Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Toilet Training in Less Than a Day...or three

He did it!  He did it!  My little man ran to the bathroom and went potty all by himself without being prompted to, despite the fact that he was watching the movie Cars.  Yep, he dragged himself away from a fun distraction to pee.  Supposedly that's the turning point that means the hard part of the training is over, and the new behaviors just have to be reinforced.  I really hope they're right.  The last couple of day have been awful, and the first day was the most emotionally and psychologically draining experience of my life.

The book I read on potty training is called Toilet Training in Less Than a Day, and, after reading it, I decided to give it a try.  Changing diapers really isn't a big deal to me, in the scheme of things.  But reviewing the diaper bill made me reconsider just letting him stay in diapers any longer.  He's been dry through the night for more than 6 months, which was the one thing I insisted on before training him.  The idea of having a child who is completely toilet trained during the day and then needs a diaper at night makes me roll my eyes.  That's not potty trained.  Besides, some of those kids take years to stop needing diapers to make it through the night.  I figured it would be best to just get it all done at once.

So, the book advocates clearing your schedule so that your child receives your undivided attention.  No cooking, cleaning, talking on the phone, no doing anything but paying attention to your child and talking about the potty.  I dressed him in his cloth training pants and took him into the bathroom with Potty Scotty, the anatomically correct wetting doll I bought to use as a prop to teach my son about peeing in the toilet.  My little man taught Scotty how to use the potty, rewarding him when he peed correctly, scolding him when he "wet" his pants, changing his wet pants and flushing the toilet after a successful round.  The idea is that, since we absorb so much more of the information that we teach than the information that;s simply given to us, children learn faster his way.  In less than an hour my son was bored with Scotty and ready to pee on his own.  I had given him all the drinks he wanted all morning.  Even juices and natural sodas, which I never keep in the house, he was given free access to.  With a full bladder, more teaching opportunities present themselves, so I encouraged him to drink every few minutes.  Oh, and there are to be no distractions of any kind at this time.  If my son found a light fixture interesting, I was to change the subject to potty training, and how happy I am when he has dry pants, or how sad I am when he has wet or dirty pants.  I was also supposed to ask him a lot of questions about the adults around him that he loves.  "Does ______ go pee-pee in her pants?  No!  She has dry pants.  Only babies have wet pants.  Big girls and big boys have dry pants and go pee-pee in the toilet."  I sounded like a broken record all day for two days.  I annoyed myself into a state of misery, so I can't imagine how he was feeling.

I think in the end, this method worked because my son was sick of the torturous boredom.  He wanted to know why he couldn't have his toys, or play in any other rooms.  When I told him he could go play with his toys as soon as he used the potty all by himself, he immediately turned around and peed in the toilet.  Of course, I clapped and smiled and told him how wonderful he was, offering a chocolate as a reward for using the potty all by himself.  He just looked up at me and said, "No treat.  Just want toys."  Sigh.  So I let him play with his toys and the vicious cycle began.  He played with the toys and became so absorbed in building a tower of Duplos or reading a book that he had an accident.  I took the toys away, saying that he could have them back when he went potty by himself, then he forced himself to squeeze out a few drops of urine on the toilet to get the toys back.  Oh, did I mention that I did a lot of laundry over the past coupe of days?

Anyway, The first day was the worst, the second markedly better, and our aforementioned breakthrough came this morning around 10 am.  I felt like an idiot, jumping and clapping and dancing around, singing that my son was a big boy, not a baby anymore.  I called my mom and told her that I had so much more respect for her now, knowing that she did this five times with grace and patience.  I barely held on to patience by a thread, nearly losing it more than once.  To be fair, her methods took about a week and involved a more relaxed atmosphere (with more accidents.)

I suppose I would recommend this to other moms with the caveat that they need to make sure they have nothing else to do for a couple of days after the planned toilet training day, just in case it takes longer than advertised.  The book says that most kids are trained in half a day, 3-4 hours.  Hmph!  Not mine.  My stubborn little guy even tried to save his reward chocolates to eat after he had an accident (I wouldn't let him have them then, though!)

I should mention that I deviated from the prescribed method a tad.  I refuse to clean out potty chairs because they are gross.  I had to dump out the cup of the potty chair while my mom was toilet training my siblings, and even then I thought it was foul.  So my son has a special potty seat that fits over the regular toilet seat in his bathroom, and a step stool to make sure he can reach it.  That way, he poops and pees directly into the toilet, and all that I have to do is wipe him and be sure that he flushes.  This is not what the book advocates.  They also recommend toilet training in the kitchen, where there is more space and you're less likely to feel claustrophobic.  Because I had chosen not to use a little potty, I obviously couldn't do this, either.  I wonder if my son's personality was what caused this to drag on so long, or the fact that I chose not to follow their rules to the letter?  I suppose I'll never know.

Either way, it's done!  My baby is a big boy who potties by himself now.  I am one relieved mama!

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations!!! and why on earth would they recommend toilet training in the kitchen? first of all - EWWW. second, that's just not a good habit to get into...
    I think your mommy instincts are right on - clearly you were born to do this :)