With 100% certainly, I knew potty-training Ben would be different than potty-training Maya.
I was right — it has been different– but not how I expected. She was relatively easy to train, but he has been significantly easier–which makes me feel like I’m waiting for the other shoe to fall!
We started putting Maya on the potty at 18 months and every now and then she’d go, with greater frequency over the next year. A bout with chicken pox (which I didn’t realize one can get while vaccinated, grrrr!) when she was 2 1/2 meant we were home-bound and I took that time home with her to daytime potty-train her. She had one or two accidents and never looked back. By 3, she was dry at naps and by 3 1/2 she was dry at night. She has not had an accident since (she’s 5 now).
With Ben, we waited til he turned 2 before even showing him how to use the potty. Why? Because everything I read and heard told us not to expect boys to catch on as quickly; to have lower expectations. And so we did; I saw no reason to rush it.
But clearly Ben had other plans. Maybe it’s having a big sister and wanting to be like her, or just being around people using the bathroom a lot, or being a boy and loving potty-talk … who knows.
Either way, he knew he was ready/was showing signs before we — his parents — were willing to take the plunge.
About three months ago, we tried using the potty before bed. Some nights he’d have success, others not so much. But then he started waking up crying for me to change him if he had wet his diaper a few minutes or hours into being asleep. He’d ask to put underwear on if he had successfully peed. And then on vacation, he asked to use the potty several times at my brother’s house– which surprised me enormously since we weren’t even home!
But the telltale sign that we knew we absolutely had to begin potty-training in earnest was this past Thursday at Disney. We were putting sunscreen on the kids and standing on line for a ride when he started grabbing himself and saying that he had to go potty NOW. We couldn’t get out of line fast enough and, as to be expected, he peed in his diaper. He was NOT happy. The poor kid had told us he had to go, and we’d not been quick enough.
We got back late Friday night, and at that point we decided to use our weekend of no plans to commit to boot camp-style potty training.
I set an alarm and every 20 minutes one of us would take him to the bathroom. The first time, he didn’t go when the alarm went off, which resulted in him peeing in the living room. Poor baby was hysterical about peeing in his Donald undies. But that was it: I didn’t make a big deal of it, and changed him into clean clothes. He got a sticker every time he went, plus an M&M (I am not above bribery, especially when chocolate is involved!) and his Prince Ben hat from school (now dubbed Potty Prince Ben hat). Maya also got stickers (and M&Ms) for being so supportive and encouraging.
The alarm system worked. Sometimes he would say he needed to go again 10 minutes later, and sometimes he stretched much longer than 20 minutes. By Sunday he was rocking it, and Monday he went to school in only underwear (with multiple changes of clothes just.in.case) — but he stayed dry all day.
And then he hit two huge milestones (sorry, TMI), he pooped on the potty for the first time last night and this morning when he woke up at 5:45 AM yelling for me, he was DRY! All he wanted was for me to bring him to the bathroom — and then he went back to sleep.
I’m still shaking my head at what transpired in the past 36 hours.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m not saying he’s done, or that he won’t have set-backs — but this blew me away! We used to put Maya on the potty (asleep) at like 11 PM to help train her bladder to get her through the night, which took about a month — and here is Mr. Over-Achiever, staying dry on his third night, a year younger than she was!
I don’t know if he’ll continue to stay dry or have accidents — he’s still so small — but I do know this: This little boy has taught me not to underestimate him!