I realize that I haven’t written anything pregnancy or infertility related in quite some time (eek! Almost 4 weeks) but not for lack of something to say. Rather I have been full-on inundated in the horrifying reality of potty training. And it sucks.
So . . . starting about 6 or 7 months ago when it looked like this baby might stick around – I had this amazing plan. I assumed that my son would start preschool in September, giving him two months to get used to going to school while also giving me some time with the new baby once he arrived at the end of October. It was an awesome plan. And I smugly thought that I was pretty smart having figured out all the timing as well as doing the leg work of making other little friends who would be in my son’s classroom. Of course, it all sounded impressive . . . until I realized that my son had to be potty trained to attend. And even then I didn’t find out about the potty training requirement until about a month or two before class started. Well, shit I thought. Literally, shit.
And up to that point I really had been non-aggressive towards potty training, mostly because my son hadn’t exhibited all of the “signs” indicating he was ready. Plus, I had read somewhere that the average age for boys to become potty trained was around 3 and a half, which was my son’s age exactly. I seriously thought that when he was ready, either I would know or he would clue me in somehow – ideally coming to me and asking for some new superhero underwear claiming loudly that he was ready to use the potty like a big boy! Sometimes I don’t know where I get these fantastical ideas. . .
So I panicked. All of a sudden I had this extra pressure to get him potty trained so he could attend school early enough without associating it with the baby or some sort of punishment. So, I stuck him into star wars underwear and hoped for the best. That was 8 weeks ago. The underwear did not go well. I finally realized that he wasn’t ready when he peed in his underwear, moved two feet to the right, and then kept on playing like nothing had ever happened. It wasn’t the sign I was hoping for. We tried the underwear thing at least one more time with no success. Fast-forward 4 weeks, and we decided to try something new. I had heard plenty of moms recommend naked time, and we decided to see if it would work – even though by this point the preschool had already started. (I still had hope that he could miraculously learn to the use the potty and then enroll a month late. . . ) We settled him outside (naked) and he peed in the potty like a champ. I couldn’t believe it! Plus, the transition from peeing outside to peeing inside was easy. I absolutely could not believe it. I started to get my hopes up again – this peeing thing had been so easy, surely pooping wasn’t that far off for us!
I think at this point it is probably clear that I have no idea what I’m doing. My son did not just “take” to pooping in the potty like a pro. He has resisted pooing in the potty despite all of our best efforts to convince him otherwise. We have tried candy, outside incentives (like going to a friend’s house), and endless discussions about how all animals and people have to go poop. I have showed him my own poo, we’ve read books, and we pretend that stuffed animals go poo on the potty everyday. And honestly, I am sick and tired of it all. If my son had a choice, I’m pretty sure he would pee and poop in an diaper everyday because he has realized that it is way more convenient than using the potty like a big boy. It also doesn’t help that my child is extremely strong willed and has started to withhold his poop so that he can have total control over the situation. We have (once again) switched tactics by offering a diaper when he has to poo, but we have had very little success with this strategy either. *sigh*
And my emotions during this little endeavor are best characterized as total frustration while being forced to pretend that I am happy and optimistic about pooping in the potty. It is so discouraging, and I admit I feel defeated. I finally had to accept the fact that my little preschool plan is over. He will now have to attend daycare twice a week so that I don’t go insane while having two kids in the house at the same time. I wish that my son was ready to poo in the potty, but it’s just not going to happen the way I thought it would. We’ll keep trying, but I’m not expecting miracles at this point – especially with the new baby on the way and regression a definite possibility. I’m going to have to keep my expectations within manageable levels. I know that everyone says to enjoy it while it lasts, but if I could – I would gladly skip this phase altogether!