Thursday, April 26, 2012

On Potty Training

We have achieved potty training success!

As much as I would love to use this space to provide you with a host of super-useful potty training tips, I am instead here to admit that my husband and I were quite possibly THE WORST POTTY TRAINERS in history. From the start we did pretty much everything wrong. We started too late, we were wildly inconsistent, and then we pushed and set deadlines.

For the most part I blame external circumstances. 

My first two kids were 19 months apart, and I was sufficiently overwhelmed that I didn't even think about potty training before Snood's 3rd birthday came around. By that time I was pregnant with my third, and the reality of having three kids in diapers scared me straight. In a white-hot panic I began ordering copious amounts of potty training manuals, purchasing whimsical animal-themed potties, and placing "Elmo's Potty Time" on heavy rotation at TV time.

This was September.

By November we were tantalizingly close to potty training completion. Snood needed frequent reminders and still had the occasional accident, but we were spending lots of time out of diapers. Then came the holidays, and with them the hours holiday travel. Did I feel confident enough in our potty training accomplishments to test them out at 35,000 feet over the course of several hours of cross-country air travel that I was attempting without my husband?

No. No, I did not.

So it was that when January came, the Snood was bediapered once more. Our daughter was born January 31st, which meant that all of February was devoted exclusively to newborn maintenance and/or emergency napping. Then suddenly one day I woke up and it was March 1st. Snoodie was less then a month away from turning three-and-a-half and we were still putting him in Pull-Ups. 

I'm not gonna lie, I was panicking.

Visions of sending my son off to college with a bag of M&Ms and a note for his roommate reading, "one if he pees, two if he poops" dominated my every waking moment. Still, friends and fellow mommies continued to insist, 

"He'll do it when he's ready." 

I didn't understand. How could he not be ready? He knew what was expected of him. He hated getting his diaper changed. He could clearly understand each step of the waste elimination process. So WHY WASN'T IT WORKING????

Sometime during the second week of March, I was sitting at the dining room table when Snoodie walked by me with an air of total calm. When I didn't see him for a few minutes, I went off to investigate and found him sitting happily on the potty. For reasons that we'll likely never understand, he'd had a breakthrough. On that day we moved him permanently into big boy underpants and he hasn't had an accident since. 

Which means, for those of you keep track, that I now have only TWO children in diapers!!

It's the small victories that count.