Living Life Fifteen Minutes at a Time

It's time. It's actually past time. But it's a day I've been dreading and procrastinating for the last year (after my first horrific failure at it). It's...potty training time.

If you cast your brain back with me four years, you might recall that I used the 3-Day Potty Training method with the eldest boy. He was 25 months old and he needed to be out of diapers for a cruise the family wanted to take and...though it was 3 days of literal hell, when all was said and done, he was potty trained.

So, when the youngest hit right around 25 months, I dug out my pdf, re-read it, geared myself up, spent 3 days in hell...and then 4...and then 5...and then realized that at some point I needed to be able to a) leave the house and b) say things other than "tell mommy when you need to go potty." So we bought a new box of diapers and decided to wait a bit longer.

We tried again about four months later. Same result.

We played around with pull-ups to no positive effect.

At the end of the day (well, really, last week at swimming lessons), I had an epiphany: this child is more stubborn than his brother.

See, at swimming, now that I don't have to be in the pool with him (and the angels burst forth into song), he wasn't doing any of the things that he knew how to do because the coaches are sweet girls who say things like, "Don't you want to blow bubbles with me?" He's three. If you ask an open ended question, he will say "No." He will also stoutly refuse to do whatever it is. I have asked him if he wants ice cream and he says "No" and honestly means it. Because, hello? The power of no is irrefutable. So, last week at swimming after watching them act as though he didn't know how to go underwater I finally said, "Just make him do it. He knows how. He loves it. You simply can't give him a choice." And hey, what do you know? He graduated two levels last week.

As Gru would say, "Light-bulb."

And so, I filed my gentle, give-your-child-ownership-of-the-process potty training method away, stuck the kid in underwear and set a timer for 15 minutes. Every 15 minutes, we went to the potty. If he did something, great, if not, great. Set the timer. Lather, rinse repeat. We had ZERO accidents of the "crap, now I have to scrub the carpet" variety (which is what we had tons of with the 3-day miserableness.) We had two wet pants that stopped before much wetting happened and he said, "Mommy, I go potty!" and we ran and he finished. And...I think we might make it. Tomorrow we'll do the same thing (I might live on the edge and move it to 20 minutes - we'll see.) But I begin to think there is a light at the end of the tunnel and he won't, in fact, be going to college in diapers.

So there you have it - my newsflash of the day: Every kid needs different things. (Yeah, I know. I said "duh" too.)

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