Archive for May, 2008

Sean’s always–even as a baby–been the type of kid who wouldn’t meet any kind of developmental milestone until he knew he could do it quite well. We have ridiculous amounts of video footage of him almost rolling over–he’d roll up onto one side, and then go back to lying on his back. Over and over and over again. So the first time he actually finally did roll, he rolled and rolled and rolled clear across the room. The same type of thing happened with eating and walking and talking. And we can’t even think about persuading or coercing him into partially achieving anything–he’ll do it on his own when he’s good and ready, and not a moment before. Can we say “independent perfectionist”? I wonder where he gets it from?

So, given all that, I knew potty training the child would be quite the experience. We started talking to him several months ago about all the ins and outs of what going on the potty “like a big boy” entailed, since we knew we’d need a big jump start before we actually started training, but anytime we’d bring it up he’d firmly say that he wanted to wear diapers. And I have to admit, I was somewhat afraid that I might have seriously delayed any hope of readiness by unintentionally terrifying the poor kid before we’d even had a chance to start. One night somewhere in the middle of all of this gearing-up-for-the-big-event talk, I was helping him get undressed for a bath, and in my tired, absent-minded, mommy-brain state, I went to put him in the tub, but out of my mouth came, “Okay, Sean, time to go in the potty.” Not “on the potty” (which at least would have been a reasonable statement) or “in the tub” (which is what I meant). No, I had to say “in the potty.” Oh, the terror that leapt into his eyes. And the kicking of the legs and the thrashing of the arms and the crying and wailing of “NO, MOMMY, NO! I DON’T WANNA GO IN THE POTTY! NO, MOMMY, NO!” I had him halfway into the bathtub before I realized exactly what I’d said and, therefore, what his problem was, at which point instead of apologizing like any decent parent would have done, I started laughing–uncontrollably laughing–at the idea that I had actually uttered those words, but especially at the idea that Sean knew in his heart of hearts that what I had said was exactly what I was doing. Cruel, I know, but you have to admit that it is mildly funny.

Anyhow, despite the potential setback from that little episode, we decided about three months ago to take the plunge (no pun intended)–bought all the necessary “equipment,” had a final little chat, and went with it. That lasted all of, oh, maybe a day. He quickly informed me that he was a big boy, but he wanted to go potty in his diapers.

We tried again about a month later with pretty much the same result. He knew he was a big boy and didn’t need “big boy underwear” to confirm that fact (I definitely can’t complain about his self-esteem). So, instead of trying to constantly realign a derailing potty train, we just parked it at the station for a while until the little conductor got all of his issues worked out. I kept talking to him about using the potty every now and then, with still no interest on his part, and hoping that one day soon he would come around.

And just last week he finally did. I had bought a new potty chair for him early last week (because the first one we got was ridiculously small–who do they think could go in a hole the size of an orange? C’mon.), and told him to tell me when he was ready to start using it (thinking the whole time that maybe it would still be big enough for him as a teenager). Three days later, as I was changing his diaper, he told me he wanted to wear his big boy underwear. I knew I must have heard him incorrectly, or he had forgotten what all went along with wearing that, so I quickly and thoroughly went through everything that he would have to do if he did, in fact, wear his underwear. And lo and behold, he was okay with it.

We’re now on day 6 and he’s doing quite well. Still having accidents every now and then, still will only pee in the toilet, but we’re getting there. And he’s finally on board. Now I just have to prepare myself for another derailment when the baby comes. But I think he at least knows by now that mommy will only put him on the potty and not in it.


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