I’ll give you a full rundown of the Hansel & Gretel puppet show tomorrow, but today I have something more pressing to write about.
Remember a few months ago when we sort of pseudo-tried potty training because Owen was really interested in it and I didn’t want to miss the boat? Yeah, that didn’t really stick so much. Long story short, he wouldn’t pee at school (even though he went without much encouragement at home, at restaurants, etc.), so after an awesome weekend of “getting” the process, we decided it wasn’t really the right time. He was so young that I didn’t want to push it, so we just said, “Ok, no big deal, we’ll try again later.”
Well, later happened on Sunday afternoon. We were at Target and happened to stroll past the underwear section. We’ve been talking off and on about “whenever you are ready to go in the potty all the time, you can pick out awesome underwear! Like Spiderman or trains or cars!”. He doesn’t even know who Spiderman is, but he has a Spiderman t-shirt and knows that he is SO COOL, whoever he is, so for some reason that was a huge motivator. So Owen caught sight of some Spiderman underwear and nearly lost his shit.
“SPIDERMAN UNNNNDERWEARRRRR! I WANT THEM! I WANT TO WEAR THEM NOW!”. I reminded him that wearing underwear means you have to go peepee and poop in the potty all the time, and was he ready for that? Really? He insisted that he was, and who am I to say no to a kid begging to be potty trained? So… we got the underwear (except once we got in the checkout line he had a change of heart and “didn’t like the spider on the Spiderman underwear and really REALLY wanted Thomas”, so we went back and switched them out for a pack of Thomas the Train undies).
I die. Little boy underwear are just about the cutest darn thing on the face of the planet.
Before I had even put away the Target haul, Owen was pulling his pants off, so anxious to put his new underwear on. A few minutes after putting them on he had one little accident, but he stopped himself from peeing as soon as he realized, and finished in the potty. After that, he wore underwear for the rest of the night and all day Monday without a single accident. We even went to music class and to the dentist, which is a 30 minute drive away!
He did AWESOME. Far beyond my expectations. Heck, I had no expectations. I really thought we were not going to touch potty training for real until closer to 3! He is SO PROUD of himself and has been showing his underwear off to everyone. He even pooped in the potty with very little cajoling on my part (he asked for a diaper a few times, but I gently reminded him that once he chooses underwear we have to stick with underwear, and he ended up pooping in a little training potty since he felt more comfortable than on the big potty).
Since peeing at school had been our barrier last time, I started talking up how exciting it was going to be to go peepee at school and show his teachers his new underwear. He acted all cool, like it was no big deal. When I dropped him off this morning we talked a lot with his teacher about what we do, and I offered to help him go pee at school the first time so he could see it was just like going at home. He said no, and I thought, “Wow, well, I guess he’s just going to do it on his own!”.
Ummm, maybe not. I just got a call from school an hour ago. His teacher said he was screaming and crying and wouldn’t go potty anywhere. Not in his underwear. Not on the potty. But he clearly had to go. Oh boy.
I am working from home today (thankfully!), so I ran out the door to see if I could help get him over the hump. My whole potty training approach has been “no stress, no tears”. If he’s ready, he’s ready. If he’s not, he’s not. This shouldn’t be a battle. But I almost cried looking into his tearful eyes when he said, “I don’t feel good, Mommy. I want to go home with you. I don’t HAVE to go peepee.”
I was so proud of him for not going in his underwear. He wasn’t even asking for a diaper; he just wanted to go HOME to pee. I closed the bathroom door so it was just the two of us, talked him off the ledge, and after a minute he let me put him on the potty. As soon as he sat down he peed a TON. I think part of the issue was the different potty seat at school (he goes on the regular potty at home, but at school they had a padded seat on top of the big potty seat), and part of it was definitely that I wasn’t there to keep him calm.
I don’t know if going to school to save him was the right thing to do, but I don’t care. This is a huge transition and we’re figuring it out as go. I’m hoping that now that he has gone once at school that he will not have trouble going again. I showed his teacher how he likes to sit on the potty and told him that they can help him just like Mommy and Daddy.
So, now my question is to all of you. I know this withholding is normal, but I don’t want it to turn into a big “thing”. Did your kid ever refuse to go potty at school (or grandma’s house, or somewhere he/she needed to go a lot)? What did you do? Any tips from teachers or other caretakers who have been through this process before?
Side note: We’re sticking to diapers for naps and bedtime since I don’t want him to be stressed about sleeping, and because he’s still in a crib (like I said, I didn’t know this transition was going to happen so soon!). It hasn’t been a big deal so far to use diapers for those times and then put underwear on as soon as he wakes up. I’m totally ok with him using his naptime diaper as a crutch at school until he gets over the hump of learning how to pee there. He gets M&Ms as an incentive at home when he goes in the potty, and a sticker chart at school (they don’t allow candy, which I love). The underwear itself has been the biggest motivator by far. I’d rather not venture into pull-ups, since I think the mental shift to underwear is the main part of this development. Does this make sense? Anything I’m missing that could make this school peeing smoother? It seems to be the only big bump in our potty training road so far.