Tag Archives: Pottytraining

A Tale Of Two Cousins

Bess and Melody started pottytraining on the same day. Purely coincidental. 

One took about 10 days to fully train. She went from diapers full-time to panties 24/7. No nighttime accidents. 

The other waits until mom leaves the room to remove panties, put on sister’s diaper, pee in the diaper, remove the diaper, toss it into the trash can, and put panties back on. 

You’ll never guess which one is which…

You’ll never guess. 


Pottytraining The Ballew Sisters

Yes, you read that correctly. We’re pottytraining both girls. It wasn’t the plan. Honestly, I wasn’t planning on restarting with Miss Elizabeth Mae until this summer.

She started late last year. Did well for a couple days. Then, my morning/noon/night sickness kicked in and we stopped.

On Tuesday, she asked for the potty. I brought it in, thinking, “This is too good to be true. Stay calm, Lyndse. Don’t show too much excitement. But don’t show fear, either. Toddlers smell fear. And strong-willed toddlers are like bloodhounds. Just be breezy.”


She wanted a hat for her doll. Fantastic.

But then she actually sat down and peed. Then she peed again. Pooped. And she George Costanza-ed it every time. What can I say? She’s a dedicated reader.


We had one accident the entire day. One. And it doesn’t even really count. She got into some cocoa and had a reaction. Not even a grown-up could’ve made it to a toilet. And I thought about burning that prefold. For real. I love cloth diapers, but that dipe almost didn’t survive.


“Only one accident all day? This can’t be possible.” I didn’t want to lose my street cred in the marathon pottytraining department. Graham took 3+ years. I never brag about pottytraining, because the toilet gods will zap you with lightning. Pottytraining is a mystical process that eludes me.

The next day, she did nothing on the potty. I knew I couldn’t be one of those “Three Day” moms. It just isn’t in my cards.

Thursday: “I don’t pee on potties, cuz I’m in charge! You can’t make me potty!”

No, I can’t. And I didn’t. I learned the very hard way that Graham used pottytraining for control. I refused to play that game with my second strong-willed kid. She stayed in diapers all day, and I told her the potty chair was for Adelaide.

Today, she was on potty strike again. “I no listen to Mommy. I a big girl in charge.” No big deal. Put the potty chair in the kitchen and went about my business of running a three-ring circus.

Out of the blue, Adelaide crawled to the gate. Looked at the potty. SIGNED POTTY. After I hyperventilated, I asked, “Adelaide, do you need to potty? Do you want to sit on the potty?” She said, “Digggiggggzzzzizgggi!” and flapped her arms. Which is an excited yes in Adelaidean.

I sat her on the potty, even though she had just gone. She was pretty happy on that chair.



About 90 minutes later, she signed ‘potty’ and again crawled to the chair. She had just peed.

I was determined to catch her before she had a bowel movement. She has several tells. But Graham and I left the living room to get something from his room and I missed it!

She crawled over, signed, and knew she needed a change. I cleaned her up, sat her on the potty, and she kept looking down to see if anything was happening. It’s very common for kids with hypotonia to lack that ‘I’m about to go’ sensation. But it won’t stop us from trying.


Bess became jealous and started using the potty again. She had some accidents, but wasn’t going to let Big Sister show her up. “Mommy! Get pitcher of Bess doing cheese smile on potty!” Sure thing, sweetheart.




I basically spent my day pottytraining. But I’m in a state of euphoria over Adelaide wanting to use the potty! It’s one of those things I wasn’t going to write off, but I also wasn’t even thinking about it. I was going to try after her 5th birthday to put her on a schedule and see if we could cut down on diapers. But SIGNING POTTY. It’s like Christmas. If your Christmas is filled with urine and feces. I don’t know your life…

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Pottytraining Gives Me Hives

“Me tinky!” Bess brought me a cover adorned with birdhouses, signed the word diaper, and shouted her predicament. She was stinky. At 20 months, she shows many signs of pottytraining readiness. But, here’s the rub…so did Graham. And I felt completely bamboozled by a child who wanted to start using the potty one day before he turned two. And proceeded to take more than three years to actually train. He has more pottytraining days under his belt than diaper days. He regressed twice after new sisters. I pottytrained through two pregnancies. So many false hopes dashed by defiant incident upon incident. We tried all the tricks. Read all the articles. He was just unwilling to be trained. And that’s just not something I can do again. I may buy some cloth trainers in July and let Bess get a feel for things. But I cannot repeat Graham’s pottytraining journey. Those were some dark days. Bess is just as strong-willed, but has the benefit of cloth and feeling every time she is wet. So my optimistic side says GO FOR IT! But my past experience says STAY THE HECK AWAY FROM THAT POTTY SEAT! I would rather change cloth diapers for another two years and actually train in a few weeks, than start now and train until I am celebrating my 35th birthday. Someone once teased that I have ptsd, pottytraining stress disorder, but that’s not even a joke I can entertain with two Iraqi and Afghanistan veterans for a brother and sis. But I do have a visceral reaction to training Bess. I just can’t even think about it right now. I am genuinely happy for people who pottytrain quickly and magically, but it’s not a reality in our home. Our out-of-the-box children don’t follow toilet norms. And my carpet can’t take too many more “I will pee and poop right here and you can’t stop me” episodes.


