Tuesday Open Thread

We’re in the potty training trenches, y’all. Yesterday evening he pooped on the potty for the very first time. By the time he went to bed he had pooped twice and peed twice on the potty, with minimal prompting from us. We used peanut M&Ms as a reward, praised the daylights out of him, and even took him to McDonalds for dinner. Yes, we use junk food as a motivational tool. Ain’t no shame in my game!

Wish us luck! And please share your very best potty training tips and anecdotes.

What’s on your mind today? Chat away!

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41 thoughts on “Tuesday Open Thread

  1. (Thought I commented, and now it’s not here. I apologize if it eventually shows up twice!)

    I am totally in favor of using BIG rewards for big skills! Congrats to your little man!!

    For my DD, a promise of ice cream got her through the first dry day at preschool. DS, otoh, was not so easily persuaded.

  2. It was 10,000 years ago, But I remember massive bribery. M even got a full on potty party with cake, hats and a toilet paper hunt. Whatever it takes, you know?

    Hey Vera, did I miss your call yesterday? I had a phone issue (as in “I lost it”) and saw a few numbers I didn’t recognize when I found it this morning.

    • Yep :-) Someone walked in as I was about to leave a message, so I was planning on just calling later and then we had a Monday… I’ll e-mail to try to find another time!

      • Hey, Vera, thinking of you today. I tried MinnMom’s suggestion of taking a Benadryl at bedtime. I slept better than I have in ages! I have long since given up on taking anything for sleep, as I don’t like the leaden sleep that comes from muscle relaxants and sleeping aids, and I absolutely hate feeling groggy all the next day. The Benadryl was perfect. I slept deeply, but it felt like normal sleep, and I was out of bed and feeling refreshed when the alarm went off at 6:00. How about you? Have you had any luck with any new remedies?

        • I’ve tried the Advil PM the past few days. I actually called the Dr. who recommended the Advil PM rather than just Benadryl because of some headache issues I’ve had. It’s definitely been better but not deeply and I’ve still woken up a few times – just have been able to go to sleep faster rather than being up for 30+ minutes each time. So I’m keeping with it and hoping that it keeps getting better. Although I may try just the Benadryl if the headaches don’t stop as then the Advil is unnecessary :-)

          I’m really glad you’re sleeping better!

        • Sorry I missed you and couldn’t help out with that:-)

          Hopefully we can connect later this week. My first class is tomorrow. I’m nervous! I had no idea as a student that at least some faculty were worried about the first day…

  3. Yay Alex!

    I’m half assing potty training. Dd likes to pee and poop on the potty most of the time, so I switched to those huggies slip on diapers which she calls pull ups. She gets a sticker for waiting for us to come clean her up and not sticking her finger in her poop. Which tells you essentially everything you need to know about parenting my darling daughter!

  4. I went back to work yesterday like I was shot out of a cannon. I keep pledging to work only the hours I’m paid for, like saying it will make it so. Ha ha ha ha!

    We had a mostly good visit with DS. His anxiety is not getting better. Really, really hoping he will get into therapy.

    I loved our Christmas tree and now I am loving having our living room back.

    And speaking of charter schools, Frontline has an hour on Michelle Rhee tonight. Check your local listings.

    • Sorry to hear about DS’s anxiety. How are the resources at his student health center? It’s my impression that usually university counseling centers are pretty good at dealing with anxiety.

  5. I had a pregnancy scare a couple of months ago and I’ve always said that I’d be ok with a “surprise” third baby. Turns out, I would have not been ok as I thought! I was panicking over all of the things that come along with a new baby. Surely, had I turned out to be pregnant, we would have gotten over the fear and embraced it and loved having another kid. But along with the fear of not having enough money, needing a new car (which we can’t afford) to fit a 3rd kid, having to figure out how to work and earn enough for childcare or not work and maybe get into real financial trouble, managing the very different needs of kids that far apart in age, etc., etc…one of the big dreads that I was thinking about was potty training! It’s been about 1 year since we’ve had any issues with DS about that, and man did I have anxiety about having to do it all over again!

