Potty Training Triumphs and Woes

Four weeks until he turns three, and I can safely say Miggz is finally, FINALLY potty-trained.

That’s right, folks. Trained, with an “ED” !!!

We started potty training Miggz right around two years old.

Or, rather, attempted to.

Let me just say that there were probably signs–many signs–he wasn’t ready. But I was stubborn and had my mind set on doing this. And frankly, at that time, I was partly freaking out and feeling the pressure. He was past 24 months old and still not potty trained.

Words of other mommies and daddies haunted me at night.

Words that went like this… “Our son was out of diapers at nineteen months.” And “Wow, he’s still in diapers?!??!”

Looking back now, it was all so wrong and unfair that I allowed myself to be influenced by parenting peer pressure. Not to mention all those baby guides/development timelines. I mean, those can REALLY mess you up!! I know what those did to me (it made me an OCD mom, which is really NOT what I wanted to be). When Miggz was halfway past two, I decided to throw all those guides out the window. I unsubscribed myself from Babycenter, Pampers, Gerber, Parenting, etc, etc and just let things be. Not that those parenting newsletters are bad. They just became too “dictating” to my mothering that I forgot to just be a Mom.

Anyway, we finally went in full force potty training with Miggz back in June, when I said to my hubby I’ve cut off our monthly diaper and wipes subscription. We used the “no underpants” technique during the day and just diapered Miggz at night. We also used the Baby Bjorn Potty Chair and the Prince Lionheart Gray weePOD. Both proved very useful and effective for us in potty training Miggz.

The Wee POD. What a lifesaver.

While peeing was less of a challenge, training Miggz to go “number two” was just downright traumatizing!! I mean, you really have to “make peace with poo” and expect to see, touch, and smell it UP CLOSE and PERSONAL for at least a good two weeks.

Because accidents WILL happen.

I applaud–and frankly am quite jealous of–parents who are able to brilliantly potty train their kids in a matter of days or a couple of weeks.

I do, I really do.

But I wish they’d stop bragging and expect the rest of parent-dom to be able to do it, too. Every child/parent/household situation is different. And so every potty training situation will be different (the same thing applies with sleep training, co-sleeping, disciplining, the list goes on…)

For the rest of us “normal” ones…I urge you to just hang in there! Keep your patience and composure, and IT will happen! There is a light at the end of the tunnel, and your kid will eventually get it.

For me, for the past few weeks, no words sounded sweeter coming from Miggz than “I gotta go pee.” and “I gotta go poo.”

And of course, there are other things that come with potty training too. Things that I call, bathroom etiquette or bathroom manners. You know, things like learning to flush, washing of hands properly, and making sure the toilet and the sink areas are clean, presentable and ready for the bathroom’s next user…all are important aspects of potty training that I think a child needs to learn.

Now, even though it only happened a few weeks ago, I feel like the dreadful days of potty training are long behind us. On July 5th, we managed to go out in public without Miggz wearing any Pull-ups (just regular underwear and shorts), and he successfully used a public restroom for the first time!! (SUCH a PROUD moment for Mommie).

At home, when I bring Miggz into the bathroom to go poo, he even asks me to get out. His words, to be exact, are “Get out, get out, Mommie.” Every time he does this–I know this is going to sound weird–but I can’t help but feel a tinge of sadness.

My baby boy is growing up.

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The Miggie Report: Halfway to Three

To have a memoir to look back on…recalling my days being a first-time Mom. To keep a time capsule of my son’s first memories. To capture the lessons learned, inspirations gathered, and yes…even trials faced along the way.

This is why I have this blog.

One of the things I’ve written up to this point is “The Miggie Report”…a growing up progress report of sorts for our son, Miguel. It’s a blog post that captures his antics, favorites–and all things in between–for a certain milestone age. I’ve stopped doing the monthlies once he reached 24 months (two years old), but I think half-year marks are worth the mention.

So here goes…

Miguel’s Current Age – 2 1/2 years old (+ 1 month…I’m actually a month behind in writing this post)

Antics – He’s now super talkative. He’s always been a talker, but I feel he became a real little chatterbox once he reached this age. He’s more conversational, more curious by way of asking questions and repeating phrases that come up in grown-up talk (in short, this is the age when you want to watch what you say around him for fear of embarrassment he might repeat something you wouldn’t want said by someone his age in public).

