Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Growing Up is Hard to Do

J is going to be 4 in less than 3 months. I've decided it's high time he learned to use the potty. He has decided it's not. Having absolutely no experience in this area, but having read a few parenting books in my time, I know it's not a good idea to force the issue. The stories I've heard from people who did indicate that it makes it a miserable experience for all, and usually fails anyway. My goal has been to find a way to make him want to do it.

About 2 years ago, he really seemed to be showing interest. He would try to climb up on the toilet and have a seat. He stood up in the tub so he could watch himself tinkle. In fact, just about anytime he didn't have a diaper on, he would go somewhere to watch himself tinkle. Surely this was a sign of bladder control. I was sure we had a potty-training protege on our hands. So I bought him his very own potty chair. No pressure, just for him to use in his own time. It was even one of those fancy ones that plays a fanfare when the child produces. He was fascinated. For about a week.

We've tried peer pressure. His boy cousins use the potty, and when they're around, J likes to use the potty too. There's nothing like the sight of three little boys standing around one toilet doing synchronized peeing. The problem is, his cousins live 600 miles away, and the good habits he picks up when they're together wear off quickly.

We've tried flattery. The "you're too grown up for diapers" approach has fallen flat.

A few weeks ago I had another idea: I'd appeal to his love for his mother. Yeah, that worked well. I told J I knew what he could get me for my birthday, which is later this month: He could get potty trained! I had just found a killer sale on diapers, which, combined with the $5 in coupons I had, was too good a deal to pass up. I stocked up on a couple hundred. I told him that when these ran out, he could wear big-boy pants and use the potty. He said, "Mommy, I just want to get you a present instead." Well it sounded like a good idea to me. . .

Apparently, he took me seriously. Grandma was watching him as usual last week. He was due for a change, and she asked him to run to his room and grab a diaper for her. Moments later, he came running back, sobbing, "There's only one diaper left! I'm only three years old! I'm just a little kid. I don't want to wear big boy pants yet!"

He assures me that when he's five, he'll use the potty. Good. By then, H should be trained. Maybe she can teach him.

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