    • Sorry about the scare! But that’s good to have those feelings surfaced so you can up the bc vigilance, I guess. And I agree, potty training is one of the things that I am least looking forward to as Clara gets older. So frustrating!

  6. Well w/ DS we tried a weekend of underwear @ 2.9 years which completely backfired. So we used a potty chart/rewards and read Mr Rogers book many times until at 3.3 he decided he wanted to wear underwear. He pretty much trained that weekend.
    With DD who is know 2.5 I swear she could totally do it and was on her way 2 months ago but now she is totally resistant and doesn’t care about rewards or anything. Not sure if I should try cold turkey or just go witb the flow for now. It doesn’t help tnat her cousin who is just her age has been trained since the summer. I keep thinkinb I am doing something wrong. I hate potty training.

  7. Sigh. I went and picked up my official teaching evals from my mailbox this morning. Worst.in.my.career. And surprising, as the class I thought was going the worst was the best and the two classes I thought were going pretty well were apparently not. Usually I can tell how things are going and anticipate bad evals from a particular class (which has honestly happened rarely, as I am usually evaluated fairly well). I had lots of students shake my hand on the last day and thank me for the class, etc. But I’ve never seen evals this bad–numerically or the tone of the comments. Some were just plain nasty. Thank goodness I already have tenure. It’ll impact my merit pay, but that’s been paltry enough lately that who cares. It’s mostly just bruising to my ego.

    Part of it can be explained by the fact that we have a new online eval system and the response rates are lower. Instead of doing them all together in class at a teacher-selected time, they do them at home whenever they want in a 2 week period. The comments read much more like yahoo comments than what professional evaluations should sound like. But I can’t explain it all away like that. It’s partly family circumstance, being distracted, new family of four, Clara being sick all the time, etc. But I’m sure I need to dig deeper into them that that. Eventually, I’ll be more reflective about how I can use some of the feedback and up my game. But right now I’m just pissed off and depressed.

    • That sucks. How low is the response rate? Low enough that you can imagine that only the complainers bothered? I often wonder if the folks filling them out (at least the crabby ones) have any idea how much power they wield.

      Go have a cocktail honey. Or something chocolatey. Or both.

      Hugs.

      • I actually think they have an inflated sense of their power. They imagine they could get me fired or reprimanded. They write as if they are writing to my supervisor to tell on me, rather than directly to me. But no one else sees the comments, only the numbers. They can only bruise my ego and make it harder for me to get a very small raise next year.

        • No one else sees the comments? In a way I’d prefer that. I think here your dept and review committees can see the comments, just not students or other faculty.

    • Talk to your colleagues and find out whether others are experiencing the same trend from the new system. You’re probably right that the family stuff is a factor, but it could also be a combination, and the evals might not look as bad if you can place yourself on the curve.

      • Yeah, there are many similar complaints about the system. But the report shows me compared to others in the university and I’m clearly on the low end.

        There’s another issue, and that is that I taught 2/3 sections to students in a leadership program who all live together. So there’s a fair amount of groupthink involved. And that also may be why it seemed like we all had a good rapport–because THEY did and I was just incidental as the teacher.

    • I want to affirm what everyone else has already said, and to note that a) lyn’s probably right about it being a change throughout the system (not just you), and b) you’ll know in time what feedback will help you up your game and what’s just entitled BS.

      Also, I vote for wine AND chocolate.

      • Thanks to everyone who voted for wine and chocolate. I will definitely do the former, but it has to wait a few more hours. I have to lead Girl Scouts tonight and don’t think I should show up tipsy. Instead, I decided to do laundry and start catching up on (cover your eyes, Katie) The Good Wife. Eff all those students for now. At least I don’t have an affair to cover up or a scary ex back in town to threaten me.

