Lessons Learned from Potty Training
By: Sheana Ochoa
We took Noah out of daycare in order to potty train him so he would be able to start preschool next week. It was a long, frustrating, and ultimately rewarding month in which I learned:
1) It’s impossible to potty train a kid if he is still wearing a diaper all day. (During this past month, we had him in underwear and after an average of two accidents a day the first week, he began going on his own to the potty.)
2) You can’t expect a kid to be potty trained everywhere just because he goes potty at home. (After numerous accidents in his car seat for which I had to take apart the seat and wash and clean it almost every other day, I learned to just put a diaper on him for long outings.)
3) Going potty on his own doesn’t mean he’s potty trained. (You still have to teach him to shoot straight into the toilet and not all over the floor and then there’s the whole wiping business, which from what I read, he will be learning for the next couple of years.)
I also learned that even in matters as banal as potty training, my husband is a wonderful father. Together we set a goal and together we potty-trained Noah in time to start preschool. If I’m busy when Noah announces, “I have to go pee pee!” Jordan will take him. If he’s busy, I take him. Once I tossed the training toilet and had Noah pee standing up in the regular toilet, it was Jordan who modeled holding and aiming. He was also quite fastidious about having Noah wash his hands, which I appreciated, especially as we began teaching Noah to wipe his butt. For once, I’m glad he’s such a stubborn kid, because when it’s time to wipe, he doesn’t even like me to do the final, clean swipe. “I’ll do it!” he demands.
Still I am apprehensive. Noah starts preschool next week and because it’s a public school, the teacher cannot accompany the kid into the bathroom. Also, no one can actually change his clothes should he have an accident. I’m particularly worried that he might pee during nap time. At home we still put a diaper on him when he sleeps. I don’t want anything to impede his progress or traumatize him.
I can just imagine my sleepy-eyed grump waking up to a wet bottom and soaked clothes as he does when he naps at home and crying, “I’m all wet!” He still has trouble putting on his underwear if they’re not around his ankles. I don’t know how he’s going to put on a new outfit by himself. I know I can’t control this so I have to just expect the best and if it doesn’t work out, continue working with him until he can do those things on his own. BUT, I really want my mornings back again. I want to send out queries for articles, finish the endnote cleanup on my manuscripts, update my website, investigate writing contests, and just GET ORGANIZED!
At the same time, I feel we’ve, as a family, made such an accomplishment, a major milestone. The other day, Grandma called and he had just wiped himself for the first time after going number two. He said hello and when Grandma asked what he was doing, he proudly declared, “I wiped my butt!” It was hysterical and lovely. How often is something both hysterical and lovely?