Potty Training: Getting Started Diary

Flickr: Photo by valentinapowers

Potty training is one of those rites of passage that many of us try to forget as quickly as possible once it's over.

Since it's been awhile since we were there (my daughter is 4 1/2), I asked a friend of mine to share her diary of the potty training trip for The Stir readers who are still wondering what those days will be like.

Proving her mettle as a mom, she'd asked me to change their names so her little boy, who just turned 3 in January, doesn't Google himself at 20 and find out about his pooping issues!


But that's good news for you -- because with a name change, she's willing to be totally open about all the poopy details.

Here's how Jane's family got ready for Sam's path to the potty:

"Back around his 2nd birthday we purchased a little potty seat for him. Though I had no hopes of it being used any time soon, it was good to have it in our second bathroom where he could see it regularly and investigate it. It gets the occasional weekly use from a potty trained girl buddy who comes for play dates.

Just before he turned 3, he sat on the potty a few times, and went twice. Then after that he wanted nothing to do with it. To be honest, I probably would have pushed this on him sooner, but with younger sister following our every move, it was not really ideal to have her tagging behind us in the tiled bathrooms when she was just getting steady on her feet. And, call me lazy, but I would rather change a diaper a few times a day than have to drag him in and out of the bathroom every half hour.

I know he has been ready to be potty trained for a while, since a few times a week I put undies on him an hour or so before bath time and tell him to hold it and not pee.  I would regularly remind him to hold it, that he didn’t have diapers on, and usually he would stay dry. But he is the type of kid who does things on his own schedule and trying to push something on him tends to make him more self driven. It needs to be his idea. He is a very self-driven kid. On top of that, he is extremely inquisitive and needs to investigate how everything works. This means he has to understand exactly how the little potty is emptied, where the real toilet drains to, how the flushing mechanism works, and even, how pee is made.

He just started pre-school in January and knows the other kids all use the potty there (all the others are potty trained, but basically I begged the teacher to let him start when he was still in diapers, promising her I never expected her to change a wet diaper--it is less than three hour class -- and promised he would rarely poop so she wouldn’t have to deal with it. Luckily in his three months there, he has only needed one change of diaper.) Recently he has begun saying things like “when I get big, I am going to go to the potty too.” That and being well past 3 years and spring time coming, I took this as a sign to get going on the whole process.

For a few months now, before bath or jammies we have been having Sam stand at the toilet, point his business in the direction of the bowl and take a deep breath and try to go. Every time, he goes through the process and has the same exact response: “it won’t come out.” But really, he is not even trying; he is just trying to get it over with. We praise him for the effort and move on to our bedtime routine.

We have been talking about peeing on the potty so much the last few weeks, that my little girl is regularly asking to go on the potty. The other day, I amused her and let her sit on the little potty. She sat there for so long that she did actually pee in it! I am not sure who was more surprised, me or her!

Last weekend we purchased a potty seat to go on our big toilet (like this) and yesterday we started the undies wearing after nap time. We had the little potty, the one to go on the real toilet, had been reading potty training books with him occasionally for months, cute little race car undies are waiting in his dresser, and he has seen older cousins and daddy pee. All that is left is to make this kid decide he wants to be potty trained!"

We'll be following Sam's training trials and tribulations here on The Stir, but meanwhile Jane would love some advice -- how did you help get your tot ready?

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