Thursday, May 13, 2010

Potty Training 101

Potty training is such a funny thing. I mean, for two and a half years, Benjamin remained perfectly content to do his business in his diaper. Then all of the sudden, we told him  it was time to do something different and expected him to get it within days or at least no more than a couple weeks. The miraculous thing is that withing less than a week and a half, he was mostly there. Kids are amazing!

After we got pretty well settled in here, I decided it was time to do the dreaded potty training. We tried it last summer and he was not ready at all, so we gave it a break. He began showing lots of signs of readiness back in January and February, but since I knew a move was on the horizon, I wasn't about to potty train and then deal with regression after the move, so we waited. I read a book and got advice and it was all great, but the best advice anyone ever gave me was telling me not to worry about using a particular method, but rather to go with what seemed to work for Benjamin. So, being that Benjamin is a major food lover, and being that my mostly health food buying self never has much junk in the house, we made a trip to the store for some fun treats. Benjamin was super excited about his treats and told everyone on the cookie aisle that they were for potty training. We came home with mini oreos, animal crackers, fruit snacks, and gold fish. My first brilliant idea was to let him pick which treat he wanted every time we had a success. I decided to set the timer and he got a treat both for being dry when the timer went off, and for every time he went on the potty. Unfortunately I underestimated the power of the treats and Benjamin managed to go just enough for a treat and then come back to go again 5 minutes later for another treat. He stayed dry for most of the morning, but was tired of it by the afternoon and by the end of the day, he was having lots of accidents and was so hyped up on sugar that it put me in a super bad mood and I felt little hope that we would ever get anywhere. So we gave up for the night and decided to start again the next day.

Day two was mostly the same. He was a mess from all the sugar and I was frustrated and tired. So I called my mom and she suggested only giving him a treat for being dry when the timer went off. So I tried it. And it worked!!! We started with 15 minute intervals and still had some accidents, but I never prompted him to sit on the potty unless the timer had gone off. I explained to him that the way to stay dry was to go on the potty if he had to go. It didn't click right away, but pretty soon, he got it and would go to the potty unprompted. It was amazing! I'm pretty sure it was one of the most tiring weeks of parenting I've had since he was getting up in the middle of the night to eat, but he did it and I'm so proud of him. I have not changed a poopy diaper in more than three weeks and it's awesome!

It's been about 3 1/2 weeks since we began and I think he may actually be having more accidents now than he had right after he got the hang of it. But, I think they are mostly just him playing and forgetting to stop and think about going to the potty. I hear that's normal and I'm trying not to get frustrated by all the extra laundry. I'm just so glad it's mostly behind us. :)

Now for the funnies:

During the second week of potty training I was feeling cooped up in the house and decided to go for a walk. Benjamin of course had to go while I was out and since we were kind of on a wooded trail, I told him it was time to learn about going outside. He LOVED it and kept telling me he had to go again. I told him he needed to wait, but before we got in the car to go home, I decided to let him try again. He got all ready to go and then spotted a puffy white dandelion and moved over to aim at it. I mean is he a boy or what?!!

Getting Benjamin to go poop on the potty was challenging and took several days (which from what I hear is not bad at all). Now that he's finally figured it out, poop has become a common word in our home. He can be heard ending his prayers with the word, analyzing his accomplishment in the toilet and telling me what's there, or telling me about the baby snakes in the toilet. Again, all boy!

And I'm not sure how funny this is, but when I first began thinking about potty training, I was very set against using pull-ups. I was pretty convinced they were a waste of money and would make Benjamin just think he was in a diaper. But, before we started up with the potty training, I decided to buy some just for times when I was dropping him off with other people like at church or the Y. My sister had given me a coupon, so I felt pretty good about it. We got home with them and I never thought much about them again since we used underwear for the at home training. It wasn't until the end of the first week that I decided to venture out to the Y with him and wanted to put him in a pull-up. They were nowhere to be found. I searched everywhere and finally determined that I must have left them at the store. I was frustrated about having spent that much money and then wasting it, but determined to get to the Y, so I took him in underwear. He stayed dry! Now here's the funny part. 3 weeks after starting the potty training, I was moving some stuff around on the shelf of his closet and what do you think I found? haha! I guess my theory that they were unnecessary was correct. However, we will definitely be using them for trips and they came in very handy this past weekend when I traveled to visit a friend. :)

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