Favorite Toys – His train sets, puzzles, dinosaurs, and blocks. He does this thing now when he pretends he is baking a cake with his blocks. He layers them up like a rectangular sheet cake and gives me “pieces of cake” to eat…the red blocks are strawberry cake, the yellow banana cake, the green blocks are apple cake, and the blue are blueberry cake. I think we may have a budding pastry chef… (I must remember to buy some bakery toys/pretend cakes and pastries on our next trip to the toy store.) He also likes building airplanes and tall towers and robots with his blocks, and he gets quite frustrated when the blocks break/fall apart (call us mean, but we find this entertaining). I’ve had to teach him it’s OK that the blocks break because he can just build them up again.

Nursery Rhymes/SongsMiggz loves to sing. Especially at night right before bedtime. He likes to sing, sing, sing until he falls asleep. (That said, I’ve found that this is also the most effective time to teach him a new song). He also likes to sing when we are eating at the dinner table. So far, his library of full songs he can sing up to this point include:

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star

ABC

Row, Row, Row Your Boat

The Wheels on the Bus

Jingle Bells

The Itsy-Bitsy Spider

Jack & Jill

Bahay Kubo – this is a Tagalog (Filipino) folk song about a hut-house surrounded by various vegetables in the garden

This is the Day (that the Lord has Made)

He also picks up songs quite easily from YouTube and TV cartoons (sometimes, songs from the radio too!!). He loves to sing the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse theme song after his baths, as well as sing along to shows that he watches.

Education – For a kid his age, Miggz watches a LOT of TV. I don’t necessarily think this is a bad thing. He learns quite a great deal of educational things from TV, and we make sure we balance the TV watching with actual “lessons.” Miggz knows his ABC’s, colors, numbers. He can count straight to 30 and understands basic math (1+1=2, 2+2=4, etc…). He knows the concept of what happens if we add/take away stuff and how many remain (if we have six apples, take away two, he’ll count how many is left). He can also identify animals and the sounds they make, knows his dinosaur toy species, can pinpoint fruits and name vegetables (now if he only ATE his veggies, I would be TOTALLY happy and we’d be golden…)

The Outdoors – He still LOVES to pick up rocks. And play on dirt/sand. I guess this comes with the territory of having a boy.

The Terrible Twos – Up until this point, I thought we’ve so far skipped this stage. But yup, the terrible two’s upon us. Miggz has definitely found his whiny voice and tantrums now. Funny how they also develop a “pride” thing this early. For example, I had no trouble teaching him to say “Please” and “Thank You,” but for some reason, it took him really long to learn to say “I’m sorry”…not so much the meaning of it (though he knows what it means now) but just the act of saying it. His “NO!” voice has also gotten so pronounced (most of the time with a sting) that I’ve had to teach him to say “No thanks” instead. Of course, now he says “No thanks” to everything…

Learning Discipline. I’m a believer of “the earlier you teach them right, the sooner they’ll learn.” I’m definitely the bad cop in the house. I want to teach Miggz right from wrong, and for him to know that we love him unconditionally. This part of parenting is not easy, but something you have to deal with.

Below is a printable I got from Pinterest and framed in Miguel’s room. It captures my thoughts for him, for this age and beyond.

And here’s a look back on when Miggz was JUST six-months old…a care-free time when he was so little (and we didn’t have to think about discipline yet…)

Miguel at six months...no "Terrible Twos" here!!

Dozing Off

I love it when he just dozes off into a nap out of sheer tiredness…

This was on a lazy Saturday afternoon (around 1-ish). He had slept with Gramma and Lolo–his grandparents–the previous night. I’m not sure who woke up who, but according to my Mom, they’ve been up since 6:45 am. That is way early for Miguel, hence, the early nap.

He spent his morning running and playing soccer with his Dad…probably another reason for the earlier-than-usual nap.

He dozed off for a good two+ hours.

On Nights When He Likes to Brush His Teeth

When you never know if your day will end in a toothbrush struggle and/or a bathroom fight, it’s really nice to see when your son chooses to brush his teeth on his own–AND flash a BIG smile while he’s at it…

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Here’s Miguel at two years (and five months)…just about ready to tackle the comings and goings of the bathroom on his own.

Or…one could hope!

The Miggie Report: 21 Months / The Age of “Mine.” and “No!”

Three more months and Miggz will soon turn two. Lately, I find myself holding on to the last bits of baby in him, to little success. One indication is that he has started to realize that he can have a say on things that affect him (yes, mommies…it starts THAT early!), from toys he wants to play with, shoes he wants to wear, food he likes to eat, even stuff he likes to use.

