Whew boy… This day would have gone a lot smoother if our son didn’t decide to wake up at 5:10am! After trying to get him back to sleep for 25 minutes, and rolling around in bed in denial while coos, squawks, and babbles to the cat could be heard over the monitor, we decided to get Day 1 started. Once I was up, it seriously felt like Christmas morning, with all the anxious anticipation of something big and exciting. Not to our son though, it was just a normal “happy to pee and poop in diapers forever” day.
The first thing we did was tell him what we were doing – “We are going to take your diaper off and from now on, we are going to go pee and poop in the potty.” We made it clear that our plan of action was not to use diapers anymore. Before this point, during the times I did some diaper-free time with him he both peed and pooped on the floor. There is just something about that fresh air hitting the genitals that makes all the bodily functions let loose and have a party. Needless to say, our kid has not had a lot of diaper-free time, and because of this, his instant reaction to having the diaper off and being walked out of his bedroom for the day was tears. A meltdown. This would be the first meltdown of the day. The first, of many.
Glowacki suggests in her book that the best time to have your little on the potty is to catch them while they are peeing/pooping and bring them over to it and put them on. That way, they begin to associate the sensation of going with sitting on the potty. Catching them is made easier by the concept that they have a ‘tell’, a physical signal that tells you they are about to start watering the floor. So this became our plan of attack, we would watch him like a hawk, watch for the signal, pick him up and place him on the potty mid-stream and hope there would be something left to put into the container itself. Sounds pretty simple, right?
Well, on Day 1, our kid did not have a tell. There was no signal that he was about to start peeing. Wearing a diaper got him so comfortable with letting it fly at any given moment that he wouldn’t have to make a signal or even worry about holding it for any length of time. I’m also going to tell you that neither my husband or I ever in our lives have stared at a penis with such care for so long. We are invested in our boy’s success, and therefore, his penis.
The book “Oh Crap Potty Training” doesn’t actually tell you how to successfully keep a screaming and thrashing child on the potty long enough to see if they will continue to pee. Some of the recommendations include reading, hugging them, singing, dancing, and placing books under their feet so their knees are closer to their chest in order to reenact a squat position. We tried all of these, several times, and we could just not keep our child physically on the potty to pee while he was having a tantrum. This big old potty is scary, man. It’s scary to a toddler, it’s new, and for a brief moment on this first day we were convinced he was fearful. But a very helpful chapter in the book talks about resistance. There is a difference between fear and resistance, and a child is very very rarely actually fearful of the potty. Children are more often resistant to the idea of change – the diaper is safe, the potty is not – and it takes time for their brain to accept the fact that this is the way things are going to be from now on. And trust me, we were not about to throw in the towel on Day 1. Having this knowledge in our back pocket helped immensely! We were able to shake off the temper tantrums and revel in the success of our child actually peeing in the potty a few times on the first day. Yay! Not to mention, a very successful poop in the potty! Double yay! (Although, in my honest opinion, I got suuuuper lucky with the placement as it literally shot out of my son’s bum like a rocket. Yeah, I told you we were going to be talking about poop.)
Overall, and considering the fact that he woke up this morning thinking he would have the safety and security of diapers for the rest of his life, we had great success. Meltdowns are normal, and to be expected. We were all exhausted by the end of the day and went to bed early in preparation for Day Two…