Jul 31, 2011

Smart Boy...

The Littler One has had a breakthrough this weekend.

We started potty-training a month ago. Now, I know you're all thinking "Wow, he's only two and already you are potty-training him. You are brilliant and motivated, Skerrib," but the fact is that I am on the lazy end of things and wouldn't have even thought of it, except that it was his idea. He started randomly taking off his diapers (and laughing at me while he did it), and he wanted to sit on the potty like his big brother, which is hilarious because His Highness is of the opinion that going to the potty is a pain and interrupts playtime.

So I thought, "Hey I'd better take advantage of this while he wants to do it." But I didn't want to do the Pull-Ups. First off, they are expensive and I am cheap. Second, my kids seem to follow the line of reasoning that having a diaper-ish thing there to catch the drips and poops means that everything is OK and there is no need to put anything in the potty.

So I bought a bunch of old-school, white cotton training pants, and when we got back from our summer vacation we began a modified verson of potty boot camp. We stayed close to home for a couple days to get the basic idea down. You go sit on the potty for a few minutes. If any pee or poop comes out, you get an awesome reward. If not, you get a mediocre reward for trying. I learned from the first time around that teeny-tiny rewards are just as awesome as ridiculously expensive rewards, and you don't actually need to buy the entire fleet of Cars cars to convince your kid to poop in the potty. Or maybe we did for His Highness, but I was determined not to do the same thing with the sequel or The Littler One.

Boot camp was good because it let us try lots of things and figure out what would likely work this time around. Tootsie Roll Midgees are sufficient for a potty success, and those little colored star stickers are grand for a try. Around the house, naked works better than training pants. We also figured out that the Littler One very much values his freedom of choice, and will only sit on the potty when he wants to, and for as long as he wants to, so in general when we went out we put potty-training on hold and let him wear a diaper.

Overall we've had little successes along the way, and The Littler One seemed to be progressing, albeit gradually, until yesterday. Yesterday something clicked, and he went the entire day without a single accident. He also sat on the potty what seemed like every 10 minutes, and pushed out whatever pee was in him, even if it was a milliliter or less. That kid was on a singular, focused mission for Tootsie Rolls.

So today, with church and all, I wondered what would happen if we tried going with the training pants instead of the diaper. I'll take a little credit for my idea to put some star stickers and Tootsie Rolls in a baggie, and bingo--portable potty training. He made it all the way thru church clean & dry, earning several Tootsie Rolls along the way. We had a poop issue during lunch at the restaurant, but in the big scheme of things this is massive progress.

He has been so successful that we ran out of Tootsie Rolls, so we transitioned to a different potty candy. The Cat Daddy made the call to switch to Starburst, which I'm guessing is because he loves them, and I can't say I blame him either. If The Littler One keeps up this pace (and if the Cat Daddy raids the potty candy), then by next week we'll run out of Starburst, so my thought then is to switch to Skittles, and after that we'll just have to see. Moving from extrinsic to intrinsic motivation can be a tricky thing, so I'm treading lightly and carefully.

I have no words of wisdom for those who are in the throes of potty training. I have been just as gratefully stymied this time around as I was frustrated with the oldest's process. Yes, we know better what seems to work for our family overall, and I've learned to look and listen and be more responsive, but for us it is as much an issue of our children's personalities as anything else. When The Littler One wants something (ie candy), he buckles down and keeps trying until he gets it. He is very determined, indeed.

Smart boy...


jaacs said...

That.is.AWESOME! I love reading how it works out for other people. Both of our girls just potty-trained themselves and I am pretty certain I wont be so lucky with our boy....so I like to hear other people's experiences. Although...honestly...you are kinda lucking out yourself, aren't you? lol. Bummer! :o)

Skerrib said...

Oh I'm totally lucking out. There is no credit to be taken here, except by him!

Sylvia said...

Potty training...potty training...hmm. Nope haven't heard of it, and neither has the 2 1/2 year old. Lalalalala. When we do get around to it at some point I AM looking forward to floating Cheerios in the toilet as a target. Didn't get to do that with the girls!