Tuesday, December 6, 2011

And now I'm having potty-training fantasies

So, in the non-news department, Max continues to be obsessed with all things purple, which is going on two years now. He will only eat blueberry yogurt and color in purple, although he no longer insists on keeping a gigantic purple bowl on the kitchen table or only wearing purple tops. He is also off spaghetti, and only wants ziti with sauce.

His latest other obsession: Cars 2. Not Cars, the original movie. Oh, no. Cars 2. "Arrrrs ooooh!" as he likes to say. Max now refers to himself now as Cars 2 Max, which is perhaps less catchy than Purple Max but does roll off the tongue more easily than Max Eats Spaghetti Sauce and Purple Car Wash Spaghetti Max. Once again, it is a good thing I never did legally change his name.

Over the weekend, Max and I sat down together in front of the computer because I wanted to get him Cars bedding for his birthday. We scrolled through all the possibilities. "Noooooooo!" he'd say whenever the regular Cars bedding popped up. I think he's taking bossy lessons from Sabrina. Anyway, we found some Cars TWO bedding and lucky for me, Party City had Cars 2 stuff for his birthday party on Saturday.

I did get the Cars 2 DVD the very day it came out, with the full intent of using it as bribery for potty training. Max hung out on the potty and watched a few scenes from Cars 2 on Day 1. After that, no go. In other ways, Max likes to be independent—he doesn't want me hanging around when other kids come over to play. But he has no problem with Pull-ups and refuses to listen to logical reasoning such as "Max! You're a big boy, and big boys pee in the potty!" and "Max, you don't want to go to college in Pull-Ups, do you? Because girls won't find that very sexy."

At the present time, the Cars 2 DVD (in its case) is taped to Max's bedroom door. Sabrina helped him put it up there, which is where he likes it and where it is not the least bit handy for potty training. And yes, I know, those circus-y letters spelling "M-A-X" have got to go only ripping them off would entail repainting the door and I am entirely too lazy to do that.

Remember how Ed McMahon would show up unannounced at people's doors to tell them they'd won the Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes? Like, it would be so cool if Lightning McQueen rang our doorbell to greet Max and tell him he needed to go potty and that he would get a million dollars if he did. And, yes, I have been reduced to potty-training fantasies. Meanwhile, I'll be buying a second Cars 2 DVD to put into the portable DVD player for our bathroom, so Max can keep the other one as door decor.

If any of you want to dress up as Lightning McQueen and show up at our house and give Max a million dollars for going potty, please do let me know.


  1. can't you leave the DVD case on the door and put the DVD in the player (or is that just too simple?!) :)

  2. Ellen at 4.5 Ryan is taking on potty training. I found the best potty training tool is the iPad. He will sit there for hours only to be pulled off with a ring stuck to him. I think potty training is terrible for everyone and no one talks about it. I never thought Ryan was ready but I had to tackle it. I finally committed to it and the heartache it came with. Cried a lot the first couple of days only to find out that he could do it. Still have accidents but alittle over a month in I can say he is doing it for the most part. My lesson was that I didn't think he was ready and was afraid to see him fail only to see him potty train. He showed me. I think I was more afraid of having him fail. Il

  3. My comment is not about potty training, but about the circus letters on the door. My boys are 8.5 and about to turn 11 this week, and they both still have those letters on their doors. Actually, my older son has circus, and the younger has jungle letters. I love them and until they tell me to take them down, the letters will stay :) Good luck on the potty issues!

  4. My brother had those clown letters on his bedroom door until he moved out of the house (after he graduated from law school.) He seemed to turn out okay. Don't sweat the small stuff.

  5. Baily's birthday party is Saturday too but his current obession is dinosaurs so that us this years theme. His top two people on his invite list are Justin Beiber and Dino Dan and while I have tried explaining they will be busy that day he has his heart set. So if anyone knows them and can send them our way sat let me know... Lol baily was in first grade when he potty trained and was quite content in pull ups, his teacher made me get tough and said he was fully capable and she was right. Sometimes we hold them back trying to keep the peace. You might just have to assert some tough love as well.

  6. Ellen,
    you are doing a great job! Enough said.
    Julie C

  7. I love this!
    I love you for this!
    This is a topic that is too familiar to me. *sigh*
    Entire years went by when fam and friends thought that we were through because we were so tired of dealing with it, we couldn't even bring ourselves to talk about it anymore.

  8. Ellen, does Max have a small ass? (I don't know how else to ask, hee hee). The reason I am asking is, I'm wondering if he wouldn't be more psyched to do his thing on a CARS TWO POTTY SEAT:


    If not, maybe you could just get a cheap wooden white seat, sand it lightly, get some CARS2 stickers, logos, even cut-outs from magazines, and so on, then collage them onto the toilet seat, and finish with a synthetic, shiny clear finish of some sort. Presto--a personalized toilet seat, you could even put MAX on the thing if you had a mind to do that.

