We’ve been learning about the potty for the last few months here at the House of Fizz. I was really thrilled when Smooch initiated the process – we had already purchased underwear and a Bjorn Little Potty and potty seats for the real toilets, and were just waiting for him to show more than a passing interest.
One evening, during our before-bed routine (wherein we lie together on Mommy & Daddy’s “big bed” to sing songs, retell what happened in our day, say a prayer, and then usher Smooch off to bed in his own room) he suddenly reached down, clutched his crotch, and said, “I pee-pee!” with a look of urgency on his face. Gruff was doubtful he knew what he was talking about & thought it was a new stall tactic, but I took him off to the bathroom anyway. And what do you know? As soon as he was seated comfortably, he did exactly what he said he had to do!
The next morning, he asked to put on his “unna-way-uh” and it was just steady progress from then on, for a few weeks. He seemed to increase the amount of time he’d spend dry in his underwear each day, still accepting diapers for naps and bedtimes and excursions. Then one day he protested as we were on our way out the door. “Unna-way-uh to liberry! I do it!” I didn’t let him – the mental image of a puddle amongst the stacks just mortified me, so I wrestled him into his diaper and off we went. Upon returning home, do you know what I discovered? A completely dry diaper. I felt horrible – he could have worn his underwear. He was fine. So I emailed a few moms who’ve been down this potty learning road with a bit of panic in my tone – what on earth should I do?
Basically, I was advised to just chuck the diapers – other than sleeping, and even then, maybe try to be sneaky (let him fall asleep in underwear and rush in and change him into a diaper after he’s zonked out) – get a few pairs of waterproof trainers, especially if I could get my hands on ImseVimses, for outings – and buy a portable potty to keep in the car and diaper bag for “emergencies” when we couldn’t find a public toilet to use. Then, just go for it. Be prepared for messes and successes and just see what he does.
So I girded up my loins. I bought the necessary equipment, plus another dozen pair of teeny-tiny boxer briefs. And then… I don’t know what happened. Maybe I seemed too eager? Maybe it became less about his interest and more about mine? Whatever it was – a cosmic shift in the universe or something – my no-accident boy turned into what feels like a willful pee-er. He stopped telling me he needed to use the potty – so I started offering and reminding. Each of my comments was met with a forceful “No! No potty!” If I insisted he sit and try, say right before leaving the house, he’d hop off in two seconds waving his hands in the air. “All done! No pee-pee!” Then, literally moments after leaving the toilet? A puddle would appear.
My frustration level is, shall we say, rising. I’m sure it doesn’t help that I’m hormonal. I know for certain that it doesn’t help that yesterday, I raised my voice and got a little bit scolding at the last accident. (It didn’t help that Daddy has had social things after work the last two days in a row and hasn’t been home to pitch in during Smooch’s waking hours since Tuesday – Mommy is fried at this point.)
We headed out to the mall yesterday and stopped in at Bear Central, where, on a whim, I decided to try a motivational technique. We chose a new T-shirt for Smooch’s previously naked pal Bobo the Panda. Then we picked out a pair of underwear for our furry friend! Back at home, Bobo got dressed in his new duds and Smooch proclaimed him a “big boy!” A few times yesterday, I remarked that both Smooch and Bobo had dry underwear – how wonderful. We were accident free for the evening, which was a real blessing for my sanity.
Laying in bed just before bedtime, Smooch cuddled his panda and recalled what we did all day. “An’… Bobo new unna-way-uh and g’een shut too!” I couldn’t help myself, and piped up,
“Yep, and his underwear is still dry! Bobo is getting so big!”
“Psssssssssssssshhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!” Smooch sound-effect-ed. “Bobo go pee-pee!”
So much for motivation.