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Grahamism: Potty Advice

I baptized myself with Diet Coke at playdate. It was somewhere between a Presbyterian sprinkle and a Southern Baptist dunk in a river. Maybe a Pentecostal Church of God youth pastor with a bottle of Dasani on a nature hike? And I definitely looked like I had met with an unfortunate accident. And had some sort of medical emergency with urine that particular shade of brown. “Mama, you gotta not wait to pee. Even if yous are having fun wif fwiends.” Great advice. I think he learned it from this really beautiful and amazing mom I know. “Sweetie, it’s not pee. I spilled my drink.” Because it’s so hard to put a lid on a cup. A cup that was filled by a machine with a conveyor belt. The kid’s only job was to attach that lid. “The lid wasn’t on it correctly, so it spilled on Mama.” Whether you believe that my Diet Coke was an outward expression of an inward transformation or actually sealing me for eternity, we can all agree that this lid failed its only job. Keeping fluid in a container. “Sure, Mama. I do buh-lieve you. Just wemember to pee in da toilet.” Now I do need to pee. “Thank you for the reminder. Now go play and have fun.” Just let me get a photo first. Because five-year-olds are awesome. And you will be grown before I know it.


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Time To Read

A full Crockpot and an empty Laundry Chair. These are the moments that don’t define me as a mom, but keep me from eating all the Easter goodies we shoved into the Poop Container. By the way, people without children don’t often know that parents of strong-willed preschoolers still bribe their children with sugary treats. Will he completely relieve himself in his Star Wars Angry Birds underwear? Not anymore. But am I taking any chances that he waits a bit too long and gets a bit in them and then cries a bit? Not on my watch. If he wants to do his business sans accidents for a few jellybeans or an egg-shaped maltball, I am the first to show up to that party. My poor husband had to explain the term ‘Poop Container’ to his family on a Holy Day. “No, Graham, you can’t eat all your candy. It’s going in the Poop Container.” I said it without thinking. Because I am raising a 5 1/2 year old who wants control over everything in his little life. But the chair is empty, and the chicken is almost done, and I am going to enjoy some time reading something that is written above a second grade level. Unlike this post. Sorry about that…


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Five Minute Friday {Again}

Lisa-Jo Baker and her Five Minute Friday are back for 2013! I am blessed by this project. Join me…

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community...


Ready, set, go…

Graham’s bedtime routine is a disaster. It is not his fault. We have never been that consistent, but realize it needs to change. He starts homeschool preschool in the fall. Autumn? I like that word better. So, homeschool preschool commences this autumn…and we realized Graham needed more routine. Ok. Some routine. I made some adorable charts, which I need to put up in his room. We tried several things, which never worked. But, basically, Graham would not (and sometimes, still won’t) fall asleep if you don’t sit next to his bed. Embarrassing. And horribly inconvenient when you are nursing another child. Part power struggle/part Mommy & Daddy’s boy/part sibling of a girl with special needs.

Since pottytraining this week, converting to a big boy room, and stressing that he is a BIG BOY all the live long day, he started falling into our new bedtime routine very well. Surprisingly well. Suspiciously well.

Brush teeth, pee, put on pajamas, put dirty clothes in the hamper, pee, read a book, pray, possibly pee again, & go to sleep.

Graham has even asked us to leave his room, so he can go to bed like a big boy. While he watches his sister’s butterfly nightlight. I am totally fine with that…it is worth the electricity.

After a few years with Graham, we realized we are never going down this path again. Sorry future Ballews, but you will have more routine. While some parents are strict with the first and become more lax, we were the opposite. We chose our battles, but never won the bedtime war. Now, we are victorious. At least for this week…

Time’s up!

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It’s Official! {cue the music}

15+ months

475+ days

11,000+ hours

686,000+ minutes

41,000,000+ seconds

Potty-training a strong-willed toddler has been a grueling interesting journey, which officially ends today! Please note: January 22, 2013, marks the day we declare Graham {finally} POTTY-TRAINED!

Graham has been wearing “mine Big Boy underwears” for quite some time,  but had managed to trick ease his way back into Pullups during unnecessary times. So, we took away the safety net of night-time/van-time/church-time/any-time Pullups {well, we switched to generic awhile back, but we never said, “Time to put on your White Cloud Training Pants“…} and this has been our last week and a half in Facebook posts. Enjoy.

