Birth & Kids

Potty Training a Stubborn Toddler


I swore I would never post anything on Facebook or any other social media about potty training woes or successes (and I promise no judgement to you if you do!). I did however decide to make a post about it for others who had trouble potty training a stubborn child, does this count as social media? Oh well…

We started reading a potty training book to Miss B when she was about a year old. I decided to start early with the book to help her get used to the concept. But we chose to wait until after Special K was born just in case B regressed any after her new little sister got here (there will be another post later about tips for helping a toddler ready for a new baby). Thankfully we didn’t have any issues with regression but I wasn’t quite ready to tackle potty training along with taking care of a newborn.

After K was a couple months old and B was just over 2 we decided to start trying. I got her a little potty seat from Target and set it where she could see it and start getting used to it. As any mother knows, it is almost impossible to go to the bathroom without your kids barging in on you so B already knew what the potty was for.

I thought it was going to be easy. I read countless posts about how moms had potty trained their kids in 3 days at only 18 months old. At about that age B was already telling me when she had wet her diaper. Great! This will be easy peasy lemon squeazy. Needless to say this was not my experience. One tip suggested that I leave her naked in the house. The first time I did, she begged and cried for a “booty”, what we call diapers. After many attempts to distract her she finally forgot about it. Great, we’re rolling now, I thought. But no, she held it all day until I put a diaper on for bed time and had several accidents on the floor. She screamed and cried whenever I tried to put her on the potty. I tried bribing (I know, not good), which didn’t work anyway. I tried this several times with many tears and frustrations for both of us. After several failed attempts I decided to take a break and try again in a couple weeks. I was almost convinced that she would never be toilet trained, but the thought of changing (and buying) diapers for 2 kids any longer motivated me to keep trying

My cousin who has potty trained 3 girls gave me some pointers that ended up sealing the deal for us. She suggested getting panties for B before she was trained, instead of afterwards like I had planned on. And to ditch the diapers all together, even for bed time (we never even used pull-up training pants). So, with a renewed sense of hope we set out for the store. B picked out a lovely package of Paw Patrol panties. On the way home I talked to her about how she shouldn’t teetee on the Paw Patrol pups and how Sky (one of the characters) would be very, very sad if she was teeteed on.  And to tell Mommy or Daddy if she had to go potty, with much emphasis on how cool the big girl potty is.

By the time we got home she was excited to put on her new big girl booties. We put them on and I must have asked her a thousand times if she had to go potty. We also put her potty in the living room in front of the tv so she would have a little more motivation to sit on it (JW would like me to point out that this was his idea…) Finally a success! She used the potty! We had plenty of dance parties and little treats to celebrate. We took a big risk that night taking her out to an event without a diaper on, but she still kept her clothes dry. I was so excited! I am convinced that having her pick out her special underwear was what made the difference.

The number two issue took a little bit longer to sort out. Miss B is a busy little munchkin, and getting her to sit still long enough to do the deed was difficult. She held it for three days (I was getting pretty worried) and finally, after much bribing and begging (I know, I know) she finally went. Thankfully, I had several little toys stashed away for just such an occasion.

At bedtime we made sure to have her sit on the potty and attempted to limit fluids after dinner, and for the most part she did fine. An occasional bedwetting happened but that was it. She did have to get used to not having her cup in bed, that was a sure fire way to have wet sheets. Obvious, I know, but I guess first timers don’t always think of these things.

We only had one bad experience when we were out and about. The whole family was at the store and B suddenly exclaims, teetee! I gotta teetee! So I snatched her up, mind you I was also wearing Special K in my Ergo. So I ran to the bathroom with two kids in tow. As soon as we got in there B threw a wall-eyed fit. Screaming no, no I done I done! Please sit on the potty, I pleaded. More screaming and crying. More pleading. And finally I gave up. (I’m not proud of how easily frustrated I get). Fine don’t go, I said. Not 5 minutes later, after rejoining JW in the aisle, did she have an accident and pee all over the place. I was pretty frustrated but I realized I should’ve been more patient and talked with B about it rather than lose my cool. That was the only accident in public we had.

After that I was able to come up with a little trick to help her stay on the potty. We would count to 10 several times and that would help her focus and calm down so that she could go.

Since then we have been completely potty trained, about 5 months now! Thank goodness! Sometimes it seems like more of a hassle than changing diapers (she hasn’t figured out proper wiping technique yet), but I am so thankful that it was finally a success.

What were your experiences with potty training a stubborn toddler? Any tips you would add? Comment below!


Birth & Kids

My Home Birth

I had my first baby the regular way, in a hospital. Before she was born I had researched home birth but at the time I felt that having a midwife was an unreachable goal and the hospital route was just the normal thing to do, obviously. While my hospital birth was not horrible or traumatic in any way I felt that it could’ve been so much better. I was induced and was able to have a vaginal birth but it could’ve gone the other way very easily.

Ever since then I poured over birth stories of women who had chosen to use midwives and had their babies at home. I was so intrigued by this and decided a long time before I was even pregnant with my second that that was what I wanted to do.

Fast forward a year or so and I was pregnant with number 2! Thank goodness JW was supportive of my decision to have this baby at home. I am a very strong willed person but it would have been difficult if he had not been on the same page.

I found several midwives in my area and interviewed both. I ended up choosing the ones that I felt most comfortable with. It was such a different experience from my previous birth. With my first, I was unable to pick my doctor and saw a different one at nearly each appointment I went to. I never even met the doctor who delivered my baby until it was time for her to be born.

