Those of you who follow me on Twitter know that we haven’t made much progress on the potty training front. We’re trying though, without pushing too hard, and have had some positive moments. Small victories keep me motivated… It’s like a golfer who misses every fairway and lips out 10 putts, but birdies the final hole… Utter frustration can be wiped out with one small taste of success.
I’ve read a little, consulted with friends, and tried to follow my instincts, and I do think we’re heading down the right path. But boy it’s a frustrating path. I’ve never been labeled the most patient person in a room so I’ve had to dig deep to find my inner tranquility during this process. The best bang-my-head-against-the-wall moments come after we spend 20 minutes sitting on the potty, chatting about the potty, reading the potty book, talking about toilet paper, letting out a few toots, and then decide it’s not the time and go back to the diaper. And 60 seconds after getting suited up Junior runs to me with a big ol’ grin and says “I pee peed in my diaper mommy!” Cue the head banging.
Like everyone says, he’ll do it consistently when he’s ready. But I can’t wait for him to completely make the decision; I feel like I need to make sitting on the potty a part of our routine whether he wants to or not. The handful of times he’s gone have been after a teary fit; part of me feels bad for making him get upset, but he can’t always call the shots. And he is always SO proud after he goes – it’s worth the twinge of guilt I experienced a few minutes before.
I’m far from an expert (obviously) but here are some of the things I’ve tried. Some have worked and some haven’t, and there’s clearly no right or wrong way to do it. Every tot is different, every parent is different, and every situation is different.
Training potty: In my last post I shared a picture of the luxurious Elmo potty that we bought for Junior at Christmas time. He sat on it once or twice but it was more of a novelty and had too many distractions. So I made an executive decision to go straight for the grown up potty, using the removable seat from the Elmo commode.
Big boy underwear: A number of people suggested I let him run around in regular underpants so he could wet himself and learn that it’s uncomfortable when he’s not wearing a diaper. So I bought a dozen pairs of Disney themed underpants and gave it a shot. He was so excited to look at all the characters – Mickey on some, Jake and the Neverland Pirates on some, Pluto, Goofy, crocodiles, you name it. So I slipped a pair on his little bum and within 5 minutes he peed through them. Instead of feeling icky, he happily said “I peed in my underwear. Can I have a fresh pair? Mickey this time?” FAIL. I think he would have peed through all 12 pairs just to try on each pattern. I didn’t give him the chance to prove me wrong though.
Potty book: It’s cute, short, and tells the story of a little kid (we named him Peter) who faces a moral dilemma: pee pee in my diaper or pee pee in the potty? After much soul searching he decides the potty is the best place and he plops down. The best part is when he falls asleep on the toilet waiting for the big moment and is awakened by something… “What was that?” he exclaims. The next page reads “Tinkle Tinkle TOOT – I did it!” Literature at its best – I love it. And considering Junior has no issues tooting on the pot this line is quite appropriate. The book is good because it puts his mind on something OTHER than locking down his bladder.
Pee Pee Treat Box: This was my epiphany. I like to think of it more as the “cause and effect” method but let’s face it, bribery is the better term. He pees in the potty, he gets something in return. I had to stop into Target one day at lunch and as I passed the $1 junk aisle I decided to grab some stuff, put them in a box with a lid, and call it the Pee Pee Treat Box. Every time Junior pees on the potty he gets to reach into the box without looking and grab a prize. Silly stuff – rubber duckies, new cups for his juice, flash cards, etc. He loved the idea of the treat box, but unfortunately it wasn’t as motivating as I’d hoped it would be. But nonetheless he’s happy to claim a prize after his pee pees, but it’s not WHY he pee pees. This morning for example, I decided to try a new tactic and actually show him everything in the box instead of making it a blind draw. He liked it all, but it wasn’t until he saw the sidewalk chalk that he opened the floodgates. And go figure, when it was time to actually choose a prize for his good deed, he picked the Elmo cup and not the chalk. To be honest, his real motivation was me promising him a handful of marshmallows at breakfast if he went…
At the end of the day timing is everything. This morning wasn’t typical; usually he goes in his diaper as soon as he wakes up, but for whatever reason he was still dry when I went in to get him. I scooped him up and ran down the hall, he didn’t want to go, fussed for a while, and eventually he just went. I have to rely on his daycare teachers to put him on the potty throughout the day, but unfortunately with a room full of kids they can’t dedicate 20 minutes of waiting to my guy. That’s life. My husband is traveling quite a bit for work at the moment, so it’s up to the new and improved patient ME to make it happen. And I’m at peace with the fact that it will happen when it happens. But for now even the smallest dribbles make my day. TINKLE TINKLE TOOT.