Daily Archives: September 17, 2012

She Says… The Great Motivator

Dudes. You were so right.

Even though I thought we had another year until we would start potty training, and it really kind of caught me off guard that Owen was ready to try… he was. He is.

I read all of your comments  on my last pee-related post hungry for tips and stories. I have absolutely no experience with this topic and really haven’t done my research like I usually do because I thought it was far off in our future.

So here’s how we started. On Friday after daycare, Owen’s diaper was dry. It had been awhile since his last diaper change, so as soon as we walked in the door, I asked him if he wanted to use the potty. “Nah”. “Are you sure? Let’s just try”. “No. DON’T WANT TO”. “Oh, um, ok”. And that was that. He went in the potty before bed like normal, but really didn’t want to go any other time. I mentioned that maybe tomorrow he would try in the potty right when he woke up.

The next morning he was dry when he woke up. It was a perfect opportunity to use the potty, but I knew it had to be as soon as possible. I asked him if he wanted to go and got the same answer as the day before. Not a chance, Mom. He was set on his normal routine — vitamin, milk, a few minutes of tv. I rolled with it and suggested that if he could hold his pee pee until after his tv time and then do it in the potty, maybe he’d get a special treat. To be honest I really hadn’t thought through what special treat he’d get, but I realized that while he was totally ready to start trying this, he needed a little incentive to get his butt sitting on the potty.

Lo and behold, he was still dry after tv time and he practically RAN into the bathroom saying, “I want to pee pee on the potty!”. He peed as much as a grown man while I clapped and praised. Then he demanded that I pay up. ” ‘pecial treat?”. I knew I needed something small and replicable, and I had heard others mention M&Ms. Owen didn’t even know what M&Ms were before that moment (he even asked for “edamame”, thinking that was it… and though he does like edamame, I’m not sure I could get away with giving him that as a treat for very long!), but I can guarantee you he knows now.

The kid learned the system after 1 M&M. And damn, he’s good.

He only wore 2 diapers yesterday. And won himself a lot of M&Ms in between. He completely understands the concept of what earns him one and what doesn’t (a “good, long pee pee” or any poop gets one, just drips and just trying do not). We’re not going crazy like introducing underwear or doing bootcamp… I’m still very realistic about what he is capable of (and what I can handle right now!). While I prompted him to go to the potty several times, most of the time he would pop up and say, “I wanna go pee pee in the potty now, Mommy!”. He never ceases to amaze me.

We actually went out to dinner last night and I figured that’s where our potty training would at least be put on hold. I wasn’t going to push the issue on a weird potty with just one day under our belts. But about halfway through dinner he started getting really antsy and whiny, and then said “I wanna go pee pee in the potty”. In retrospect it may have been a stalling/distraction technique since he was getting bored at the table, but I took it at face value and took him to the bathroom. I sat him on the potty (one of those split seats… an important detail I noticed but had no idea what it really meant at the time) and tried to keep it all very nonchalant. Like it was no big deal that my kid was about to go pee pee in a public potty for the first time.

He started peeing. The lack of full toilet seat + angle/force of his pee = mayjuh spray directly on the floor instead of in the potty. I didn’t want to scold or freak out or stop him from peeing (since what he was doing was kind of monumental), so I just moved my leg out of the line of fire and kept right on praising while he splattered all over the floor. Ahem. After checking to make sure no one else was using the stall next to us, of course.

I literally had no idea what to do. He started crying when he looked at the floor and said, “I don’t wannit on da floor!”. I stifled my laughter (and guilt) while I told him it was totally ok and we would clean it up. I did a quick wipe of the floor but felt incredibly embarrassed rushing him out of the bathroom knowing that we just left pee on the floor. GROSS.

Anyway, I learned many, many lessons this weekend. Most important being that Owen is, apparently, far more ready for potty training than I gave him credit for, and I am doing my best to catch up/follow his lead. Next most important being that M&Ms are miraculous motivators. And lastly that I literally have no idea how little boys are supposed to pee in split seat potties without spraying all over the floor. After 2 days potty training is still a huge mystery and we’re slowly but surely figuring out a system that works for us on the fly. Don’t worry, I’m not delusional enough to think this is a done deal, but I’m pretty impressed with the first steps.

Mamas of boys, any tips and tricks for me as I navigate these new waters (um, quite literally)? How in the world do they potty in a regular potty on the go without peeing all over the floor?