As a parent of young ones, I had a long list of things I would not do. I would not yell at my kids, belittle them, beat them, or make them get up before 10am on Saturday mornings. As many of you know, Mr.4444 and I have done a pretty darned good job raising our kids, but it hasn't been without a few bumps. Although my degree in Human Development and training as a preschool and kindergarten teacher helped me a lot as a parent of little ones, I didn't know everything!
When it came to potty training, I was interested in the "new school" method of training, in which the child would "let you know" when they were ready to be trained. From my professional experience in early childhood and kindergarten, I had seen the results of too much pressure about using the toilet. I was not going to be all "old school" on my kid and bully him into wearing underwear, and I felt pretty good about that. After all, old school parenting is bad, right?
So...when Kendall's birth approached and Kyle was almost three, I encouraged him to use the toilet, but I didn't pressure him. He used it sporadically, and I clapped and praised him, but I didn't make a big deal of his upcoming birthday and the fact that he was still in diapers. This was an important transition time in his life, and I didn't want to mess it up. Besides, nobody goes to kindergarten in diapers, right? I figured he'd let them go in due time.
I'll never forget the day I came home from the hospital with baby Kendall, and Kyle asked me to change his poopy diaper. He layed(?) down on the floor, and I did the deed, but not without being shocked at how huge this kid was, compared to the tiny infant I had brought home. He was like ten, and he was crapping in a diaper?! It was so gross.
Still, I didn't push the diaper issue; the poor kid had a new baby sister; it didn't seem fair to me to force him out of babyhood like that. He was only three, and he wasn't in school or anything; it wasn't a big deal. He'd use the potty when he was ready.
Six months later, it was status quo on the diapers for Kyle. I didn't like it, and I tried to make him think the potty was awesome (I can't tell you how many books I read that kid when he was sitting on the toilet!) but I didn't bully him about it. I did buy him Power Ranger underwear, and he wore them periodically, but he was still into those diapers.
One day, I was sitting on the couch when Kyle came up to me and said, "Mommy, I need a diaper."
"Okay," I said. "but are you sure you don't want to use the potty?"
He declined, so I put the diaper on him. And then, it happened...
And that's when I decided that it was time for New School to meet Old School.
I told Kyle, "Go upstairs and count how many diapers you have left." He did and came back with "Seven."
Then I told him that when those diapers were gone, he wasn't going to wear diapers anymore. Alarmed, he asked, "Why!?" and I told him, "Because you don't need them any more." He insisted that he did, and I said, "No. You don't. You're almost four years old." I told him he could wear pull-ups to bed if he wanted to (I knew that he hated those), but he declined. I think there was a tear or two (his), but I've blocked them out (cuz I'm cold like that.)
Three days later, I put Kyle's last diaper on him. I told him we were going to celebrate. I baked a "Congratulations, Kyle!" cake, wrapped a present (new book), and invited a family we knew over for dinner. All day long, Kyle asked me to remove his diaper so he could use the toilet and I put it back on him when he was done.
I wish I had a photo of Kyle's face, at the front door when our friends arrived with their kids calling out, "Congratulations, Kyle! Way to go, Man!" and reaching for high-fives. It was as if he was thinking, "This is serious! She's not kidding. I guess I really am done wearing diapers."
He never wore another diaper after that day. And yes, he did wet the bed a handful of times (especially that night, what with all the partying going on), but it all worked out in the end, and I'm really glad I finally woke up. There's something to be said for "old school."
Disclaimer: How/When/Why to potty train your child is your business. All kids, like all parents, are different. My method was chosen based on what I knew about my child and his needs. Please talk to a trusted adviser before deciding to yank the diaper rug out from under your child's butt!
P.S. If you're a mom who likes to give advice, please read Kathy's post and see if you can help her solve her potty problem!
P.P.S. Eternal Lizdom sent me to this excellent post from a mom whose really been through it! Check out A Big (and Stinky) Milestone, especially if you've ever had to deal with the extreme "end" of this issue.