If Graham poops one more time in his underwear, I am running away with the Polka Dot Afro Circus… ; )

“I peeded and poopeded in ALL mine underwear. Buy me a Pullups.” “No, you will just wear pajama pants while I wash all your underwear.” “Ok. But I use up all mine jammies pants and THEN you buy me a Pullups.” “No, you are big boy and you aren’t wearing Pullups anymore.” “Ok. But I knowed you hided some somewhere! I find dem!” Goodness sakes alive…I am totally eating some freezer chocolate today. ; )

Graham listened and obeyed {and stayed dry!} through 3 1/2 hours of waiting rooms and errands. So, I broke the spending freeze so we could share a $1 ice cream cone. Honestly, he deserves a parade for what he endured this afternoon. I am so blessed to be his Mama!

Graham wore big boy underwear to church and stayed dry the entire time…almost 3 hours! WOOHOO! — with David Michael Ballew.

And with only a handful of accidents in the past several days, we have traded in the -ing for -ed. This boy is potty-trainED…with an occasional pair of Superhero undies going into the diaper pail.
Cue the music:
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Five Minute Friday {Thank You}

So excited to join Lisa-Jo Baker and her Five Minute Friday!

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community...

Timer is set…on vibrate. I am flanked by snoozing babies.

Father God,

I want to thank YOU for so many blessings. Some are spoken, and even posted for all to see, but most are hidden in my heart. Words I share with you. Today, I want to thank you for the work{s} you are doing in me. So, here is a thank you list of the things you have started, and will be faithful to complete in me:

  1. faith for provision in the medical bills department {and all those other departments}
  2. contentment in our little house…you have given us more than we need.
  3. joy in all these necessary trials
  4. strength for Adelaide {and her Mama} and *possibly* less for Graham {smile}
  5. patience and silence for those parenting moments when I want to raise my voice to be heard above the clamor
  6. mercy and grace for all the situations where my justice-seeking heart wants to scream and shake people by their {grown-up} shoulders
  7. discipline to start what I finish
  8. hope for the weary days when I just want to give up
  9. rest and obedience to rest…you set the example for me, I just need to follow.
  10. gratitude. May I remember that you are worthy of my thanks every moment. Every day. Every month.

Time for typing is up, but the list goes on and on…

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Pottytraining! {12 months, 3 weeks later}

“I go pee and poop in the potty?” The words every mom wants to hear.

The beginning of our pottytraining journey.

Unfortunately, I knew Graham wasn’t ready. It was only days before his 2nd birthday. Graham liked the idea of playing in the bathroom. He also relished the freedom of taking off his own diaper. And running around naked. And hiding naked. And peeing on our carpet. He also liked the control.

I was 8 months pregnant with Adelaide at the time, so my energy levels were nearing dangerously low levels. The thought of pottytraining a 23-month-old while preparing for a 2nd baby was horrifying. I also assumed Graham would regress when we brought Adelaide home from the hospital. That was what everyone said. Books, moms, everyone who had ever pottytrained a toddler right before giving birth. I wanted him to wait 6 or 8 months, but I couldn’t keep him in diapers. He figured out the boxtape. And he figured out how to undo overalls. I was out of options.

Photo Credit: Myra Wike Photography, NW Arkansas

Little toilet. Little underwear. Little training pants. I put on my game face. Maybe I was wrong. Maybe he would be one of those kids who trained in three days. Yes! He would be that kid! Nope. He just learned how to remove the training pants. And run around naked. And hide naked. And pee on the carpet. He was still in control.

I tried food. I bought several types of candy…which I often ate out of pottytraining desperation. I made amazing sticker charts. I decorated the bathroom with helium balloons. I used timers. I bought books, toys, flashcards. I tried special outings. I tried everything. Nothing gave us consistent results. Graham went when he wanted to go. He was actually more consistent after Adelaide was born. He knew I would put baby sister in her cradle and rush to the bathroom. Potty time became quality time.

Potty Time!

We went through phases. Graham would go one or two days with only a few accidents. Hopeful! Other times, he would use the potty exactly zero times in a day (or several days in a row). Discouraged! He would sit…or stand…just holding it in until he was done making me wait. Frustrated! Once, he was able to hold his pee for 96 minutes. I just sat across from him with the water running. I finally gave up and put him back in his underwear. He went into the living room, pulled off the underwear, and laughed as he peed into the floor register. Apathetic! <— Because I was so tired…and my butt hurt from sitting on the bathroom floor. I ate a lot of candy that day.

This week, Graham has decided to wear big boy underwear every day. He has also decided that he can, and will, go to the bathroom all by himself. We have gone more than 72 hours with a grand total of only 3 accidents. What if this is it? Do I have a pottytrained toddler? 12 months and 3 weeks later. I don’t know, but I am giddy at the thought of it.

Graham has taught me that you can lead a horse to a potty, but you can’t make him pee. And that Marvel big boy underwear are awesome.

Thor Underwear. Need I say more?

What is your pottytraining story? Please share in the comments.

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