Adventures in Potty Training

My son will be 3 in less than 2 months, and ever since his second birthday I have been excited to move him from diapers to underwear.  Obviously, I have been more excited than he is.  Everyone’s advice to me was to wait until he was ready to move out of diapers.  It will be so much easier than forcing him to potty train, so for 10 long months, I have been waiting and waiting and waiting for a sign that he was done with diapers.  In the end, I have discovered that despite how easy people make it sound, potty training can still challenging and time-consuming.  Here is my experience.

Be forewarned…there will be discussion of pee and poop ahead.

This adventure all started with the purchase of a potty seat.  My mom had given us a little kid’s potty that played music when pee hit these nodes at the bottom of the bowl.  We wondered if it would motivate Gavin to pee on the potty to hear the music or the scare the crap out of him (no pun intended).  We didn’t wait to find it.  The stupid manufacturers put a button underneath the potty that played the music when you pushed it.  Of course, that potty was always flipped over so that Gavin could have access to that button.  Steve also had a good point with the portable potty…one benefit of moving out of diapers was to reduce the mess we had to clean up.  With a potty, the mess was just in a different place.  One day while I was at Target, I bought a potty seat and the portable potty disappeared from our living room into our basement.

Gavin was very excited about the potty seat and loved to sit on it.  We couldn’t get him off of it.  Of course, we encouraged him to use it by bringing the iPad in the bathroom and letting him watch videos.  It seemed like a great idea until we realized, he was only interested in being in the bathroom to watch videos.  We stopped bringing in the iPad and guess who didn’t want to spend any time on the potty?

We waited for a couple of months until he was older and one day we caught him getting ready to poop.  We grabbed him, threw him on the potty and success!  He was excited, we were excited.  I thought – this is the start.  And it was –on and off.  Now that he knew half of what to do, he told us when he had to poop and off to the potty we would go.  This success was a phase.  Despite rewarding him with M&Ms, he would lose interest after a week or 2.  We would go back to diapers until he suddenly  became interested in using the potty again.  I would get excited that maybe this was it only to watch him again lost interest after a week.  It was a vicious cycle but still we remained patient and didn’t push it.

One day, something very exciting happened – he peed while sitting on the potty!  At this point he was old enough to start putting things together and understood what we wanted him to do.  Every time, he sat on the potty, he would pee.  I got excited again thinking that this was it.  We went out and he picked out some underwear, and I repeatedly explained that to wear the underwear, he needed to use the potty every time he had to go to the bathroom.  The underwear lasted maybe a day.  What a disaster.  I concluded that he wasn’t ready and back to diapers we went.  Eventually, I invested in Pull-Ups, thinking that it would be a good transition to underwear.  Another mistake made.  The Pull-Ups were Cars themed, and he loved them and didn’t want to wear anything else. 

Around this time, I started hearing a few stories about people whose kids just didn’t show interest and they had to actually potty train them.  Here I thought potty training was basically not practiced.  You didn’t push your kid but educated them, and they would figure it out.  I started talking about underwear with him again, and he actually asked to wear them one day.  He had an accident about an hour later and immediately asked to wear a diaper.  I obliged him but realized that this was the first time in all experiments with underwear that he seemed upset about the accident.  We tried again the next day with the same result.  Back to diapers we went, but I had made up my mind.  We were going to potty train.  I prepared him extensively for about a week of what was going to happen and got him excited about it.  Starting on a Thursday, he began wearing underpants all day long.  Every 1-1 ½ hours, I would take him to the bathroom.  The first half of the day went well but then he got tired of being taken to the bathroom and started resisting.  I persevered and amply rewarded him.  The next day was more of the same, but by the 3rd day, he stopped resisting and used the bathroom when we told him.

It has been 2 weeks, and I am happy to report that it is working.  He is starting to figure it all out.  He frequently tells us when he has to go.  We still need to make sure he goes regularly so that he doesn’t forget.  Despite a few accidents, he hasn’t once asked to go back to diapers.  I wouldn’t call him fully potty trained yet, but he is doing great.  We are proud of him, and he is proud of himself.  I believe that he was ready, but it still took some work. While we are all excited about his success, I freely admit that potty training is hard.  It takes perseverance, patience and commitment.  It is also time-consuming with all those trips to the bathroom.   So, whenever someone tells you that the transition from diapers to underwear is easy once the kid is ready may not be telling you the whole story.

3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Atlantic~mama on April 13, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    That was a complete flashback to what we went through last year. Our son is about to turn 4 in about 2 months, but last year around this time we were doing the exact same things as you. It pretty tough work, but sounds like you guys are on top of it and getting good results! Awesome 🙂 Jaime


  2. Posted by Atlantic~mama on April 14, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    Exactly. There always is another challenge, usually more interesting and tricky than all those that came before…


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