Tag Archives: potty training

Luke: from potty training to preschool

August 2012 – This year I’ve watched my energetic and self-determined toddler develop into a full-blown preschooler.  Our first challenge after he reached his third birthday on January 5 was to begin the process of potty training in earnest.  He had been watching Jared use the toilet for quite some time.  He would use it very inconsistently.  I had completely switched him out of normal diapers and started using the Huggies “pull up” diapers to encourage him to learn how to pull down his clothing on his own.  But I didn’t really focus on potty training in earnest until mid-January.

The process took a little longer than I had originally expected.  It didn’t help that Luke caught a stomach flu that gave him diarrhea during the second week of being potty trained.  But I was determined that we were not going back to pull ups again and that I was not purchasing another diaper to put on that child’s behind.  I think it took a full three weeks for Luke to be officially potty trained.

Our biggest challenge with Jared was getting him potty trained at night.  After the first week of potty training at the age of three, Jared has had only a handful of day-time accidents.  However, he would continue to wet his bed for another year and a half.  The interesting difference with Luke was that he seemed to gain night time bladder control almost immediately.  Luke will still have accidents during the day, because he gets so engrossed in whatever activity he is doing and will “hold it” until it’s too late to get to the bathroom.  But he rarely wets his bed.

It was actually, this process of potty training that began planting doubts into my mind of Luke’s readiness to start any kind of school program in the fall. It has always been harder for me to capture the attention of Luke than Jared. He seemed to manage pretty well in a nursery setting, but I just wasn’t sure he was ready for a classroom setting. I couldn’t help but transport myself mentally to the time that I taught English at a little Korean language school in South Korea in 2002. I had the youngest class which included three and four year olds.  I had scoffed at the parents who sent their little three year old “babies” to school who were just barely potty trained.  I remember telling myself then that I would never send my child to school that young. Now, here I was contemplating doing just that.

I also felt that Luke had been in Jared’s shadow in his learning development.  As I worked through preschool activities with Jared, Luke would do his best to keep up, even though he wasn’t quite able to comprehend everything that I was teaching Jared.  Up to this point, Luke had never been separated from Jared for more than an hour or two at a time. I thought it might be good to keep Luke at home so that I could focus on him without being under the shadow of his big brother.

Stephen made fun of me at first, saying that I was having a hard time letting go of my kids.  However, once school got started, he began to agree with me.  It became especially clear that we had made the right decision when we watched Luke being unable to get ready in the mornings as quickly as his big brother. Luke still cannot really make his bed and needs help dressing himself.  He also has a hard time staying on task unless someone is standing right beside him.

I don’t worry about any of this now, because it just makes it clear to me that Luke hasn’t reached that stage of independence.  Slowly, he is making progress.  He is learning how to communicate himself more clearly.  Earlier in the year, he was having trouble completing his sentences and would begin stuttering and then rushing his words together in a blast of phonic sound while appearing as if his entire face was going to explode.  (Seriously, it was quite an interesting thing to watch.) Now, he’s able to make himself understood most of the time and enjoys joining in conversations with the family.

As with our decision to keep Jared in the half-day kindergarten program, I have not regretted for a moment keeping Luke out of school altogether.  I am really enjoying the pre-school activities I’ve been doing with Luke.  He’s been working on his alphabet, basic phonics, writing letters and writing numbers, and learning how to count different items.  I’ve also been using different flash card games to help him build his vocabulary. Another activity that has become part of his morning exercises is going over a section out of his Awana Cubbies book.  Luke has been so excited that he is old enough now to participate in the Awana program with Jared.  Luke also enjoys learning Bible verses and doing the activities and projects that the book recommends.

Luke has been enjoying this time that I spend with him in the mornings.  You may wonder what Grace is doing at this time.  I usually am feeding her the rest of her breakfast and letting her look at little books and play with small toys until Luke is finished with his exercises.  I don’t spend more than an hour and a half in the morning on these activities.  Then, Luke and Grace play on their own unless we have an outing planned or a list of errands that Mommy wants to take care of before picking up Jared at school.

