NOW ON TO ME…
For months now Dan has been on me about learning to drive again. Ever since the infamous Costco parking accident that almost wiped out 3 generations of Hungs (myself, my mom and baby Kensi) I have been way too scared to drive again. We even got an SUV last year that has even more safety features… but I’m still scared. Anyways for months Dan kept asking when am I going to be willing to learn again, that I have to make it a priority, blah blah BLAH.
Then a few nights earlier, inspired by the success and progress Kensi seemed to display for her reward chart, he had an epiphany.
Dan: “You need a reward chart.”
Me: “I’m sorry, what?”
Dan: “You need to practice driving again. You need a reward chart. You love stickers. Go out and buy REALLY special stickers, and we’ll make a chart for you. You can earn a sticker each time you practice driving. And after a certain number of times, as a reward - I’ll take you somewhere that you REALLY love to go and I HATE going.”
Me: “Michael’s? Winners? Ikea?!”
Dan: *deep breath* “Yes yes, but you have to PRACTICE DRIVING.”
Me: “YESS!!!! I’LL DO IT! I’LL DO IT FOR THE STICKERS! AND GOING SHOPPING!!”
Clearly Dan knows me deeply and what would really light a fire to motivate me, just like how I knew the promise of using markers was going to light a fire in Kensi to poop in a potty.
Half an hour later I already ordered special stickers I found on Amazon which came the next day:
Then last night I made THIS:
Each drive/practice unlocks sticker(s), and they progressively get better and better (ie. I went through them all before to personally rank them). I put my top 3 most beloved stickers at the very end for the 20th drive (i.e. CDG heart, Domo and that puffy marshmallow robot from I think Big Hero 6?). Then I sprinkled really amazing ones throughout the “driving journey”. Dan and I decided that after every 5th driving practice, he will take me somewhere.
I’m particularly excited about the Gangnam style sticker which I would get on the 10th drive.
Dan’s goal for me by the end of this is to empower me to drive by myself around our neighborhood (i.e. I can take myself to Sherway, or the dreaded Costco, or even up to Queensway).
Subsequently this summer Kensi and I are on a cosmic journey together to tackle our fears and conquer the world…motivated by stickers and rewards. Sometimes I don’t know how Dan can take it living in a house full of such determined, driven, ambitious women. He is so blessed.