The Potty Project

I kept this ongoing journal for our entire three-day odyssey through the world of quick potty training - I wanted to chronicle our experience for the benefit of other interested moms. Unfortunately, I didn't find this detailed article until I was on day three; if I had read it at the beginning, it would have helped, so check it out first if you're considering the 3-day training!

Crotch Watch: Day One
8:45 AM: It's go time ... literally! I take Cameron's diaper off and watch him like a hawk, my eyes zeroed in on his nether regions, waiting for the first dribble of pee. When it happens, I snatch him up like a madwoman and plop him on his potty chair ... where he sits. And sits. And sits. And nothing happens. I know that little droplet wasn't all the pee in his bladder, so where is it?

10:20 AM: He goes behind the recliner and my super Mommy-senses start going crazy - I know he's about to do something. Sure enough, he squats, and before he can do anything on the floor I use my catlike reflexes to whisk him back onto his potty. Success: two little turds drop into the receptacle! It's like the potty training jackpot! (Okay, so maybe they just fell in there as I sat him on, but still. It was poop and it was in the right place - so I'm counting it.) I excitedly text Curtis at work. He texts back, "Yay!!!!!!" I am envious that he doesn't have to deal with all this; I'm almost positive I'd rather be in his position right now. Colin is excited because he gets to help me dump it into the toilet ... you've gotta love the small amusements in life!

10:31 AM: Cameron pees on the floor the second I turn my back (to sneak a few bites of pie). Grrrr ....

10:57 AM: Guess he wasn't done pooping - 'cause there's the rest of it on the floor. I was staring right at him and didn't even notice until the smell hit me. For crying out loud! Am I seriously deluding myself into thinking he's ready for this???

11:13 AM: He dismantles his potty chair - and starts peeing while I'm frantically putting it back together, so I don't catch it. Oh. My. Lord. I'm considering having the carpet cleaner and paper towels surgically grafted onto my hands.

12:15 PM: Nap time, so the diaper goes on - 'cause I draw the line at a urine-soaked mattress! I'm sooo glad to be off pee-watch for a little while!

1:40 PM: Cameron stays dry through naptime, and then pees in his potty!!! I am elated ... until he finishes on the floor. Again. *sigh*

2:38 PM: Poops on the floor ... and in the potty! Then promptly drops a rubber ball into the poo as I'm getting a baby wipe. Gross.

3:05 PM: Have the good fortune to walk (barefoot) into a surprise puddle of pee on the kitchen floor. I'm pretty sure I know who it came from, but I have no idea when. Thank goodness it's on the tile this time!

4:04 PM: Cameron starts peeing on the floor (isn't that sentence getting rather redundant?) and, as usual, I put him on the potty. To my surprise, he resumes peeing in his potty chair - and looks down to watch it happen. Breakthrough! It's like I can see the light going on in his head! He finishes peeing and actually strains, trying to push out the last droplets. I'm so encouraged!!!!Feel like calling everyone I know ... but I'll refrain.

4:15 PM: Since he's just relieved himself, I figure it's safe to get something done (other than staring at his bottom half, which is what I've spent the best part of the day doing). He's playing in the lazy Susan where our canned goods are stored. When he climbs out to play elsewhere, I notice ... what's this? ... a lone turd on top of a box of chicken broth. WTF? I took a picture because I couldn't believe it - but I won't post it here. You're welcome.

4:54 PM: I put him on the potty again for good measure, AND HE PEES RIGHT AWAY - ON PURPOSE - AND THEN CLAPS HIS HANDS!!! Ahhhhhhh! Makes a mommy proud!

8:15 PM: The peeing in the potty continues all throughout the evening ... except for once, when he's in the bathroom with Curtis and pees on the floor. While I'm cleaning that up, he (Cameron, not Curtis) comes into the kitchen and poops under the table ... and then proceeds to crawl through it. OMG. At bedtime, around 8:15, I'm relieved to put a diaper on him for the night. It's been a long day.

DAY ONE RECAP: Ten accidents, but also several successes - especially as the day progresses; by bedtime, he pees every single time he's put on the potty, and he seems to have realized that's what he's supposed to do.


Crotch Watch: Day Two

7:45 AM: Immediately upon waking, I take his diaper off (which he has wet during the night) and put him on his potty. He pees and poops, deliberately! I couldn't be more thrilled!

8:30 AM: He pees on the floor while I'm checking Facebook (damn it!) - but then immediately sits on his potty. Coincidence? I'm not sure.

9:17 AM: Poop on the floor. And one piece that accidentally falls into the potty. Sigh.

10:53 AM: I have watched him relentlessly, NONSTOP, for over an hour now, putting him on the potty every five or ten minutes ... and nothing. I saw him guzzle down his entire sippy cup of milk a long time ago, so what gives? Where's the pee? I can almost guarantee you he'll go on the floor while I'm typing this. Wahh.

