Thursday, 13 May 2010

Tommy: 1, Mum: 0

So, the three day potty training:

It was miserable the first day (apparently it is supposed to be). The second day he showed steps forward, same with the third. The fourth day (first day off) he did a pretty good job. We had one intentional wetting and one true accident, but lots of really good holding it in the car (hooray). Then came the fifth day, which involved a great deal of obviously intentional wetting (and a few true accidents- the sound of rushing water in the laundry room clearly overcame him). In case you are wondering if I am one of those parents who is always reading dark intentions into my child's behavior, this is not the case. No exorcisms here.

Trust me, he is peeing on purpose. If he can hold it in for four to five hours on one day, then he can go longer than a few minutes the next day. His new response to his "gentle reminder" phrase is to shout "No" and then start peeing. Also, he is very proud of his pee spots once they are made- although he is certainly sneaky about making them- and he likes to yell "Uh oh, wet, pee pee!" and giggle a little. Awesome.

I'm not totally sure if this is due to plain old stubbornness, which I know he possess in spade, or if there is something else going on. I am beginning to wonder if he is frightened of going on the toilet. I can't figure out why that would be, except maybe because of the night-time training outlined by the program that had me placing him on the toilet while he was still semi-asleep. One time it really freaked him out. Now Tommy will not sit on the toilet when he has to go (after three days, we can both tell when he has to and when he doesn't). I know I can force him on, and I can make him sit there, but I can't make him go. And I'm just not interested in doing this by force anyway. He does like to sit on the toilet when he does not have to go, since our toilet is now covered in car stickers. He loves car stickers.

I'm not sure where I am going from here. My preference is back to diapers. Diapers are cheap (go cloth!) and easy. The primary problem with diapers is that Tommy has been refusing to wear them and has learned how to take them apart. But, I would rather put him back in diapers and worry about having to fight him on putting them on rather than make this little toilet battle into an all out war. It really makes no difference to me if he wants to be potty trained or not. I would have to carry fewer things around if he would wear underwear, but, honestly that is not a big deal. I don't view potty training early as a marker of future success. I know this one kid who didn't potty train until she was at least six, and then she graduated from both Harvard and Harvard Law. Not too shabby. Maybe Tommy is following in her footsteps. Although, if he is not potty trained by four I may be feeling much less relaxed about this.

I should have guessed that the program I used wouldn't work for Tommy, but I am a gullible sort of person (truth telling is so important to me because if you lie I will believe you), and it claimed to be "one size fits all." It was supposed to work on every single child. And, while I made some mistakes, I did follow it as faithfully as I could. Three days inside the house were torture for the little guy. He was pounding on the front door and begging to leave by the end of day two. I am not kidding. Pounding. I did let him out a little bit, but, that of course meant that I failed at getting him to the toilet in the proper way when he had an accident. Tommy needs human interaction besides his parents. It is just his way (I think this is what people mean when they say "extrovert"). Choosing a program that prevented this was a big mistake on my part.

So, I live and learn. Next time I will be more careful about considering Tommy's unique personality when I undertake one of these projects. Unless, of course, the marketing for the program is very persuasive...

P.S. I wrote this earlier in the week- since writing I have indeed put Tommy back in diapers, and of course, he has started occasionally asking to go in the toilet again. As for going back to big-boy-underwear, I'm out of energy, so he can wait!


Gretchen said...

Don't be too hard on yourself. If you can wait until he's a little older it will just "happen" one day. It really does! I'm personally kind of against the whole "get them potty trained in three days" thing. I've seen so many frustrated parents!
Anders just got it around 3 and a few months. Partly because of preschool but also he was just old enough to decide that he really had enough of diapers. Then he could really talk to me about going potty and poo poo. It was all very sane that way. =0)

mary said...

Em was actually potty trained earlier than six but had lots of accidents because she was too busy to go to the bathroom. I always say that I don't know any 21 year olds running around in diapers. It will happen.

Erin said...

Hi Amy, I'm working on potty training with Garrett right now and found two books at the library that seem to be balanced and easy-going about it...."Stress Free Potty Training" by Sara Au and Peter L. Stavinoha covers a whole variety of methods, and has recommendations for different personality types (also a little test to see which type your child is). "Potty Training the Easy Way" (for boys version) talks about slowly getting them used to the idea so it's not too traumatic for them, giving lots of ideas and pointers that were helpful. I'm still reading "Stress-Free Potty Training" but so far it has been very good, probably better than the other one since it considers different personality types and gives a variety of ideas.