    • I hate the on-line evals… We just talked about this at a teaching/learning session yesterday. I was pretty disappointed to have only gotten about a 60-70% response rate. (Although once I saw the reviews themselves they were mostly good and constructive so that part was good.) But many people I talked to had more like 50%.

      We talked about some things to try to up it – asking students to bring their computers to class and fill it out then (but not all students have computers so that’s not ideal). Some people bribe – if over 90% are completed by X date they do pizza the last day of class. Someone gave extra credit – apparently the students get an e-mail confirmation for filling out the reviews that they can forward to confirm they did it. It all just seems kind of crazy for these reviews that are so influential to tenure/pay/etc.

      And the lack of professionalism in them is pretty surprising. I don’t think students understand exactly what professional feedback should be like. And the culture of nasty on-line comments gets a bit too pervasive. It’s just not worthwhile.

      We have options on which open-ended questions we ask. So I’m going to be more thoughtful about that going forward… (There is one that’s required per university guidelines but any additional are instructor/department choice.)

      Hugs sheri. I’m sorry. I add my voice to the chocolate and alcohol crowd.

      • I wish we could ask our own open-ended questions, but it’s just a general “comment box” type of thing. The old paper and pencil system had specific questions that led students to have to think of things they specifically appreciated and didn’t appreciate about instructors and courses. You could definitely get nasty comments on those, but they were much fewer and further between.

        • Doesn’t it seem wrong that the new technology provides less flexibility!?! You’d hope that would provide more options for question choice. And therefore framing of the questions to be more beneficial. Ugh.

      • Might it be worth a conversation with them beforehand, framing the process? I know that I had a couple of terms where (in spite of what I thought was a very clear notation on the syllabus that we went over together) I always took a hit on the “My professor explained the course objectives” part of the syllabus, so on the first day of class, when we went over the syllabus, I wrote on a piece of chart pack “At (today’s date and time) Laura explained the course objectives.” I put that piece of chart pack up at the start of every class (along with all the others- we’re big chart pack people).

        We also discuss evaluative language for peer observation and supervision as part of the end-of-course work and use the course evaluation as a way to practice it. Someday these folks may have to give warm or hard feedback to a peer or they may be in a supervisory role as a department head or principal, so they need to know how to think about that stuff. It doesn’t take a ton of time but it does make them think about the evaluations differently.

        BTW, my computer autocorrected Evals to “evils.” Appropos, no?

        • Awesome auto correct!

          I had them do evals of each team presentation and then made the feedback anonymous and handed it back. So they were being professional with their feedback to each other but also had a chance to experience how tough it can be to get even generally positive, professional feedback. It’s such an uncomfortable process – and while it can be helpful it can also be so very hurtful and I wish people would consider that more with comments in general. I think I’ve read too many nasty comment sections today…

        • I definitely need to do some framing of the process. I didn’t really understand that they would get the link to the evals more than 2 weeks before the end of the semester, so many of them had already filled it out before I even knew they could. I’ll be more on top of it next semester.

          And that’s a good idea to overtly teach feedback-giving. I have done that in the past, but not this semester. Beyond just how it impacts me, it is an important skill that students need to learn.

  8. We definitely used bribery with the girls for various skills accomplishments – toilet training, sleeping in their own beds through the night, etc. I prefer to call it “merit pay” or “awarding short-term incentives for accomplishing KPIs” rather than “bribery”. Everything sounds so much more legit when you use corporate jargon.

  9. Is there merit pay for sleeping in your own crib? M loves her crib now – but only to play in or throw toys in. UGH. Another rough night last night (which fortunately DH took). I know it will get better, but in the meantime I want to cry.

  10. potty training… for the 1st one we used stickers, the 2nd one potty trained herself when i wasn’t paying attention and the 3rd really couldn’t be bothered with using the potty. She would occassionally show interest and then not. Last summer I told her we ran out of diapers and she had to wear panties. We had a couple of accidents but it worked (we also used gummy bears and M&Ms for bribes.) I had tried the same thing 6 months earlier and it failed miserably.

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