When it came time for potty training, I was a woman on a mission! For months I had been pinning every semi helpful article I could find. These complete and total strangers had potty trained their children in 3 days at 18 months….surely I could too! Especially since mine was going to be 20 months when I started so he obviously had to be more advanced and thus make it easier on me. Maybe it would only take him one day to learn! Yeah right! But like I said, I was a woman on a mission.
So after months of research, i.e. pinning everything I could find on Pinterest and maybe even reading some of the articles too, I felt like I was ready. My in-laws were going on vacation and since my MIL usually watched P a couple days a week while I was at work and I would have to take those days off anyway, I figured it was the perfect time. I would have 12 solid days in a row home with him and since it was only supposed to take 3, the rest of the time we could just sit back and relax being a diaper free household.
Prep work for potty training actually started months before the actual potty training took place. My husband handles the nighttime ritual, it’s their father & son bonding time. Part of the ritual is to read him a book, for almost an entire year, that book was Superhero Potty Time, a book that probably haunts my husband considering how many times he had to read it but we were laying a foundation, or so I tried to convince him.
Meanwhile, I was collecting stickers for the potty chart I had made….what kid doesn’t love stickers?! Obviously the prospect of getting to put a sticker on a chart was bound to make him want to use the potty! And as an added bonus, he was going to get an M&M, which he still a year and a half later refers to as ‘vitamins.’ And I had a whole bag of toys to let him pick from when he deserved more than a sticker….if you know what I mean.
The first day I was starting was a Saturday and I thought it was perfect! Both my husband and I would be home so he could help too….easy peasy. I laid down plastic painting tarps over the carpet in our family room, armed myself with books, movies and toys and put his potty chair in there. My plan was to have him naked from the waist down and every time he started to go, I would put him on the potty. In theory, I felt like this plan could not fail. Like I said, countless strangers had bragged about it working for them and so obviously it would work for us too.
Remember how I said my husband would be home and this was going to be an easy process? I could not have been more wrong. First off, my husband wasn’t home. He had “car issues” which required him to be gone….the whole day…..Do I believe his car had issues, yes, do I think it required him to be gone the ENTIRE day, probably not. So off he went to get his car fixed and I started my mission.
Turns out all those people writing about how easy it was to potty train their children were either big fat liars or my child just hated me because it wasn’t long into the day before he and I were covered in his pee and I was questioning my sanity for trying to potty train a child that was not even two yet…and a boy no less! The day went on and we had a few stickers on the chart, I was starting to feel pretty good about myself, you know, other than the fact I was covered in my child’s pee. And then it came time to make dinner….
My husband requested steak for dinner and being the optimist that I am and thinking my day was going to be a walk in the park, I thought, sure! Why not have steak?! I start melting butter in my beautiful stainless steel pan and hear a giant thud. I run to see what happened and see my poor baby has squirted on the plastic, stepped in it and then slipped and cracked his head on the tile floor. And he’s laying there, staring up at me with the silent cry….worst cry ever because you know it is going to be followed by the loudest wail you have ever heard in your life! So of course, I pick him up and am trying to comfort him while there is butter now burning on my stovetop. Fun fact, I lived in an apartment where pretty much anytime there was the slightest hint of smoke, the fire alarms go off. To recap, I have a screaming child, I am covered in his pee, there is a pan of butter burning and the smoke alarm in our apartment is about to set off the alarm for the whole complex. Immediately I forget about the baby and focus on the fire alarm, knowing if I can’t get it to stop, pretty soon the alarm will start going off in the whole building. I go to the door of the closest bedroom and start swinging it back and forth desperately trying to stop the alarm.
Since my child is still pretty upset about his big fall and now is equally upset about the screeching of the fire alarm, he comes running over to me for comfort. I am more concerned about the fire alarm and don’t notice him running over to me and in case you haven’t already guessed, he gets nailed with the door and is once again face up, on the ground wondering what just happened and I have the fire department knocking on my door. Definitely not how I had envisioned the day going.
A sane person probably would have given up but obviously I am not that person. So even though my perfect day of potty training ended with a visit from our fire department and me explaining why they couldn’t come in to help get rid of the smoke (winter and dirty boots plus my tarp I had laid down was not a good combination), I still was determined to finish my mission. It definitely took longer than the 3 days all those perfect Pinterest Mom’s claimed but within a few weeks, we were a diaper free household and I had learned some pretty valuable lessons.
#1 – next time order pizza
#2 – people don’t share the ‘ugly’ side of potty training
and most importantly….
#3 – people on Pinterest lie