As if Son #4 needed another huge milestone to pass… He just moved out of his crib and gave up his pacifier, and then I started potty training him four days ago. He’s 27 months old, which is a little young for a boy, so I decided from the start that if he resisted at all, I would back off and wait a month or two. Fortunately, he has been totally compliant and enthusiastic.
He has his special little potty sitting on the bathroom floor, and the first day I set the kitchen timer as a reminder to put him on his potty frequently. Despite spending A LOT of time on his potty, he still had several accidents. The next few days were much more successful…
He started going pee-pee in the potty and only pooped his pants. Progress!!! One of his mistakes was partly my fault. He told me, “Poo-poo is coming!” and ran off down the hall. He was quiet for some time. Too quiet, perhaps, so I decided to check on him. Rather than finding him on his little potty as I expected, he was in his closet with a load in his “Finding Nemo” underpants. Next time I will follow him down the hall and personally set him on his potty!
The most amazing thing happened the first morning after we started this whole process. He came in to our room at 4:20 am. I was barely awake when I reached down and scooped him into bed with us. We snuggled closely and promptly fell back to sleep. About two hours later we woke up for the day. As I was reaching for him to set him on the floor I felt his rear end through his pajama pants. No diaper! I went into the boy’s bathroom and found his DRY diaper and a potty full of pee pee. He had awakened in the wee hours of the morning, taken off his diaper, gone to the bathroom, put his pajama pants back on and come looking for me. This was extraordinary! At this point I realized he was in it for the long haul.
My favorite approach, and one that has worked well in the past is bribery. Son #4 gets an M&M for each time he goes pee-pee in the potty and a Hot Wheel for each poo-poo. The first day he earned only one M&M. The second day he earned numerous M&M’s and a Hot Wheel. The last couple of days have been met with various amounts of success. He seems to have the pee-pee thing down but struggles with poo-poo. If my experience with his brothers are any indication, this isn’t unexpected.
Also of importance was that he went directly into underwear, not Pull-Ups. I’ve only put him in a Pull-Up when we were going to be out of the house for a while. As it turns out, this precaution was totally unnecessary… he went pee-pee in the potty at Target and Michael’s. I was thrilled and rather surprised that he wasn’t intimidated by the big potty.
Lastly, I sing a song for him each time he uses the potty successfully. It goes something like this…
“Hooray! Hooray! It’s a beautiful day! (Son #4) went pee-pee (or poo-poo) in the potty!” Repeat.
It sounds cheesy but he LOVES it. He smiles from ear to ear, claps his hands and jumps for joy. He positively oozes pride.
Of course, potty training is not always a straight road from start to finish. I’m wise enough to know by now that there may be setbacks. In the mean time, I’ll continue to encourage (bribe?) my son towards this important landmark.