Adventures in Potty Training a Three Year Old (Beer Me).

Well, potty training Porter has been awesome and awful all wrapped into one tiny pair of undies with superheroes on them. I will be showing pictures of said undies and taking a lot about pee and poop here today, so if that doesn't sit well with you? Skip this post about potty training, it's not for you if pee and poo talk irritate you. It's not a glamorous topic, but I'm discussing anyway because it's ALL CONSUMING and I forgot so much from the last two times. And it's been kind of a rough week in general so I need to frantically type away my feeeeeeelings.

Last week I decided enough was enough and it was TIME for this three year old to stop wearing a diaper. The two biggest kids were completely potty trained before two-and-a-half and they rocked the three day method immediately: night training, nap training, poop AND pee training all at the same time. It was glorious and easy both times before this....from what I recall, anyway.

Enter Porter: three years old and stronger willed than the other two combined when it comes to getting him to do things he does not want to do. I've been dreading potty training with him for no other reason except that he is too smart for his own good. He knew when he had to potty but he just didn't want to go in the toilet, so I never pushed him and figured 'it will happen someday'.

Someday turned into last week on Wednesday when I realized we didn't have a ton planned for the week, his man-sized poops belonged in the toilet, and I wanted to rip the bandaid off and GO FOR IT while on maternity leave. Because, you know, why not potty train while undergoing major house construction with a newborn and the big kids home for the summer? Why not?!?! (She says with psychotic laughter and crazy eyes).

Anyway. Monday of last week he said he had to poop, so I had him sit on the potty. Nothing happened but I put on big boy underwear anyway, just to give it a go. He didn't have an accident but didn't go in the potty either. We were both pretty amped up and excited about these adorable big boy undies. Then he was off to a playground with Tony (in a diaper), then napping, then I lost all steam to try that day. 'It will happen someday,' kicked in again but I knew that it was time.

On Wednesday, 'someday' arrived. I ditched the diaper first thing in the morning, we hung out mostly at home for the day, and even when we walked to get the big kids from VBS he stayed in the undies. And stayed dry! Until we came back home and he was a few feet from the house, and he had a pee accident. No biggie, as he had several of those throughout the day. Inside the house, creating puddles, you know---the whole shebang. But I knew he was GETTING IT and had lots of successes in the potty, too.

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I would reward Porter each time he peed in the potty, going a little overboard with high fives and excited claps and hugs...plus plenty of M&Ms and suckers and marshmallows. Note to self: trading diapers for dental bills may not be a win, but I'm going with it anyway. Day one was pretty darn good, boasting about 6 accidents and 4 successes. He wore a diaper for nap and bedtime and I was glad to have the first day behind us. He was so stinking proud and it really almost made me cry to hear him say, 'I did it! I peed in the potty, mommy!' My baby was becoming a man...or something.

Second day boasted more successes than accidents, but he still pooped in his diaper and it was wet in the morning after sleeping all night. More M&Ms and also suckers were had, as we focused on a sticker chart for each success. He was working towards earning a new train after 20 successes and was well on his way by day two. I believe we got him that train by day three but it's all a blur now.

The following picture must have been taken in a different lifetime, because now my house is seriously a disaster and will never be this clean again (slightly dramatic, but yeah---being at home more for potty training means a messier house, I guess).
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Just because I want to remember this: there were multiple times when I was nursing Wallace, stepping on legos, making lunch one-handed, instructing the big kids on dumping the pee in the potty for me, and helping Porter's underwear to inch back up his legs onto his butt....all one handed. Add in a barking dog with every doorbell, and construction workers ringing said doorbell during every nap time and you have the recipe for my week last week. The ultimate in mom life, yes?!

