Perhaps the biggest personal achievement mankind can make. No seriously–think about it: you can win the Nobel Peace Prize but if you’re still wearing diapers…if someone ELSE is still changing you…
Today we climbed that mountain. I’ve been afraid of this challenge for over a year now, ever since hearing the horror stories from my friends who have had difficult-to-train children.
I decided to try last July, when he seemed to be showing lots of signs of readiness. He would tell me when he had pooped and seemed uncomfortable with it. My baby was just a few months old and still slept a lot during the day so he wouldn’t be a distraction.
I started out by putting the Cars potty seat in the living room, surrounded by towels of course. I gave him lots to drink and let him watch a movie naked while he sat on the potty. It worked great for awhile. I even moved the potty into the bathroom and he went #2 all by himself. But every time I put underwear on him he would have an accident. About six accidents later, I just decided he really wasn’t ready after all. He was only 2 and about 3 months, and they say that boys usually train older.
So I waited and waited. I was getting very antsy about it, so tired of changing two sets of diapers every day, with my oldest being embarrassingly large for the changing table and his #2’s beginning to utterly disgust me. And last week I actually threw up in the middle of changing his poopy diaper. Yes. I dry heaved through most of it and then just couldn’t take it, running to the bathroom and leaving my poor child with his poopy diaper. Thankfully my husband took care of the rest.
I was prepared this time.
I bought the “Potty Power” DVD, along with stickers for a potty chart and the coveted Thomas Train for doing 3 poops in the potty. I talked to Will about ‘no more diapers’ and ‘going poop and tinkle on the potty’ for several weeks to prepare him. I told him he was a big boy now, too big for diapers. I asked him if he was scared and told him he didn’t need to be scared. I even showed him that I could do it without being scared. I kept telling over and over we would start ‘next week.’
And today was the big day. It started out well enough, me giving him lots of drinks, him watching the Potty Power movie. Then we had the grand ‘ditch-the-diaper’ ceremony and presented him with his underwear. I took him to the potty every half hour to see if anything would happen. But nothing did. Until he had an accident a couple hours later. But it’s good to have an accident, so he knows what it feels like. I told him it was fine, we just cleaned it up. I told him that sometimes accidents happen and it’s okay, that no one expects him to be perfect at first.
We tried nude for awhile and he actually went #2 on the potty all by himself! I made a big deal of it, lots of praise, three stickers, a cookie, and a phone call to Grandma. Then I put underwear on him again (he kept asking for it) and he had another accident. But this time his accident was in the bathroom. I think he was trying to make it to the potty. Change underwear. Another small accident. Very small…I think he was trying to hold it in. He was eating lunch and whining that the ‘tinkle kept getting out!’ So I took him to the potty and he went tinkle.
He woke up dry after his nap in a pull-up. Good signs! And the rest of the day went wonderfully. No more accidents. He was naked for awhile and did great and then I put on underwear and he just started going by himself when he needed. I even fell asleep on the couch for a few minutes and he ran out exclaiming, “I DID IT!!”
This is a very detailed account of my son’s potty training, I know. But I really can not express how proud of him I am. He picked it up so quickly and was so happy with his accomplishments. I think this was a very positive experience and really built his confidence. I can only hope that tomorrow goes as well. I know that there will be bad days and more accidents, but having today be such a positive experience has really bolstered all of us up.
The biggest lesson I have learned from today is the power of positive reinforcement, love, and praise. I took every opportunity I could to tell Will how proud of him I was, how it was okay to have accidents, how it was easy wasn’t it, what a big boy he was. And I feel closer to my son for helping him through and getting so many chances to praise him. So many times we get busy with life and forget to give our child proper praise and attention throughout the day. Who would have thought that Potty Training would make me love my son more? 🙂