Monday, February 8, 2010

All Aboard the Potty Train

So after the last post, I think it's necessary that I offer up a little defense for Alex, seeing as how the reason he poohed on the rug is that he was standing up in front of the potty to pee at the time. It didn't occur to him that he needed to be sitting to do the Big Job, and WHOOPS!! Surprise!!

Oh well, "it happens", as they say. Well, that's not exactly what they say, but this a family-friendly blog, and, well...y'all get the picture.

Anyway, everyone kept telling us that he would get to a point where he was "ready" to potty train, and by golly, I was starting to think that day would happen somewhere around his thirteenth birthday. But a couple of weeks ago, that day finally arrived, and suddenly sitting on the potty was no longer the bane of his existence. Of course, the catalyst for that change of heart was that my mom was here, and she is apparently more convincing than I am about such things. Her winning strategy was to fill a rubber ducky full of water and let Alex squeeze the water into the potty while he stood naked at the toilet, helping the duck to "pee-pee in the potty", which caused him to go a few times on "accident". He went many times while she was here, and we were all very excited about it, although we were a little worried that he wouldn't stick with it once she left.

More to the point, we were a little worried that we wouldn't stick with it after she left. Here's the thing...Our "potty training strategy", per se, is to strip Alex completely buck naked and watch him like a hawk so as to detect any telltale pre-potty behaviors (squatting, squeezing his knees together, pausing mid-stride, etc.), then rush him to the potty before he waters the furniture. He could care less about walking around in a wet diaper, wet underwear, wet pants - it seems that, in his mind, there are more important things to worry about than whether his "draws is dry". The only time he seems to hesitate before letting his pee flow like a river is when he is undressed, so as inconvenient as it may be, that's been our method of choice.

And it has worked brilliantly so far, to the point where he now asks to pee all the time and insists on doing it "all by himself". He went sitting down for the first few times, then quickly decided that sitting was for sissies, and now he insists on standing up to pee. He's about four inches too short to stand on the floor and go, so we rigged up a "potty platform" for him to stand on - the lid of a big toolbox with a rug on top, if you're wondering. Yes, I am a genius. I'm really thinking I need to market it to Babies R Us or something because it works perfectly.

We leave the lid of the potty open, he can step right up and go by himself, and we don't have to worry about him falling off the side of a stool or slipping in his own pee. Not that that is a problem - he has yet to "misfire" and whiz on the wall or the floor, which is a feat not even my spouse can claim. He just does his business, flushes the potty, and climbs up to the sink to wash his hands. Oh, and I did forget to mention one little detail...None of this would be possible without a magical thing called "bribery". Apparently a big fat piece of chocolate is a wonderful incentive for a kid who rarely gets candy. We really have to thank the makers of Triple Chocolate Premium M&M's for their contributions - without them, none of this would have been possible.

In this process, Alex has also been introduced to Jelly Beans and Reese's Pieces and has since devised a clever scheme for maximizing his candy intake. He only gets one piece of candy for doing a Number 1 (two pieces for a 2), and he has discovered that quantity is irrelevant when it comes to earning his reward. So now, he just ekes out a tiny little dribble of pee, earns his piece of candy, then as soon as he is done eating, he announces he has to go again. He repeats this process until he can't squeeze out another drop. He has gone 6 times in the last twelve minutes. Seriously. Six times. Twelve minutes. It's pretty ingenious if you ask me. For now we are letting it happen because we want him to go as many times as he's willing, regardless of how much candy he eats. However, we have drawn the line at giving him candy at night because he will now wait until he is in his pajamas, teeth brushed, in bed, and will announce that he needs to go potty. Now, right before he brushes his teeth, we give him one last chance to go potty before bed, a "last call for candy", if you will.

So all of that is great. The problem is, that strategy is not so convenient when it's 40 degrees outside, plus most stores and restaurants frown upon the practice of letting naked two-year olds run amok in their establishments. We spent this past weekend in Eldo and had every intention on keeping up our PT efforts, but running around Grammy's house naked when visitors were apt to drop in wasn't really practical, either. We tried pull-ups and fancy Thomas the Tank Engine underwear, but he peed through all of them. And getting him to poop on the potty is a challenge we have yet to conquer, although we have spent many minutes reading books and choreographing poop-themed cheers and waiting patiently for...nothing to happen.

Needless to say, we still have a ways to go in the PT department, but we are happy that he is making strides. Hopefully we will have total success before another diaper-clad child joins the household.


vicki said...

That's it Sarah - Potty Platform - you work out the details, your dad can make it, your mom can paint a pretty design on it and you and I can sell it to the "Sharks" !!!!!!!

vicki said...

P.S. oh yeah, Timothy can do the legal patent on it and Bill can crunch our numbers cause I'm sure we will make millions !!!!

vicki said...

P.S.S. Seriously !!!

Jessica Magee said...

Picture 2 looks like Tim taught Alex how to leave an upper decker...