June 17, 2014

potty training fail and random success

Last week I talked about the top 5 signs my son is ready for potty training, and I geared up by reading a highly-rated and seriously detailed book. I honestly thought training the trainer was the way to go. Then reality slapped me back to the ground.

I had the book and the potty training doll and the treats. Then I forgot my precious book at work. In a panic, I downloaded it on Kindle Saturday morning (training day). Then my mind started flooding with endless questions: In what order do I perform all the steps? Do I warn him that we’re starting the half-day marathon called potty training? What if he doesn’t do anything – do I still reward him? What if there are interruptions, or he just keeps asking for treats? My mind was reeling.

By mid-morning I called it quits. Yep, I chickened out of potty training. I felt ill-prepared to take on this momentous task. Monday morning I polled my friends to see what method worked best. And you know what? Most of them had an unorganized, downright lackadaisical way of going about the whole thing. I began to wonder if it was possible that I was overthinking this. Who, me? The one who analyzes processes like a chef hunting down the Perfect Recipe?

Based on my friends’ input, I decided there was one small step I could take: I would begin with one small ritual with rewards. So last night, I excitedly told my son that we would start learning how to use the potty before bathtime. If he went, he could get a special potty treat as a reward. He sat on there for maybe 10 seconds before deciding he needed that treat. My reaction? “Oh well, that’s okay. We’ll try again next time. Let’s take a bath.” I didn’t give him the treat, which he wasn’t happy about, but we moved on.

This morning as I was in the bathroom putting on makeup, he came in and I asked if he’d like to use the potty. He said “Yeah.” I took him through the steps of pulling down his shorts, helped him get into position, and reminded him to point his thingy down so that when pee comes out it will go straight into the toilet (no guard on this seat).

What did he do? He farted. Ha! He looked up at me in surprise, and I exclaimed “Good job! Mommy’s so proud of you.” He decided he was done, and we moved on. There was no mention of a treat.

When I dropped him off at daycare, I mentioned how ready he is and they said that no, he hasn’t gone there yet either. Not 10 minutes later, one of the teachers called me to announce that he pulled off his shorts, marched right into the bathroom, and peed in the toilet. I told her it was okay to give him a gummy bear as a special potty treat.

Can I just tell you how much that made my day?!

I know, this is just the beginning. And complete success could be months away. One small step for (little) man…

So, for now, I think I’ll take my hands off the reins and follow his lead a bit more. I will encourage and praise him for every tiny effort. Maybe, like a fellow mommy blogger, I’ll just say no to potty training.