Things have been a little hectic around the homestead. The poor munchkin has been dealing with some issues that has definitely put a hault to our normally pretty calm household.
A few weeks ago, on a Saturday morning (2/25), she started getting a few crusties in her eyes, which over the course of a couple of days, turned into waking up with green goo completely covering her eyelashes and making it hard for her to open her eyes. She had no other symptoms and other then the goo, and seemed to be completely fine. At first I tried clearing things up on my own, but nothing was helping and things were getting worse. By Tuesday, I called the doc and they called us out a prescription for some antibiotic eyedrops.
Even though I may have been being silly, I didn't want to use them. I am not gonna lie, I do have a grudge against antibiotics. I am not completely anti-antibiotic. I know that sometimes they are absolutely necessary and that they save lives, but I also think they are overprescribed and overused, leading to drug resistance and other problems. They kill off all of the good bacteria too, which many times, especially in my case personally, always seems to cause problems elsewhere.
My husband, on the other hand, doesn't always agree on the med front. And in a situation like this, I know that if I didn't use them and things got really bad, I would feel pretty awful. Plus it was antibiotic eyedrops, which the nurse assured me wasn't the same thing as oral and that they didn't cause the same kinds of problems that regular antibiotics did. So we started using them and right away her eyes started clearing up and looking better. Within a few days the goopies were gone and she seemed to be doing much better. We were instructed to continue with the drops for the 7 full days to keep the infection from returning.
Then the weekend came and we were going to attempt "potty training". We were trying a method that our sitter had just used with great success, along with another friend of ours that we went to highschool with, who used it on all of her kids. It was called "THE POTTY BOOT CAMP: Basic Training For Toddlers". While the book got really good reviews on amazon, I was a little apprehensive, given the munchkin's very sensitive personality. But with such great reviews, and the birth of baby number 2 coming up (which meant two kids in diapers), I thought it was worth a shot and didn't think it would hurt. She had already gone in the potty a few times and seemed to understand the basic concept.
I still have quite a bit of mommy guilt over this one. So far we had been doing a child led approach. I always felt that was the best for her and I really wish I had just stuck with that.
The basic idea to this method, is that you use bribes and prizes and lots of praise when you have "successes" in the potty and dry underwear when a timer goes off. When you have accidents, the child has to help you clean up the mess and you tell them how icky it is and how said it made you, then you do "drills" to help reinforce why they would rather go on the potty. Basically the idea is to get them to think that it's actually easier to pee and poop in the potty, rather then having to help clean up the mess and do drills, making their parents sad and their underwear and clothes all "icky".
We really thought that we would have a success or two in the beginning of the day, helping her to catch on early to what was going on and wouldn't have to deal with the drills all that much. It didn't quite work out that way. We didn't have a single success in the potty. We did have some dry underwear when the timer went off, and she loved getting "prizes" for that, but we also had lots of accidents in her underwear and towards the end of the day, as soon as she would pee, even a little, she would start saying "icky". She dutifully went through the process of the "drills" and did everything we asked of her, but as the day went on, she started to become upset and we just weren't sure what to do. We were making absolutely no progress. I didn't want to go through the whole day for nothing, but I didn't want to mess with her head either. So we tried a modified approach and when she would have an accident, we would still do the drills, but it became more matter of fact, telling her we needed to practice going potty and left out the part about it making us sad.
Around 7:00pm, after sitting on the pottty and nothing happening, the timer went off and she started to get up. As she stood up, she started to pee, so I quickly sat her back down on the potty and she finished peeing in the potty. We started telling her what a big girl she was and what a good job she was doing, but she wasn't buying it. She had already first peed all over herself after standing up and was too upset about that. So we had a half success. We were all so tired and exhausted at this point.... we gave her a reward for peeing in the potty and decided not to do any drills or make her help me clean it up. I just wanted her to have something positive about it....
We started our night time routine and getting ready for bed. She started complaining about being "itchy" and scratching herself down below. She had mentioned this a couple of times the two days before, but we thought it was just random diaper itches and she seemed fine after a change. As we got closer to bed, she started getting worse about it. I wasn't sure what was going on. I felt pretty bad about our epic fail at the program. Not bad that it didn't work, but bad that it went the way it did and that it seemed to be really hard for her.
Our choices at this point, if we were to move forward and stick with the program, was to try again the next day with some modifications and then they had other ideas for when things just weren't working. These ideas though, were more for what they called "stubborn children" and nothing really seemed to pertain to her. After putting her to bed and discussing our options, we decided to just cut our losses and put her back in diapers the next morning, trying to forget the entire day ever happened. We just didn't want to put her through another minute of the program. We didn't think we could handle it ourselves either.