Also, the second day brought a leak in our kitchen ceiling after unexpected rain hit in the early morning. It was from the construction, as they didn't put the tarp down over the new addition, thinking they'd be safe from rain. So waking up to a steady stream of water coming out of our light fixture was a little frightening. It all got fixed, after two more leaks sprouted, and now they use a tarp every night no matter what the forecast. They will patch up the janky kitchen ceiling at some point and construction rages on for the most part, so whatever. The exterior framing is basically done and they've begun tearing off our old roof now, so it's coming along nicely. I'll post about it 'someday'. ;)

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Oh yeah, ALSO, I came down with Mastitis at the end of day one of potty training. More on that later but let's just say that Wednesday night really sucked (I slept on the couch because I was shivering cold but burning up), and Thursday morning wasn't that much better. But we survived!! Last week was really a doozy now that I stop and think about it. The baby is doing great and I'm doing my best to remain sane, thanks for asking. Antibiotics are kind of the best and my boob no longer pulsates in pain. Win. I do have a nasty cold and apparently Ace has asymptomatic thrush (?!), but let's get through this first post and go from there before I start complaining again. But yes, a LOT going on here lately!

End of Thursday, day two, when I declared popsicles for all and waved the white flag at potty training, mastitis, and house construction.
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Day three was Friday, and now I see this is when things really clicked. He had maybe two pee accidents, was dry after his nap, and even dry in the morning after sleeping all night in a diaper. Amazing! He definitely was NOT waking up dry from naps or nighttime the week before this. He didn't poop in the potty so he must have used his nap time diaper this day, but I can't remember. I just know that on day three he turned the corner and I was less nervous about him sitting on the couch in just his undies. No towel needed anymore! Still nerve-wracking to leave the house every time but getting less scary by the day.

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Maybe I should have mentioned this sooner? Part of the three day method that I've always used includes saying, 'Let me know if you have to potty,' and then asking, 'Hey! Are your undies clean and dry? GOOD JOB!' over and over again. You aren't supposed to ask IF they have to potty, because if you have a boy like mine he will always answer in the negative. But if you put the ball in their court and just ask them to tell if you if they have to go, it seems to work like magic for the most part. But Porter caught on quickly and by about ten minutes on day one he asked, 'Mom, why do you keep SAYING THAT?' I really am a broken record during potty training and it's hilarious to me that he noticed. Overall Porter was really excited and happy throughout the process and not frustrated or mad. I could tell he was extremely tired at night and before his nap, just from learning this new skill of not using a diaper, but otherwise he has been pretty unaffected by the training. Me, however? I'm freaking SPENT. In case you couldn't tell.

By day four, I let him nap in his undies and they were totally dry! We even went to State Fair and he peed in a public restroom there, so I knew he was on the home stretch. And by five he was wearing undies to bed at night, and again---dry! I'm not sure how I've had children who night-train so easily but it's very much appreciated. He honestly has not even had a pee accident since day three right now, and he's still super proud of himself overall. Because WE are so proud of him! Having Truman and Cecelia cheer for him and congratulate him on peeing in the potty is a big part of it, I think. But also, I'm careful to stay upbeat about his successes and will still dish out the M&Ms every time that he asks. He doesn't always want the rewards anymore, but sometimes he will remember and I'll oblige.

Lest you think this is a done deal, we still need to get him off the froggy floor potty and onto the real deal. ALSO, he needs to stop pooping in his underwear. For instance, today I have cleaned THREE smallish but horrible poops out of undies and I'm about at my limit for dealing with this part of it. For being so amazing with pee, he is really not getting the poop on the potty thing. At all. Does anyone have any special tricks with this part? My other kids did both pee and poop pretty much right away, so this is uncharted (crappy) territory...no pun intended.

I realize this is probably very normal, and potty training a three year old (boy!) is way different than doing it when they are two like the other times. But I'm really hoping he will start pooping in the potty very soon, like tomorrow, or else I'm seriously just going to buy about three more packs of underwear and start throwing those dirty puppies in the trash. GAG.

Seriously though, it's crazy to me to think that two weeks ago he was wearing diapers and now he just isn't. For all of the dread and putting it off, it wasn't TOO awful......except for the poop part. That really needs to get better but I'll still proudly proclaim him potty trained for pee and when sleeping. Also, it seems like he's trying to drop his nap FOR REAL NOW and I'm not sure he's ready for that. I know I'm not ready to have a non-napping Porter but I guess we will roll with it and figure out a way to make everyone minimally crazy. I realize I never did a three year old post for Porter so this will have to do for now: (mostly) potty trained, trying to drop his nap about six months earlier than his big siblings did, really smart, incredibly talkative, and a hilarious sense of humor. This kid is something else, man. 

