Warning: this entry will contain far too many uses of the words 'pee,' 'poop,' and 'underpants.'
I knew it wasn't going to be easy. I didn't know it was going to be so exhausting! I'm so tired, I can barely write this, but I want to remember how we did today, so that as we progress in this (and we will!), I can look back and see how far we've come. Overall, Oliver did pretty well, better than I expected. It didn't start out very promising, but by the end of the day, there was some definite progress.
I was fully prepared. We've had a potty seat since he was 15 months old, on the recommendation of our pediatrician. He told us to put him on it, say at bath time every night, so he'd get used to it. That way, when the time comes to really potty train, he wouldn't be afraid. He'd pee on it every now and then, more by accident and the fact that he had a free penis more than anything I think. We also bought a 2nd (Elmo) potty seat a few months ago. Yes, Elmo. Elmo gives you a high five when you succeed, and says things like "You're growing up, just like Elmo!" and "Elmo is so proud of you!" And we got a seat adapter (Sesame Street) for the toilet, so he can use the "big boy potty" too. We got an "incentive chart" and stickers, also Sesame Street. Yes, I like my potty training equipment to match. We got Pull Ups and cotton training pants and big boy underpants that he picked out himself. Sadly, not Sesame Street underpants. They were out of those. But we got Thomas, and a Disney variety pack. It only bothers me a little bit that they don't match the Sesame Street theme we've got going on. I'll get over it. I even got carpet cleaner for pet stains. I had studied too. I read books and websites, and pamphlets. Yes, I was prepared.
We were awakened this morning at 6:30. Can someone tell me when they start sleeping until noon and you have to drag them out of bed? Because I'd like that to start soon. Especially on a Sunday. Oh well, more time to potty train! I was eager with anticipation and hopeful that he'd take to it just like that. We took off the overnight diaper, and put on a pair of cotton training pants. I told him he should try to keep his "big boy underpants" dry, and to let mommy or daddy know when he needed to pee or poop. He was excited about his big boy underpants. He looked so cute in them too. No, I did not take any photos. I know, I always take photos. Not today. The one moment I finally thought of it turned into a pee emergency and the camera never made a return appearance. Maybe tomorrow.
So we went downstairs, and I showed him the sticker chart, and told him that if he peed or pooped on the potty, he'd get a sticker, and when he got 3 stickers, he'd get a special new toy. I had him sit on the potty, but nothing. Then we went into the living room, and he got out his 2 potty themed books to read. Aw, like mother, like son--he wants to study too! Maybe it inspired him, because it wasn't long before he peed. In his training pants. No big deal, accidents happen. We talked about not getting the underpants wet, tried the potty again with no results, and put on pair #2.
Soon he wanted breakfast. As I was making it, he played happily in his cabinet in the kitchen, sometimes crawling inside as he often does. As I'm finishing cutting up the fruit, I thought I smelled something. A bad peach? Then he comes out of his cabinet, and sure enough, there's a lump in the back of his training pants. So we rush to the bathroom, we put it in the potty together, and talk about keeping his underpants dry and clean. Sit on the potty again, no results, and put on pair #3.
Soon Dad was home from his run, and I went upstairs to start some laundry. I came back to them changing his training pants (#4), and cleaning a spot on the carpet. Still didn't pee on the potty. But he told Dad his pants were wet this time!! This is good!! This is progress.
The next accident happened during a time out (he was hitting me, I forget why). I felt bad about that one, because he was calling for me, but I was ignoring him as I'm supposed to during a time out. One of my books said not to do time outs or punishment during training because it creates a negative atmosphere. When I read that I rolled my eyes and said "Whatever." They should have simply said, "Don't do time outs during training because they will pee in their time out corner." On to training pants #5. In need of a break, Mommy went out for a quick grocery store trip while Dad handled things.
Training pants #6 came along after another "I'm too busy playing to notice my bodily functions" accident. In between all of this time, we are constantly asking him if his underpants are dry and praising him when they are, and reminding him to let us know when he needs to pee or poop. Anytime he starts playing with himself, we hurry him to the potty to see if he needs to go. One of us sits on the big potty while he sits on the little one. This is exhausting. He is getting frustrated. At one point, Marty took him swimming just to give him (and us) a break from it all. We ran out of training pants and moved on to the "big boy underpants" A few times, he got them just a little wet, so we'd go to the potty and try to get him to finish in there.
Finally, it happened. After one of those times, I took him to the potty, and he sat down and just peed. Now, he'd done it in the past, but only before bath time. But this was the first time during potty training. Just when I was starting to get really frustrated and give up hope that he was ready. So we got very excited, he was thrilled. We dumped it in the big potty, he flushed, he got a sticker, he gave Elmo a high five, and he ran to find Dad to tell him. Did he tell Dad he peed on the potty? No, he told him he got a sticker. Cute, right? Yeah, until the stickers became an obsession, but that happens later.
Lunchtime and a few more accidents later, we put him back in a diaper and down for a nap. And we collapsed on the sofa. Who knew this would be so exhausting? All the checking of the underwear and hurrying to the potty, and washing hands, and the "You only get a sticker when you pee or poop in the potty. Sitting on the potty for 2 seconds does not qualify" tantrums. Marty and I sat on the sofa and wondered if maybe he's just not ready after all. He doesn't seem to understand how to read his body's signals to pee. But we decided we had to give it a try for a few more days and give him a chance to learn.
We would have loved a long nap, but no, he woke up after barely over an hour. I left his diaper on for a little bit as he woke up. We played with stuffed animals and then he put them all in his crib and then sat among them. I changed the laundry and came back in only to find that he had peed out his diaper. He wasn't even in underpants!! One side had gotten loose, probably from rolling around in his crib, and so needless to say, I had another load of sheets to do. So we put on underpants and went downstairs to keep working at it.
The afternoon went much better. We still had a few accidents, but he wanted to try the potty more, and succeeded another time. He did, however, become obsessed with the stickers. He just couldn't grasp the concept that they were rewards. He kept going in to sit on the potty, then get off after only a few seconds and saying "Sticker!" He thought he'd get one just for sitting. He wanted them all, and kept throwing tantrums when he couldn't have them. Or he'd try the big potty (with the adapter). But I stuck to my guns, and just kept telling him he'd get one when he peed or pooped in the potty. I was tired of the game, and after the 3rd time in as many minutes of running to the potty for a 2 second sit, I lost it and actually groused at him about it, only to immediately feel guilty and follow him into the bathroom one more time. Wouldn't you know, that's when he peed and pooped on the big potty!! Sorry to get graphic here, but when he heard his poop plop in the water, you should have seen the excitement on his face! And the surprise on mine, because I was sure he was crying wolf again. So yes, I felt really bad for giving him a hard time. Of course it's a learning experience for us both. It was sticker #3, so he got a "special toy," some little blocks from the Dollar Spot at Target.
It wasn't perfect after that. We still had a few more accidents, but he had 6 stickers on his chart total for the day. At the end of the night, as he was getting ready for bath with Dad, he peed on the potty. While he's done that before, it seems like this time was more purposeful than accidental. And it gave me a little hope that maybe we're on the right track.
I've read that Day 2 often brings a regression, as they get tired of your constant badgering. I could tell he was tired of it today, as tired as I was of doing it. But it's supposed to be a rainy day, so what else have we got to do anyway? It won't be as easy without Marty's help, but I know we'll survive. Warning: there may be another post about this subject. What can I say, this is my life.