Monday, June 14, 2010

"New School"? Meet "Old School"

Three years' worth of blogging, and I've never told this story?! I don't know how I got this far without it, because it's a good one. I was inspired to share it today, having read about poor Kathy's Potty Trouble post. She could use some advice, so pay her a visit [after you read my post, of course!]

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...

That little shit  stinker stood there as the tell-tale taking-a-pee glaze came over his eyes, and then he announced, "Okay. I'm done. I need a new one, please."

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.


  1. That is so awesome you really are the master! Potty training was hell....I have blocked it from my memory but I remember it was hell. It is times like that I was glad to have an only child!

  2. Sounds like you both learned a lesson that fateful day.

    I like the way you thought on your feet, telling him to go count the remaining diapers. That's pure wisdom there.

  3. Great story! I liked how you gave him the chance to grow. Your reinforcement was awesome! There are a few things I would have done differently, but in the end, it worked out.

    Thanks for sharing!

  4. I love Old School.

    Congrats on that actually working. Potty training my older one was a nightmare. I'm getting weepy just thinking about it. haha

  5. I'm very blessed that potty training has been easy with both of my kids!

    Another blog friend of mine has an ugly chapter of training coming to a close right now:

    This one might be especially helpful:

  6. Hilarious! I was old school, and it only took a month to potty train my twins. They sometimes will still pee in their underwear because they don't want to stop playing, and they have to wear pull-ups at night still, but oh! Not changing a 3 year-old poopy diaper is wonderful!

    (I tried the potty-training in a day method, before going old school. After that one day I was exhausted and my kids were having melt-downs. Just didn't work for us!)

  7. What a great post! It's amazing how different every kid is, and how differently they react to potty training. Lucky me, kid #2 has been EASY. I deserved easy after kid #1's issues. :)

    Thanks for visiting my blog. Glad I'm not the only one who bakes cakes to celebrate potty training. :) (We even did have a friend over for the "party" yesterday!)

  8. I actually knew a kid* who still went to 1st grade wearing diapers. The kids at school made fun of it and the very first day she went home and stated using the toilet.

    *True story and it wasn't me, but a kid that lived down the street.

  9. OMG. That is HILARIOUS. Like, I could not stop laughing. In a way, I guess you BOTH learned some lessons that day, huh?


  10. I kind of love that he stood there and peed and then asked for another about letting you know he was ready! lol

    My daughter was so potty training resistant....she would wear the underwear and hold it ALL DAY LONG until nap time when she knew I would put her in a pullup (which she then used) and then hold it ALL DAY LONG again until the bedtime pullup. Drove me crazy! But she eventually got over it and used the potty. At least I know she is good for long car trips without having to make a bunch of stops!

  11. I was definitely old school but I don't remember major issues or problems. My children have been new school with their children and one grandchild had trouble getting out of diapers or pull ups which was a requirement for her to attend school. So she was in them a very long time.

  12. Thank you so much for sending all the advisors over to my blog! I have definitely gotten some good ideas! I really like the countdown to no more pullups... and The Girl always wishes for cake so if I provide one as part of the celebration it could really help solidify the deal -- I'll be posting a follow up... hopefully soon, when the deed is done!

  13. That really brings back memories! I was like you all new school and my first two were so easy; they just did it and never even had accidents at night. But my third one..she was tough. She slept in her crib til she was 4 and I had taken the sides off and everything. I told her I was not going to change any more diapers so she changed herself (it was so hard not to laugh) I finally got her when she wanted to go outside to play with the older kids and I told her only big girls play outside with big kids that did it!

  14. I was dreading potty training and in response to zero interest from my daughter had delayed attempting it for a long time. But I think now it was a good thing to wait as it was over and done in no time. I will hop over to your friend's blog right now!

  15. OMG...this made me cry. Why?? Because my Lil Lady is 3yrs 8 months old and refuses to sit on the potty.....I know the feeling of changing a bigger kids poopy diaper! ( I just changed her a few moments ago!) I also have a 2 yr 3 month old boy....
    ahhhh....I am headed over to Kathy's post so I might feel better...
    I am going to do the cake thing though...THAT I haven't tried!!!
    I am now a new are my idol!!

  16. I have a similar story but it was about wearing the pull ups to bed .. she was dry every morning but insisted on wearing them to bed and then one morning she stayed in the pull up until it hung to her knees and I said "no more pull-ups" and she said ok and that was that .. I love your story!!

  17. Not being a Mom, I really don't understand the potty training difficulties, but I'm grateful for the funny stories :) and in this case, the success!!

    Kristin - The Goat

  18. Glad to hear he's not still wearing that same diaper.

  19. Buggy was 3 and 1/2 and I just told hime the store was out of diapers and pull ups so he was just going to have to go ...He did and life was good from May until October when he broke his leg and had to schooch everywhere and we had to carry him to the potty ...poor kid

  20. I'm with ya on the new school... mostly. Mister Man did it on his own at 3 1/2. Little Miss could CARE LESS. I finally told her she couldn't take swim lessons until she was potty trained. But we're still in Pull Ups and she's almost 5. Suggestions oh zen master?

  21. I don't have kids, but my siblings and I were trained by the time we could walk. It wasn't upsetting to us because we were far too young to remember. From the time we were aboug 5 months old my parents would hold us on the toilet until we went, regardless of how long it took.

  22. Come move in with me till you can get Gator out of pull ups!!!!!!

  23. hahah way to go MRS. 4444!

    I am still in the process of potty-training Brandon, and he will turn 3 in August...he has interest and he goes before bathtime and sometiems before bed...I know he will train in time, whose time, I dunno!

  24. Mighty Mom---Now, that's a whole 'nuther can o' worms, isn't it?! God Bless you AND Pull-Ups!

    I'll comment via email to the rest :)


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