M&M face at 9am.
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He really melts me to my soul...when he isn't driving me bonkers. ;)
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And now we only have one kid in diapers again. The giant size 6's will be packed away for Ace to use someday, and I'm off to buy more big boy underwear online!

Wallace's Newborn Family Photoshoot

I knew I wanted to do a family photoshoot with baby Wallace, and had hoped to do it within his first ten days of life to really capture him at his sleepiest. But then my eyes almost popped out of my skull while birthing said baby and I looked like a vampire for a solid three weeks, so we postponed it until I looked more human.

Katie Derus Photography is seriously the bomb. We have used Katie twice now and both times I have been super impressed with her skills dealing with our wild children and then the final product is excellent, too. Katie came to our house to capture some casual, family photos on 7.31.17 when Wallace was a day over three weeks old. My mom and Grandma were here so of course we had to grab a four generations shot to start the event!

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And then we went right into the 'four kids' shot on the couch.
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This is when Porter showed us that he is three and has his own ideas of what to do for a photoshoot. He was pretty naughty throughout but apparently Katie still managed to capture his smile...and I do love the 'real life' shots the best.
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But Wallace woke up and stole the show anyway.
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He does have two mommies, you know.
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Family of six, holy moly!!
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I sure do love these people of mine.
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I did not have the time, energy, or focus to buy any new clothes for us for this shoot. So I picked the one dress that I feel sort of pretty in right now, then went with 'super bright' colors for everyone else. I love how colorful this shoot turned out to be!
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I mean, seriously?? Sweet boy.
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Truman, age seven, and the best big brother ever. Also: toothless and handsome.
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The original two kids;)
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Cecelia, five years old, and sure to hold her own with the three boys. Tough as nails, this one.
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On our sidewalk, in front of the house: I really love these images.
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Four kids! New challenge will always be to get them all smiling in a picture together. Seems like the ultimate mecca of all photos!
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Then I wanted a shot of us from above, laying on each other, all squished together. These don't disappoint although I was sweating profusely here.
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Truman looking at Wallace....seriously?! And Porter's (and Cecelia's!) eyes are breathtaking.
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Woah, all of us looking happy! Party of six.
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I like this one, too. These are near our backyard where the porta potty is sitting currently. Glad we did this shoot right before the big construction began!
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My crew.
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Nate and I with our fourth child. It strikes me to see this picture, compared to those images with 'just' Truman as a baby...everything and nothing has changed in seven years. Married for ten, together for FIFTEEN. And just look at that little caboose of a baby!
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And this guy? He's shaping up to be a great big brother. Porter, age three, is the master of all potty talk and our class clown.
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One more try for shots with the four kids....love this one a lot.
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Gah, so sweet. Even if Truman is slightly freaking out holding Wallace without the Boppy or pillows.
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This isn't even all of the images, but mostly my favorite ones. How will I choose which to make into prints for the house, and which to use for a birth announcement?? What a great problem to have.


Wallace | One Month

8.8.17 | One month old!

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It's hard to believe Wallace has been with us for a whole month already, but it also feels like he's always been a part of our family. It seems like a million years ago when I was pregnant, so in that sense the first month with our baby seems like it should have been longer. It's funny how once the baby arrives it all makes sense: like THIS is who you are, little bugger! How could we have not known you?

More from our family shoot in a bit, but look at him!
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Wallace is still a rock star baby, guys. He's had a few fussy evenings but nowhere near the caliber of Porter or Cecelia at this age. One night, after we had a very busy day out and about at the zoo for several hours, Wallace did cry more than he's ever cried before. It lasted for about an hour and he was just really upset, not fully wanting to nurse, couldn't fall asleep, etc. But then he passed out and slept great at night, seemingly overstimulated and wiped out from his tough evening. A few other evening hours have been like that: nursing, but not happy when milk was actually entering his mouth. Trouble falling asleep even though he's tired. Wanting to be held but NOT wanting to be held, you know...the normal 'fussy evening' baby stuff. But overall, he isn't inconsolable and it's definitely not every night, and we just keep reminding ourselves that Porter and especially Cecelia were SO MUCH WORSE. So thank you, Ace, for being much more chill than your older siblings;)

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ATNR reflex, the PT in me loves this stage:
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Will tolerate the swaddle but needs his hands by his face AT ALL TIMES. Also: cheeks and lips.
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Mister muscle shirt.
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He absolutely loves being held, loves walking around the house or outside, and does great in the Ergo for the most part. If he's not sleeping in our arms, he's probably sleeping in his Mamaroo swing--which is where he spends most of the night, too. He's obsessed with looking at our windows and will sometimes look us dead in the eyes, staring into our souls and making us melt over this child. My favorite early milestone? He's starting to smile at us! I haven't captured a great picture or video yet, but I am determined to prove myself on this one. I love love love when babies start smiling at you----it's such a great reward for the hard work it's been to care for this child so far. Keep it up, buddy!