Luke is really beginning to understand what it means to be big brother now that he is the one that Mommy turns to for help while Jared is at school.  He is also starting to look to Grace more for companionship now that Jared isn’t here as much to fill that void. In the past six months, Luke has grown three inches, gone up one shoe size and is wearing 4T in most of his clothing.  He is still about six inches shorter than Jared, but has slowly caught up to him in weight so that he now is only two to three pounds lighter than Jared.

Luke loves music and impresses his Sunday school teachers by being one of the few enthusiastic “worshipers” during their praise and worship time.  They tell me that Luke always makes his way to the front of the room so that he can dance and do the motions to all the songs they sing.

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Jared’s Milestones

Jared poses at a butterfly exhibit.

When Jared turned three years old, I determined that I was finally going to get him potty trained “for real.”  Ever since Jared turned two, I have been going through phases of trying to potty train him and then giving up for months at a time.  This time around, I decided on a strategy that would put my focus solely on Jared.  We had just gotten back from our summer trip in the U.S. and I had a whole month before school would begin again. 

So, I pulled out all of Jared’s diapers and told him, “Jared, these are the last diapers I am going to buy for you.  When these are finished, you have to wear pull ups.  When those are finished, you have to wear underwear.”

It took about a week and a half with a few setbacks along the way, but I can now officially say that Jared is potty-trained during his waking hours.  We are still working on getting him potty trained during his naps and overnight.  So far, he has woken up dry in the morning at least three times in the last three weeks.  The best thing about the whole process is that Jared is finally on board with the activity.  He really wants to be a big boy and not use diapers any more.

Jared and Luke sit on the potty after having had their morning bath.

Besides the potty training, we’re finally getting Jared to eat his meals mostly on his own.  He’s really becoming a day dreamer, and sometimes I can just see his mind go off into another world in the middle of a meal. 

You can just tell there is a lot on his mind.  Recently, Jared decided to memorize the alphabet song and sometimes goes around the house singing it.  He has also memorized his first Bible verse.  We just started to do devotions with the boys each night.  And a verse that I’ve been reading to Jared recently is from Psalm 118:24. 

“This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

Sometimes that verse has really come back to bite me.  There have been times when I wake up in the morning grumbling to myself about all that I have to do that day.  I feel this dark cloud hovering over my head.  Then I hear Jared quoting Psalm 118:24 with a big smile on my face, and I know God’s using him to tell me something. 

I’m so glad that God can use little Jared to remind me to be glad for each day that He has given us on this earth.

Stephen thought it would be fun to scare his son by placing him close to the mouth of this alligator statue.

Baby and Big Boy Updates

Luke reaches out to see the flowers that Jared picked.

Our babies are growing so fast, it is hard to keep up with them.  Jared is now 2 ½ years old and Luke is one year old.  They had a doctor’s visit at the end of January.  I discovered that Jared had gained 2 ½ inches in height in the past six months but hadn’t gained a single ounce in weight.  He basically weighed the same amount that he did this summer.  He is nearly 37 inches tall, but only weighs 26 lbs.

It didn’t help that his body had to fight two different stomach flu attacks.  His first one was in mid-December and lasted until about Christmas time.  He was better for a few days when a really strong stomach flu hit him a week after New Year’s.  He was throwing up all of his food for a few days and his mom got concerned enough to take him to the doctor to get antibiotics. 

February has been a better month for him.  According to our bathroom scale, Jared has gained back the weight he lost while he was sick and hit a new record of 29 lbs on Sunday. 

We are still struggling to potty train him.  Jared is not interested in using his potty and does not let us know he needs to relieve himself until after he has done so…in his diaper.

In other areas, we are seeing lots of progress.  Jared is officially finished with bottle feeding and uses his sippy cups to drink all of his fluids.  His vocabulary continues to grow in both English and Spanish (although he prefers English when his parents are around).  He has learned to count (for the most part) to about 14.  Sometimes he’ll say “One, two, three…nine!”  Then he tries to fill in the numbers in between. 

Luke has gone from crawler to…climber.  He’s not confident to take those first walking steps on his own, but he will stand up and pull himself along furniture.  Anything that he can lean on, he will use to push himself across the room.  He has learned how to climb up on a tall couch and climb off without hurting himself.  I’ve seen him climb up on Jared’s “big boy” bed and climb off without any assistance. 

