Potty training and parental worries.
We began potty training my son this weekend thanks to guidelines from a book that claimed you can do so in three days. There are several techniques and variations on this theme (sometimes it’s called “48 hours of hell”) but we chose our book and stuck to our plan. We feared the worst, hoped for the best, and got something surprisingly in between.
It started rough, like we knew it would. The little guy’s only known how to relieve himself in diapers for the past three years. So when he first wet himself in his underwear he was very confused. When we put him on the toilet and tried to convince him it was okay to go, he was scared and resistant. Over the course of many hours on the first day and countless accidents, we began to lose hope and became hugely discouraged. Then, in the aftermath of an accident and sitting him on the toilet, he did it. It was one little splash of pee but I celebrated like he won the Lottery. That first victory was what we needed to rekindle our dedication to this plan, and we stuck to it. By the end of day one he was more confident, though not excited to use the potty.
Day two saw huge improvement. Countless accidents went down to only a handful. We began to recognize his bodily signals for having to use the bathroom. We hid our frustrations when they arose and made everything, and I mean everything a celebration. We clapped, cheered, and high-fived every time he used the toilet. We were getting a routine down.
Day three was yesterday. My wife went back to work so I was on potty patrol by myself. We had zero accidents. My declarations of “potty time!” became something he got somewhat excited about. He began counting how many times in a row he successfully used the toilet. I felt pretty grand that we had come so far in breaking him away from diapers after only three days.
But before I get too ahead of myself in praising my son, we still have some problem areas. The biggest difficulty is that he won’t tell us when he has to go. I have to look for his physical tells and declare “it’s potty time.” Asking him if he has to go always results in denial or ignoring the question altogether. The other big problem is that there’s no physical giveaway for needing to poop. There are no signals or tells with him. Our biggest accident on the second day came when he was suddenly going in his underwear, and by the time I got him to the bathroom the deed was done. Gross, but we could have worse problems.
What has me worried today is that the little guy not only goes back to preschool, but he starts a special set of classes to help him with his social communication. After a big weekend of transition he’s being thrown into another big set of changes, and I fear our mostly-success with his potty training isn’t going to be good enough. I fear the need to watch for his signals and his unwillingness to communicate his needs are going to be disruptive to his classmates and/or frustrate his teachers. We’re packing training pull-up diapers just in case things go really, really badly today. I hope things don’t go badly today. I worry. Parenthood, man.
We started on rough ground but made great progress. I only hope we did enough for our little guy.