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Wait, what? Why are you making those noises at me, lady?
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I've noticed that Wallace cries if we leave him alone on the floor/pack and play/swing when awake, but as soon as I send a sibling in to talk to him, he stops crying. He is a social guy, apparently, and just wants a buddy to hang with. He still doesn't love the car seat but we aren't using it too much anyway, and I'm thinking it's because he can't see anyone else around him in the seat. Luckily we have more than enough people to keep this baby company right now.

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Still my favorite position ever.
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As far as nursing goes, Wallace is still doing great. I don't have any idea how often he will eat but he tends to sleep more soundly in the mornings, then prefers to cluster feed in the evenings. At night he will usually nurse for the last time around 9 or 10pm, then first wakes up hungry at 2 or 3 am. That's a crazy long stretch and I'm so thankful for it! After that he will usually nurse every two hours or so, and throughout the day I'd guess it's around there, too. He doesn't spit up that much or that often, but it seems like he will barf more in the evenings when he is probably super full from constant nursing. He isn't a fan of the pacifier anymore but I'm going to keep trying, since it would be very helpful for comfort when he doesn't actually want/need to nurse!

Sucked his thumb one time!
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Baby toes.
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Nursing at the zoo in a nursing pod thing! Pretty sweet.
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Sometimes he will still just stay on one side for 20 minutes, or sometimes he will take both sides. Either way I feel like I'm at my peak of making lots of milk for this baby. I will let down if I haven't fed him in an hour or two, and am constantly soaking nursing pads. When I pump each morning I get 6-8 oz now, and definitely feel somewhat engorged when I wake up for the day. This seems to be more on par for my supply with Cecelia, who was an excellent nurser, as Porter was already getting very finicky at the breast by one month. We have not yet introduced a bottle, probably because I'm nervous he will start preferring it more than the boob (like Porter!), but I know we should do that soon. I have a nice stash of frozen milk, around 80 ounces so far, which makes me strangely satisfied. I forgot about the numbers game with pumping and nursing, but I'm ready to rumble once I return to work.

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Wearing some cooler weather clothes on a day it was 66 degrees as a high.
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Most common view:
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I will NOT count down my weeks left on maternity leave, though. I will not! I'm enjoying being home with this baby and the other kids so much. This summer seems to be flying by at a crazy pace, with the month of August being the last of our true summer before the kids return to school on Sept 1. Then Wallace (and Porter) and I will have the month of September together, as we adjust to the bigs being in school all day. Then I return to work on October 2nd! CRAZY, so I will just soak it up while I can.

'Real' outfits slay me!
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Superficially, he's definitely getting bigger. Not sure on the weight until next week at his one month appointment, but he comfortably wears 3 month clothes and size 1 diapers. He's growing some awesome cheeks and a few thigh rolls. Oh, and baby acne is in full swing, which is always so pitiful! No cradle cap yet but I'm sure it's coming. We think he looks a lot like Porter and Truman but sometimes also Cecelia. More often than not he mostly just looks like his own person but it's still so fun to compare our kids!

His unique little folded ear!
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Not scrawny
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Right? Looks fat here to me. Love this outfit, was Porter's, by Tea Collection.
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Porter vs. Wallace---different face shape and lips, I think!
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Nicknames for our baby: Waller McBaller, Wallipop, Walli-melon, Walli-present (Porter is coming up with all of these), Ace of Spades, and Acey Baby.

Best friends
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Another big fan
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Three for three
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As you can tell, we are all still over the moon for this little guy. I catch myself staring at him daily, thinking he is the BEST unexpected addition to our family. Not sure how I got by without kissing his head non-stop.
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