We did it. We didn’t want 2 little ones in diapers, so we decided now was the time to teach WV to use the potty. Whether he or we were ready or not.

Before last Thursday, he didn’t know much about his own eliminations (that is the polite, gross-sounding, grownup way to say what WV now calls “peeps and poops”). He knew he hated diaper changes, and so did we.

So we decided the way to go was a 3-day potty training boot camp, as recommended by a good friend. The recommendation came with a manual. The key points were to stay positive, offer prizes for successful toilet p’s and p’s (not as bribes, just as rewards), to ask him often to let me know if he had to go, and to do nothing but watch his miniature cute-as-you-can-imagine boxer briefs for signs of piddles for three days straight. Then he would be trained. And with the first step being to have him throw away the rest of his unused diaps, he’d better be. (I hear the gasps from moms everywhere! Don’t worry, I retrieved them later and hid them, since those suckers are expensive and Vivi will one day be a size 6 also.)

Stay Positive
This rule was so peaceful and beautiful sounding. Until 1 hour into the process, when he piddled, then refused to sit on the potty when I brought him over, then piddled in a new pair, then refused again, then repeat once more. I threw out this rule for the 20 minutes following that 5 minute, 3 clean undies soiled episode, and instead chose to hold him down on the potty with all the force I and this big old belly of mine could muster. He yelled, kicked, hit, screamed, and tried to wiggle free from the torture pot, all the while spraying little dribbles in my general direction.

While my use of brute force wasn’t the positive potty experience that was recommended, my words at the time were so coated with honey that I made up for the negativity of my physical actions. “Oh, Wally, good job! Look, you’re peeing. Oh look, again. Whoop. Look! Wow, nice piddles! Oooo! Ahhhh!” Like comments at a fireworks show. Where the fireworks are little streams of pee from a very concerned toddler.

Although not by the book, this turned out to be effective at showing him he could pee on the potty. At about minute 18, he looked down, saw what his crazy mama was complimenting, and realized he could pee in the potty. First lesson learned!

Later that day, his dad was giving him a bath. Very necessary, after 90% of his pee for the day had successfully made it on him, me, the floor, his chair, the carpet, the dogs, the table, his books, the wall, probably everything in the world, even you, dear reader. Everything except the potty. While husband Wally filled the tub, WV tried sitting on his seat and going some more. Husband Wally heard splattering on the tile, and looked up to see WV successfully peeing from his potty chair, but not pointing down. Since we were supposed to keep positive, husband Wally just told him, “Keep it flowing!”

Oh, the things we had to learn.
WV learned how to push his pee out by trying to toot. I told him, “Good! Now try to toot again!”
WV: “What toot mean, mommy?”
Me: “Toot means when air comes out of your butt.” WV thinks about this a bit.
WV: “What toot mean coming out of mommy‘s butt?”

By day two, we got Wally a sticker sheet, and he got a sticker with every successful pee (pictured in this blog on day one—the sheet is now full. That’s a lot of peeps in a week!). He learned the urgency of having to go by the afternoon of day two. I would ask if he would tell me when he was ready, and he would lock eyes with me with a panicky expression. This look helped us to get 50% of his peeps in the potty that day.

On day three we tackled number 2. I think he was holding it in, out of fear of what he was supposed to do with it. I got things moving with a few bites of a fiber bar. He succeeded with number 2 on the potty waiting for his bath again. The celebration from daddy for his success was enough to even last him through tonight (day 7). When I asked him if he wanted to take a bath tonight, he promptly threw down all the toys in his hands and ran upstairs to the tub yelling, “Yes! Wally poop on potty! Daddy shout, ‘Yay!'” He wanted to recreate the moment.

Potty on the mind.
We still have an accident or two a day (although yesterday was accident free!). So far, nights and naps have been dry—only a few times he’s had accidents when he wakes up. We have potty on the mind at all times, and probably will for several months. I ask him constantly, still, to let me know when he’s ready to go, and sometimes he forgets.

He does have potty on the mind most of the time, also, though. The other day, he was playing catch with W4, and W4 suggested he throw with his left hand, since that seems to be his better throwing hand. WV responded, “Yeah, this other hand has poop on it.” (It didn’t, by the way. That’s just where his little mind is.)

I knew that by the time we were done with this process he would somehow learn how to use the potty. Even if it took years. But I didn’t know how much more I would learn about the little guy. I’ve never expected so much out of him. I never knew how he responded to pressure and stress (and this was very stressful for both of us). I now know he becomes quiet and contemplative—he came up with a new “yes” which is a squeaky breathy little “mm-hmm.” It makes me feel bad for him and my heart melts at its helplessness. I didn’t know how much our opinions and feelings meant to him—a lot, as I think our responses were his biggest teacher. The one time I was majorly disappointed with an accident was when he really turned up the effort at getting to the potty in time.

I can’t believe he doesn’t have that padded diaper baby butt under his pants anymore. I’m very, very proud of him for how far he has come in a week, and what a big boy he is to be able to learn so much! And now we are closer than ever before, because we did this together. And most of all, I’m proud of him for not peeing on me once today!

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