My cousin suggested that, this week, I write about something brilliant I've done, since the past couple of weeks I have indulged in self-deprecation for the sake of humor, so here it is:
Jack is now 2 years and 1 month old, and he is potty trained. He has been potty trained since he was 20 months old, which is pretty damned amazing, especially for a boy. When other moms find out (I try not to bring it up or brag spontaneously) they always ask in awe, "How did you do it?" I shrug and say, "He was just ready. I was so surprised."
I WAS surprised. I worked in child care for seven years and was the lead teacher in a classroom full of spirited two-and-a-half year olds for most of that time. I know a LOT about potty training, and the first rule is, don't force it. You cannot toilet train a child who isn't ready, so when Jack showed interest is sitting on the toilet around 15-months I didn't think much of it. He saw Jason and I do it, and he wanted to imitate us, just like with anything else. I'd put him on the big potty whenever he wanted, and ever so often he'd even pee in it a little. I'd make a big deal out of it, even though I was pretty sure it was just coincidence.
Then, when Jack was about 18-months old, I ordered him a little potty just to get my diapers.com order over 49 dollars and qualify for free shipping. When the potty came, Jack and I opened the box. I took it into the bathroom and told him, "It's a little potty, just for you." I took his diaper off, and he sat down for about 2 seconds and lost interest. About 20 minutes later, I was starting dinner, and Jack came and pulled on my hand. He was pulling at his diaper urgently. When I took it off, he ran to the potty, sat down and peed. I was truly awestruck (yes, by urine.) I hugged him and almost cried. My little boy was growing up.
After that, Jack spent increasing amounts of time naked or at least bottomless while at home. We toted that potty all over the house to whichever room we were in. At first, we had some pee on the floor here and there. I'd tell him. "Pee pee goes in the potty, not on the floor." If I caught him in the act of peeing on the floor, I ran him to the potty, like a house training puppy. Before long, if he were naked, he peed in the potty every time. I'd tell people he was "naked trained" because if he had any sort of pants on, he peed in those.
Around 19 1/2 months, I decided he was ready for undies. Before trying them, we read books about potty training and "big kid undies." I pointed out how Momma and Daddy pull their pants and undies down to potty, so they stay dry. Then, one afternoon I showed him his very own big kid undies - padded cotton training pants with cars and trucks on them. Jack was so excited to put them on and show Jason. Then, he went right to the potty, asked for my help pulling them down and peed. We were all ridiculously giddy.
For the next four days, we pretty much stayed home, practicing using the potty with undies, and yes, there were some accidents. After that, we slowly began to venture out of the house with the undies. Everywhere we went, we visited the bathroom first, even if Jack didn't have to go. I wanted him to get the idea that there were bathrooms everywhere and not to be scared of things like the hand dryers or loud-flushing commercial toilets. At first, we just went places like the grocery store, where he was in the cart the whole time (with a piddle pad under him) or the park, until we were both more confident about pottying in public.
There was some back-sliding around the holidays last year. I think it was partially the excitement of the season and partially the fact that using the potty was no longer a fun, novel experience, and he didn't always want to stop playing to do it. We persevered, though. I was determined that we would NOT go back to diapers, since I knew Jack was very capable of using the potty.
Now I am very glad we took the time to train when Jack showed signs of readiness, even though he was so young. It's saved us a small fortune in diapers, and it's way easier. Lest you think my child is a boy genius, I did joke at the time that he would be the first child to potty train before he talked. Jack didn't start calling me "Momma" (or addressing me as anything for that matter) until 21 months. It's true that Jack was just ready to potty train, and none of my strategies would have worked if he hadn't been. When I really think about it, though, I am going to take some of the credit. He certainly wouldn't have done it so early if I hadn't followed his cues and been committed. So, yeah, I did toilet train my son at 20 months. That's why my brain has no room for the location of certain aforementioned tampons.