Friday, February 22, 2008

How to Potty-Train a Bub

Step One: Read The Einstein Syndrome and learn that your son's chances of becoming a scientific genius increase with every diaper-clad month that goes by. Pat yourself on the back for your instinctive grasp of the value of postponing potty training until close to the fourth birthday.

Step Two: Buy a potty. Fanfare!

Step Three: Teach your son to sit for hours watching TV on the potty, thereby ensuring by sheer law of randomness that at some point he'll actually go. Fanfare!

Step Four: Try to look proud and supportive when the Bub shouts ecstatically, "I peed! Hooray!" pointing at the puddle on the floor.

Step Five: Decide after two months that the benefits of occasional pee in the potty are outweighed by the hours and hours of TV required to achieve this. Postpone potty training until Christmas.

Step Six: Buy Shrek underwear. Note with satisfaction that accidents are now accompanied by wails of "Oh no! This is terrible!"

Step Seven: Celebrate progress: the pee is hitting the potty on average once a day - then twice a day. Finally, we're making it through most days on a single dry pull-up. Switch to underwear, even for car rides and nursery school.

Step Eight: Put Bub to bed in a diaper, only to hear him screaming two hours later. Is it a night terror? Investigate to find him clutching his crotch and wailing, "I don't want to! I don't want to!" Provide potty and share a sigh of intense relief as it fills almost to the brim. Make a mental note to ensure that you provide an opportunity to sit on the potty before bedtime.

Step Nine: Declare mission accomplished? Bub still does not ask for the potty when he has to go, nor does he respond truthfully to questions about his need for the potty, but thanks to his camel-like powers of bladder control, he's making it through most days with dry underwear. At age 4 and a quarter, that's not bad.

55 comments:

Mary Jo Koch said...

My 4 daughters potty trained somewhere between age 2 and 3 years, 9 months. I believe readiness is all and I didn't do very much. My second daughter announced just as she turned 2 that she was a big girl and didn't need diapers anymore, and that was that. I was still carrying changes of clothes for her 4 year old sister, but Michelle never had accidents. But that was Michelle, born on her due date after a labor of 1 3/4 hours.

My third daughter (3 yrs, 9 months) decided to potty train herself on a week long camping trip:) She is probably the Einstein of the family.

Rose Daughter said...

Oh potty training, takes so much out of us doesn't it. My daughter finally got it a couple of months before her 4th birthday. Now my son,2, is showing signs of wanting to learn. But I'll think we'll wait until after we move.

Jenifer said...

Before I forget, some of these recent posts (and comments) have been great, a pleasure to read here always.

Both my girls were 3 1/2 when they were trained and for Papoosie Girl it was June and she was starting JK - well before her 4th birthday. I had no choice! Both girls have incredible camel powers as well...on our ten hour drives to NY I am the one dying to stop every three hours and I am pleading with them to just 'try'.

My tactics were swift and involved chips and juice and two days with the potty in the living room. My girls respond well to the all or nothing approach.

Good for Bub for being able to wake up in the night, that takes some kids years to master.

Jess said...

Wow, I'm impressed. I like how the story starts with a puddle on the floor. That kid has some strong bladder muscles.

Mrs. Who said...

Sounds like he is doing great! My 2 year, 3 month old gradson is just starting. We have a potty seat at our house and he likes to sit on it when I go potty. Usually with his pants still on. It's OK. He'll be ready when he's ready.

SuburbanCorrespondent said...

It never fails to amaze me that any of my kids are potty-trained. Including the teenagers...

Magpie said...

I can't imagine that my 4 1/4 year old would be potty trained if I hadn't sent her to daycare. So - great job!!

Pieces said...

Congratulations! To both of you. :)

Lisa b said...

This is very cute. I personally adopt the einstein theory as often as possible. It is good for the mother.

There is a boy in my daughter's preschool class who can READ. He is three and a half BUT he is the only Kid still in pull-ups. As the teacher said to me, what God gives on the one hand, he takes with the other.

Mouse said...

