Thought Dilemma: Why does my toddler do the pee dance instead of just going to the bathroom! Arggh!
Familiar Behavior: Have you done the pee-pee dance lately? I do the pee-pee dance when I’m trying to juggle 3 or more chores at once and I put off a pit stop.! So many things can distract me on the way to the toilet…finding a baseball cap where it shouldn’t be, which leads to the desire to glare at DH, then on the way to put it back in the closet, I find a jacket not hung up..again, more spouse maiming fantasies, then there are towels to fix…again, sometimes a 2yo wanting to go potty first, and by the time I remember to go I’m doing the Pee Pee Bunny Hop while emptying the dishwasher!
I know how big my bladder is…I’ve known for years. It stopped growing a long time ago. That means I know exactly what it feels like just before I might just wet myself and that gives me the time I need to run to the bathroom. I also have a bigger and stronger sphincter. I’m not going to lie, there are a few times when a couple of drops have escaped and not just because of pregnancy.
It is very easy to forget that toddlers are people too and they have the same behaviors we do. Just because we don’t know what they are thinking, doesn’t mean their thought process isn’t important or doesn’t have a logical flow leading up to the event. It’s tempting to want to throw your hands up and slap on a diaper because…well…that’s what our society does. We place value on our floors, carpets, couches, and our time. That means that often we seek avenues to protect those things immediately with what we’ve observed a thousand times instead of trying something else. Honest to goodness we ALL do it. We’ll keep on fixing that rolled up carpet a thousand times won’t we? Try instead to behave as if the diapers didn’t exist. After all, your solution to your own pee-pee dance isn’t to run out for a pack of depends, right?
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So, my friends, have you done the pee-pee dance lately? Tell me! Make me laug
From the DiaperFree Group in Facebook:
Our DD is 14mo and says no 99% of the time when asked if she needs to go. The other part of the frustration is she has only asked to potty by crawling to it like 4 times EVER. We just have to ask and sit her on the potty. We guess all day every day. Her only signal at all (if at all) is a brief pause in whatever she is doing. I don’t know how to help her learn to ask to go :/ ~ Brittany
I’m a gal just living with her kids, so no phD here, but I hope I can help. Mom to mom.
First, do you know how awesome four times is in this diapering culture? High five grrlfriend! That isn’t a frustration, that is a huge boon, a brag moment — no really, you need to start some shameless mommy bragging. Change your perspective! Look, Moms brag endlessly over the maybe-first-step even if Schmoopsie doesn’t do it again for 2 months. Get you brag on!
When my Itty Bitty was two (or not quite two) and spilled her potty on the floor — I smiled and puffed out my chest. I know there was a mess and that sucked…I didn’t like the mess part at all. But, my baby was copying me emptying her potty all by herself. WOW! See, I didn’t teach her that. She just did it because she’d been watching me do it for her whole life and she finally as big enough and coordinated enough to give it a shot. I tell you, my bathroom carpets were never cleaner than they were that first month of learning potty emptying! (Of course, she just knocked over a cup of water and is now cleaning it — can’t blog for two seconds around here…! )
And that leads us to the next part of the question. You DON’T teach her how to ask. She’ll learn it. All you do is encourage and repeat ad nauseum. Remember she’s still is a baby (I don’t care what anyone says, babyhood is longer than one year) and like a baby she relies on you to just “know” what she needs and when she needs it. That gives her the freedom to feel safe enough to experiment. You’ve got her back. She doesn’t need to worry about getting eaten by a predator, where her next meal is coming from, or where she’ll sleep. She trusts you. She doesn’t want you to nag and hover, but she wants you at a comfortable distance so that she can run to you at any time. She watches and listens even if you don’t think she is. We model and show by our actions and behaviors, it is their job to observe and mimic when they are capable.
