I enjoy parenting. I love most aspects of it, good and bad. I don’t necessarily like the emotional roller-coaster I go through the first two weeks after having a new baby, and I really don’t like the missed sleep that comes with a newborn, but those are not my least favorite parts of parenting. Potty training is. I don’t know why, but it has, four times over, been my least favorite part. And to have had four boys, our potty training experiences have gone very smoothly. They say girls are easier. I really wouldn’t know, but my four boys have all gotten the hang of it in a few days.
Hayden and Carson were just a couple of weeks shy of two when they potty trained, Bailey was a few months past his second birthday, but Parker, well, if you read the last blog post, you’ll know he just turned three.
The title of this post is Potty training: Part 4, take 3 because he’s the fourth child in our family to undergo this learning process, and we’re on our third try. A year ago we were planning a big trip to England and I decided that since he was going to be turning two-years-old soon, it was “time” to get him trained. Here’s a picture from that exciting time:
That day Parker had twelve accidents (wet) and zero successes. He was never able to make the connection between what was going on and what was supposed to happen. By nap-time I had decided he wasn’t ready and put him back in diapers, to revisit the process later.
Later happened to be in July. He was already older than Bailey had been when he potty trained, and we had some seriously awesome vacations coming up a few months later. I either needed to get that little man potty trained or abandon the idea altogether, to try again after we moved. Here’s a picture from that day:
We were heading in the right direction but we were miserable. And at that, I called it. We were going to go to Italy with a child in diapers and we were going to do so proudly. Remember all those stages of parenting that most people hate? Diapers included? I never once minded a diaper change. I didn’t jump and celebrate the day we no longer had to buy them after Bailey… I was basically ambivalent. But making the decision to wait took the pressure off of myself and Parker, too.
We took our awesome trips, PCSed over an ocean, got settled into our new house with Parker’s crib now turned into a toddler bed… and then it was February, and we traveled a LOT. So, March it was. We had much less on our to-do list and I found a week I could stay home. I created a “Potty Training School Schedule” for the bigs, including only work that they could do on their own, and I set my focus on Parker. On Tuesday, eight days before he turned three, I woke him a little earlier than usual, in hopes of catching his diaper dry. That had happened a few times but not this time. We got our special picture, knowing that this time was IT!
We had some really exciting times during our first week, and some of our statistics and moments of special mention are below. (I count any dribble in right place a “success” and any dribble in wrong place and “accident.” Many of the accidents in the stats below weren’t even worthy of a change in undies.)
Day 1: He hated sitting on any of the potty seats we have (and we have three). Fussed about it each time, until… at 6:45 pm he decided, completely on his own, that he wanted to stand to potty. That was a Game Changing moment. From then on he was able to go every time we went potty!
End of day one. Tally: Success 15 / Accidents 10
Day 2: We had the gate at the base of the stairs, blocking Parker from going to the carpeted part of the house. Anytime he’d have an accident which created any type of puddle on the floor, we’d rush to the potty, let him finish his business, and then I’d give him a rag and let him help clean it up. At 7:50 pm I was in the kitchen and glanced toward our guest bathroom and saw Parker standing there, pottying, all by himself! I was shocked, extremely proud that he was at this point on day two. When he was done I walked into the bathroom, gave him a treat, and told him how proud I was of him. He then reached for a clean rag and led me to a very small puddle. He cleaned it, and took the dirty rag to the dirty clothes. I was so proud of him! End of day two. Tally: Success 14 / Accidents 6
Day 3: Cabin fever set in. I was just about stir crazy by this point. Some curriculum had come in and I needed a few things to implement it. Parker and I made a trip to Staples and Target and he stayed dry at both places. FREEDOM!!!!!!
End of day three. Tally: Success 12 / Accidents 3
Day 4: My potty training method is to quit using any type of diaper, cold turkey. The past four nights Parker had wet the bed, completely emptying his bladder. (HINT: if using this method, layer two sets of sheets on the bed (i.e. pee-sheet, sheet, pee-sheet, sheet). In the middle of the night, you can just remove the top sheet and top pee-sheet, and put the little one back in a dry bed without having to put sheets back on.) On this date, the only accident Parker had was the middle-of-the-night one. End of day four. Tally: Success 10+ / Accidents 1
Day 5: After realizing Parker was not “getting” the middle of the night thing, I decided to set my alarm for 0200. When it rang, I took him potty and put him back to bed. He woke up dry on this morning and has ever since. Eventually I will start to wake him later and later in the night, until we wean this potty-trip altogether. Strange fact: because Parker loves to stand to potty, this causes a little trouble when he has to go poop. Can’t stand and do that, not if you’re MY kid, anyway. This was the first day that he was willing to sit and poop. The other days he either just didn’t go or ended up with an accident. End of day five. Tally: Success 15 / Accidents 1
Day 6: Parker stayed dry at church and then at the restaurant. While we were out we almost forgot we had a potty training kid with us. He was doing so great! Cute fact: since the start of this experience Parker has called peepee “poopoo.” When he yelled that he had to pee, he yelled out, “Mooomm! Poopoo!!” I never knew which one he meant. Early on I had to find a way to differentiate which he was talking about until he could remember to call each by the correct name. Since he knows his colors I would ask him, “yellow stuff or brown stuff?” If it’s peepee he would say, “wellow.” If it’s poopoo, he would say, “Brownd.” Yes, he puts a “d” at the end of the word! End of day six. No accidents.
Day 7: This day was the first time he told me beforehand that it was “brownd” before we pottied. Up until this point I had been watching for cues and making him sit and try to poop. This time he came to me and told me he had to. BIG deal, people!
Day 8: No accidents, nothing to tell. Oh, except that he has long since gotten bored with treats and started refusing them a few days ago. Too funny!
Day 9: Parker’s Third Birthday!! Exciting fact: at 5:00 am he woke up to tell me he had to potty. He was dry and then went back to sleep! Soon I’ll be making his middle-of-the-night potty breaks later and later.
If you read this far, bless your heart! I know this was way too much information, but I assure you, I left a lot out of this post! I could have written tons more, but I will spare you. I’m glad to have this task behind us and proud of my little man. Now we move on to learning to ride a bike! (Stay tuned…)