Thursday, July 12, 2012

Lazy Moms do it slowly

"No one ever goes to college in diapers." they said.

Although I know a few guys who probably should have.

"He'll be ready when he's ready." they said. So I waited. 

And I waited.

I didn't push him. I didn't push it

But a few weeks ago it had come to the point where if he didn't learn how to (as his Prince of the Potty book says it) "make pee" and "make poop" in the potty, I was going to have to graduate up to bigger diapers. Like Depends. 

We have been gradually introducing potty training for a while now. And by a while, I mean a good year and a half. At 18 months old, he was given a potty, which he showed interest in for about two minutes every few weeks, and then promptly forgot about it. (Pretty much the same with every other toy or present he has ever received, too.)

We read potty books and talked about potty's and had a whole stash of potty candy.

At a little over 2, he learned the forgotten art of peeing outside, and, again, was very interested in that for about two minutes.

While we continuously asked if he needed to go potty, and once in a while, made him at least try to go potty, we approached potty training much the same way we approach most parenting decisions. Lazily.

So I was surprised a few weeks ago, when I ran out of diapers and pulled out of my future stockpile of Pull-Ups, that he stayed dry when wearing them. Of course, he would pee in them finally, but it would be all at once and then he would tell us.

We took Pull Ups to his daycare, and a few days later, she returned to us his leftover diapers. "He doesn't need these anymore. Just throw them all away." she said to us. Of course, my coupon and budget-loving self wouldn't allow me to throw them away, and for a few days we let Bjorn decide what he wanted to wear - pull ups or diapers.

And then we bought underwear.

He wanted nothing to do with at first, even though they were covered with Lightning McQueen and Wall-E and The Incredibles. He wanted his diaper or his pull up. And we complied. No pushing, no yelling.

Again, the lazy way to potty train.

But it works for us. I like lazy.

Apparently it works for Bjorn too. Three weeks ago, after he peed in the potty (Which he does standing up like a big boy. He has never liked sitting down.), he shook his Pull up off his foot, put it in the trash can, turned to me and said, "Mommy, I want underwear. I a big boy. I a Prince of the Potty!"

And he was. We put underwear on him and haven't looked back since. Even during naptimes and throughout the entire night, he wears underwear and - so far - absolutely no accidents while sleeping. (Which is good, because he sleeps with us most nights and I really don't want to wake up in his pee.)

I have to admit there have been some setbacks. Like that I'm a lazy parent (did I mention that already?), so when we went to the movies, against all his protestations I put him in a Pull Up so I wouldn't have to deal with a pee covered theater seat. (It turned out he stayed completely dry anyways, so I needn't even have worried.)

Or that time at the very beginning of underwear-wearing, when I hadn't realized just how often I needed to remind him to go potty, and he peed all over the store where we were getting our oil changed.

He still hasn't figured out how to tell when he has to "make poop" as opposed to pee, so we have had a few accidents in that way, but we are confident he will figure it out soon. I think after a few times pooping their pants, most kids realize it feels a whole lot better a different way.

Throughout the course of these 18 months (!!!) of lazy Mom potty training, I did pick up a few tools of the trade just by accident. What is interesting to me is none of these tricks were written about in any book, posted on any blog or talked about by any of my mom friends. Which either means that everyone already knows these very simple things, my kid is totally different than any one else's or I am now a leading expert on lazily - but eventually - potty training your kid. You decide.

Tips for Eventually Potty Training Your Boy

  • Let him decide whether to sit or stand when going potty. Although Bjorn has seen me sit on the potty, since he follows me to the bathroom, expecting me to play cars with him and sing and talk and play even while, uh, doing my bizness, he doesn't want to sit on the potty. He wants to stand. And he has remarkably good aim (even without any tools or Cheerios), so we let him. This is very, very nice when we go in public and I don't want him sitting on a somewhat-dirty toilet seat, but kinda nasty when he wraps his hands around that somewhat-dirty toilet seat to lift it out of the way. **Shudder** I guess that's why God invented soap and Purell.
  • No snaps, no buttons, no buckles on his pants for a good long while. Like years.  Bjorn gets confused with snaps and buckles on his pants still, so in order to give him confidence that he can go potty by himself, he dresses in pull on pants only. Mostly, this means basketball shorts and athletic shorts, but I was surprised at how many nice looking toddler pants are also pull ons. Khakis, jeans, etc. - they do come in pull up type only. Probably for this same reason; no snaps to fumble with when you really, really have to go.
  • If at all possible, put him in flip flops or Crocs. Because when he has an accident - which he will, it is just part of the deal - the pee will run down his legs, and if he is wearing socks and Nikes (like Bjorn was the first time this happened), it will drench his socks and pool up in his shoes. NASTY.  I know this may not be possible for potty training in Wisconsin in the middle of December, but if you live in Phoenix, you can put your kid in flip flops year round. They are easy to get off quickly and super easy to clean in any bathroom sink. 
  • Buy his big boy underwear a size too big.  We accidentally stumbled upon this one. I sent The Hubs to Costco for Bjorn's underwear, with instructions to buy size 3T because his 2T were too tight. The Hubs came back with 4T. (Was that anywhere in my instructions?!) Now, Bjorn is 3 years old, but still wears 2T and 24 month shorts, so he is small and short. There was no way 4T underwear was going to fit. Except. . . because they are a little loosey-goosey, he is able to get his little toddler thumbs underneath the elastic (which is still tight enough to keep them up but not too tight for him to pull away from his body) and pull them down with no problems. So, it's actually a win. Not to mention that underwear gets washed ALL the time in hot water, and it's 100% cotton and so it shrinks. Quickly.
  • Let him choose where he goes potty.  Although Bjorn has his own kid bathroom, with his own cute potty seat on the big potty, he thinks it is so cool to go potty in Mommy & Daddy's bathroom. Whatever. As long as he goes potty, I don't really care where he does it.
If you're potty-training your kid - good luck!! 

I'm so glad I didn't do any of the Potty Training boot camps I had heard about, and so glad I never pushed it. Mostly because I don't want to deal with all the drama and fighting and crying that comes along with having to stay at home and push potty training for three days. And that would just be from me - I don't even want to start with how Bjorn would be!! We are not stay at home people.

All in all, it has been a remarkably easy, no-fuss transition for us, and for that I am grateful. Good luck to you!


Don and Jillian said...

I'm so happy you posted this! Madison will be 2 1/2 when Baby Brother is born, and from everyone we've talked to with more than one kid, the first one reverts back to diapers when the second one is born. So we just haven't pushed it. We're also lazy. :) She likes to sit on the potty because she can read certain books only on the potty, but she hasn't figured out how to make pee or make poop. I keep telling Don to be patient about it. We may push a little harder when she's closer to 3. I've heard they potty train easier at 3 than at 2 anyway. It's good to hear that it can be done with out the "Potty train in a day" or in 3 days boot camps. I really didn't want to do that much laundry...

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jessy said...

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