It is time to potty train my son, and I have committed the designated 10 days to staying home in order to accomplish this task. He is ready, and more importantly, I am ready. I have read ALL the books, met with a potty training consultant, come up with a master plan as well as a back-up plan, and have the required charts and diagrams. He too demonstrates many of the required signs of readiness: he tells me when he needs to go, he doesn’t like being in a wet diaper, he wants privacy when he poops, and he stays dry for long periods of time.
I have taken the initial steps. I bought him a little potty, I let him follow me into the bathroom, and I model proper bathroom etiquette. Now it is time to get rid of the diapers and pull up his big boy underwear–but maybe I will keep a few extra diapers in case both plan A and plan B fail.
Seeing as how my son has been following me into the bathroom, he has seen me use the potty as every woman does–sitting down. So when he finally starts using the potty, he too is sitting down. I just failed to realize that I will need to work on his aim, as things are spraying upwards. Other than that, we are on track to mastering this in a few days’ time. I am following my very expensive consultant’s advice and rewarding him with stickers every time he uses the potty, rather than outright bribing him to use the bathroom. And yes, there is actually a difference between rewarding and bribing, and that too was quite an expensive bit of information I learned from my behavioral consultant.
Plan A is working just fine. All the charts and diagrams have been successful. And my daily updates with the consultant convince me that I am doing well. What I was not expecting and did not plan for was interference from my husband. Although my husband is delighted that we will soon be freed of spending our life savings on diapers, he is less than delighted about the fact that his son is using the potty like a girl—sitting down. He does not seem to notice all the sweat, blood and tears that got me this far. I have made some major progress: my son runs to the potty (after I remind him ten times), he pulls down his own pants (after I pull them half way down), and his pee-pee is making it into the toilet (most of the time). These are all major accomplishments! So what does it matter if he pees sitting down?
My husband is insisting that I teach my son to pee-pee standing up; like a man!! But how on earth am I supposed to model that? I don’t even have the proper diagrams to explain that. If my husband is determined to have his son stand at the toilet, he had better show him how it’s done himself. I would be more than happy to hand over this task. But of course, my husband has neither the time nor the patience, and since I cannot possibly demonstrate how it’s done, I let it be. So yes, I have a little two-year-old boy who pee-pees sitting down.
Months pass and my son is finally in preschool (this day could not have come soon enough). It is really adorable to see the little toilets at the school. Just the right size for their little bodies. And apparently, going to the bathroom in preschool is quite the social activity. Groups of kids follow each other in to the bathroom, and sit side-by-side conversing while they pee. Even the ones who are not potty trained go in there just to watch.
A few weeks into the school year, my son comes home and announces that he wants to “pee-pee like Benny!!!” I am utterly confused. What on earth does that mean? Does Benny have some special skill that my son lacks? Was there an honors level of potty training that I did not sign up for? Are we going to need a tutor to help him catch up? As my mind runs wild about falling behind so early in the school year I notice my son walking to the bathroom. I peek through the doorway and see him pull down his pants and STAND at the toilet. He sees me looking and declares proudly, “See, I pee-pee like Benny.” I take a big sigh of relief and mentally cancel the appointment with the life coach. Instead, I think about calling Benny’s dad and thanking him. And the next time I have a big parenting task at hand I won’t doubt myself so much. Maybe I won’t need to call my therapist, the life coach, the tutor, and the special consultant. Maybe I can just let my MomAbility guide me.