Monday, January 21, 2013

Potty Training

I did it. Henry is potty trained.

Before I can explain how I did it, I have to say first that I hated it. And so did Hank. Every single second of it. Yes, those underwear are adorable. Yes, I love patting his little tushie instead of a diaper. Yes, those dangling feet are so cute. And of course my heart burst with pride when he figured it out. But, being a woman who believes in full disclosure, it was not fun. No, no. That's not really capturing my feelings. It. Was. Awful. I'm pretty sure my dreams of having a third baby are now tucked far away in that deep part of my brain and labeled "traumatic experience: never do that again."

I had heard that potty training could be done in three days. My best friend said her sister had done it in a weekend with her little girl who was much younger than Henry and that sounded just right for me. Potty training is not something I wanted to stretch out over weeks, or, God forbid, months. When Chuck was three, I potty trained him in a week. Or maybe less than a week. I don't really remember. All I know is that I took a week off work to do it and by the time I went back to work, we were all good. But three days?? That sounded GREAT!
Being the impatient non-planner that I am, I decided on Sunday that we would have to start on Monday. I googled a bit. Keyword search: potty training in three days. Holy cow, there was a lot to read. Some I agreed with. Some I did not. "The month before you start...", well, that wasn't happening. "The week before you start...", again, way too late in the game for that! "Let your child run around naked..." ummmm, no. It's January and he's a boy. Do you even know how much little boys will play with their itty bitty man junk when it's not in pants!? No. Naked was not an option for us either.

I decided to go my own way. I'd compile a few things gathered from here and there and then make up a few things from my own common sense and experience with the big guy. I didn't want sticker charts to keep up with, or bribes. No bartering. And I definitely did NOT want to clean out a little potty. He's the second kid. He would learn how to use the regular ol' potty and do it without fanfare! Poor kid.
Here's a small breakdown of the potty training techniques I gathered from the almighty internets and how I applied them to Henry:

1. Throw out all your diapers. I really liked the concept of not having a crutch to fall back on but was TOTALLY disappointed that someone out there in online-land suggested it. Diapers are expensive and a huge environment issue. In my opinion, diapers do not go in the trash unless they're soiled. So, I couldn't do it. I told myself in my head that they were gone and stuck to it. Diapers were absolutely NOT to be fallen back on. But I didn't actually put them in the trash. A better suggestion - give your diapers to a friend with a toddler! I did, however, follow the no more diapers rule even at bedtime. Although Henry had until then taken a sippy cup of water to bed, we took that away on the first night and even though he asked for it about 15 times, we still said no. And that seemed to do the trick for overnight for us.
2. Do not leave your house for three whole days. This is what can really break a person when potty training. Complete and total mind-numbing, stir crazy, stuck-at-homeness with a peeing, pooping, crying toddler! I read online that the idea is to stay at home and do nothing else but keep your eye on your kid looking for any sign that he or she might need to use the potty and then get them there as quickly as possible! So that's what I did. If I went upstairs, he went upstairs. He wasn't allowed out of my sight for three - whole - days. It was no fun. But, it seemingly worked. Except for those couple of times when trains were too interesting for him and the internet was too distracting for me... And also, I drank a lot of wine.
3. Be calm and patient. Do not yell or get upset. Wow. So, this is where I really screwed up. I am not patient. And I frustrate easily. And I HATE admitting that I am not the greatest mom on the planet in this regard -- but I got upset. And I yelled. I knew in the beginning that staying calm through the accidents would be a challenge for me. I did great on day one but, calm and patient went out the window somewhere into day two when he was crying about how badly he had to poop then refusing to go when placed on the potty. It was really horrible. And I had mom-guilt. Big time. My head kept spinning with how I was ruining his future mental stability by not being collected while teaching him how to poop... Eventually the guilt convinced me to rethink the process. Henry is, after all, my personality clone and oozes independence. I knew he had to make the decision to use the potty on his own. I decided that I'd stop asking him if he had to go. Once he sensed that I was ambivalent about the process, he took control like I knew he would.
Henry-4426 Henry-4413
So, Henry, if you ever read this blog someday, I want you to know that we did it. We got you through that first challenge of learning together. And I'm proud to say that we figured out how to make our impatient and independent personalities work together through it. It wasn't easy. Mommy didn't always do it right. But, we did it. I love you, my big boy! And I always will.

Oh! And before I end this blog... I just want to write down for memories sake that while you were learning to go potty, we would all run in and tell you what a big boy you are! We would shower you with "good jobs!" and "I'm so proud of you!" In your adorable toddler way, you would then come into the bathroom while I was there and clap for me and tell me what a big boy I am and say "i so proud you, mommy!" You're the cutest, buddy.

1 comment:

  1. so cute!! Every time I read your blog I think to myself man we sound so much alike lol!