Everyone likes to think that they “teach” their children to speak, for example. Language is far too complex to teach to a baby. The infinite combinations of how to string a sentence together alone is daunting, never mind the musicality of language, or the use of idioms, articles, and pronouns. But nature makes it simple. You talk. They listen. You say certain phrases and words more often so they are encouraged to repeat because it is in their design and it makes you smile and interact. But 99.9% of the words they know, the phrases they utter, and the Grammer they use you never teach to them directly. For example, I have never taught my toddler the difference in saying, “Let me help you,” “Let Mommy help you,” and “I’ll help you.” She says “me help you” and “I’ll help you” and if she needs me “Mommy help”, and “Help me mommy”. She is even using past tense! “I helped Mommy, Daddy.” I certainly didn’t teach her how to conjugate a verb! All I have to do is talk and expose her to conversations. To be honest, I have become a walking toddler to English translator. I have learned toddler-speak! More often than not I hear myself saying, “When did you learn that?” or “I didn’t know she knew what that was!” She knows “handle bars”…really?…I never told her what a bike handle bar was!
So that’s all you have to do. Model, show, use your potty sign/word/cue, repeat, and pick up the slack. (And of course ditch the diapers — for those reading this and still using them at this point. I know I’m a rebel.)
That subtle pause she does means, “I trust my mommy to know what I need.” It’s the same way you “know” when she’s hungry without her saying anything.
She is also beginning to enter little by little into autonomy so I suggest you not ask a question you already know the answer to. If you do ask a question , be prepared to respect the answer even if it isn’t the one you want! There are times when you are just going to have to let things happen. Put the potty there and say, “There is the potty if you need it.” When you see the accident cue, “Wait!” and help her get to the potty fast to finish. She will pick up on her own that she can stop peeing if she goes in the wrong place, that there are unacceptable places to pee, or if she miscalculates/waits too long, that you will help but not nag, and you will show her how it is done.
Short term mess equals long term benefits. Happy Pottying
I hope that helps!
Let us all congratulate Itty Bitty on her conquering the lofty toilet without a step stool! It is no longer a monumental task requiring climbing gear to get on the toilet. Okay, sure she has to be naked from the waste down most of the time so she can mount it, but that’s splitting hairs. She redresses herself, sometimes well and sometimes a little off kilter (a sock upside down, a shirt backwards, shoes on the wrong feet…). If she is in a hurry she asks for assistance, if she is really in a hurry she just uses the little potty. She hasdecided that closing the door is not worth the effort. Of course, she’s not so Itty Bitty … she’s quite tall and lanky.
The new toilet insert she likes very much and hasn’t complained about it hurting. In other news, she’s been nursing more and boy have her farts been foul as a portend to the messy, reeky, poops! Yikes. I don’t know how diapering parents can handle the daily chore of cleaning what comes out of an older toddler behind. Not an easy or enviable job. They’ve got it rough. Sticky stanky stuff. Even Itty Bitty is a little aghast. She prefers to poop on the toilet rather than in the potty because of the mess. Even the non messy poops don’t look like they’d be much fun smashed into a rear end.
Any signs of regression you ask? Nope. Not even a glimmer. There has been absolutely no night issues, and I would have to read this blog to even pinpoint the last night miss other than the December Holiday bizarre one or the one daddy man cause a few months before that. She’s been night continent over a year. I have been making sure that I involve her in pottying her brother by helping me in a small way like getting me a wipe, fresh pefold, or make the cueing sound. I still talk to her about what I am doing. She has said a few times, “Good job baby!” and clapped for him, particularly if I take him to wee on the toilet. I also make it a point to apologize when I’ve been in a temper and raised my voice when I shouldn’t have (people don’t apologize for mistakes with children enough), and I try to make time for use one-on-one every day. I want to reward her patience with following through. I also have not stopped being a part of her pottying, I am still there to assist and remind (without hovering or being overbearing), but always let her drive. We potty before we leave the house, before we leave a destination if it has been a long time, or I simply ask and accept the no if it is given. It can be really hard not to forget about the little person who needs you, when you have a very needy baby demanding your every moment. I look at Itty Bitty and I am so proud and thankful for her nature. She maybe a little destructo when tired, quicker to shed tears these days, and contrary at times, but she is equally nurturing, helpful, and loving. This big change can’t be easy for her, but she has adapted beautifully thus far.
