Just Like That… We’re Potty Training for Real

Week before last, Graham pulled the same stunt: wouldn’t leave the house without Thomas underwear on. Fine. I took him to class with an extra set of clothes and told the school to see how he does. I picked him up that night wearing the same clothes I’d dropped him off in (!!!)… wearing a diaper with his Thomas underwear over it (?!?).

(Apparently the teacher took him to the bathroom and asked if he wanted to wear his underwear or his diaper and he responded “yes,” so that’s how they translated.)

Not even a day later, Graham’s insistence on wearing underwear quickly fused with his refusal to put on a diaper. Tears over a diaper. Rage and gnashing of teeth over THE DIAPER-WEARING THING.

So, that was our motivation. We told him that he could wear underwear pants – as Graham calls them – but that we’d take a weekend to see exactly what that entailed. Just to see if he was serious.

Here’s how our week went down…

Saturday (first full day in underwear): Lots of successful uses of the potty. A few accidents.

Sunday: One accident.

Monday (first day at school): Four accidents. And a request to “just pee on the drain” in the middle of the daycare bathroom floor. Pottying is hard, folks. I can’t blame him, really. Plus, he had to learn how to get comfortable with a lot of other kids around. That’s not easy.

Monday night: Nightmare at midnight, then woke up crying for mommy and daddy at 2, 4 and 5 a.m.

Tuesday: Lots of tears about using the potty at home in the morning.  Had a long talk about whether or not he really wanted to do this and what wearing underwear was going to mean (long term) from a work-you-have-to-do standpoint. Graham insisted on trying for the underwear. Two accidents at school that day.

Wednesday: Two accidents and the introduction of standing up at the potty at home that night.

Thursday: Successful standing up at the potty at home in the morning. Zero accidents all day.

Friday: Zero accidents.

On like that through the weekend. Still no accidents. Except for that morning he peed on our not-even-24-hours-old brand new carpet while waiting for Andy to get his stepstool out of the car (at his very insistence). Grrr.

I should mention we’ve had a lot of night wakings and calls out for “Mommy” and “Daddy”. Graham is uncharacteristically needing extra extra comfort and cuddles from us right now. I can’t say that I mind at all.

So how do I sum it up the whole process? We did two things, really:

1. We waited until he was ready. I mean, conscious-decision, grit-your-teeth-and-do-it kinda ready.

2. We didn’t fuss around with Pull-ups. He moved straight into underwear. Messier, yes. But he got the idea REAAALLY quickly.

For the second point, I had to get full alignment with Graham’s daycare teacher that she was on board. Like I said, it’s a messier route than Pull-ups, which will catch an accident. His teacher had taught her daughter to use the potty by switching her over to underwear in a similar way, so she was on board with the plan. The only caveat: if he wasn’t showing signs of readiness or improvement, she’d have to insist he wear Pull-ups or diapers and try again later.

I claim no expertise either. We’re not done yet. Graham’s still not pooping in the potty. But since he’s been in underwear, he’s been waiting for diaper time at nap or bedtime to take care of business. That will come with time too, I’m sure.


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