Potty-training. I am so serious when I say I have been dreading it for years. Like…since I was in high school. How ridiculous is that? It’s true though. I knew I wanted to someday be a mother, so I started thinking about how awful potty-training was bound to be, and the thought/fear/anxiety has been stuck with me ever since. I’ve been dreading it!
You know how a chronological life story typically goes. You meet someone, fall in love, get married, have kids, blah, blah, blah. Well in between the marriage and kids portion of my story were two dogs. And buddy did that experience wreck me! We crashed and burned when it came to teaching those creatures where to pee and poop. This only heightened my anxiety levels for potty-training my future children.
And then 2010 brought my first child, who also happened to be a boy. Ask around, and most people will tell you that boys are hard work when it comes to potty-training. They’re also known to take a whole lot longer than girls. I knew that information when Harper came because for some reason, when you’re pregnant with your first, people feel the need to scare the ba-jezus out of you by telling you all of their worst parenting nightmares/stories.
So, armed with the knowledge that my boy would take longer to potty-train than a girl, I looked at one of his first meconium-filled diapers and thought to myself “well, this isn’t so bad. I think I can handle this for two years.”
Yeah, no. I didn’t have a clue. And I didn’t know the nature of my child. He is not one to be rushed and typically takes forever and a day to do anything.
Close to his second birthday, I started to feel panicky because he wasn’t making the progress I assumed he would be at that point. I was also starting to get comments about him still being in a diaper.
I remember texting a friend and mother of four (Hi, Nicole!!!) about it one day to ask for her advice. Side note: I’m so blessed to have a multitude of wise mothers who have done these things before me. Who needs parenting books when you have that?! Anyways, Nicole gave me the best advice ever, and I am so thankful for it. She told me to just wait him out, and that he would probably be closer to age three before he potty-trained. She said if I would wait on him, rather than forcing it, it would take a week to train him versus taking a year. Pssssh! Sounds good to me!
After our conversation, I quickly formulated a plan to do absolutely nothing 🙂 It took so much stress off of me. We continued to talk to Harper about the potty and we let him play on it whenever he was interested, but we tried not to force anything.
For whatever reason, as time went on, he began to lose interest in the potty and at some point, he even developed a slight fear of it. As he approached age three, I really began to doubt myself and wondered if we had missed “the window” everyone talks about. What if I had the one child who would never want to use the potty? I was also still feeling pressure from others to get him out of a diaper.
Let me tell you. There are few things more embarrassing than having your soon-to-be three year old walk up to you in public and say “Mom, I pooped. I need a new diaper.” Lots of stares and “if he can ask for a new diaper and tell you when he is pooping, he needs to be using the potty.” I’m sure to others it looked like Harper ruled the roost, and was getting his way. And maybe he was, but as much as we tried to encourage him to use the potty, he just wasn’t having it, so we just had to deal with the judgements for a while.
As hard as it was, we continued to wait and to give him time. Every now and then, we’d ask him if he wanted to try using the potty. Sometimes he did, and sometimes he didn’t. If he did want to try it, we always got the same result: lots of sitting without actually doing anything.
His third birthday came and went, and at this point, I was just resigned to him still being in diapers by age 25. We had pulled out all the stops to encourage him to go (big boy underwear, candy, cupcakes, toys, etc.) but nothing worked. So more waiting for us.
About a month later, on Thanksgiving break, we finally had some success. He peed in the potty. Woo hoo!! We still didn’t push things, and continued to go with the flow. When Christmas break rolled around, Benji and Em came down with the flu. We decided that if we were going to be house-bound we would also try to make some progress with Harper and the potty. He seemed ready, and since we couldn’t leave the house anyways we thought “why not?”
Best decision ever!
We let him go diaper-free, and within just a day or two, he wasn’t having accidents and was beginning to stop in the middle of whatever he was doing to tell us he needed to go pee. Fast-forward a couple of weeks: he is now wearing underwear all throughout the day, and he goes to the bathroom on his own, without any reminding from us. Amazing, right?! Yeah, I thought so too!
The only thing we’re having slight hiccups over is #2.
TMI ALERT: Don’t read any further if over sharing bothers you.
Harper has always been a standing-pooper, so this whole “sitting down to poop” thing is crazy to him. Add to that the fact that we’re now asking him to poop in a bowl rather than in his diaper, and it’s as if we’ve asked him to do the most unnatural thing on the planet. Although he isn’t having accidents, he still isn’t a fan of going #2 in the potty, and whenever he *does* have to go, he tells us, and then holds it in. FOR DAYS. Right now we’re going on five days at a time. He could probably go longer, but by day five, I start to panic and pump him full of laxatives, until he can’t “prairie dog it” anymore.
Now I know you’re sitting there in disbelief at the fact that I am talking about my son “prairie doggin’ it” so I figured I’d just go ahead and cross the line with a graphic:
There you go. Yeah, I know. I’m evil.
Anyways. I’m not really worried about this half of potty training since he isn’t having accidents. In my mind, the worst part is over and done with (I hope I am right on this anyways), and he will eventually come around on this part too. It’s just going to take some time, patience, and a little waiting. Overall, potty-training wasn’t nearly as hard as I thought it would be, and for that, I am grateful!