10:54 AM: WHAT did I TELL you??? In the less-than-two-minutes that I had my eyes only half on him, he peed on the living room floor. I swear, I can't go to the bathroom, fix something to eat, let the dog out, or do anything else without having to clean up a mess afterward - yet when I keep an eagle eye on him and put him on the potty at regular intervals, nothing seems to happen. I am feeling seriously frazzled, and am honestly on the verge of tears. I don't know what I expected, but this is soooooo frustrating! Ready to throw in the towel ... but I won't ... I promised to see this through, and I'm going to!

12:00 PM: No more accidents. Have managed to avoid a complete meltdown, but am still so glad it's nap time. Wish I could just leave this diaper on him for the rest of the day.

2:15 PM: Cameron wakes up from his nap and his diaper is still dry, so I put him on the potty immediately. He wants to sit on my lap instead, so I cuddle him for a few minutes (praying the whole time he won't pee on me) until he wakes up a little bit, then try putting him on the chair again. He just sits there, but instead of hovering over him, I let him alone. To my surprise, he completely empties his bladder in the potty before getting up - even without me sitting beside him! Hooray!

4:01 PM: One thing I've noticed today is that he's holding his pee for longer stretches of time, which is good. The bad thing is, it makes it trickier to tell when he needs to go. I take the dog out and am "rewarded" when I come in with not one, but two puddles of pee ... thank goodness they're both on the tile floor!

8:20 PM: Bedtime. Whew. Only a couple of minor accidents, and we've made it through another day.

DAY TWO RECAP: Substantially fewer accidents today - only five or so, which is HALF the puddles and piles I cleaned up yesterday. He's holding it in for longer, though, so it's harder to tell when he needs to go. He's getting more resistant to sitting there if he doesn't have to go; yesterday he sat compliantly every time, whether he needed to pee or not, but today if he isn't peeing he's not sitting there for any length of time. I don't know if that's a good thing or not!

Crotch Watch: Day Three

7:15 AM: Cameron wakes up and I put him directly on the potty. He pees, but doesn't poop. I'm kinda worried, because he almost always poops right when he wakes up, so I follow him around veeeeery closely for a while.

8:30 AM: He poops ... on the potty! He still isn't going by himself - I have to take him there - but still, he's getting somewhere.

10:27 AM: He pees on the floor. Doesn't even try to use his potty. I am frustrated.

12:00 PM: Nap time, and though I put him on the potty beforehand, he doesn't go. He hasn't peed in like an hour and a half, and has had a lot to drink, so I'm pretty sure he's going to pee in his diaper while he sleeps.

2:45 PM: He has taken a long nap, so I'm totally surprised to find that his diaper is dry. And when I put him on the potty, he goes and goes and goes!

5:00 PM: Supper time. What's that dripping sound? Oh gross - there's a puddle under his high chair. I should have taken him to pee before we ate, I guess. I take him (drips and all) to his potty, but he refuses to even sit on it. Fantastic.

6:45 PM: He pees ... on top of the potty chair. I don't notice that the lid is closed until too late, and he just stands there and pees on the lid. I'm not sure if he meant to go to the potty to pee, or if that's just where he happened to be at the time. Either way, I've got yet another mess to sop up.

DAY THREE RECAP: Scroll up and read the "Day Two Recap." It's pretty much the same.

SUMMARY: I don't know if it's his age - just 18 months - or not, but my final thoughts on the three-day potty training program are this: complete potty training, at least for Cameron, is going to take substantially longer than three days! I think it might work for older kids - and keep in mind I didn't take the seminar, I only read a short article on the topic, so I may be missing some major component. (Like I said in the beginning of this post, I found a much more comprehensive article, but it was kinda too late by then.)

It's been a really taxing three days. Mucho messes to attend to ... my poor carpet, time for a cleaning! Being completely confined to the house kind of really sucks, but I don't want to put a diaper on him and confuse the poor kid - nor do I really want to fool with putting undies on him in public when I KNOW he isn't ready. It's all fine and dandy when we're at home and I can plop him on the potty chair at regular intervals, but it's definitely going to take a while to get him to the point where he knows when he needs to go, holds it long enough to alert me, and gets successfully to the nearest toilet. And that, to me, is true potty training.

I'm going to stick with it for as long as it takes to get him finished. I mean, we've come this far - it may not have been 100% successful, but he has made remarkable progress. I may have to make a few improvisations (like maybe a Pull-Up on outings instead of a diaper or underwear), but I think it's worth it. And hopefully, by the time the new baby gets here in September, I'll only have one kid in diapers.

Post-potty-training notes: This is NOT for the uncommitted. I cannot stress that enough! You've got to stay on guard every minute and be absolutely diligent about taking him to the potty chair - and if they're anything like Cameron, they'll pee or poop every.time.your.back.is.turned. Make sure your agenda is free of anything pressing, and that you don't mind ordering takeout or eating cold-cut sandwiches for supper, because you're not going to have a lot of time to cook. You've also got to be well-equipped with cleanup supplies, because it's not a neat job, either. And be prepared to have your house fall apart around you: dishes you don't have time to wash, toys you don't have time to pick up. It would work best for kids who hold their pee for a long time and then go, rather than dribble a little here and there throughout the day.

If you have any questions or want to know more about our potty training experiment, you can e-mail me at ritatempleton@gmail.com.

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