It’s potty time!

Yes, I actually forgot I have a blog. Someone asked me about it some months ago, and I thought, “what?” And then I remembered, I do have a blog. Or did? Once it has been a year since last posting, do you have a blog anymore? I don’t know. 

For the moment, I will pretend I have a blog and come here to talk about the potty. Some people are very interested in our potty-training exploits. And some people are NOT AT ALL interested (nor should they be, honestly). I don’t want to subject all of facebook to my potty rants, so welcome blog! Opt in, opt out — it’s potty time!

With great fear I went to bed last night knowing that an all-out war on diapers would begin today. We are all-in for potty training.

We have decided to do the three day potty-training method. Basically, you go cold turkey on diapers and spend three days of intensive training in underpants, going to the potty (or on the floor). After breakfast, underpants are put on with much fanfare. The potty is hailed. Then it’s a matter of succeed or soil yourself trying. Much liquid is consumed, to provide more “learning” opportunities. With repeated failure and sprints to the restroom, the child is supposed to learn how this whole thing goes. Allegedly, by day three, he has it all under control. 

Every child is different and every parent is different, and I certainly don’t think this is the only or best way to potty train. So why are we using this method?

1) I kind of needed a “method.” This may seem unusual, as my husband and I are both solid P’s on the Meyers-Briggs scale, and we are very comfortable playing things by ear. But when starting something new that seems impossible, I want someone to give me a schedule and say, “Do this, and you will succeed.” For instance, when I set out to run my first marathon, I took great comfort in the little schedule my sister wrote for me (from Runner’s World). I followed it PRECISELY, and I trusted that after that many 20-milers and 10-milers and off-weeks, I would be able to run a marathon. And I was. (My husband, on the other hand, ran a few long runs and then went out and did his first marathon in speedy Boston-qualifying time. He makes my P look a lot more like a J.)  

I know my son will not be demanding diapers when he is in middle school. He will not wet himself of his first date (hopefully). But at the moment, the potty seems like an impossible task. So I like a “method” to try to tell me how.  

2) This particular method makes sense to me. ALL-IN. All risks, no rewards (as in prizes). Learn quickly, because otherwise you are a mess. Lots of positive reinforcement, lots of praise, no bribes. (not that I am opposed to bribes in parenting.)  I think it suits our personalities (mine and my son’s), because otherwise, knowing him, there would be CONSTANT negotiation over prizes and diapers and pull-ups… and I would totally lose my patience. The major downside of this method is that it requires three days indoors with close proximity to the toilet. And this is just not how we live life. E and I spend most of our waking hours together outside or on adventures, so this potty boot-camp is going to be a huge challenge. So why do it? …

3) Most importantly, I am trying this method because my older sister used it with great success with her first-born. And I spent a good 15 years of my life doing WHATEVER SHE TOLD ME, so why stop now? I may have heard a few potty-rants from her in my day, and I may not want those to be directed at me. So I at least have to try. This goes particularly for naptime and bedtime. To truly embrace the three-day method, you continue to use underpants at sleeping times. Now, sleeping time is precious and fraught with danger as it is. I am not inclined to mess with this. But I feel like I have to give it a try … or three days of tries, more precisely. Because what if it would work?  

I will note that the woman who wrote the three-day potty training companion suggests that if things aren’t going well, you can SLEEP ON THE FLOOR next to your child, and every time you hear them stir, gently say “If you need to go potty, just tell Mommy.” 

At 33 weeks pregnant and exhausted, that is not going to happen.

But I will put him to bed in underwear and wash his sheets and give it a try. And if it fails and fails and continues to fail,  I will take the slings and arrows of my sister’s scorn and diaper it up.  

Let’s begin.



1 Comment

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One response to “It’s potty time!

  1. Leanna Walters

    Hi, Ali. The system you describe is what I used with Nathan (now 30). He was around two, and it worked pretty well. He went cold turkey into full-time training pants. He sometimes wet the bed at night, so we started setting the alarm for 2 or 3 a.m. and waking him up. We called it “peeing Nathan.” The hardest thing was car trips; having to stop more often. Oh yes, we also incorporated a small bribe—cinnamon gummy bears—for a job well done. Good luck! Leanna Walters

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