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Adventures in Potty Training

Adventures in Potty Training

My son has a strong will, and I don’t like to mess with it. You know what I mean? Why make life harder than it needs to be? He is two months shy of his third birthday and I knew it was time to potty train him, but who has the time and the patience? It takes a lot of concentration and attention to get this potty training thing working well, and truth be told, I didn’t want to deal with it.

But, as these things go, I want to be a good mom, it needed to happen, and we have our second baby due any day now. So last week, I decided to have at it. I share this story in the hopes that it helps others who are taking a stab at this for the first time.

I first attempted this about three months ago, and it didn’t go well. I had a very close friend tell me about the one-day method she’s used on three of her four children. It goes something like this:

You get the child really excited about their special day. You talk to them about it almost a week in advance, get underwear decorated with cartoon characters for them and tell them that it will be a day for just the two of you. Make plans for your other kids (if you have them), your spouse, turn off the phone, everything. Devote the entire day just to your child. Put the potty in the living room (cover the floor and any rugs with lots of towels), play special games, watch their favorite shows, and keep them pretty much undressed. Every time they start to pee, put them right on the potty. Have a lot of salty snacks and lots of liquids so the opportunity to put them on the potty comes up a lot. Literally, by the end of the day, the child will be potty trained. But it does take non-stop, minute by minute effort on your part. The idea is that one day is worth it.

With this philosophy, the nighttime and nap time training happens at the same time, and this piece can take up to two weeks. Put them in underpants to sleep, and if they get wet, they get wet. It’s how they will learn. Be very supportive and encourage them to wake up when they feel they may need to go. If the bed is wet, don’t say anything negative. Something more along the lines of, “Oh man. I’m sorry you’re wet! I bet that doesn’t feel very good. You can do it next time. You’re getting so big. This is all so new and you’re doing so well!”

Obviously, help them out. Stop giving them liquids an hour before sleep and have them go to the potty right before they go down. But in about two weeks, after you’ve done far too much laundry, they will learn that they don’t like waking up wet, and they will either call to you for help with the potty, or go themselves.

So that’s the “one day” package.

Like I said, I tried this about three months ago, and I failed miserably. After about an hour, being six months pregnant, I didn’t have the energy. I put a diaper on him and we went to the park. That was my failing. I’ve heard from many a mother that this method works very well. I was too lazy. If you have the energy, go for it. It works. I’ve seen it.

Anyway, to get to the successful adventure, here’s what happened this last week when I finally decided to get off my duff and make this happen. Well, that and I just could not bear the thought of changing two sets of diapers. That’s just not something I was willing to do.

So on Monday morning, I took out the cartoon character underpants and got him all excited. I also bought some sparkly stickers for number one and some intricate and pretty Disney stickers for number two. I taped a blank piece of paper on the bathroom door, got his little potty situated on the larger toilet and prepped myself for some clean up and a long day.

I told him no more diapers today! In fact, I even made up a song. He had no idea what it all meant, but he could tell something was up. We had about three accidents in the first hour. He would start, try to hold it, but not quite understand that when I put him on the potty, it was time to go. This went on for most of the morning, and by the time he was asleep for his nap, I had a load of laundry to do. I knew enough to make sure that I was not negative with the accidents, I would quietly change him and would say things like, “It’s so great to go in the potty because we don’t get wet! Isn’t that great?”

As I was putting him down for his nap that day, I realized I hadn’t thought about sleep time. So I put a diaper on him and put him to sleep. While I was doing the mound of wet laundry I thought I might lose my mind, but I stuck to my guns. I also decided that I was just going to go for it. I would put a bunch of towels under his flat sheet overnight and just go for it. Whatever, I could handle laundry. He woke up with a dry diaper. I almost cried with joy.

The evening went much the same way as the morning, except he started to say “Uh oh!” right before he got wet, and he would run to the bathroom. So I could see that a connection was starting to be made in his little head. He’s a tidy little guy, and he didn’t like being wet. During this time if he got even a drop in the toilet, I threw a party like few have ever seen. My huge eight-month pregnant body managed to jump up and down and I would get so excited for him! We would run to the kitchen, get our sparkly sticker and run to put it on the paper. The process was finished with a huge high-five and an, “I’m so proud of you!”

That night, I grit my teeth and went for it. I told him how proud I was of him, what a great job he was doing learning something new and told him that if he felt himself get wet, all he had to do was call me and I would help him right away. I also made sure to stop giving him liquids about 90 minutes before he went to bed. I figured the least I could do was help the kid out as much as possible.

Can I tell you that I wept in the morning when he was dry? Wept I tell you.…(cont)

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