Potty Party

I’m beginning to wonder if David will go to Kindergarten in Pull-Ups. (How big do those things come?) He’s turns three and a half tomorrow, so I resolved that this is the week we are going to conquer the toilet, once and for all.

Strategic planning for the bathroom blitzkrieg began yesterday. I took David shopping so that he could pick out some new “big boy” underwear. He chose SpongeBoob SpongeBob, of course. I hate barely tolerate SpongeBob, but Bob Le Sponge (That is what they call him in France. France! Even the French watch SpongeBob? How does that translate?) seems to posses motivating powers I do not. I told him if he wanted to wear the SB underwear, he had to go potty in the toilet and not in his pants. It’s working, so far. He kept them clean for seven hours before having a small accident. The most progress yet.

I asked David over and over this morning if he needed to go, and he kept saying he couldn’t. Suddenly, around 10 o’clock, he announced that, “My pee came back!” We ran to the bathroom, and he proceeded to do his thing. Then he proudly announced, “I peed standing up, like a big man!” and gave me a high five.

Just before nap time I coerced him to try again, and we had more success. After that I tried to put a Pull-Up on him so he wouldn’t wet the bed. Bad idea. He didn’t want to give up the SB underwear. I told him he could wear the SB underwear over his Pull-Up. He didn’t like that either. He ended up going to sleep with three layers; SB underwear, a Pull-Up and then another pair of SB underwear over the Pull Up. Oh, well. Whatever works.

I first started potty training with David when he turned two. He cried and screamed and refused to co-operate. More than one person told me that the best thing to do was back off, and try again in a month or two. Well, I’ve been doing that for a year and a half. Every other month of so I’d try again for a few days. And after a day or two, when both of us were completely frustrated, I’d give up — again.

I tried almost every method out there. I asked other moms for advice, I read books, looked up information on the Internet. I came across some methods that were completely insane. One included the practice of talking to your child with primal “caveman” like sounds in order to communicate with them on their level. (“My son is toilet trained, but Ugh is the only word he knows.” Um, no.) We resorted to bribery several times. Money, candy, toys, you name it. But nothing motivated him.

It’s not a matter of can. David goes hours between wet Pull-Ups. He knows when he has to go, and he knows how to go. It’s a matter of will. He’s stubborn. It’s not his idea, so he doesn’t want to do it. He’s not going to “tell me when he’s ready,” as many “experts” says he will. That would be like like surrendering to him.

The “experts” also say you shouldn’t force it, but I don’t think any of them had a kid with David’s relentless resolve. Tell him he can’t get down from the table until he finishes his broccoli, and he’ll sit there until bed time just to spite you. Oh sure, when he’s heading up a grass roots effort some day to effect important social change that tenacity will make him a great leader. But now, it just makes me a frustrated mom.

I’m tired. I’m tired of the looks I get from nursery workers, and other moms when they discover he’s three and a half and not potty trained. I’m tired of lifting a 40 pound kid onto the changing table. I’m tired of spending $20 bucks on a pack of disposable training pants. I’m not waiting anymore.

So this week I’m firing with both barrels. I’m using a little bit of force strong suggestion with an entire arsenal of motivation. We bought the SB underwear. And when he goes potty on the toilet he gets a sticker to put on a chart. When he gets seven stickers, he gets a dollar. There are also a pair of roller skates sitting on the top shelf in the bathroom that will be his the day he decides to poop in the toilet. (Something he so far has refused to do entirely.) That’s the plan.

There’s also unplanned “on-the-fly” motivation. This afternoon he was playing with some wooden blocks. He recently discovered all the wonderful ways glue can be used, and asked me to glue two of the blocks together. Normally I would say no to such a random request. Desperation causes you to do strange things. I said, “If you go use the potty, I’ll glue them together.” It worked. He used the potty, and now two of his blocks are permanently stuck together with Super Glue.

Of all the jobs I’ve had to do as mom so far, this potty training thing certainly is the most difficult. I never thought I’d be locked in a battle of wills with a three year old, and be the one on the loosing side. I will not surrender this time. Even if I have to dress up like SpongeBob and dance a jig in the front yard tomorrow to get him to poop in the toilet.

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3 Responses to “Potty Party”

  1. maleesha Says:

    Great job! My son finally accomplished this just a couple months shy of 3 1/2 so you aren’t abnormal at all. It’s hard when your son is on the big/tall side…mine is very tall and it was hard to take the looks while on the changing table…people must have figured I had a five year old on there. What worked for us…bribery with “video games” (I’m telling you the poop was almost immediate) and also letting him take charge. This was recommended by our pediatrician. We just stopped putting him in dipes…let him wear underwear, and when he got it wet HE had to go clean himself up and change him. It’s a hard job to be sure, and it sounds like you are getting close! Congrats!

  2. Monique Says:

    I’m with yah, I’ll probably give the potty training another go this week since it’s supposed to be cold and wet all week so we won’t be going outside much. My DD is almost 3.5 too and is still not potty trained either. She now knows how, and when and all that. So now it’s just a matter of getting her motivated to do it. The whole bribery chart isn’t working, the threat of no pre-k in the fall hasn’t worked, it’s tiring. So I’ll give it another go this week too, and hopefully at least one of us will be sucessful… lol. Good luck!

  3. Julie Says:

    Little Buddy is officially 2 1/2. He’s showing some interest – but the frustrating type where he has to “pee potty,” gets his diaper off and says all done! Ugh!

    I really want to hold off until I get back from the Domincan Republic. Who knows what would happen if he was half-trained before I go!

    Wishing you luck!

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