    Maybe he'll be more psyched to poop on a CARS 2 potty...?

    Maybe you could get a CARS 2 poster--or three--and hang them in the bathroom, making it a cool place to "have a seat."

  9. I will gladly dress up as Lightening McQueen and offer Max a million dollars for going potty if you'll come to our house dressed up as Angelina Ballerina and do the same for Malayna! She's seven and perfectly happy in pull-ups as well and no amount of reasoning helps here either. Please let me know if you find the magic answer!

  10. Anon, I would definitely remove the DVD from the case...if Max was up for that. Nope. He wants it hanging up on his door.

    Sondra, I think the iPad or video is definitely a motivator! I am glad Ryan's making progress.

    ELR & Anon 2, I thought this circus letters on Max's door are too baby-ish but I guess not unusual. Fine, he can have them there till he's ready for the retirement home.

    B'smommy, a dinosaur party sounds like a good time! Max kind of has Justin Bieber hair so I'd offer him up but he is otherwise occupied Sat with his own par-tay.

    Felicia: Yeah, Max is a skinny boy. We have the Cars 2 potty seat! NO GO!!! But I haven't yet tried Cars 2 posters. As usual, you have great ideas. Will look for posters!

    What I need to do is dedicate an entire weekend to the task, and do timed potty-going and let him run around half naked. Probably in January. A fun time will surely be had by all.

    Sheila, you are ON!

  11. What's the deal with his school? Do they have a potty-training program they're willing to run? My son got started in school. They're well equipped to do regularly times trip like you mentioned, and kids are more used to blindly following what teachers say as part of their schedule then they are to parents :) They may insist he not be put in underwear yet, but they can put a system in place.

    I would call them and ask if they can get him started there, and then pick up at home a little after.He may even get excited.

    Ooh! What if when he sits on the potty, he gets to press the Ipad icon for potty, or pee, or poop? Seems like something he might enjoy.

  12. More good ideas! I have only found regular Cars underwear so far, not Cars 2 (it needs to have that "2" for Max's approval). But I have not yet programmed his iPad with those icons, and will.

    Max's teachers do regularly take him to the potty. Sometimes he goes, but sometimes his Pull-Up is wet. It's inconsistent.

  13. I'm going to recommend 3 books but you've probably already read them. I know I have them memorized at this point and still don't have my twins potty trained----- you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him pee in it. ;)

    The potty journey by Judith Coucouvanis

    Teaching Toileting by Deborah Bialer

    Toilet Training for Children with Autism and Developmental Disabilities by Maria Wheeler

    I might have the titles wrong a bit--- it's from memory. But the author names are right. :)

    I'm in the boat with you!

  14. Regular underwear + iron-on transfers?

  15. ELLEN. What about taking Cars 2 napkins, cutting out characters, and having Max "wash them" by peeing on them?

  16. My son (cp/gtube) potty trained at 6. The key was an idea from the behaviorist at school. My older kids and I spent $40 at the dollar store, came home and wrapped everything. My daughter decorated a big box to put all the prizes in. This was extremely motivating! The box stayed on the top of the refrigerator. When he used the bathroom, while still on the seat he'd say "get the box!" The thought that there might be something even better wrapped in the box really kept him coming back.

  17. I've heard of crowd-sourcing, but not potty-sourcing. All of these ideas are REALLY inspiring me! Anon, we have a purple bowl filled with little purple stuff that Max wasn't interested in BUT I hadn't tried gift-wrapping.

    Claire, I am so the opposite of domestic that iron-on anything would not have occurred to me. I will look into that.

    And Amy? Peeing on a Cars 2 Napkin? THAT could be a good time. I am trying that, too.

    Thanks, everyone, for the truly creative ideas. You guys rock.

  18. why not pay someone to do it? our nanny got our son to wear his glasses in one day after I tried for 6 months. sometimes its easier when a non parent steps in. julie lewin

  19. Hi Ellen,

    I am a fellow parent of a kid with special needs, and yes, Ruby, my awesome 7 year-old daughter, also kicks butt. I'm reading your blog for the first time after checking out a link on HuffPost and right now, I'm feeling psyched to have found you/it.

    Ruby had a brain injury when she was born and has multiple disabilities. Your earliest experiences with Max sound very familiar to me. I haven't gotten to the rest of your blog yet, but I am so looking forward to it.

    Coincidentally, we are gearing up for potty training over the coming winter break. It's been helpful to read everyone's comments here and I will be happy to share how it went for us after we give it a go. I'm a little nervous to begin--I think it's going to be more stressful for me than for her--but I think we're ready. We've done some initial planning with Ruby's therapists and earlier tonight, we had our first "shopping for big girl underwear" conversation. It was a rousing success. So far, so good.

    Hooray for finding a mama who gets it!



Thanks for sharing!

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