Training Day

I first introduced the wonders of the potty to Ian when he was just about 18 months.  I’d read that having it in his sight was a great way to introduce it to him, without the pressure of being formally acquainted right off the bat.    He thought the contraption was awesome, and mainly used it to sit on or reach things from the bathroom sink.  I never pushed the idea, I’m not the potty pimp type.

A few months before he turned two, he suddenly wanted to take charge of potty/step stool.  I was happy too.  He wanted to pee in it all the time, but nothing consistent, or daily, for that matter.  If I’m really honest, I felt a pressure to have him potty trained by other mothers in my little neighbourhood back in Utah.  I was good friends with about 5 or 6 women and they all had children around Ian’s age.  Despite the unsaid words, and perhaps my imagination, I never pushed him to do it.  I never once sat him on the potty, and only stayed with him when he ventured in there by himself.  I followed any and every guideline a book (or website) could offer.

Over a year into it, I printed off a Potty Chart and stuck it on the fridge.  Seems sick now.  Anyway, looking at his progress, I could still see it was really sporadic at best.  I was beginning to take it personal, another 6 months down the line and Pull-Ups were costing us a sweet $25 a case per month at Costco.  I was mentally spending that money in the Home Deco stores elsewhere.

One day in early July of this year as we reached over and hefted the box of Pull-Ups into the trolley (cart), we mentioned (perhaps a little blaze and only demi-threatening, “Ian, when this box is finished, there’s no more…”  I didn’t even believe me.  We were both highly unconvincing.  I think there’s something in the back of your head that tells you small threats where you have absolutely no control over the situation will be completely futile.  But I knew he could do it, I just wondered if giving him a time frame was really beneficial, and more importantly, if it would work.

It was the 24th August, and a mere eight days before we were due to leave on a 6-hour drive to Yellowstone National Park, and in Target, of all places, Ian decided to be potty trained.  He just went.  Unannounced.  Unassumingly.  No questions asked.  Of course, happy smiles and lots of cheering ensued for many weeks.  We’d do a happy dance when he’d go #2, it was pretty crazy.

Three weeks into it, he was still wearing Pull-Ups to bed.  I sat one night, watching t.v. but not, and internalised it.  Why was he wearing them to bed?  Well, he was waking up wet in the morning and I had visions of having to replace his mattress after a very short amount of time.  That wasn’t it though.  When I really thought about it, the only thing that was holding Ian back from going to bed “unassisted” was me.  I was slowing everything down, subconsciously, perhaps out of doubt, insecurity and possibly even fear.

The little guy did it.  All he needed was encouragement and people he loved who believed in him.  We showed him the night light in the bathroom and left the door open a little.

He has done great and still impresses us, except now he’s using half a roll to wipe his butt.


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