It’s 5 pm some random weekday afternoon and Rocco’s daycare teacher asks if we’ve thought about potty training. Rocco asked to use the potty at school, so she thinks he’s ready. I wince, but admit that he’s asked to sit on the potty at home several times (with his pants on). I concede that he is probably ready to potty train, but I’m not at all prepared. I thought boys usually learned later. He’s just over 2 and a half, I thought I had more time with my baby boy.
It’s completely irrational, I should be jumping for joy that I will soon no longer have to change wet and smelly diapers for one of my two toddlers, but I’m less than excited. I’m even a bit sad to think of how quickly my first born baby boy is growing up.
“OK, we’ll start this Saturday,” I reassured his teacher. So she filled me in on how the first day back at school would go. I needed to bring 5, yes 5 changes of clothes and underwear. And so our adventures in potty training begins.
So Friday night came, I ran out to Target to buy him underwear (Cars and Spiderman of course). I also picked up a piece of tag board and a slew of stickers (dinosaurs, Spiderman, cars, construction vehicles, etc.) I created a potty chart, and Jade and I hatched our game plan for the next day.
Rocco would not go to Kids Club, our gym’s daycare, as he usually would come with me to play while I work out. Instead, he would stay home with Daddy and use the potty every 15 minutes. Really. Every. 15. Minutes. That’s what his teacher suggested.
Upon waking at 6:15 a.m., I reminded Rocco of our previous night’s conversation — how he wouldn’t wear diapers during the day, and instead, he got to wear his big boy underwear. To my horror, he kept calling them ‘panties’. Ugh. No, boys do NOT wear panties. Poor guy, we had to keep correcting him. We aren’t sure where he got that word from, but most likely from the unisex potty-training at daycare (no judgement).
Early on Saturday, Rocco happily skipped over to the potty and sat down. “All done, Mommy,” he said after about 3 seconds. “OK”, I conceded.
Everything I had read said not to force it, not to make it scary, not to make it a chore; off he ran to eat his oatmeal, banana and milk.
For the next hour before I left for the gym, Rocco diligently went with Daddy to sit on the potty, but no dice. He would sit for a couple second, ask for his sticker, and then off he went to play.
The sticker chart quickly became useless as he wanted to wear his stickers, not waste them on the chart. I stupidly kept trying to add stickers to his ‘sat on the potty’ section of the chart, but he was not enthused. He was, however, happy to have a new truck, car, or construction vehicle sticker on his hand or shirt.
Gigi, as she does, was immediately jealous. Jealous Rocco was getting attention, jealous he was getting stickers, jealous that we kept focusing on him, to ensure he was using the potty regularly. Ugh. We did our best to juggle Rocco’s new potty schedule with Gigi’s jealous streak. She got her own stickers on her hands, and only tantrumed every now and again when I didn’t give her enough attention. With all this effort, it felt like hours had passed.
Oh my gosh. It’s only 7:45? That hour and a half felt like an eternity. But at 7:45, it was time for Gigi and me to leave for the gym and Kids Club. Rocco wanted to come, but when I told him he got to stay home with Daddy instead, he happily complied.
While we were gone, Jade did his best to place Rocco on the potty every 15 minutes, continued to give him stickers, and cleaned up at least a couple accidents while I was gone.
We stupidly went along with some of the websites that suggested leaving the child naked from the waist down. Don’t do it! There was pee everywhere. After 3 accidents, we switched over to pants and underwear. Those accidents aren’t much more fun, but at least the pee is somewhat contained, vs. flowing freely over the tile.
After 3 or 4 accidents, and 11am, Rocco had had enough. The stickers weren’t working, the chart was a flop, and he started to cry every time we asked him to go to the potty.
Honestly, I was a bit relieved that he didn’t seem ready—I thought I’d have a few more months to wait for more signs that he was truly ready. The rest of our weekend proceeded like normal, and we just chalked it up to trying potty training a bit too early.
Then came Monday.
I didn’t bring Rocco to daycare on Monday, so I didn’t get a chance to talk to his teacher about potty training. I remembered around 10 a.m., so I called and spoke to the daycare manager, explaining we had decided to start potty training later, when we thought Rocco was more prepared. She said she would relay my message to the teacher. She did, but not until 2pm.
By the time I got to school to pick him up around 4:30, I learned that Rocco had been potty training, successfully, all day! He sat on the potty numerous times, didn’t fight his teacher to sit there at all. On day one, he had 3 accidents, but she thought his first day had gone very well.
- Well, that’s not what I had expected, but if school wants to help us potty train him, I’m all for it! They have a lot more experience than we do and I’m willing to go with it.
Day 2. Two accidents. And he peed in the potty 2 times! Success! When we got home, Rocco had one accident, and refused to sit on the potty. But ok, let’s just keep moving on.
Day 3. One accident. And he peed on the potty 3 times! He was also dry after nap time! Double Success! After dinner, Rocco did have an accident at home, and I scared him half to death saying ‘No, stop, hold it!”. I didn’t mean to, of course, but my delivery was a bit too harsh. He refused to use the potty again.
And soon after, it was bed time. I put him to bed, in his nighttime diaper (which many experts suggest for the first couple months of potty training). He didn’t fall asleep, and kept calling out to me.
I went in his room and he said he needed to use the potty. I complied. He happily sat there, holding my hand, for about five minutes. He wasn’t doing anything, and I just kept reassuring him, it’s OK to let it go Rocco. It’s OK to go potty.
Finally, FINALLY, he went pee! Oh my gosh, I can’t even tell you how excited I was that my son peed on the potty. It sounds so ridiculous to say it and I felt ridiculous in that moment, but I was just so darn proud and so happy my little guy went pee on his little white and green training potty!
We’re still in the very early stages of potty training, so I can’t say how it will go from here. But with his teachers’ help and continued support, Jade and my patience, and continued positive reinforcements, I think we’re well on our way to a diaper-less 2 year old!