Potty training is never easy or without stress, or so I’ve been told, but I was spoiled by my experience with J. We were both ready, and I felt very prepared. This time around, things were…less than ideal. Actually, it pretty much sucked, but by some mix of miracles, we made it.
About 4 years ago, I successfully potty trained J in a weekend. Not joking, it took 2 days. I used this very retro-looking book:
My copy is a battered paper-bound version that has been handed down and around for about 20 years now, and I followed it faithfully. Not only do I believe in the method, I believe in the men who wrote this book. They are psychologists (or possibly psychiatrists) who studied institutionalized adults who were presumed incapable of being toilet trained. This made the job of the support staff very difficult and took considerable dignity and independence from the patients. The original goal of the authors was to devise a plan to potty train quickly and permanently. They then applied this knowledge to the more-common potty training of children.
With that heart and goal in mind, these writers immediately earned my trust and respect, so I followed their advice as close as was humanly possible. As a matter of fact, I was so impressed with their work that I held on to my copy of their book–yes in the original paper-back printing– for more than four years! When Cub began to show interest in potty training, I pulled it off the shelf in my room and moved it to the bathroom near his brand-new potty chair.
Well, fast-forward two months when we have to potty train, and suddenly, I could not find the the book. I still can’t.
To make matters worse our potty training was forced upon me, which made it much more stressful. (And, yes, I said our potty training. Just like weaning, potty training is something that affects both the parent and the child.) It was also forced on me four days before Christmas. And without my book to lean on. On top of pregnancy hormones. Needless to say, I was panicking. The first day was awful. I was mad and unprepared and tired and super crabby. But, we made it through.
On day two, things got a little better.
On day three, things were great, but I had to send Cub to my in-laws so Hubby and I could attend a holiday party. Again, my nerves failed me. I was so worried he wouldn’t do well in a different environment. I was worried they would be frustrated with me for sending him at such an early stage in the training, even though they were fully aware of the situation and said it was fine. Mostly, I was worried I would I would have to start all over again.
Happy surprise, though, Cub did excellent! He had only one accident while he was away and that was because he was in a Sunday school class with other busy kids. I’m sure it was hard for him to get his point across.
So, Thursday we began. Saturday he spent the night away from home and had no accidents. Sunday he went to church and had only one accident. Monday we went to two different family Christmas Eve events and he had no accidents! And Tuesday, we spent all day at my mom’s and again he was accident free!
So, even though nothing went the way I wanted, and I wasn’t able to prepare myself or Cub the way I wanted, and I was upset and hormonal and overwhelmed…we made it! We actually did it!
Even though I would never choose to potty train over the holidays again, I am so relieved that by the time the new little one joins us, Cub will be firmly established in the non-diaper world…It has spawned another odd phase though which consists mostly of running around naked as much as humanly possible. Last night he even added cowboy boots to the look.
Sometimes, I just have to smile and remember: a picture is worth a thousand words…especially when your son turns 14.