Potty Training - Take One

I like being a mom. I like snuggles and hugs and kisses. I like reading books together on the couch. I like sweet-smelling baby heads. I like little toes and squishy tummies. I like special outings together to the park or library. I like coloring with my little girl on a Saturday afternoon. There are lots of things to like about being a mommy.

However, there is one thing that torments me. There is one thing that makes me want to run as far and fast as I can in the other direction. There is one thing that fills me with more dread than getting a cavity filled. There is one menacing thing about motherhood that sends cold chills down my spine. There is one solitary thing that cheap little old me would pay gobs of money to avoid. POTTY TRAINING.

Luke is now well on his way to being 2 1/2 years old, and the potty issue has been brought up by people for several months now. Whenever it is mentioned, I just give a quick answer to avoid the question and push the whole thing to the back of my mind. But that feeling of dread is rising as I know that I cannot avoid this forever.

A couple of days ago, we tried potty training for about 18 hours, including the 9 or so hours he was asleep. Let's just say the whole experience did nothing to allay my fears. He was so excited about his "Boody-Buzz" (Toy Story) potty seat and didn't put up too much of a fuss about sitting on it for 20-25 minutes at a time with about a 5-7 minute break in between. We made it so fun - reading books, singing songs - the whole thing. We promised Cheez-Its as soon as any tee-tee emerged. It was all smiles...until he got down off the potty after a 30-minute stint on it and promptly made his was into a corner of Maddie's room, flooding her toy box and carpet with all the lovely fluids we'd been pumping into his tiny little body. Seriously? In addition to being detrimental to my happy potty attitude, it put a serious dent into environmental health since I had to use about 63 paper towels to sop up the pee before I could even begin using rags and carpet cleaner.

Why, oh, why did our builder think it was a good idea to cover 75% of our floors with carpet? Couldn't he foresee all the whining and headaches that would plague this poor potty-training mama? If only we had hardwoods. Instead, if this kid ever does get potty-trained, we will be donating a large portion of our income to our friend the carpet cleaning man.

After I got tired of cleaning soaked carpets and an unsightly stain on our couch, we decided to use the very wise and responsible method of sitting him in front of the tv on an old towel on the floor and letting him rot his brain for a few hours...in between potty runs, of course. We set the handy dandy kitchen timer to go off every ten minutes. At the lovely sound of high-pitched beeping, I would groan and retrieve our toddler, whose brain was quickly turning to mush, and tote him off to see "Boody-Buzz." At this point, everyone's enthusiasm was waning. We'd do a short stint on the potty, to no avail, then reset the timer and replant his underwear-clad booty back on his towel. We did this for what seemed like days, but was actually about an hour and a half. Then, after one such episode where he spent at least ten minutes on the potty, our sweet, adorable little Lukey returned to the living room, stood about six inches to the left of his old towel, and peed (how do you even spell that, anyway) on the carpet.

At that point, this wise, dedicated mother full of grace, determination, and perseverance proceeded to march into her beloved child's room, retrieve a diaper and enjoy the rest of the day free of urine-soaked carpet, stinky underwear, and constantly shrieking kitchen timers. The only damper on the remainder of our Friday was the dark cloud looming in the distance - reminding me that first grade teachers generally frown upon having to change diapers. Maybe I should consider homeschooling after all...


  1. I know this is something people like to comment on/criticize a lot. This was one of the easiest things we did with Daniel (you know I deserved for SOMETHING to be easy with him, so don't hate me for it) but my advice is not based on any book or research or anything like that. What we did was have a schedule of when he was going to have his diaper changed throughout the day - following the lead from his preschool. Choose times that work for your schedule, but also maybe (hopefully) coincide with when his diaper is usually wet - I know, you've got nothing else to do each day besides monitor his urination habits. :) When it's time for a diaper change, have him go to the bathroom for a minute first - maybe having Jack go first and letting Luke watch. Continue with this strict schedule (yes, even though you may use more diapers than you want to!) and treat it as if this is the new normal and what we do at certain times of the day. Doing things that are out of the normal that the older kids don't do might be confusing for him - unless Jack is sitting on the toilet for a long, long time or on a towel in front of the TV, I doubt Luke is going to connect those activities with actual normal potty-time. Also, if in between diaper changes you can take him to the potty - either his Buzz potty or the big one, whichever you expect him to use and ask him if he can make peepee like Jack. Apologies to Jack for using him in this little experiment! The combination of using set times to try and go potty, along with seeing/knowing what it is we expected him to produce when he's there kind of helped it make sense for Daniel. Before too long we would go to change him and the diaper would be completely dry - followed by a good amount of praise for a dry diaper and the all important trip to the potty, something clicked and that was that. Cool underwear never worked for us/him, nor did the special kiddie potty. Oh, and the biggest thing is to try to relax about it and not stress yourself out so much (aka - oven timer going off every 10 minutes). None of this may work for Luke, but I thought it was worth sharing our experience since it was one of our easier transitions. Can't wait to see all of you soon!


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