Scooter's almost 5 now. He rarely has pee accidents but remains stubborn about poop. Our recent victory is that we can at least get him to sit on the potty for a bit before bath/bed (also his most common time for pooping). He frequently can't go until he's in his pull-up for bed (and I'm postponing any thoughts of night-time training until everything else is in order).

I strongly feel that if preschools hadn't been so insistent about toilet training at 2 1/2, we would have waited and it would have been easier, instead of 2+ years without total success.

This has been, by far, the hardest part of parenting to this point.

Mad Hatter said...

Yes the juvenile bladder pre-caffeine, pre-alcohol, and pre-Vbac is a wonder is it not? How I envy Miss M's bladder and pelvic floor.

Scientists make lots of money, don't they? That can only be good. Plus there's all the status that goes along with it. Score!

nomotherearth said...

We're approximately on Step 3 - minus the fanfare. He only manages to pee once we put the underwear back on after over an hour of TV...

Suz said...

Not bad at all.

We're on the toilet-flushing step. I don't think that flushing the toilet multiple times has anything to do with potty training, but I like to pretend that it does.

Marian said...

In my experience, boys always lie about having to go! I mean, why would a busy boy choose going potty-- ALL that time and effort!--over all of the wonderful, exciting things to do in the world? Especially when his bladder can hold it forever... well, almost forever... until they can't.

Being dismayed by accidents is a huge step.

christammiller said...

You know, I like the Einstein Theory MUCH better than Freud's. :P

We realized Hamlet (4 1/2) was ready for underwear once he started holding his pee in the morning - up to 2 hours - until we took his pullup off. He's been doing great with underwear this week, with reminders of course. Poop, well, he's still holding out on. But it's clear that he's not just being lazy about it. So we just require him to poop in the bathroom, and we put it in the potty so he can flush it. I can tell this helps him feel bigger and better about using a "diaper," so it's a step in the right direction!

Jen said...

Okay, my first kid? (There're three of them, all boys.) I started at 2 1/2 ish because he was showing some of those readiness signs. But I sort of went with pull-ups some and underpants some and diapers some. There were m&ms involved as well. It didn't take.

His brother was born just before his third birthday and about a month later, *I* was done with his having diapers. It took a week or two of no diapers at all and pull-ups only at night and once or twice his sobbing for diapers. It wasn't pleasant, but it was done.

Child #2 I started at the same time 2.5. But for him, I made sure every article of his clothing was clean so I had lots of spares. I bought exciting new underwear. I had the potty. We made no plans to go out that day and I announced in a bright and cheerful happyhappy voice how ready he was for the exciting underwear, and how he'd learn to remember to use the potty.

No diapers. Many accidents on day 1 all met with cheeriest cheerfulness and encouragement -- ooh, next time you'll get to the potty and keep your clothes dry (clean), sit there now and I'll bring you clean clothes. Success with peeing once that day.

Day two many successes, few accidents. That night he refused to wear a pull-up for bed (I wasn't ready for that request at all!). Didn't and woke up dry. A first. 1 accident total the next day. Never wore a diaper or pull-up again.

Same for kid 3, same for friend's boy at same age.

I really think there is a window in that year where they *want* to please you and do cool big things. Once you hit three, you've hit the orneries in a much bigger way, the I can control my body in a way that creates havoc sort of way. Not in a mean way, it's just part of the power struggles of being a 3 yo.

I think it's three things -- it's that early to mid two mindset and it's the excessively cheerful I'm ready for anything, we'll get this in no time, I'm not at all upset only excited about how well you'll do attitude on the parental part, and it's the wet and poopy pants feel horrible thing that goes along with no diapers, but still wearing clothes.

As my first child proved to me though, I had no good ideas for how to get a 3 yo to join in the fun so quickly and easily!

Karen said...

not bad at all. I'm deeply impressed. LP seems to make do on 2 or 3 trips a day - and generous use of pull up at naptime - and in am when he wakes up. Note, he doesn't use it while sleeping...just when he's alone in his room with one on and I'm not there to subtly suggest the potty. I'm not subtle. Congrats Bub! Freedom!

