Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Potty Chronicles

I don't really know a clever way to begin a post about the toilet. The topic of potty training is almost overwhelming to discuss when one is the mother of a just-turned-3 year old boy. I feel as though I could write forEVER and not touch the surface of everything I have been thinking about lately. Who knew that something like going to the bathroom would ever occupy so much of my life! :-)

I read enough baby books when Colin was born to know that potty training a boy was going to be tough, so the good news is that I did not give it a single thought for the first 2.5 years of Colin's life. Last fall, we purchased a little potty and sat it in the bathroom. It became a topic of conversation, something to sit on every now and then, and the perfect stool for turning on the sink and making a giant mess. :-) We bought a few potty books and put them in rotation and would frequently talk about going to the bathroom and what life would be like when Colin was ready to stop wearing diapers. We borrowed a child's seat for the adult toilet from my parents house and left it sitting around. A couple of times, Colin peed and once he even pooped, but those were merely novelty moments...he was nowhere near ready to entertain actually using the toilet. Life continued on peacefully and truly, I was happy not to start the process. Life had become so much easier and the thought of dealing with bathroom breaks while out with Colin was overwhelming. It is so easy to just put on a diaper and go. I know that some moms complain about diapers and changing poops, but for some reason, it has never bothered me. They are easy and I am all about easy. :-) I also know Colin very well, and knowing his sensitivities like I do....well, the thought of navigating public restrooms with him frankly gives me hives. So I have just not stressed about it. My pediatrician told me years ago that the average age for boys to be trained is 3.5 years old...and that is just the average! Many are older still! So for the entire year that Colin was merely 2, I happily wallowed in the fact that he was so far from 3 and a half.

Cut to Colin's birthday last month. Seemingly out of the blue, it felt strange to put diapers on him. What had seemed totally normal for all this time suddenly felt weird. Putting my big boy on the changing table several times a day felt almost foolish. It hit me like a ton of bricks that the diaper days needed to come to an end and I couldn't avoid that fact anymore. I do know that this can't be my idea alone...Colin has to be ready for the change and I certainly can't force him to be. I have been watching and waiting for the last few weeks and talking to him a lot about it. He has fought with me vocally on the subject, claiming that he is "only a baby" every time I bring it up. I did notice a couple of things that gave me hope. First, Colin HATES getting changed. It is now almost impossible to do with how hard he fights me. Second, he has run around naked a few times lately and I have gotten sidetracked from putting a new diaper on. During these occasions, he has not had an accident, which led me to believe that he was holding it when he needed to. Last Saturday morning, I undressed Colin and as usual, he ran away before I could get a diaper on. I decided very randomly to let it go and see what happened. I reminded him that he was diaperless and to tell me if he needed to go potty. He played for a long while and then called out that he needed to go. I took him to the bathroom, where he informed me that he must use the big toilet. I sat the seat there and he proceeded to pee and poop like it was no big deal. He ordered me to read a book, which I did, and everything just happened! I almost passed out from shock. He was perfect the rest of the day, no accidents at all, and even pooped again that evening. I had my answer. Colin was mentally and physically ready to do this. I put a diaper on him for bed and ran out to Target after bedtime for new underwear options.

Sunday morning dawned early and we had a lot to do. We met Jer's parents for breakfast at 9am, so I had no time to argue with Colin over putting on underwear. In his mind, it is fine to wear underwear alone around the house, but he won't put it on with pants to actually leave home. That was problem number one. After our morning out, my parents were coming over to stay for a couple of days. He did manage to switch to underwear, but had several pee accidents and was clearly having too much fun with all the visitors to stop and think about what he was doing. That was problem number two. When my parents left this morning, I took his diaper off and geared up for another day at home for training. He started off perfectly and peed and pooped on the potty when he needed to. Everything was going great until I put underwear on him after spending the first half of the day naked from the waist down. He started having pee accidents as soon as the underwear went on. When I think back, his accidents while my parents were here were also when wearing underwear. Apparently, being naked reminds him to go to the bathroom, but even having underwear on makes him forget. Obviously it is no problem to be naked at home, but I am wondering how long I am going to be home before we can leave again! Not to mention that I have not even broached the subject of public restrooms with Colin, nor do I know how I will convince him to sit on one without our trusty plastic seat cover. And with the rules that Colin has for himself regarding getting dressed, I don't know how I will convince him to wear pants over underwear, or even commando! He is very particular about the way things feel and the new sensation of being dressed without a diaper is already proving to be tough. Good lord, this is too hard! Whew!

For the time being, we are just going to take it one day at a time. Colin is VERY new to this and I am going to just keep going with trial and error. At least he is finally getting a lot of practice and doing a great job with it. He appears to be a master at potty pooping and shockingly has not had one poop accident. I think he actually prefers to poop on the potty, which is awesome. I have not made a decision yet about what I will do going forward. When this batch of diapers is out, I may not buy anymore and just use the pull-up style at night. I can't know for sure, because regardless of what works for most, I have to do what is right for Colin. That may mean diapers for awhile...but maybe not. The timing is bad because Colin starts preschool in 3 short weeks and will go one day a week from 9-2. That is going to be a huge adjustment on it's own...much less while also dealing with potty training for the first time. I still can't believe how crazy this process is! The main thing that I am taking away from the last few days is that Colin has made major headway in this department, which is wonderful news! He went from absolutely refusing to even discuss the toilet to using it like a champ. He showed me that he can do it and is far closer to being fully trained than I could have imagined. I know we are close to having this figured out...I just have to tie a knot in my rope and hang on! :-)
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