Friday, April 25, 2014

Guest Post: Lessons in Potty Training

Kanika is originally from Los Angeles. but later moved to Detroit, Michigan where she and her husband of nearly six years started life together.  Today the couple lives in New Hampshire with their two year old son.  Kanika is a part time instructor and a Mentor-in-Residence at Colby-Sawyer College.


My husband and I have a two-year old son, and anyone who spends time with a toddler knows they are fun, loving and unpredictable. One moment they may seem completely fixated on their favorite television show or toy and within seconds, they are on the move to something else. They also are very observing and aware of their surroundings. Our son follows us around taking notice of everything we do, including using the bathroom. And now that he is much more talkative with an evolving vocabulary, he announces when “Daddy pee pee” or “Mommy pee pee!” Sometimes he’ll even let us know when he has a soiled diaper.  Of course, we took this is a signal for potty training readiness! After all, he’s two, can hold a conversation pretty well for his age and is obsessed with wearing super hero underwear or “Big boy draws,” as I call them.

I will say, I absolutely love being a mother. My husband and I work great as a parenting team. I have even learned how to overcome my intolerance of body waste, vomit, snot and regurgitated food – a great feat, I must say! However, even before my son could sit up on his own, the thought of potty training has intimidated me! I mean, how in the world are you supposed to be able to show someone how to use the bathroom? And, I know we are not the first or last parents to potty train a child, but that does not remove the fear. The prospect of looking into the backseat of the car or walking through the mall and noticing soiled clothes from an “accident” terrify me! I know. I know. This should not be a big deal, just keep a change of clothes or two and I’ll be fine, right? That should be my attitude, but there is this great temptation to just let him wear diapers until he just can’t anymore! But, we would never do that so I will get over myself and we’ll get it done, one day!

My husband and I both work and teach at a college, so during our recent spring break, we decided, what a great time to start potty training. After all, our son would be home all day with us and we were not scheduled to be anywhere. Using the advice of my cousin, who has a son close in age to ours, we started at 6 am on a Monday morning. She said having him wear underwear helps because he probably won’t like the wet fabric on his skin. Our son woke up bright and early, so I immediately put him on his high-tech potty that makes cool flush noises when moisture touches the sensor inside the “toilet” bowl. He sat there for a moment looking up at me grinning. I think the grin was more so because he had his hand on his genitals in order to push them down into the potty like we taught him. A minute later, I removed him from the dry potty, put his “Big boy draws” on him and set a timer for 15 minutes. Five minutes later, I notice his underwear are soaked and so is a large puddle in the living room floor. I cleaned up the puddle and him then changed his underwear. My husband and I continued this pattern for hours. By noon, I was over it! I changed urine soaked underwear five times, wiped pee off of the couch, living room and bathroom floors and our son’s Spiderman chair. He did not use the bathroom in his potty once during our six-hour trial run! We decided to put his diaper back on and quit for the day! He could care less about wearing wet clothing and was purely content soaking up our couch with pee while watching Bubble Guppies!

This potty training effort was three weeks ago. We have not tried again since. And we’re not throwing in the towel, but realize our son is intelligent and very decisive. If he wants a snack, he’s very specific about what he wants to eat and what color the bowl should be. He’s very specific about the color sippy cup he wants and what is in it – “water juice,” as he calls it or just water. He lets us know what shirts he wants to wear to school and is picky about his shoes So, he’ll let us know when he’s ready to use the potty. Every now and then, he’ll ask to use it and we oblige him. He’ll pull down his diaper just like underwear, sit on his potty and sometimes, he’ll actually go, sending off those cool flush sounds that make him smile and giggle! These events are met with great applause, singing “Pee Pee in the Potty” songs and treats!

Attempting to potty train my son has taught me a great lesson. You cannot control everything, especially people. My fear of potty training caused me to want it to be a quick and seamless process I could be done with, but my son was not having that. He is showing me I don’t have to be afraid of anything, it will happen in due time and everything does not have to be rushed. I get it. Delayed does not mean denied. Eventually, we’ll have a potty trained son. And even if I have to change his clothes while we’re out, it’s not that big of a deal. I just have to be prepared with extra clothes and remember, I was once his age and I made it through. 


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