We recently decided that our three-year-old triplets needed to be potty trained.
Not that we weren't already half-heartedly trying; we were. We gave rewards and encouraged them, but otherwise we kind of left them up to their own devices. Because, you know, we apparently think our three-year-olds are autodidacts.
|They aren't laughing at you, they are laughing with you.|
We aren’t exactly tiger parents, in case you can’t tell. That goes double for big issues involving what could be lots of tantrums, toilets, urine and feces.They might not be potty trained to this day had we not been sending them to a preschool requiring pupils with proper porcelain skills.
But the school required students to have at least a modicum of potty training, so we set about at it.
My wife did all the leg work and research. She is great at stuff like that and frankly, if it weren’t for her, the kids would probably be waddling around in diapers half a size too small, sucking on binkies and playing with toys designed for 2 year olds.
I don’t know how, but she stumbled upon what has to be the most boring and simultaneously terrifying program I’ve ever heard of: a three-day boot camp where you essentially sit on your child for three days, rushing them to the potty whenever the urge strikes them so that they associate the urge to “go” with being on the potty.
If spending three days cleaning up bodily function mistakes from clothing and floors sounds like a chore; and spending 95% of your long weekend running toddlers to the potty sounds insanity inducing, I can confirm for you that it ain’t exactly fun. But its also insanely brilliant.
You wake up, throw out the diapers and that is it, the long slug through potty training boot camp begins.
7:00 a.m.: Wake in anticipation of Potty-Boot Camp
8:00 a.m.: Wake kids
8:05 a.m.: Have kids throw out diapers.
8:06 a.m.: Celebrate!
8:07 a.m.: Begin panicking just a bit at what you have done.
8:10 a.m.: Underwear for everyone! They love it!
8:11 a.m.: This is going great!
8:13 a.m.: You want them to sit where?
8:15 a.m.: R sits on the potty!
8:18 a.m.: L sits on the potty!
8:20 a.m.: S sits on the potty!
8:22 a.m.: Remind them that they have to tell you if they need to potty
8:23 a.m.: take S to potty
8:24 a.m.: take L to potty
8:26 a.m.: take R to potty
8:30 a.m.: You realize this is going to be a longer day than you thought.
So … yeah, that is the first hour. Wash, rinse, repeat for the next 35 hours. And I mean that literally. You wash a lot of furniture and floors; you rinse a lot of clothes; and you repeat the phrase “does anyone feel pee coming?” - a LOT.
At first I kept track of how long I was spending in the bathroom. I wish I could tell you how long it was. I can’t because I eventually surrendered and just took up permanent station in the bathroom. This after realizing I was wasting my time getting up off the floor and going into the playroom, only going to have to get back up off the playroom floor and return to the bathroom minutes later. So I just sat in the bathroom. Minute after minute.
Like I said, I lost track of time. It might have been 15 minutes; it might have been an hour.
All I know is that first day was what you might call a mixed bag. We experienced some success; probably more than we experienced failure, but it wasn’t exactly like we hit the ball out of the park, either. Also, I think a little bit of my soul might still be in the bathroom, waiting solemnly for some little creature to say “I feel it coming.”
The second day, though; ah, the glorious second day.
By the second day, the light somewhere turned on. Oh, I still spent most of the day in the bathroom, but we had less accidents. And then even less on the third. After three days we weren’t 100 percent there. We still had accidents now and then and we had to have a separate intervention for a pooping issue, but it was snow-ball-down-a-hill progress from there.