Saturday, November 13, 2010

Potty Training Suprise

Warning: This post is all about bodily fluids. Discontinue reading if poop is not your thing.

Ok, so have I mentioned here that I didn't think Jacob would be ready for potty training for a while? I pondered doing it during my week off at Christmas, but we probably won't be home for a good part of it so I'm not sure that would work anyway. I had figured that we'd work on transitioning to a big boy bed during that week, and maybe I'd use some of my extra vacation days next year to do some intense potty training in the late winter-early spring, if he seemed ready. But then came this week.

Until now, Jacob had only slight interest in potty training. He'd sit on the potty if prompted, and sometimes he'd even pee. He didn't have a problem pooping, and even asked to poop once in a while if we happened to show up when he felt the urge. So fortunately, fear of the potty hasn't been a problem. He's fine with both potty chairs and big potties, and I think going at daycare has been a big help, as well. Peer pressure is a wonderful thing at this stage, for so many reasons. The big issue was that he didn't seem particularly bothered by dirty diapers. Once in a while a poopy one would get to him, but wet didn't phase him at all.

I'll admit that I'm a bit lazy about the potty training thing. While I'm getting to the point of not wanting to buy diapers, I still don't mind changing them. I like the convenience of not needing to stop every 10 minutes to find a bathroom, and I don't have any desperate need to run out and buy big boy undies (and do the associated laundry). I don't want to spend every waking moment taking timed trips to the bathroom, nor do I relish the thought of taking four extra pairs of pants and underwear along on every outing, just in case (and with my luck, at least one of those extras should be for me). Long story short, I wasn't in a rush. It'll be nice when it's over, but I'm having trouble wrapping my brain around the transition.

Already I've run into questions. How do I wipe a kid who clenches his butt cheeks? And is it possible to teach him to effectively wipe himself at this point? How do I get him to sit so he's pointing down into the toilet and not spraying back on his pants or on me? Is it going to set him back if I tell him to pee in his diaper in the middle of the Thruway so we don't have to stop? Once he's wearing big boy undies, what do we do if we can't find a bathroom right away? I have no memory of potty training myself, and only vague memories of post-potty training accidents. I just don't remember how it's supposed to work. And with a stubborn, one-track-minded child, I have no idea how much I can trust him once we start hardcore training with real undies. I did hear a suggestion to put the real undies under pull-ups. Uncomfortable wet feeling for him, no mess for me...well, assuming he goes #1.

So that brings us to this week. Suddenly he started whining a bunch about his diaper, wanting to change it, saying he'd pooped, and asking a lot to go to the potty. Sometimes he'd go, sometimes he wouldn't, sometimes his diaper was full, sometimes it wasn't. The signs were confusing, at least, so I couldn't tell if this was just a phase or if it was a real start of something. Maybe his diaper was bothering him for some reason. Maybe he finally decided he didn't like poop.

Last night he kept asking for a change even though his diaper was dry. I let him sit on the potty once and nothing happened, but then as I was cooking dinner (and Craig wasn't home yet) he gave me the look and said he needed to go potty. Sure enough, he put out a good poop. We did an awkward wipe and hand-washing, and I went back to cooking. By bedtime he was asking again, and he did a nice pee with a tiny little poop (he called it a "jelly bean"--he compares his poops to food, which is super gross). Today he's been asking a lot again, including multiple times on our trip to Buffalo and then an impassioned plea in the middle of the mall. Our first stop post-Thruway became a bit of a mess as he ended up somehow peeing all over his pants while on the toilet. The mall trip led us on a long walk through Sears to find the closest bathroom. Things went a little better at Craig's parents' house late this afternoon. I'm not going to say his diapers are all dry when we take them off, but they're close. So all of a sudden, he's doing well. I have no idea where this came from.

And, as I alluded to earlier, I wasn't ready for this. I am grateful for the fact he seems to be doing this all himself, because I don't think I'd have had the guts to push him for a while. If we hit his third birthday and we hadn't gotten anywhere, then yes...push away. But now? Nah, I figured he'd get there when he felt like it, and apparently he has. For now. I have a feeling it might lose its luster and he'll backtrack a bit, but maybe we'll get lucky. Even still, we have some matters to attend to now that this is happening. I need to go get some pull-ups, just because I have to think they're easier than diapers for frequent pee breaks. I am still a bit hit-or-miss with putting diapers on when he's standing up. I should probably move up my shopping trip for the big boy undies I was going to give him for Christmas. I want to put together a potty chart so he can earn stickers and eventually a prize. We also need to get a better stool for our bathroom. We have a tiny one I got at IKEA when Jacob was tiny, thinking it would be helpful for sitting on when bathing him and hoping he'd use it by this stage for potty training and handwashing. And I think it will be good in another year or so, but right now it's too short. We need something a little higher so he can get up to the potty alone (even though he does have the option of his froggy potty) and so he can wash his hands without me awkwardly holding him up to the sink. Eventually he can use it to brush his teeth, too. So that's moved up the shopping priority list by leaps and bounds this week. Finally, it looks like the big boy bed might have to move up the list a bit. He can't get out of his crib to use the potty, so once we're ready to conquer that step, I'd like to already be comfortable-ish with him being in a big boy bed so we're only jumping one hurdle at a time. And I only want to work on a big boy bed when I don't have to go to work in the morning and Jacob doesn't have to go to daycare. That way a disastrous night or two won't completely do us in. I'm still nervous about how we contain him once he's free to get up--not just for our sanity, but for his safety--but that's a post for another day.

I'm still pretty shocked at how this came out of nowhere, but with his big boy haircut and his sudden potty usage, it's looking more and more like we've got ourselves a big boy. Now if only we could lose those infantile tantrums, we'd be getting somewhere...but one thing at a time, I guess.

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