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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

When In A Pinch......

At thirty-eight months, Sugar Bear is to be considered quite a bit on the LATE side of potty training. The truth of the matter is.....we've been working on this since last summer. At the time, she was showing most, if not all, of the classic signs of being ready. We had some success, but nothing too encouraging. I am a firm believer in not pushing a child towards potty training, but at the time, I felt I was on a time constraint. Sugar Bear was supposed to be potty trained to begin at her new daycare/pre-school, when I had to return to work in late August. She just wasn't progressing, and it felt as if I was stressing her out about it. After a bit of discussion with her new care provider, Sugar was off to school in her pull-ups. I had hoped to skip pull-ups all together, but.....I had to do what was easiest for us all.

So here we were 6 months later, and Sugar Bear had ZERO interest in potty training. She would flatly REFUSE to even try to sit on the potty. Believe me.....we had all the tools:
potty chair
toilet ring
4 different potty books (which she loved to read)
Lots of fun underwear (which she picked out)
2 videos (she loves Potty time Elmo)
the Potty Time Elmo Doll

and we used all sorts of techniques. We casually talked about pottying in the toilet every day. I let her "help" me use the potty. She studied her friends at daycare using the potty. We made a chart.....and on it went. She just flatly refused to even sit on the potty. We'd let weeks go by with NO mention of the potty, then we'd just start asking her if she wanted to try the potty. NOPE! sigh....

I got all sorts of advice about bribing her with toys and treats. First off, Sugar Bear has to be one of the least materialistic kids I know. Seriously, you could buy her a fancy new toy and set it aside for her until she earned it....and she'd just shrug at it and walk away. Secondly, I just wasn't that worried about her being potty trained enough to resort to using candy just yet. Honestly I figured she'd potty train when she was ready. The only reason I was even concerned, was she was the ONLY child not potty trained at her school. I was starting to feel guilty, however, I knew that only in her time would it happen.

About three weeks ago, we stumbled onto the perfect motivation for Miss Sugar. We were at a pet store picking up some goldfish for our outdoor trough, when a different type of aquarium caught our eye. Within minutes Sugar Bear was infatuated with HERMIT CRABS. Out of all the pets in that store, these were the ones that she BEGGED for. I told her that I needed to do some reading about them, before I could decide if we could provide them a good home. Not only did I know NOTHING about Hermit Crabs, I was pretty sure she'd forget about them once we left. NOT SO.....this little honey began to earnestly ask me when we could get a Hermit Crab. So I did some research, and decided that THIS might be it.

I explained to Sugar Bear, that Hermit Crabs are a BIG responsibility (not really), and that she needed to show me what a big girl she could be before we got some. Together we made a potty chart that simply asked her to PRACTICE sitting on the potty 10 times, and if she got a BONUS (actually poop or pee in the toilet) we'd get TWO hermit crabs. She was excited and eager. We proudly taped her chart right by the potty, and set to work. It took some convincing that first morning, but she finally sat on the potty. Once she realized that she need only sit there long enough to sing "twinkle twinkle", and it didn't matter whether she produced a product or not, she was more than willing to "practice" 3 times a day.

Within 4 days, she finally peed in the potty. This was huge. She had not peed in the potty since late July. It was thrilling. On the chart, I had actually put "poop in the potty" as the bonus because sometimes, all though rarely, she would sit on the potty when she was already in the process of pooping, so I thought we'd be more likely to get a poop, than a pee. As you can see....she got FOUR pees in the potty, so we headed out and picked up our two newest members of the family.

I am not thrilled with the photos, as Hubby was mortified that I was taking pictures in the pet store, so they are all quick snaps. sigh......what a fuddy duddy. Sugar is VERY proud of her Hermit Crabs, and all is well. I only have photos of the red heart one, as little mister football has buried himself, and needs some quiet time to adjust.

The BIG news....Sugar Bear is 100% pee potty trained. The whole poop thing...well, we are working on it. She is pulling the classic "holding it" maneuver, and with the help of prunes....we may conquer that as well soon. We are so please....her caregiver is pleased, and most importantly, Sugar is so so sooooooooooooooo very proud.

So when in a pinch.......try the Hermit Crab potty training technique. It works. Thumbs up!

26 Live It or Love It:

Carolyn said...


Congratulations Sugar Bear. Way to go!!

And congratulations to you too mama. I love the pics and the hermit crabs are adorable. Now only if I'd known about the hermit crab technique before we went the 'treat' route... gggrrrrrr.

kat said...

Congratulations. You and Sugar Bear can be proud of your achievements.

Megan Cobb said...

Great job, you two! What a fun reward... We are planning on using a sticker chart and bedmaking/getting dressed all by herself to earn Bean a Big Girl Bike. I think it's another way to teach them about money, really. Well, currency. And about working for things you really want.

Julie said...

That's great about Sugar's potty training success. Don't worry . . . the number 2 training will come soon enough. I love your idea of rewarding her with the hermit crabs. I used to own a couple of them myself. They were fun to watch!

tommie said...