Swistle said...

Heading over to online bookstore to start Step One.

Busy Mom said...

Congratulations! Potty training is so grueling on the parent! My son was potty trained until it dawned on him that he *could* pee in his pants if he wanted to. Then he learned that peeing on the playroom carpet is sooooo much easier then walking upstairs to the bathroom. Then he learned that peeing when he was in time out is a GREAT way to punish his mean mom....

Oh yeah, and that doesn't include standing at the top of the stairs and seeing how far down he could pee, learning to aim just right so pee sprays all around the bathroom, and on and on.

Sus said...

My daughter now reads to me while I'm pooping and then offers me a prize if I'm successful. It's a nice switch. Good luck.

Janet said...

It sounds like he's doing well. Potty training is a strange beast. It was different for all of my kids. Elyse was the prodigy but I became overconfident, switching her to the big toilet too soon. She fell in last week and proceeded to pee her pants again due severe toilet-related PTSD.

When does this parenting thing get easier?

painted maypole said...

fanfare!

WOW! Women's World said...

Boys...I have three of them so I had to go through the drill three times. To me, potty training still remains one of my top parenting nightmares and my oldest is 15. (Although, I expect driving will be my next.) With my first two, I believe I wanted too long - around age 3. My mother told me waiting too late made potty training more of a control issue. OK, fine. So with my third, I figured I'd try a different approach and trained at 2 1/2. It wasn't really that much better...

Julie for WOW!

Catherine said...

Hooray for Bub! And Bub's mommy!

(My favorite part was the bit with the Shrek undies...)

Omaha Mama said...

Congrats.
I fear potty-training a boy. The smell of urine is my least favorite smell and I'm told that with boys, it's just everywhere.
Joy.

Beck said...

Good work, Bub.
I'm now completely immune to child pee, being in the middle of potty training my third. Which is handy trait, in these circumstances.

Carrien said...

That's fabulous. Really. Yay for Bub.

letter9 said...

Fanfare! Way to go, Bub. Ha. Get it? Way to GO. Oh, I slay me.

Angela said...

Not bad at all....not bad at all. It's good you don't push, I think. I didn't. And so far, no need for massive therapy. Yet.

Angela said...

Potty training
two scary words

Christina said...

That's great! I'm furiously taking notes in the hopes that some it might work for Cordy. At three and a half, she has zero interest in potty training.

Did you make the switch to underwear with no going back? Were there a lot of accidents?

Mimi said...

Ha! Well done. Munchkin likes to sit on the potty every night, and then pee on the floor. Hooray!

My nephew had a bladder like Bub. He could hold it for DAYS.

Bea said...

Christina - There was LOTS of going back and forth with the underwear and pull-ups - we only put the underwear on at home, though sometimes I would do the "Shrek-Cars combo" (a pull-up with underwear underneath) when we were out. There were plenty of accidents, and at first I was setting the clock at one-hour intervals to remind myself to get him on the potty every hour. Now I try ever two or three hours and that seems to do the trick.

Kit said...

Mine were all different too. My son was2 1/2 but with a year of accidents and only got out of night nappies just before he was 6. Middle child was instant success at 2 then out of night nappies at 4.. Youngest is five now, out of daytime nappies for three years but still unconcerned about wetting herself because she holds out too long. She just goes and changes herself and I find a wet heap of clothes on the floor. We're just starting to try nights without now, waking her at our bedtime to go to the toilet, but the washing machine is going overtime so I'm thinking of going back to night nappies again. Good luck with Bub it sounds lie he's doing great.

Patois said...

Go, Bub!

KAL said...

Oh I love you B&P! This morning Sam sat on his potty chair in front of the TV for 15 whole minutes without a drop. Thanks for the laugh.

AnneK said...

How did you become bea?

Kyla said...

You give me hope. BubTar was trained by two and KayTar, well, she's three and it is nowhere in sight. But one day she'll be ready.

Mary-LUE said...