My appointments with my midwives were somewhat similar to doctor’s, on the same schedule at least. But instead of sitting in the waiting room for what seemed like forever and then only getting to see the doctor for maybe 15 minutes, my midwives blocked off an entire hour for me. Not only to check baby’s heartbeat and my vitals, but to get to know me and my wishes for my birth. They did all the normal blood draws and tests so don’t think that the medical part was thrown under the rug just because they aren’t technically doctors.

I was finally getting close to D-Day, or delivery day. I was late with my first baby and hoped number 2 would make her appearance earlier, but no such luck. For any future babies I’ll just add 2 weeks to my due date that way I won’t be surprised again. I have come to terms with the fact that my body likes to hold on to my babies till they are good and ready.

Surprisingly I was never afraid or nervous about labor. A few people thought I was crazy but it was never something I had to fear. Women have been having babies for thousands of years. I had some labor pain experience before I got an epidural with my hospital birth but I was on pitocin and that tends to make things so much worse. My husband and I took a Hypnobirthing Class to help us prepare. It sounds like hippy voodoo but it was a great tool for teaching yourself to release fear and relax. I highly recommend it to anyone and everyone, whether you want a hospital or home birth. I really liked the positive affirmations that came with the program. I also put little encouraging notes all over the house. The Birth Without Fear blog was also a huge motivation for me.

I was 41 weeks plus 2 days, it was a Monday afternoon and I started feeling tightening sensations. Nothing intense or painful, just tightening. I started getting excited! They were consistent but they never got intense. I went to bed thinking surely this is it. But no, they continued on the next day, and the next, otherwise known as prodromal labor. I had my 41 week appointment on that Wednesday and my midwives talked about going to the hospital if she wasn’t here by Monday. I was really discouraged. I hadn’t come all this way just to end up going to the hospital! We decided to strip my membranes to try to get things going. I was already dilated to a 3 and was 50% effaced! That was definitely encouraging.

By the next day around lunch time I knew these contractions were different. They increased in intensity and stayed regular. At 2:00pm I was starting to have to work through them, standing was easier than sitting. I tried not to get JW’s hopes up just in case but I had him vacuuming while I washed dishes so that my house would be clean in case this really was it. JW was working nights at that time and I did not want him to leave when it was time for him to go to work. We had already called my mom to ask her to keep B that night, I told her I just wanted to rest. Not only to keep her from freaking out but also just in case this wasn’t it. See a theme? I was in denial big time. When she left with B I cried like a baby, I guess all those hormones and feelings converged at once.

I had been texting my friend Debra, a doula with Tiny Tree Birth Services and told her what was going on. She came over shortly and we walked around the cul-de-sac by my house. It was dark and cool outside, I had all the doors open in my house and nothing but candle light. It was peaceful and calm, just as I hoped it would be. About an hour later, after talking through contractions, she suggested we go ahead and let the midwives know it was time to come. I was like, seriously?! Yes the contractions were getting more and more intense but again I was in complete denial. She assured me that yes, this was real and Special K was on her way. My lovely midwives arrived shortly after about the same time that JW got home, I’m pretty sure his wheels never touched the pavement.

When my midwives got there we discussed how things were going and they asked if I wanted to have an internal exam or not. I did, but I was worried that if I would be discouraged by the result. I told her she could check but just not tell me. Apparently my midwife Heather has a terrible poker face because she went Ohhhh! when she checked me. I said well now you have to tell me! She said I was an 8 and 100% effaced! She asked JW to start setting up the birth pool. Already?! He said. He was as surprised as I was. He was so supportive during labor. He held me during contractions, let me yell in his ear, and gave me little encouraging tidbits when I needed to hear them. I could not have done it without him by my side.

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A short time later I got into the pool, around 11pm. It did help to relax me but wasn’t quite the pain killer I had heard about from other’s experiences. From then on the contractions continued in duration and intensity. I never had any thoughts about going to the hospital but definitely thought, this is why people take drugs! JW, Debra, and my midwives Heather, Jessie, and Sallie kept joking back and forth and we laughed and laughed in between contractions. Something I had heard before was that making lower gutteral sounds helps your body not to tense up. I’m pretty sure our neighbors thought we were performing an exorcism or something since I sounded like a cow being killed.  One thing I loved was that my body pushed on its own like it should, there was no one ordering me to push. Midwives are trained to listen to a woman’s body and only intervene if necessary. My water broke during one of these pushes, for a whole second I thought that the baby had just shot out of me! All the pressure forced the water out in a huge gush.  Special K was born about 45 minutes later. The only time they told me to push was when her head was already out and I needed to push the rest of her out. I had originally wanted to catch her myself but at that point I just wanted her out, so I said someone grab her! They brought her out of the water and immediately handed her to me. I kept saying I did it! I did it! She was born at 2:15am, 9 pounds 6 ounces (smaller than my first), 19 1/2 inches long, I was 41 weeks plus 6 days.

We moved to our bed a short time later and she was weighed and checked out. I cut her cord after it had stopped pulsing. The midwives made sure we were settled in, cleaned up the pool and left about 3 hours after she was born. It was so soothing and comfortable to be in our own home and in our own bed.

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(By the way we were wrapped in a red towel) Special K looking quite unimpressed with all of our fussing.

There were so many emotions that night that it’s hard to sum it up in just a few words. It was great, it sucked, it was hard, it was easy, and on and on. It was definitely empowering! One thing I can say is that I wouldn’t have done it any other way! If we are blessed with more babies I will definitely be bringing them into the world in this same way.

One of my all time favorite pictures, my love checking out his new little girl!
One of my all time favorite pictures, my love checking out his new little girl!