Thursday, January 08, 2009

Baby Steps

After a couple of unsuccessful starts in the last 6 months, I decided to buckle down and potty train Roanen over a 5 day period when Russ was home 4 of those days. Past attempts lasted less than 3 hours, in which a most resistant Roanen screamed whenever he was in sight of the potty and constantly peed on the floor, the furniture, and people.

We warned him days in advance that the new year meant no more diapers. These excited reminders alternately produced bored stares or proclamations of "Yes I AM wearing diapers", and bringing the potty out of the bathroom closet caused it to be immediately kicked back in.

The original plan was the "Potty Train Your Child in a Day" method, in which the child is given mass quantities of chips or other salty snacks for staying dry, and gallons of sugary pop to quench his thirst. I'm assuming this is to make the kid want to drink, but I forgot that Roanen, while definitely a chip lover, doesn't really like sugary stuff, particularly fizzy sugary stuff. He stayed dry the first morning, sitting on the potty for half a second before getting off announcing that it wasn't working, but shovelled in the chips like there was no tomorrow. Once he actually HAD to pee though, he would very cleverly inform us that he was dry and would like a chip, then would walk into the other room with it and pee his pants. If he was forced to sit on the potty he would scream like we were killing him, and only once did he actually pee, but it was uncontrolled and in the middle of a screaming fit so it was hard to muster up great enthusiasm at it.

The plan for day 2 was a little different. We weren't going to reward him for simply staying dry. We weren't going to make a big deal about it. However, we were going to have Josey pee on the potty and get marshmallows every time he peed. While this elicited a "No, I'M going to pee on the potty all day and get marshmallows!" out of Roanen, when we actually put the plan into effect he couldn't have cared less about what Josey was doing and wanted to sit on the potty even less. He had one more forced, screaming pee before I nearly had a nervous breakdown and stopped. I was really at my wit's end, but was afraid of going back to diapers after all the fuss. I resigned myself to pee puddles for the next 6 years or so and lamented the fact that there are no potty training experts to hire. I would have gladly paid someone else to do this for me.

Then, a breakthrough.

On the second night, just after tossing him in the shower for the 16th time to wash pee off his legs, Roanen asked to watch the Cars movie. (sidenote - this child is obsessed with the Cars movie and we watch it at least once every day. Thankfully I don't get sick of it either.) Russ told him that if he peed on the potty he could watch it. And. He. Did. Just sat down and peed a little. I left his pants off at this point, put on the movie, and told him that if he peed on the floor the movie went off. Amazingly enough, after a few minutes he said he had to pee again, sat down, and peed. Um, seriously? This happened once more I think, then he went to bed. The next morning I kept his pants off again and he asked to pee on the potty about every 3 minutes. Shockingly enough he stayed dry all day, except for one accident just after Russ came home. A weight was lifted, but unfortunately there was still one problem. Despite the fact that it was obvious that he occasionally would REALLY have to poo, he kept those little butt cheeks firmly clenched and hadn't pooped in 3 days. Absolute refusal. We pumped him full of prunes and mineral oil and were rewarded with an 11 PM wakeup call to change a fist-sized rock o' poo in the pullup. Sunday was another poop-less day, albeit with one frantic poopy dance in the evening that he probably wouldn't have given in to even if we kept a continuous loop of Cars movie on a mini-TV strapped to his body. Pee-free, though, which was like a dream come true.

On Monday it finally sort of happened. I say sort of, because it involved him telling me that he was pooping in his pants, and I whipped them off so the tiny turd that had escaped Colon-catraz could drop into the potty while he screamed and tried to get up. Again, hard to be enthusiastic, but we faked it bigtime and rewarded him with prunes, fruit gummies, a lunch at the Dixie Lee, a huge car transporter, and a chocolate "severed finger" I found in the freezer that was leftover from Halloween. We had promised way more, but he didn't seem to remember or care about the other things... Anyway, he also had one pee accident that day, but other than that he's been super good for telling me when he has to go, and holding it long enough that I can get him on the potty. Each day there has been a little bit more progress, to the point that yesterday he sat on the potty twice and let the poop that had already mostly come out drop into it, and just about an hour ago he actually dropped a chunk into his pants, but then pushed a huge poop into the potty, complete with his usual "Get out of here!" while he was going. Oh, and he even stayed dry all night, something that Josey has yet to accomplish.

I'm absolutely amazed with how it all happened, and while the first two days were hell, overall it went waaaay more smoothly than I expected, and it was much easier than training Josey.

Two down, one to go.


I know I haven't been blogging lately. It's not that I don't have anything to report; on the contrary, I have many stories about sleeping, teething, school, and evil 4 year olds throwing pretzels at the doctor's head, then destroying the doctor's office while trying to steal suckers. Another time. I feel guilty enough taking time away from cleaning or studying to write this.


Lida said...

Tristan will train himself this summer :)

Lara said...

Yay! That's awesome!