Potty-Training Diary: Day 1

Flickr: Photo by valentinapowers
The potty-training journey sometimes feels lonely -- the friends who crowded around to cuddle your newborn aren't volunteering to clean up accidents on the bathroom floor.

So The Stir is making it easier with a little help from a potty-training mom Jane (not her real name), who's working up 3-year-old son Sam (not his either) for the days when he'll be diaper-free.

We got a look at what she planned to do last month; now she offers us a look-see at how the first day went.


"My tentative plan is to start going without diapers in the afternoon. This is when we are typically at home, since we tend to have play dates, errands, and outings in the mornings.

"After nap time instead of changing Sam's diaper, I put undies on him. I was reminding him regularly not to pee. After about a half hour he said he needed to pee, so I brought him in the bathroom and sat him on his little potty.

"He sat there 10 minutes or so without going. Then I started negotiations. If he poops on the potty he gets a trip to Tractor Supply to pick out a new toy. If he pees on the potty he can watch unlimited Chuggington until dinner time (he gets bored after about 1½ episodes anyway, and I figure really, will it matter in two years if he overloaded on Chuggington while we try to work out this potty thing?).

"So the deal was made, and we moved the little potty into the living room where he sat waiting for me to start Chuggington and ... boo!! Bad timing!! Just as I was turning on the show, our power went out. But he wasn’t too disappointed, and we read several books for about 20 minutes until the power went back on.

"He went a little bit and was happy sitting there, so we kept him on it and he watched two shows. All the while his little sister is circling him trying to figure out what is going on and why can’t she sit on the potty too!?

"After the first time he peed on the potty, he got to call grandma and grandpa to get more praises and, lucky him, the promise of more surprise treats if he keeps going on the potty.  

"And no, I don’t consider it a bribe to offer a toy or special treats. Everything in life is a trade-off, so I think it is more of an incentive, not bribery.

"After a few shows, he was bored of sitting so I showered him with praises, showed him his pee, let him help me dump it and flush it, and put undies on him. We kept him diaper-free until it was time for pj’s. He peed two more times on the potty and wet his undies five times. Makes for a lot of laundry and thank goodness we have quite a supply of underwear for him.

"But as soon as he realized he was peeing in his undies he would hold it in, so it didn’t make a mess. He still seems to be figuring out what is going on with the difference between diapers, pull-ups, and underwear and is grasping the concept of not peeing in his undies."

We'll be checking back in with Jane and Sam, but she'd love some advice -- what are the best ways to keep up with all that extra laundry?

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