Once I saw him push a stool across the kitchen floor until he reached the stove.  He proceeded to climb up on the stool so that he could reach the knobs on the front of the stove.  His favorite button is the light switch to turn the light on in our stove. Of course, I took him off the stool before he started turning on any burners on our stove.

At this point, I’m sure it will only be a short time before Luke starts walking. In the meantime, he is learning how to talk.  Most of his talk is just babble right now. He knows who each of his family members are.  Stephen is “Da-da,” Cristina is “Ma-ma,” and Jared is “Ba-ba.” He is always full of curiosity to discover things that are within his reach.  This means more and more things have to be moved OUT of his reach.

One of Luke’s favorite places to be is in front of our bookshelf.  The bottom shelf contains puzzles and musical toys for both boys.  The second shelf (still in Luke’s reach) now contains only the books that Luke is allowed to play with.  Basically, those are the books that Luke can’t shred to pieces.  Luke enjoys reaching up into his second shelf and pulling down the books that he can look at.  I’ll often find him sitting in front of the book shelf with his puzzles, toys and books piled all around him.

The third bookshelf is out of Luke’s reach, but is now within Jared’s reach.  We put all of Jared’s books up there that Luke could easy destroy if he was allowed to get to them.  By the time Luke gets tall enough to reach Jared’s shelf, we hope that he’ll be able to take care of the books as well as Jared does. 

I still have not weaned Luke completely, but he is learning to eat “big people” food.  He loves having small pieces of cheese or meat that he can put into his own mouth.  He’s gotten into the habit of fussing at being spoon fed.  I think he’s catching up with Jared in being able to feed himself.  Jared is still in the process of learning how to hold his own spoon and fork while he eats. 

We are proud of our boys progress and enjoy watching them play and interact with each other.

Jared’s Adventures

Jared in his Santa hat

Jared Meier is now two years and five months old. For most pediatricians in Ecuador, this is way too old for a child to be in diapers. I, personally, have been trying to take my time in beginning the process of potty training, since it doesn’t seem that Jared is very much interested in the idea of sitting on a toilet.

One day, Jared actually agreed to try it out. I grabbed our little “potty book,” some cookies, some wet wipes and lots of enthusiasm to help Jared adjust to the idea. However, Jared soon became frightened about sitting on the cold commode. As soon as the urge hit him, he wanted to squirm off the toilet and relieve himself into his diaper. I had to hug him and encourage him to relax. I felt like I was coaxing someone through labor.

When he finally finished his duty, I gave him a cookie and told him what a big boy he was. I thought we had made a breakthrough.

That is…until the next time he needed to go to the bathroom. At the mere suggestion of using the toilet, Jared began to run away crying and screaming. To avoid the toilet, he’ll actually go into his bedroom and grab a clean diaper. He’d wait until he had filled his diaper and then runs over to me and says, “Change diaper, please.” Once, he actually hid under the dining room table until he had filled his diaper to make the announcement.

Stephen and I both tried to explain to Jared that babies use diapers and that big boys use the potty. When I asked Jared if he was a big boy or a baby, he looked up at me very seriously and said, “Jared a baby. No potty.”

Sigh. I guess we’re not quite ready for potty training yet.

In spite of this small setback, Jared continues to surprise us with his progress and growth. He have become very clever at reaching items that we’ve specifically told him are “off-limits.” He has discovered how to use footstools and chairs to reach up to table tops and high shelves in order to get what he wants.

We are also trying to figure out where he got so polite in answering questions. For the last couple weeks, he has started saying something that sounds like “Yes, sir” to things that he is really fervent in answering “yes” about something.

And there are also those heart-warming moments when he’ll burst out with something sweet. The other day, I was putting him in his high chair when he looked across the room at Stephen and said, “I love Daddy.”

I asked him, “Really? Do you love, Mommy?”

“Um-hmm,” Jared replied. “I love baby Loot.”

Jared hasn’t quite gotten the grasp of the “k” sound, yet. But it is really cute to hear him call his brother, “Loot.”