Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Potty Wars

Well, at the risk of putting a jinx on the whole affair, it finally looks as if LR is well on his way to being potty-trained. At the ripe old age of four (almost) we are finally getting him to the bathroom on a fairly regular basis. While I really am well-aware that his age hardly qualifies him for the Guinness Book of World Records, neither can I boast about his potty-going skills.

As with virtually anything that one tries to get a four-year-old to do, toilet training is all about control. In this case, he has it and he knows it. No matter what I do or say, no matter how much I cajole or threaten, no matter how many Chocolate Chery Cordial Hershey's Kisses I bribe with or how many hours of television he doesn't get to watch there is no possible way for me to force him to go potty. And yes, those Hershey's Kisses formed an integral part of our not-so-well thought out bribery plan a while back; the only thing they accomplished that I'm aware of is that he got extra desserts whenever he wanted them for about a month.

We tried absolutely everything we could think of. We asked everyone we knew for suggestions and, by the end, we had pretty much tried all of them no matter how bad an idea we had originally thought them to be. (As witnessed by The Great Cherry Cordial Debacle of 2009). The end result was a four-year-old boy who knew precisely how to go potty but who categorically refused to do so no matter what.

We had known all along, at least in theory, that the trick was making him want to use the bathroom. This was, however, far easier said than done. (Please don't make me mention the Kisses again). Someone finally suggested that the way to go (pun intended) was to simply make him as uncomfortable as we possibly could whenever he didn't go to the potty. In hindsight, this seems incredibly obvious but therein also lies the genius.

Instead of all the other nonsense we had been going through we finally told him he had two choices: He could either put on his brand-new "big boy underwear" and begin going to the potty every hour on the hour in an attempt to stay dry (he simply had to try) or he could sit in the kitchen in his birthday suit until the next time he went. He was not sent to the kitchen by himself, nor was he there on a "time out;" he was still allowed to play. He was simply not going to be permitted to pee on the carpet, but neither was he going to be allowed to pee in a diaper or a pull-up and thus avoid the necessity of using the bathroom.

Within twenty-four hours he was using the potty on a semi-regular basis and had gone poopy in the potty for the first time ever. Now, six days later, he has only wet himself once or twice in the last two days and he has gone poopy in the potty four times in the last five days. Not bad for a child who had never done this before, not even once. While every hour still brings its own battle, it's definitely getting better. It's still very much a matter of control, but it's largely devolved into a matter of when, not if. Using his own very special grasp of the intricacies of the English language, of course.

"Okay, it's four o'clock! Time to go potty!"
"Not quite....!!"

1 comment:

  1. I boy was ALOT harder to train then my daughter was. But I'm sure part of that was because i FORCED him to train when he wasn't ready... try, ummmm 2 years old... maybe a few months earlier than 2?

    i know, I'm horrible... but he was my first!

    you added me on your Blog Catalog thing and I'm ashamed to admit I haven't used that in AGES... but I loved reading your posts... Dads are GREAT stay at home parents!


    (Sorry, I'm in my other account--the one above is my main one!)