I have recently had the pleasure of toilet training another human being for the fifth time and it really wasn't so terrible. I always dread it and must admit that the thought of that endeavor alone has given me pause through the years as to whether to expand our family or not. My first forays into the "no more diapers" enterprise were an unqualified disaster. I had no idea what I was doing, so I initially decided to wait until my eldest was ready and took the initiative for herself. Waiting, waiting. That did not ever happen. And I resent all of you whose children just decided to go one day and that was that. I really do. I am not kidding. On her third birthday I figured I had waited quite long enough and proceeded to buy a snazzy potty chair and some sparkly underwear. I won't bore you with the details, which may or may not include twisty, yellow slides at family reunions miles from home and a change of clothes, but months of frustration followed and no matter how patient I tried to be, there was a fair amount of vexation involved. When it came time for the subsequent go round, I again found myself putting it off, but for different reasons. If it was that difficult with my first who was easy going and cooperative in pretty much every way, what horror awaited with the wild, headstrong, and independent soul that is my second child?
***We interrupt this post to take care of a slight "setback."*** That was ironic.
Well, we were in Japan, but an American friend loaned me the book entitled "Toilet Training In Less Than a Day." It sounded too good to be true, but even if it could cut the time in half, to about three months, it would be worth trying. Well, it worked! I was flabbergasted that within a few days he was completely trained. With the next two I decided to not wait until they were too old so that they would be even more malleable and the girls thought it was great fun, which took even less time. So here we were to Phin. It was his half birthday last Monday so it seemed as good a time as any. I ran out to the store to buy all the goodies that he never gets in real life -- sugar cereal, three kinds of bite size cookies, potato chips, donuts -- anything to make him really thirsty, accompanied by a kajillion different drinks that he could gulp to his heart's delight. I, of course, had failed to review the book beforehand so off his diaper goes, we start training a little doll, proceed to sample all of the sugary and/or salty delights, all the while I'm both keeping an eye on his dry pants and riffling through the book, correcting the things I'm doing wrong. #1. Don't do anything else while training -- only pay attention to the child and only talk about toileting. Hmm, I guess I should put the book down. I'll just read a few more pages. Uh? Oh, no! He peed on the floor. Quickly look in the book, what am I supposed to do now? Practice, teach the doll, try to get him to drink so he'll need to go again. I'm really pushing the liquids and treats. Dang it! He peed on the floor again. Now it has only been about an hour, but he has gone through four pairs of training pants and refuses to eat or drink anything else! Apple cider? Soda? I know, chocolate milk? We know it is his favorite thing because out of his vocabulary of about ten words, two are chocolate and milk. You can never say no to that! He did. What!? Okay, gatorade? Maple syrup? Grenadine? Olive oil? Come on, anything! By about 1:00 he hadn't gone on the potty one time, we had no more underwear, he would always pee right after standing up, and I was laying in a ball on the kitchen floor. Why did I try to do this? Nothing is getting through. What was I thinking? He wasn't even showing any signs. I look over at him and he runs over to the potty and pees. And didn't have another accident that day. The next day he had one when I wasn't paying attention and begged me to put on his diaper again -- he brought me a cloth one and then a disposable, but has had very few problems since. The third day we ran some errands and he told me when he needed to go. I can tell the whole thing is causing him a little bit of stress, but he is doing remarkably, astonishingly, shockingly well. Matthew kept saying he didn't think Phin was capable. See? He isn't so slow after all. I'd like to bear my testimony of this book. If you've had problems in the past, it won't let you down.