Tuesday, June 18, 2013


The last day of school was last Wednesday.  We're off until our summer session begins on July 8th.  I was hell bent on potty training L because he's registered for preschool in the fall and must be potty trained by then.  And not just potty trained, but able to use the bathroom completely independently.  Since he's nearly 26 months, and E potty trained at 26 months, I figured this would be no problem.  When he's in his swim diaper, he holds his pee and tells me when he needs to go, so I decided that Thursday morning, we would begin with Potty Training Boot Camp.  Yay!!

When E started boot camp, I had been working part-time, and she'd had a ton of experience using the potty while in diapers.  She could go an entire day without wetting a diaper.  Our nanny was awesome, and continued the instruction while I was at work, so that by the time we ditched the diapers, she needed only one day of accidents for things to click.  She already pooped in the potty independently, so for her, it was a breeze.

With L, I've been working full time for the past year.  He gets time on the toilet about 50% of the time when he wakes up dry, and whenever he asks while he's wearing his swim diapers.  He stays dry for hours at a time, so he's ready to learn.  He is not, however, ready for boot camp.  I learned this the painfully hard way.

On day one, we went through 9 changes of clothes, and had two poops, which made me consider tossing his underwear.  Thank goodness we have a diaper sprayer.

On day two, we had to leave the house because of E's activities.  I reminded him continuously to use the potty, and he was extremely successful.  Once we got home, there was more pee and poop, and he had stopped telling me.

On day three, we went to the farmer's market, where there was an accident immediately after we went potty and he didn't perform, and then poop immediately after that.  I was not prepared, having forgotten to pack a plastic bag, so we left with two screaming kids (because E didn't want to go home yet), and a very frustrated mama.  Paul reminded me that L is not E, and I probably needed to step back and re-evaluate the situation.

On Sunday, we had a couple accidents and a couple successes, and while I didn't want to go back to diapers, I had to finally come to grips with the fact that I was pushing him too quickly and setting him up to fail. So....

On Monday, we went back to diapers.  We're going back to the part that I inadvertently skipped, because I saw some signs of readiness, and I felt the pressure to get it done ASAP.  I wanted him potty trained by the time I go back to work in July, so we could work on the independence part during my second break in August.  However, throwing him into undies like this was putting pressure on him, and he was having trouble getting the pee out, even when his bladder was full.  The accident at the farmer's market wasn't because he didn't try.  He sat on the toilet, pushing, grunting and trying, but nothing came out.  He was so tense and trying too hard.  The moment he relaxed, everything flowed. 

Now, there's no pressure, no clothes to clean up, no floors to wipe down.  Now, I ask him if he needs to go potty, or I tell him we should because we're getting in the car.  Now, he goes potty with no trouble, and keeps his diaper dry most of the day.  On Monday, he asked to wear undies, and I allowed it.  Then he pooped in them.  Twice.  [palm of hand to forehead] Now he wears undies OVER the diaper, at least for a little while.  Until he's really ready.

He gets excited when he's successful, and when his diaper is wet, it's no big deal.  That's not the goal right now.  The goal is to be successful and feel no pressure to perform and screw up that sweet little developing brain too much.  There will be plenty of time to screw that up, and as long as he has good insurance, the therapy bills won't kill him.

Do I still feel pressure to get him potty trained?  Oh, yes.  I want to get him in undies tomorrow.  But I have to wait.  While I want to try again next week, I know that's too soon.  I really should wait until July.  It's going to be difficult, but I need success.  He needs to be successful, and we both need to distance ourselves from this episode.  Plus, our dryer is broken and it looks like it's going to rain for the next two days, so laundry is out of the question.

The biggest lesson to be learned from this is that even seasoned moms, and moms who have potty trained tons of kids (because that's pretty much 1/2 of my job -- and they have special needs), still make mistakes.  In my opinion, it's the seasoned moms like me who make the biggest ones because we are so damn sure of ourselves.  Sometimes it takes a couple shit-filled boxer briefs to wipe that smug smile off my face and put me back in my place.  Thanks, kid.  I needed that.

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