Congratulations... on Bub's success, your having retained your sanity and to the decrease in diaper costs. Well done!

Sandra said...

I wish I had you around coaching me through potty training when I needed it. The fanfare, the strategy, the stunning bladder control of your son. Wow.

I failed miserably at potty training and my guy ultimately was trained by the influence of a boy in his preschool.

Amy said...

I love Step 6!! Too funny!

Antique Mommy said...

The potty chair is the dumbest thing that was ever invented.

Susanne said...

I was really surprised at how long a preschooler can go without peeing. Nowadays we make a point of always going before meals and before going to bed. Oh, and before leaving the house. That was the way I was trained and apparently it is very strong because I cannot leave the house without visiting the bathroom first. Or go to bed without even though I have just gone three seconds before.

I try to be a bit more relaxed about it than my mother was, though.

Meredith said...

That's funny! Memories...

Found you via Amy @ Milkbreath and Margaritas.

ewe are here said...

We're struggling with this now... not going well. Sound help.

Becoming Me said...

You certainly have a way of turning non-fun experiences into fun reads. Thanks for that. My daughter (who seems like an older version of Pie) was not potty-trained until she was 3. Everything had to be on her terms and when she was ready, she just sailed through all the steps perfectly. She went from fighting me one day (many days) to just going on her own, wiping perfectly and even staying dry at nights!

Bon said...

most days with dry underwear is really as much as most of us can offer the world, to be utterly honest.

we were given a potty at Christmas and there was one random use of it, but i suspect it is destined to be ornamental for some time to come. which disturbs me, as O is almost too big for it NOW, at not yet two. we must have been given the smurf potty or something. i fear by the time he's really ready to try it it will be impossible for him to sit on it without automatically aiming past its tiny spray guard. :0

Jenn said...

You totally missed the M & M step.

You know, the one where you say, "If you go pee and poop on the potty, you can have an M & M".

This isn't a recognized form of training? No? Really?

Are you sure about that? :)

Nora Bee said...

This is priceless writing. Love it. And congratulations! :-)

Bea said...

Jenn - Oops - I forgot to mention the part where Bub hates candy, cake, and ice cream. He does, however, like chips, so we've been rewarding him with those. I don't think that has really been a motivating factor, though - usually he forgets to demand his reward unless we remind him. At best it's a way of reinforcing the message that he's done something good and deserves a prize.

Bon - Bub is monstrously larger than his potty, and if he remains on it for very long I hear a cry of, "My feet are too hot!" (meaning that they've fallen asleep). And I can't even tell you the number of times per day I issue the reminder, "Penis pointing down!"

We had two accidents on Saturday, so I hope I haven't offended the potty-training gods ... yesterday was better, though, so hopefully we're back on track.

Miss Perfect said...

I hear you on kids having the bladder of a camel.
My son can go all night dry and then insist in the morning that he does not need to pee - and refuse to pee until he gets to daycare - this is about 13 hours later.
Matt toilet trained at 3 and a half, and at a month shy of 4 is now potty obsessed.
Have you ever thought about where Peter Pan, Tinkerbell, Captain Hook and Smee pee? How about Mickey Mouse? And do you think Diego uses a potty or pees in the trees? This is a conversation that could go on for months in our house.

Tina C. said...

too funny. app. how many months did it take to get through these steps???

Bea said...

Tina - Step One was a LONG time ago, but the actual purchase of the potty occurred last July maybe? And then we got started with the Shrek underwear just after Christmas. So I suppose it really took six weeks or so to get to this point. Some people might find that frustrating, but I'm truly surprised and amazed that it's working at all. :)

Tina C. said...

i am so not a patient person that i can see myself causing some trauma to him over this. i can't figure out why he cries and refuses to sit on there, but when he gets plopped down (we say it'll only take a minute) then he always pees. poo is another issue of course, but i am just not getting why he's not into it - he likes watching the potty power video and other songs we sing about it. i'm trying to be patient...

bren j. said...

"...camel-like powers of bladder control...." Hah! That's great! Hooray for a potty-trained Bub!