Notice the Part I in this title. That's because, in the past 36 hours, it has become apparent to me that there will likely be many, many more parts (and plenty more stories) to this whole potty training saga. So let's just begin with the past two days.
Potty training is something we've been discussing off and on for a few months now. Jack has shown a great deal of interest in sitting on the potty, mainly to read books or to avoid going to bed. But we haven't got very far beyond the sitting. And I realize that children will learn to use the potty when they are ready, but I also think there is an element of "training" in potty training. So I thought we'd give it a try.
I decided it would be best to wait until after the holidays and until a time when we'd be at home without any major disruptions. I also knew it would require a lot of my time and attention, which aren't plentiful when I'm also sharing my life with a 9 month old and a job during a heavy marketing month. So when I realized last week that I not only had a long weekend for Martin Luther King, Jr. but that Jon did as well, I figured this weekend was as good as any to take the plunge.
I know there are dozens and dozens of potty training methods out there. And to be honest I haven't really looked into them. After talking to a few others and hearing about their experiences, I decided to skip straight to underwear. I don't want to spend any money on Pull-Ups and I think it would be the quickest way for him to realize how yucky and uncomfortable it is to go potty in your pants. Jack doesn't wake up from naps or nighttime dry, so we still use diapers, which is probably not the most effective decision but the last thing I want is an over-tired toddler who can't get his sleep.
So the plan was that Jack would wear underwear all day and either Jon or I would be with him constantly in order to "catch" him in the act. We set out the kiddie potty and the toilet seat insert on Friday night and let Jack know he'd be testing them out the next day. And we pulled the big boy underwear out of the drawer to show him what he'd be wearing in the morning. Now the underwear he got pretty excited about. We opted to go with the "choo choo train" pair the following morning. And then we waited.
Jack and I have had lots of playtime together this weekend. I've re-discovered my love for Legos, eaten numberous plastic food meals, and spent a good portion of the morning moving rocks with "digger trucks" and filling up Little People cars with gas. All while constantly checking Jack for the first sign that he had to go "pee pee." After a while I decided a nice tall glass of apple juice was in order. Finally, at least an hour into our morning, I noticed Jack's pants were wet. We rushed to the potty but it was too late. No matter, that's the whole point anyway. Jack was a little sad that he peed all over his "choo choo" undies but quickly recovered after donning a clean pair of dinaosaur ones.
Within ten minutes he had peed again. New undies, new pants. Ten minutes later, it happened again. And repeat. And repeat again. Despite constantly hovering nearby, I couldn't catch him in the act. And he was totally oblivious to the pee running down his leg. I just kept directing him to the potty and changing his clothes. At one point I just sat him on the potty with some books. Technically, it worked. He peed on the potty. It was then I realized that the goal of potty training is not to pee ON the potty, but rather IN it. I rewarded him anyway since it was the closest we got to success, plus it gave him a taste of what to strive for.
Since I'd been occupied with Jack all morning I hadn't had a chance to get a shower. So Jon took the next shift. Apparently it was a dry one. As Jon was reporting to me that our son had been incident-free, Jack ran into our bedroom, said "Hi mom!" and then peed on the floor.
After going through 6 pair of underwear in less than 3 hours I was getting a little exasperated. Plus it was now time to feed Jude. So I cheated a bit and did this.
Ahhh, "Jack's Big Music Show" on the laptop. Judging by Jack's countenance you would never know that they were singing a song about being happy and celebrating. I began to feel bad that maybe potty training was taking a toll on his spirits. So it was a good sign to see that some things haven't changed:
So Jack sat there through two episodes and didn't pee once. Yes, that's right. After 2 hours of going potty every 10 minutes, his tank was suddenly dry. We fed him lunch, put him down for a nap and afterwards decided the whole family could use some fresh air before dinner.
It was a nice break from "pee pee" and "potties" and "underwear" ... and a good way to take advantage of the above-40 temperatures.
Monkey joined us. Monkey's been joining us for a lot of activities lately. And he's also been playing an active role in the whole potty training ordeal.
Monkey even took a swim in the toilet today while Mommy was busy wiping pee up off the floor. Poor Monkey.
The rest of the evening was uneventful. And as excited as Jack was each time he got to put on a new, clean pair of underwear, I think he appreciated a diaper, Monkey and his soft pillow at the end of the day.
My wonderful hubby got up with the boys twice this weekend, and let me catch an extra hour of sleep for the first time in ... hmm, I can't even remember. Definitely before Jude was born. He fed Jack and started Jude off on his cereal and then I just nursed him when I came downstairs. It was a refreshing change to not HAVE to be up in the morning. But I'm content with my two days of sleeping in for a while now. I don't really like missing out on a morning with all my boys.
So it was back to underwear again today. Since I had enough dirty clothes for an entire load of laundry after yesterday's adventures, Jack once again got to don the "choo choo" underwear. And it was the same old same old. I'm beginning to understand my son's bodily habits a bit more better. Like, he can go two hours completely dry but soon after having a drink of water he'll start peeing every 10 minutes. After the third pair of pants I gave up on them entirely and let Jack run around in just his undies all day. Jack spent the day saying, "Pants. On. Pants. On." "No Jack, no pants." "Pants. On." ... I also got rid of the little potty. Jack was too big for it anyway and I figured it was best to just go straight to the toilet altogether.
I tried the timer technique. The buzzer would go off, Jack would excitedly run to the bathroom, but before he even got his pants down he was already telling me "all done." Five minutes later his pants were wet. But finally, late this afternoon I had a small glimmer of hope. Jack actually started noticing when he peed. He'd tell me he had to go pee pee after he was already wet, and then wouldn't actually go once we go to the bathroom. But it was at least something! I also started to notice that after he realized he was wet, and after he would run to the bathroom and say "all done" without actually peeing, and after we'd put his undies back on and send him on his way, then he would pee again. I'm guessing he was afraid to go on the potty.
So after 5 rounds of this, I caught him, held him still on the potty and waited. And he whined and wiggled and after I finally got him to relax, I am so excited to say, he PEED ON THE POTTY!! I cheered, I clapped, I called for his daddy! And Jack smiled and laughed and was so excited to wash his hands and use soap! And then there was one M&M and stickers and more cheering and clapping. It was a big moment.
Five minutes later he peed his pants again. He ran to me and said "Pee again, pee again." So I, full of hope, ran to the bathroom with him for the millionth time that day. He was more eager than ever to sit on the potty. And with a smile on his face he sat there waiting ... then grunting. And then, my most favorite moment of the weekend, he said, "Uh oh Mommy, pee pee broken."
It was the highlight of my weekend and the kind of thing that makes me ready to do it all again tomorrow. And we will. Until then ...