Itty Bitty had two mishaps this month. One she was standing AT the bathroom door in a puddle of pee and she was so upset she was crying for me. I had reminded her to go to the bathroom a half an hour earlier but she either forgot or miscalculated the amount of time needed to take care of both insert and pants. I patted her sweaty head, kissed her tears, as I lifted her on the toilet to finish her business. I don’t really count this as a miss, more of a timing error. You decide! The other mishap was tonight and totally my fault. I was taking a much deserved, long shower and I had the door closed tight. Itty Bitty pounded on the door and I misjudged the intent (we have only one bathroom). When I opened the door the poor thing was standing with butt out and thighs clenched desperately holding in a Messy Poo. Her face was a bit distressed and she was able to say, “I need to poo poo.” quite calmly. I helped her out and there was a very small skid mark on her underwear, hardly noteworthy especially considering what she had been keeping at bay. She has incredible control and a strong desire to be clean. That’s my girl!
Speaking of underwear. Itty Bitty is now tall enough to help herself to the underwear on the shelf, in the linen closet next to the bathroom where I store them. Yes, she can handle most door knobs quite well. So well now in fact, that we’ve had to have a little chat about not opening doors without Mommy or Daddy present. Particularly the doors to outside and the cellar. For the most part she’s been amiable.
For those with baby girls and you have gotten outfits with elastic waist skirts that are highly impractical for crawlers, save them. Your slender 2 year old (or younger walker) without diaper bulk can wear them. (picture soon)
Visit Brother Blog: Pottytunities for Two
Quotes of the Month:
“That’s great! Let’s get going.”
Please let me help you, I’ll go with you.
I ride back for you. (asking for a piggy back. I think she’s said that for three months now though)
See-whoa-whoa with ahmend mewk (cereal with almond milk)
It seems fitting that Itty Bitty turns 2 1/2 upon the equinox. Though she is a toddler I still see the baby in her when she cries or has a meltdown and when her Social Butterfly becomes Shy Violet and she peeks out from between my legs.
I know, however, that the million dollar question this month is: “So, has she potty regressed!?”
The answer is emphatically no.
She does want to nurse a lot more, and unfortunately I have to delay her requests a lot during the newborn crazy time, but I do try my utmost to get our cuddle sessions in 1-3 times a day. Other than more pleas for my attention that is obviously no longer undivided, and a more sensitive crying switch, nothing has changed as far as her sleep patterns or potty habits.
I doubt it will ever occur to her to poop on the floor or in her pants on purpose because pottying has been all her own responsibility for over a year and before that it was a mutual team effort and she has no memory of wearing diapers. She watches and sees how uncomfortable the baby gets when he wets himself and how I am teaching him to go on cue and trying to catch. She also helps to get the diapers and cloth wipes. There have been no accidents despite increases in foul tempers in the house! Skid marks from amateur attempts at wiping do not count as accidents. All that fresh mommy milk makes the poop messy, and it sure does make toddlers grow like weeds. Holy cow, the girl has grown a lot this month in length, weight and thigh circumference!
Notable Phrases of the Month
Wait a second.
Hey, take it easy.
It’s okay baby, I know. (referring to her new brother, mimicing me)
Me hold him?
Baby so cute!
Eww, baby frew up! (lots of baby spit up around here!)
No wait, I go with you.
Put baby down.
Shhh. I’m busy.
I’m digging in the sandbox.
I berry sleep. Take nap.
We go bouncy house tomorrow?
She can get fully dressed now except for particularly stubborn clothes and one shoe. She requests songs I sing to her like Itsy Bitsy spider, Twinkle Twinkle, 5 Little Ducks, 5 Monkeys, and You are My Sunshine. She also mimics hand motions and body dance moves more easily and spontaneously. For about 2 months now she had done the Minnie Mouse “Posey Dance’ consisting of jump hops and spins. Door knobs are no longer a challenge.
Visit Brother Blog: Pottytunities for Two
I look at pictures from 9 months ago and am astounded at how much she has changed. She rapidly losing the baby face.