Over the next few days, that is when things got really bad. She was constantly scratching herself and telling us it hurt really bad and that it was really itchy. She kept wanting us to "kiss her butt". She was obviously very uncomfortable and started to look red down below. Sunday, I called the doctor and they thought it sounded like she had a yeast infection. We got some cream for her and tried that for a couple of days, but that didn't help at all. I also started her on some more probiotics and lots and lots of yogurt. By Tuesday morning things weren't any better. I called the doctor again and they called us out a prescription. We started using that in the afternoon.
Over the course of the following week, things became just awful. She definitely had a yeast infection, which was, in my opinion, caused from the antibiotics she had been on for her eye crusties. It could have gotten much worse after going through the potty training and trying to hold her pee for half of the day and all of the stress that went along with that. She had also developed a fear of peeing and pooping at all, whether it was in her diaper or on the potty. She was in constant agony over the itching and burning, plus she was trying really hard to hold her pee and poop. She would hold it as much as she could and by the time she went to bed, she would end up needing her diaper changed multiple times throughout the night. She was also now scared of taking baths again, which she had had issues with back in the fall. I am sure this was a result of us putting her in the tub every time she would pee in her underwear while we were training.
I felt terrible. I was so upset with myself for doing the whole training thing in the first place. I knew deep down it wasn't a good method for her, but I pushed that into the back of my mind and was hopeful that with all of the great success stories I had heard, that it would all work out just fine. I felt like that had made her yeast infection worse and now she was having issues with going to the bathroom. I felt like she was trying really hard to not upset us, she was confused about the whole situation and didn't want to do anything wrong. I have always tried to use positive reinforcement with her, she had never even needed a time out before, because us just telling her she was doing something she wasn't supposed to, made her not want to do it again. Doing things wrong have always been very hard for her to handle, she is just so super sensitive to stuff like that. I was using a parenting style that was completely out of both of our elements and it left us both feeling upset and confused about it.
I don't mean to sound overly dramatic about all of this, but this whole situation really seemed like it pretty much took over our lives while it was happening. No one was getting much sleep at all and the poor girl was in agony. She was itching and burning and feeling upset and confused. I was feeling terrible for doing something I wasn't comfortable with in the first place and clearly it had the exact type of outcome I had feared that it might.
Plus I am pregnant... my hormones are going crazy, making everything seem even more worse! Thank goodness for my family and friends who helped to reassure me that I hadn't messed her up for life.
Luckily, after a few days, her "itchiness" started getting better, and now we were just left with the whole peeing and pooping issue. I finally decided to start heavily praising her every time she would pee or poop in her diaper telling her what a good job she was doing and how good it was to pee and poop. Obviously, this was complete opposite of what we had been attempting to with the whole potty training in the first place, but all I cared about at the moment was making her feel comfortable again with going to the bathroom. I was giving her lots of extra love and attention. Carrying her around all over the place and giving her lots of extra kisses and hugs and telling her how much I loved her.
After a couple of days of pee and poo praise and lots of extra lovin, things started turning around. She wanted her diaper changed the second she peed in it, but she wasn't as upset about it and she seemed to feel more comfortable again about going to the bathroom. She even started running into the room after she peed, saying, "I did it! I peed!" It felt sooooo good to see her proud of herself. Finally yesterday, we made it through a whole day without her wanting us to "kiss it", or saying that it "hurt really bad" or any crying while she peed or pooped. She went to bed really good and we never had to go back in there to change her diaper, scratch her butt, or kiss it.
After a week and a half since the day of "boot camp", she was finally getting back to normal. Definitely a lesson learned there. I should have followed that gut feeling and listened to it better. Not every child is the same and not everything works for everyone. That style of approach was definitely not for us!
I am sure that it didn't help either that she was going through some other issues with her eyes and the yeast infection, and maybe it wouldn't have been near as bad if it wasn't for that. Regardless, we are going to go back to our initial approach and let her just do things on her own and let us know when she is ready. We have pretty much done that with everything else and it's always worked out really well for us.
At this point I am resigned to the fact that we will have two kids in diapers at the same time and I'm just gonna have to get over it. Trying to fight it and hurry things along is clearly not going to work for us. She'll be ready when she's ready and I am just gonna have to wait patiently.
To be honest, at this point I could care less. I am just so happy that she is back to her normal self again! Plus last night, I actually got some good sleep and I am starting to feel back to my normal self as well.
Effing potty training boot camp...