Extreme Potty Training: A Diary
9 a.m.: The boys are on the loose in the yard, naked, with water bottles in hand. To maximize the odds of a "hit," boot-camp speak for peeing on the potty, we set the oven timer to ring every ten minutes. When the bell sounds, we say, "Potty time!" and escort the boys to the potty chairs on the patio. When a mere drop of pee lands in the potty, we cheer and help them place an airplane sticker onto a card. Then we lead the guys into the house to pour the contents from the "small potty" into the "big potty."
In the morning alone, the boys pee an astonishing 25 times total, earning 17 stickers for hits. The small-potty/big-potty route is busier than a rush-hour freeway. The boys seem oblivious to our mission but follow along. Amanda and I are wrecked. And starving. We've barely been able to use the potty ourselves, let alone eat. At naptime, I stagger to my desk, like a punch-drunk boxer after the bell.
After two days, we've slowed the pace by ditching the bell and ushering the boys to the potty every 20 to 30 minutes. We've also put their clothes back on, since they barely registered they were peeing on themselves when they were naked. But the boys have lost all interest in the stickers; Amanda and I are caked in dried urine; and we're certain of failure.
While Ian and Toby nap, we agree to finish out the day diaper-free, then pretend this harebrained experiment never happened. I'm relieved.
That afternoon, though, Amanda and I say by rote, in unison, "Ian, you're going pee-pee," as we catch him in the act. Then, on his own, he appears to make a small pivot toward the potty. Or maybe it was a move toward his fire truck? Perhaps, in desperation, we've hallucinated this marginal sign of comprehension.
I rush to call my friend Stacy, who trained her son cold turkey when he was 2, to discuss the implications of the pivot. "Omigod, that's huge!" Stacy insists. "HUGE."
Her pep talk emboldens us to finish out the week. That evening, I make my daily progress report to Paul.
"It was amazing!" I gush with what little energy I have left. "Ian started to pee and turned around and headed right toward the potty!"
Paul is unimpressed, even with my embellishment. Moments later, Ian indifferently poops in his pants. "Big poo-poo!" Toby screams.