Up until a few weeks ago, potty training was not even on my radar, despite near constant reminders from my mom that I was potty trained at 16 months, and my sister at 15 months. But then I started seeing friends around me with kids similar ages posting stuff on Facebook about potties and successful potty incidents. I began to panic, thinking I was behind the curve (first time mom rule #1 broken- comparing my kid/parenting to others). Around that same time, a friend of mine clued me into a 3-day plan she would be trying when the time was right for her.
I read through this popular 3-day method guidance, and was intrigued! It sounded legit. I wanted to get on board with this method, and be done with diapers! First time mom rule #2 broken- unrealistic expectations. Even though reading through the book gave me some serious side-eye at times, I thought, "hey? What do I have to lose?" The book claimed that 22 months is the ideal age to potty train any child, boy or girl. They don't even have to show signs, or even know the words for potty yet. This was the first side-eye moment for me. The next was where it said throw out all the diapers in your house. I had at least $60 of diapers. I was not going to throw them away. Hide them, sure, donate them, sure. Toss them? No. Deep down, I knew my kid was not ready for this. I bought two potties- one for the upstairs bathroom, and one for the downstairs bathroom. I looked at the calendar, and I saw that in August, the daycare had 2 mandatory shut-down days for end of year maintenance. The squirt would be nearly 23 months! I decided that is when we would go for the 3 days. I would take Friday off work, and we would have a potty staycation, and on Monday our son would be going to daycare in underwear.
For the month leading up to the staycation, after the potties showed up, our son successfully used them here and there, when we could tell he had to go. There was no pressure- just getting him used to the idea. A few days before the 3-day training, our son was in the habit of stopping at the potty on the way to bed, peeing, and then I would put his diaper and PJ's on. Oh, he's soooo ready I thought. First time mom rule #3 broken- overconfidence in your/your child's abilities. The Thursday night before I planned to start, I went to Target and bought 19 pairs of little boxer briefs. The hubs was on board with the program, but he had to work all day on Friday, so I would be alone. I made sure to have easy to eat snack on hand, and mentally prepared to be cleaning up accidents, frequent underwear changes (for son) and tons of laundry.
Friday- Day 1. I decided to keep a diary of potty events for the day. Verbatim, this is what I had:
8:10a- diaper off, had (sons name) ceremoniously throw in trash, underwear on.
10:27a- peed on kitchen floor when I went to the bathroom (4 feet away with door open)
11:37a- peed in high chair during lunch
12:19p- pooped outside- seems to fear potty
12:27p- peed outside, carried him to potty
12:40p- put down for nap (no diaper/pull-up)
3:25p- woke up, had peed at least twice, soaked head to toe.
4:48p- peed by his toy hot dog cart in living room.
7:00p- put him in a pull-up, and put to bed.
Not mentioned above is the number of times I said "tell mom when you need to go potty." Or asked him "are your underwear dry?" (I estimate both were in the 100's) Both received no response, no reaction. The guidance assured me that was normal- it was sinking in even if child wasn't acknowledging. First time mom rule #4 broken- taking parenting advice from someone that has never met you/your child. After the kiddo was asleep, and I was doing laundry for the next day, I thought "that wasn't so bad." First time mom rule #5 broken- never assume you've seen the worst. If so, you WILL see the worst. Sure, it was exhausting doing nothing but watching my son all day, never leaving the house, and following him everywhere, BUT there were only 6 underwear changes all day. And, the next day I'd have my hubby home to help with the watching.
Day 2 went NOTHING like Day 1:
6:18a- woke up, took off pull-up, had him sit on potty- nothing
7:20a- started to pee in kitchen, brought him to potty. Done by the time we got there.
7:35a- pooped in undies in the sunroom. He gave me a heads up, but then refused to go to the potty.
7:50a- peed in the kitchen after sitting on the potty for a few seconds with dad.
8:00a- peed a little on couch- walked himself to bathroom, underwear change
8:10a- peed a little- changed underwear in bathroom
8:16a- peed in front of window waving bye to dad- changed underwear in front of window
8:50a- peed on bathroom floor- wouldn't sit on potty for more than 2 seconds
9:16a- peed on couch, brought him to potty. Changed underwear
9:18a- peed on kitchen floor- residual holding from few minutes prior?
9:40a- peed on kitchen floor while I was switching laundry- dad was in kitchen "watching" him
And then I stopped documenting. 12 underwear changes before 10am, and I just didn't have the patience to keep a diary on my phone. We kept up with the protocol- watching him to catch him in the act, taking him to the bathroom, telling him wet underwear were not where it was at, quizzing him on having dry underwear, reminding him to tell us when he had to potty. It was exhausting. But I was keeping my eye on the prize. First time mom fail #6- realizing something is not working and stubbornly continuing. We somehow made it through the rest of the day...nap time was in a pull-up, and we went swimming for 2 hours in the afternoon- the only out of the house activity we could do where peeing himself wouldn't ruin for all of us. Two days of following the protocol to a "T" and we had zero pee in the potty. I had a much better record not doing anything at all.
On Day 3, I went rogue. I stopped following the stupid guidelines in the book and kept my kid on the potty till he finally went pee. I celebrated like crazy. I let him "wash" (he's obsessed with washing his hands). It was fun, he was happy (during and after the celebration, NOT while on the potty). I kept this up throughout the day, and he peed a whole bunch in the potty. I could clearly see that he wasn't making the connection though between any feelings he had, and what ended up in the potty. He liked the celebrating, but had no idea why we were celebrating. He went to sleep in a diaper, I made the hubs go out and get ice cream.
I was mad at myself. Not for trying this out, but for abandoning everything I already learned in my first 6 months as a mom. I learned quick that what works for one kid may not work for another. I learned that everyone approaches things differently, and that is ok. I also learned, most importantly, that kids do things on their own time, when they are ready, and more often than not, it is easiest to just let them guide the way. I know all these things. Knowing all these things has kept me relaxed as a parent, and my kid super happy (for the most part). Luckily, another thing I have learned is that kids are super resilient, and this will all be water under the bridge.
Who is teaching who here? :)