Potty training Nathan has been a long, bumpy road. I first started potty training Nathan when he was 2 1/2, but even then I knew he wasn’t really ready yet. It was a long, slow process, and we had to take everything in baby steps. First, I had to coax Nathan to sit on the potty fully clothed. (He would usually freak out.) Once he became comfortable, we spent a few weeks sitting on the potty with his pants off but his diaper still on. After that, we finally progressed to sitting on the potty bare-bottomed. But it took a long, long time before he first peed in it. And poop? Wow, his first poop on the potty wasn’t until around December or so of ’12, shortly before he turned four.
The reason I remember is because he had a stomach bug that day, and I was on the phone with my brother while Nathan was peeing in the potty. Suddenly, Nathan jumped up and exclaimed he had a “tiny, tiny poop.” I checked and sure enough, there was a very small amount in the potty. Excited, I told my brother that was Nathan’s first bowel movement, and I coaxed Nathan into sitting there to see if there would be more success. There was! I was ecstatic!
So anyway, backing up to before his first poop in the potty, whenever there was a potty success, I’d jump up & down, clap, dance, and just make a huge deal out of it. Nathan loved the attention of it all, but he was still never really motivated enough to go on his own. Around age 3 1/2 or so, he finally started to go pee in the potty more often than not. But not pooping. Nope, not that elusive poop. I tried everything I could think of; bribing with candy (one piece for pee, three or more for poops), tv shows, and even a Poop Prize Box full of special prizes for poops. I tried going cold-turkey on the diapers and putting him in big boy underpants since other parents swore by this method. EPIC FAIL. I tried for a couple weeks, but it was a total flop. Then I tried keeping him in underwear but putting a plastic diaper cover over them, but that was a disaster as well. Nothing seemed to work. And it was *incredibly* frustrating.
I found myself wondering if he was the exception and would be in diapers forever.
And all these parenting experts that warn against getting frustrated when your child doesn’t go on the potty have probably not been trying to potty train for a YEAR AND A HALF. It was incredibly hard to keep calm because I knew that Nathan knew where his poop should go. And changing a four-year-old’s diaper is hardcore gross, let me tell you. I’d been changing his diaper for four long, tedious years, and now that I was pregnant, I was done.
One day, shortly after his 4th birthday, Nathan had pooped in his pull-up yet again, and I had enough. For the hundredth time, I told him this was beyond ridiculous; he was four years old now and perfectly capable of putting his poop in the potty. I said other kids his age put their poops in the potty, and he needed to as well or he’d run the risk of being made fun of. I don’t know what was so different about this time versus all the other times I’d told him the same thing, but it was like a light switched flipped in his brain.
After that, he all-of-a-sudden started peeing AND pooping in the potty. Consistantly. After a few successful potty trips, I started putting him in underwear during the day. He had two accidents and peed on himself the first week, but those are the only accidents he’s had. He very quickly transitioned from the training potty to using a seat on the big potty, and from there he transitioned to peeing while standing up. Without peeing all over the place! He’s not even had an accident at night. We kept him in pull ups for a few weeks, but went ahead and made the switch to underwear with no problems at all. There was evwn one time a couple weeks ago where he stumbled out of bed at 2am to go pee. I was shocked.
It’s the craziest thing. Literally, it was like a light switch flipped in his brain. He decided he was done with pull-ups and that was that. He hasn’t looked back since, and we couldn’t be any more thankful. Potty training for us was a long, hard road. Now? Every morning, the first thing he does is pee in the potty. And I will only sometimes have to remind him during the day to go potty only because he occasionally gets so engrossed with playing that he’ll forget to go.
Hopefully the new baby will be a little less stubborn than his big brother, and potty training will go more smoothly the second time around. And to any parent out there struggling with potty training- it will happen eventually. Not on your clock, though, but on theirs. When they’re ready. I don’t really think there’s a way to speed the process along. And believe me, I know how frustrating it can be. Just give it time.