Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Potty Training Is The 15th Circle Of Hell

You guys. YOU GUYS. The day that I have been waiting for for seven years, four months, and nineteen days has ARRIVED.


I want to marinate in a bathtub of champagne. Now that we no longer have to buy diapers, I can afford to.

I want to run screaming down the street wearing a cape made of our leftover diapers. I want to burn them in a garbage can while laughing maniacally and inhaling the toxic fumes. I want to scream and laugh and jump 50 feet in the air. I am going to flip off the billions of boxes of diapers when I pass them in Costco, then take our forty dollars and buy milk for the boys to spill on the floor and the seven-ton bag of carrots that we can't possibly go through before half of them go bad.

And we're not just saving money! I have no idea what I am going to do with all my new found free time. I should start a hobby!

But you don't care how happy I am about this. I know what you all really want.


I have it!

The secret is...

.......Drum roll.......

....There is no secret. There is no "right way." There is no guaranteed trick that will work for every kid. There are ten thousand tricks, and maybe one of them will work for your kid, maybe not. Ultimately, they have to be ready and capable.

Sorry. I know, I know. Fuck you, Elizabeth! First you're gloating that you're done with diapers forever, and now you're saying there is no secret to potty training a kid?! I HOPE YOUR TUBAL LIGATION FAILS!

Don't worry, it probably will. (UPDATE: It fucking DID.) Anyway, three kids, and three different things got them to potty train. Here they are, in case one of them might work for you. Take your pick. It's potty roulette! A grab bag of potty tricks!

Note: Mine are all boys. Girls are different, from what I hear. I really don't know.

ETHAN (The first kid)

Ethan refused to potty train. At three and a half, he was still in diapers. He was scared of the toilet, he was scared of letting go of the only thing in his entire world he actually had sole control over. We, being first time parents were at a loss as to what to do. 

We begged. We bribed. We demonstrated. We threatened (to take privileges away). We put Cheerios in the toilet for him to aim at. We drank, heavily. We kept changing his diapers. (And the diapers of our one-and-a-half-year-old.) We were so over it.

I talked with a friend who has a jillion kids and works with a jillion kids as a special-ed teacher. She said we had to go hard-core and just take his diapers away. She pointed out that he's old enough, he has control over it, he knows how to do it, he's exhibiting all the signs of being ready (hiding to poop, staying dry for several hours between pees, asking for his diaper to be changed- which means he understands what he did in it).

So we went hard core and told Ethan that he was not allowed to wear diapers anymore, except at night. It was brutal. He did not take well to that. 

He would sit on the potty and cry and refuse to go. I would sit with him and read him a book or sing to him or play toys with him in an effort to relax him enough to go, but he still refused and begged for diapers.

With the pediatrician's words echoing in my head Don't force him, he'll hold it and may get bladder infections or constipated, I was scared and starting to panic, but determined. Desperately, I offered him the option of peeing into the bathtub drain. He did it, but then off course, that's all he wanted to do. We told him he could do it a few more times, then he had to use the potty, no choice.

When he finally did pee in the toilet, you'd have thought he was a Grammy-winning rock star who had just cured cancer, the way we treated him. 

But he was still holding his poop. After two days, I told him that if he didn't poop in the potty, I was going to have to give him yucky, yucky, yucky medicine (a children's laxative) that would make the poop come out, whether he wanted it to or not. He still refused, so I gave him some and he took one drink of the juice I mixed it in and refused to drink anymore of it. I was pretty pissed. I told him that I was going to have to force him to drink it because he was not pooping and then, he gave up.

He finally went and from that day on, we had no more issues- during the day. Then he started holding his pee to go into his nighttime diaper and I told him that if he did that again, I was going to take away his nighttime diapers too. That got him to stop.

Five or so months later, we took away his nighttime diapers, too. We definitely waited too long to do that, but live and learn.

And today, at seven years old, he exhibits no trauma from having his precious diapers taken away. Maybe it will manifest itself later and he'll be one of those 40-year-olds who dress like babies and wear diapers as a fetish, but I'm not really worried about it.

Needless to say, potty training him was total hell. But he's made up for it by not having any accidents, except maybe one, and never wetting the bed.

CONNOR (The second kid)

Connor was so easy to train that I actually have little memory of it. He did exactly what we suspected (and hoped) he would do: Follow his big brother's example and just start doing it on his own. He wanted to do everything that his coveted big brother did, which included peeing and pooping in the potty.

We still had to cajole and encourage and bribe him a bit to get him to do it consistently, but it was way less angst-inducing than it was with Ethan. I didn't actually want to shoot myself in the face with him!

We can't remember exactly how old he was, but it was either just before he turned three or just after that he was officially out of diapers. We did do the nighttime diaper thing for another month or so, then stopped those and he's never wet the bed.

BRANDON (The third kid)

We mistakenly thought that Brandon, having not one but TWO older brothers to follow the example of and want to be like, would be even easier to train than Connor was.

AAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA<------fake, soul-crushed laugh

The crazy thing is, he started peeing in the toilet right after he turned two. He was so short he had to stand on a step stool to even get his wang over the lip of the toilet (he didn't want to use a training potty) but the stool made him too tall and he had terrible, terrible aim and pissed everywhere, all the time.

And by doing this, the little effer got our hopes up. OH HEY! He's going to potty train EARLY! This is AWESOME!


He continued to cocktease us with the potty training for another year. He'd pee in the toilet for a solid day, our hopes would get up, noooooope, the next day, the toilet was the devil in a smelly, piss-soaked white dress.

Then he'd pull three days of peeing in the toilet out of his hat. We'd treat him like an even better Grammy winning rock star who'd eradicated the flu and diabetes. Then, like a punch straight to the soul, he'd treat the toilet like it had Ebola and refuse to use it.

Then he'd poop in the toilet consistently, but stop peeing in it. It was one or the other. It was old. 

Now that he's three years and four months, I got kind of mad. He wasn't refusing to use or incapable of using the toilet, he was refusing to use it consistently

I took away his pull-ups, put on some undies, and very sternly told him not to pee or poop in them. I told him that he knows how and when to use the potty, and he needs to do it. I also threw in the "trouble" word. At this point, not using the potty was becoming an act of defiance.

And then I asked him about 5 times an hour if he had to go. Every 15th time or so, he'd say "yes!" and run to the bathroom. 

This has been going on for nine days now, with one pee (thankfully, not poop) accident. We still put a nighttime diaper on at night, but that's only going to happen for another month or so, tops.

So, with that, I say,

And, to you warriors still fighting this battle, hang in there. It WILL happen for you and your kids. Promise.

For those who have fought and won, what worked for you and your kid(s)? Put your tips in the comments!

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