DISCLAIMER: I say poop a lot in this one.
Two years ago, we started introducing the idea of the potty. But I guess we’ve only been taking it more seriously the last year or so. And even more seriously the last couple months. And even more more seriously the last week. I can’t honestly say that Stevie is even fully potty trained yet, he’s just keeping his undies dry, while I’m in charge of taking him to the bathroom every hour.
But I can safely say that in the last couple years we have tried it all.
I’m not sure what I expected. I mean, I knew it would be an impossible task. And I felt like the longer we waited, the harder it would be. After all, he’s had these diaper habits for 4 and 1/2 years now. But I still read every article, blog, miracle potty training story known to man, hoping to apply these techniques to my son. However, I forgot one very important detail: Stevie has NEVER DONE ANYTHING like the other kids. And in the end, it really boiled down to following my gut as his mom.
It started with a potty chair. One good one from Target and one cheap one from IKEA. We kept those around the house and encouraged him to use them. He’d sit for a millisecond, but never actually used it. Which I gotta say, looking back, seems like it worked out in my favor since I never had to wash poop out of a plastic bowl. He eventually just outgrew them all together.
Next, I tried putting him in underwear so he could see what it felt like to be wet. He didn’t care. At all.
I tried a coin jar with a picture of a big Power Wheels and every time he’d use the potty, he’d get a coin to go toward his huge awesome prize. He hated it.
So we moved on to the toilet ring. And every time I ever even dared to mention using it, he would collapse to the floor in a screaming fit. But we stuck with that. I knew once he had one successful poop, he would see it wasn’t so bad. But it took awhile to get there and in came the rewards. Stickers lost their novelty very quickly, as did coins and candy. We all know the way to Stevie’s heart is a good ol’ fashioned Hot Wheels car. Boy, I stocked up on those things! When they’d go on sale at Target for 82 cents, I’d buy one of every kind they had. And he would get one for every successful turd dropped.
But it created a new problem. He wanted new cars all the time. So he would say he needed to poop, when he didn’t actually need to, and there he would sit on the potty, crying and screaming for more cars. Or he’d poop and not like the car he got and want to try again. More screaming and tantrums and just utter madness.
The whole thing totally backfired. And it went on for a long time.
So my next attempt was to create a potty chart. The potty chart still involved rewards, but he would get stickers. And he needed like 10 stickers to earn the car. It was all explained very clearly on the chart, I don’t know what his problem was. But as you probably guessed, it didn’t go over well. He wanted those cars NOW. And he was not afraid to fight for them. Or poop on the floor for some reason. But we never caved and we got through the potty chart.
Over a month(ish), he earned about 90 stickers all together (that’s 90+ tantrums if you’re keeping track), and at the end, still had the wrong idea about the potty. Only wanted cars. Never went to the bathroom on his own or because he needed to. Still throwing major, major tantrums multiple times a day and still in diapers. We were getting nowhere.
At this point, I’d just about had enough. I wanted to throw in the towel all together. But I knew I had to try one more time. Most of the super moms who potty train their kids in 3 days say to just hunker down at home for a long weekend and focus on the training.
But listen. Seriously. If Stevie and I were locked inside together for three days, someone would likely end up injured or in prison. So I knew that wouldn’t work for
me us. But I figured I’d do it my way. Why not keep our usual activities, but just take a lot of extra clothes in case of accidents?
It had been awhile since I tried just putting him in underwear, so I took him to Target and let him pick his own. He went with the Minions and Olaf. We put them on him right when we got home and I started bugging him to use the bathroom every 20-30 minutes. I kept saying “Don’t get your minions wet!” He seemed to respond pretty well to that. And this time around, when he did have an accident, he actually seemed to notice, which made me feel like he was more ready.
When we were out and about, he was doing great! We took a lot of potty breaks, but he was keeping himself dry and not complaining. No tantrums. Just peeing like a champ and then going back to whatever we were doing. But we were still struggling at home. He was still getting stickers toward cars and it was just making him plain angry to not get the cars every single time!!
So I took away all the rewards.
No more cars. No more stickers. No more chart, coins, jars, candy. Nothing.
Now we just use the potty because it’s time to use the potty.