Yeah! That is such a huge milestone. I am a firm believer in waiting until they are ready.

I did resort to M&Ms (one per potty!) It worked for us.

Anonymous said...

Wow! That's great on potty training success. Do you think that Sugar can come over and give Bug some lessons. He could really care less about potty training, although he does occasionally enjoy sitting there for long periods of time reading a comic book with no results.

I've always wanted a hermit crab, but Darling Hubby wouldn't let me. I hope you and Sugar enjoy them and that she keeps the good work!

Deb said...

Yay for hermit crabs! And a huge congratulations to Sugar Bear! :) You found the exact right motivation and it worked - great job. We never did manage to find anything that Hannah cared about enough to motivate her, which is why it took over 2 years before I could call her 100% potty trained...

And congrats on the new members of the family too! :)

Anonymous said...

That's fantastic! You are a brave Mom too - I'm not so sure I could share my house with Hermit Crabs! LOL

Autumn said...

Yay Sugar! You just had to find her currency... who would have thought it would be hermit crabs. So awesome! I'm cracking up about the pictures in the store, that would have been the same scenario at my house. LOL

Anonymous said...

AWESOME JOB, SUGAR!!! And awesome job, mom, for being so patient with Sugar.

Gen said...

Yay! My kids were all late in being potty trained too. It's no big deal now. I'm like you and don't believe in making it a power struggle.

holly said...

i'm starting to think he may *never* do it. surely i'm wrong. i mean, i'm starting to make a career out of being wrong, please god let this be another example of it.

but hermit crabs? no thanks, i'll stick with nappies...

Unknown said...

Well done to Sugar Bear! That's such a big milestone :)

As for the hermit crabs, I didn't realise you could get them as pets. Bradley would love it!

Mary Ann said...

Yay Sugar! That is great! How funny that hermit crabs did the trick!

Beth Cotell said...

All it took was the right incentive! And notice I used the word incentive...not bribe.

We used M&M's as our incentive and they did the trick. Hermit crabs are more fun though!

Jules said...

YAAAAY! That is so exciting!

Congrats Sugar and good job Mommy! So what does she get when she starts pooping? How about a turtle? Haha!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations! What a milestone! Sugar should be proud of herself!

The Bean took a little longer for poop too, although it just seemed to happen. I was pondering what to do to encourage poop in the potty when she just started doing it on her own. It was probably a couple of weeks after she really got peeing down pretty well. Hopefully, Sugar will do the same! They do suprise us don't they.

My Trendy Tykes said...

Hey, Whatever works huh? lol
WAY TO GO on the potty training. Good luck with the crabs.


MamaGeek @ Works For Us said...

Woot woot SB! Now that's a HUUUUGE milestone!

Anonymous said...

Yay Sugar! I think you're right on track, Corey. Don't worry about 'what all the other kids are doing'. It always works better when they are ready for it and I think you're a wise Mommy to recognize that. Ours was late to learn this skill too... partially due to medical issues and a whole lot due to possession of a strong will :) I once brought up that I was worried about it to her pediatrician and he said, "Don't worry about it. She's a sharp kid and she'll figure it out when she's ready. I guarantee your hubby won't be walking her down the aisle with her in pull-ups." And of course, he was right. Give Sugar a hug and tell her we're proud of her too!

Cath said...

Corey this is beautifully told! Love the photos. I remember it so well. The angst! But you are quite right - when she is ready. One of mine went straight from nappy (diaper) to toilet and bypassed potty but for a few attempts, but consequently was quite "late" in training. Another refused to poo on the potty - would pull up to poo! lol

Glad she got her hermit crab. And glad she got to pee!

Laura said...

Hooray!!! Awww, I bet you're so proud of her. That's awesome! We just conquered the potty training hurdle here too. Sweet relief!

The hermit crab reward method is going to be such a great story to tell her someday. :)

I'm sending more hugs and healthy thoughts along too...hope you're back to 100% soon!

Jo Beaufoix said...

Hooooooraaaaay, go Sugar bear. Ahhh she did so well, and the poop will come, when she's erm, ready, hee hee.

Burgh Baby said...

Congrats to you and Sugar Bear!

I really need my non-materialistic daughter to find her own version of a hermit crab. The kid cannot be bribed. Period. *sigh*

Julie B said...

YEAH! Congrats Sugar Bear!

We are attempting to use the same method with my eldest to give up her paci at night. I want it to be her decision to do so, but....we have upped the stakes with the offer of the pink bike she really wants. Once Spring is hear for good, we hope to take her to the bike store and have her pick out a bike, that she can only take home if she throws her paci away right then. I hope it works just as well!

And I agree....#2 is come soon enough. My youngest has been going and will ONLY go #2! I think she can feel when she has to go with that-more time to make it :)

CMB said...

Congrats to you and Sugar! Welcome to the family hermit crabs!
That is great.

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