Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Potty Talk (Don't say I didn't warn you...)

Potty Training.

The two words destined to strike fear into mothers everywhere.

Especially this mother.

It's one of my least favorite things about parenting. Next to "Is your baby sleeping through the night yet?" (No, thank you, they never do, much to my exhausted chagrin,) "Is your child potty trained?" is my least favorite question.

It's another one of those undeniable milestones like walking, talking, and tying shoes. But I happen to have kids who can run, skip, and carry on an entire conversation with you before they express any desire to control their bodily functions.  Usually, I'm fine with this. Let them progress at their own rate, I say. However, I can't deny a certain sheepishness that comes up when surrounded by toddlers much younger and much more potty trained than mine.

Abby was by far the hardest. Nothing we could say or do would convince her to use the potty. Being a naive first time mom, I decided that I knew best, and she was going to use the toilet because she was three, and it was time. Uh huh. The problem was, I didn't consult Abby about this plan. I tried everything all those parenting books tell you to try: sitting her on the potty at regular intervals, rewards, sticker charts, and finally, just putting her in underwear and letting her have accidents because eventually she'll decide that she doesn't like the feeling of being wet and decide to go on her own. Nope, nope, and nope. She screamed when I sat her on the potty, never actually did anything on the potty so the stickers and rewards were moot, and started hiding her accidents just to avoid using the bathroom. So I gave up. Despite the fact that I could carry on an entire conversation with my 3 year old, ("Abby, do you need to go potty?" "No thanks, Mom, I'm fine. I don't need to go potty today.") I put her back in diapers and didn't think about it, talk about it, and tried not to be concerned that I would have the only kindergartner needing me to come change a diaper at recess, or to think about how much money having two in diapers for years on end was costing us. Six or so months later, she decided she was ready, then it was done nearly overnight. No more diapers, pull ups, accidents, or even bedwetting.

Six months after that, Ashlynn was potty trained as well. It was like buy one get one free.

And then there was Max. Another three year old with no interest or intention of making potty training easy. After my experience with Abby, I knew it would be better for all of us if I waited for him to be ready. I felt even more strongly about it because it's Max, and he's had so many things done to his body without his knowledge or consent.

Then it was Christmas break, I had two weeks without violin lessons, and as sometimes happens when I have unstructured time on my hands, I decided it was time. My husband laughed at me because Max had no concept of what a toilet was even for. I laughed back and decided that by the end of Christmas break, Max would at least be more aware.

And guess what? After a very funny trip to Wal-Mart to buy very tiny tighty-whities, (anyone know why little boy underwear is so much more expensive than little girl underwear?) a few days with nothing but accidents, a few times where I told him to pull up his "panties" on accident, a couple of pairs of underwear thrown away because they were just too far gone, and a week or two with a tiny potty in our front room, I hereby declare that Max is officially potty trained. With the exception of a nighttime pull-up (which I don't see us being able to go without anytime soon) we have been diaper and accident free for more than a week!

And he's so stinkin' cute about it. There's nothing quite as sweet as when he runs up to me and asks "Can I go pee in the potty now, Mom?"  Yes, please.

Maybe in six months, Ian will train as well. A girl can dream, can't she?


  1. I stand by my comment that there's nothing in the world cuter than a size-three boxer. Oh, the boxers. (I actually had to go looking or white ones for the baptism, since he's never worn anything else. And he's spoiled. Did I forget to mention that part?)

  2. "I want to pee in the potty, please!" Love Max.

  3. We call all underdrawers around our house "panties". Even Daddy's boxer briefs. It just simplifies things. I can't be expected to call knickers by some special name for each member of the family. (And while my 2.5 yo uses the potty for virtually every pee, he still emphatically tells me to "Go away!" or declares "No, I want to stand here a LONG TIME!" if I suggest that, rather than stand in a corner and grunt with his panties on, he head to the potty. And we've been ECing since he was six weeks old.)

  4. Hooray! Potty training is hard no matter what or when, I say.

    Bria was stubborn, my other two were fairly easy, but still. Ugh.

  5. I let me kids decide when it was time. It feels panicky when they are 3 1/2, but I had great success when I did it on their time table. (but that was 10 years ago, maybe I'm forgetting that it was hard..ha ha)


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