Just yesterday, as I was brushing his teeth, Miguel decided to give up his baby “finger toothbrush” he’s always been so keen on using as I brush his teeth with a toddler brush (just like an adult’s, but tinier). He gave his baby brush to me, as if to say, “Mommey, switch.” He then grabbed the brush I was using on him and proceeded to brush his teeth…LOL. This morning I tried to get away with our usual routine. Of course, he would not have it! So now we brush his teeth with two toddler toothbrushes…one for him to use, and one for me to use on him.

This month marks the start of Miguel’s “rebelliousness,” so to speak. He now knows how to say “NO!” very prominently. He also has gotten to like the word “MINE” and will use it almost at anything he does not want to give up. I wish he will get over these pretty soon, but who’s to tell how long it will last (a few days, months, maybe until he’s eighteen…oh no!!!) He’s also back to the just-Daddy phase, but worse…wanting just Daddy to bathe him, feed him, or even hand him certain things like his bottle and sippy cup. I know…sad-face for me.

On a positive note, this past month also marked the beginnings of Miguel speaking in sentences. Though still broken, he has started to use words together to make conversation (as opposed to single words at a time or when he wants something). His very first sentence I can remember was “Din-go…ARE you?” That is, to say, “Jingle, WHERE are you?” (LOL…Jingle is my sister-in-law’s cat, whom Miguel was so keen to playing with when we visited them in Sarasota, FL this month). There was also “Daddy…doing?” to ask “Daddy, WHAT are you doing?”

So cute.

And this makes Terrence and I so proud, and we were stumped ourselves when we discovered it. Our 21-month old knows his alphabet. From A-Z. One day a couple of weeks ago, I was sitting on my desk (probably blogging) when Miggz saw some loose paper on our printer. He immediately asked if he can “draw.” I proceeded to give him a pen and allowed him to scribble. (No, he doesn’t know how to write them yet…LOL). As he took a break from “drawing” I took the pen and started asking him to identify a few letters I know he already knows…O, I, W. And then I started to spell his name. I was surprised he could identify the letters M-I-G-U-E-L. Later that day, I sat with him in his room, and with his Dad also there, I started writing the letters one-by-one on his Cars magic-erase board. Yup…(save for some similar looking letters, M and N, X and Y) he was able to identify his letters. Proof that learning apps work (his Dad has an alphabet flashcard app on his Droid).

Now if only there’s an app that teaches how to potty train! Right now, Miggz likes to go in the bathroom (just for the adventure of it), put the toilet seat down, and FLUSH! At least we got that part covered…hahaha!!! I don’t think he’s quite ready to potty train yet.

Another thing he’s not quite ready for is to give up his bottle. He LOVES to drink juice and water in his sippies, but the moment we put milk in there he just refuses. We even tried calling it milk-juice and thought it worked for a second, but nothing gives. He likes his milk in his bottle still.

Miggz days before he reached 21 months. Not even two and already so independent-minded. Taken on his Uncle Mike and Auntie Trish's boat, Sarasota, FL.

The Day He Learned to Say “Thank You” / The Miggie Report: 19 Months

Since I did an 18 1/2-Month post…this report is just from the past two weeks, but it’s amazing what a toddler learns in just that short amount of time.

I am proud to say that many years from now, Terrence can give me the credit to teaching our son how to say “Please” and “Thank You.”

It started with some White Castle Chicken Rings that we took home from our uber-quick NJ trip. If you’ve never had White Castle Chicken Rings before–and have access to a White Castle in your state–get some now! They are delicious…especially with their Honey Mustard sauce. (Arizona, unfortunately, does not have any White Castles around).

As a snack one day, I decided to cut up some Chicken Rings for Miguel. He ended up LOVING them (after all, what’s not to love…they are glorified chicken nuggets)!!! I used these as a learning tool and proceeded with giving him just one ring at a time, sliced up nicely in his bowl. After the first serving, he asked for more. He’s been taught to say “please” before, but has not really been consistent with saying it. So I essentially used the yummy chicken rings as a behavior reinforcer. LOL. With each succeeding serving, I waited for him to say, “please” before I got up to slice a new chicken ring. And before completely giving him a new bowl, I asked him, “What will you say?” After a couple of tries, he said it in the cutest way…

TINK-yooooo.

For the past two weeks I continued this routine with every meal, glass of water, bottle of milk, toy, etc. that he asks for: anxiously waiting for the “please” at the onset of a request, and patiently waiting for his “TINK-yooooo” at the end. He’s needed the “What will you say?” reminder up until now, when I just handed him a bottle of de-de (his milk).

“TINK-yooooo,” he says.

It’s even sweeter when he says it on his own.

And I know he is now a thanker by heart.

And it makes me feel SO proud.

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