Adventures of Liam on the Potty.
I'm writing this partly to avoid writing about Adeleine's NICU story. I've found it hard to sit down and write that one, so consequently I haven't written anything in about two weeks. So I thought we could avoid/procrastinate together and I'll just write about Liam's potty adventures! :)
Liam got his first potty as a gift from Grandma when he was one year old. He was perhaps a bit too young for it, since instead of using it, he promptly took the cushiony seat and bit a chunk off it. He randomly was interested in the potty for a day or so every once and awhile until he was just over two years old. We didn't push it, if he wanted to go, great, if not, that's ok too. It was a novelty that would come and go.
When he was 27 months his daycare teacher thought he might be ready to go, since he was starting to show an interest and went on the toilet a few times at school. So, I ran out and got a bunch of cloth training pants (Big Boy Pants!) and we gave it a try. Each day he came home from daycare with a laundry bag of dirty pants, but we celebrated the few times he went in the potty like he'd just won the lottery. He wasn't one to tell the teachers that he had to go, he'd just pee or poo in his pants and continue to play. Unfortunately the daycare he was in at the time wasn't able to proactively monitor his toileting or promptly change him when he was wet. This, along with the fact that he was getting injured at the school on a regular basis, prompted us to switch schools ASAP. I'll write more about that in another post when I share our switch to Montessori school.
Once he was in Montessori, things really started to move along. They did a few things different there which were good for Liam. First, no more Big Boy Pants. They considered those to be diapers, too much absorbtion. They used "waffle" pants. They are more like underwear, but have a waffle texture to the fabric and a very small bit of absorbing material - just enough so the kid realizes he just peed himself, but doesn't make a huge puddle on the floor. (You find these at Wal-Mart by the way.) Second, they operated under the expectation that he could do it. Liam peed in the potty and that was simply the way things were. The way they spoke to him, the way they handled an accident, the way they handled a successful potty trip, all of it was no big deal, that's just what you do. Third, because going on the potty was expected, they proactively got him to go and when he had an accident, they taught him to change himself! Take dirty clothes off, go get new clothes, put new clothes back on. This made having an accident take up more time than if he'd just peed in the toilet (while also developing some practical life skills). Finally, they stressed consistency. Whatever they did at school we should do at home. No training pants, have the expectation that he can go and have him take responsibility for accidents. It was amazing. In two months he got down to just a few (2-4) accidents a day (which may still seem like a lot to some, but when you have 8-10 accidents a day - every pee basically - this is a huge big deal!).
Then came Christmas holidays. Two weeks of no routine, new baby in the house, being sick, Santa, new toys, snow days - it was all just too much. All the progress he made crashed and burned a week into the holidays. Every pee and poo was an accident. I brought him to the doctor to see if he had a bladder infection, the doctor looked at him and said "He's two and a half. He just doesn't care." Ha! That was kinda funny. But also sad, since my house was covered in urine (well not totally, but pretty much every seat surface was christened at some point). I cracked after the second day of cleaning chairs and he completely reverted back to diapers. We all breathed a sigh of relief and enjoyed the rest of our holiday.
Back at school in January, it took him at least three weeks to get to where he was before the holidays. After two weeks I asked his teachers if we should just give him a break and go back to diapers for awhile. They said "He can do it. He'll get there. Just give him a bit more time", and they were right. But in the meantime I went and bought this for his carseat. One of the other things they had to work on with him in January was to trust that he could go to the potty and his work/toys would be there when he came back. In his other school he had to defend his toys (and himself) everyday from grabby kids, so this was a hard concept for him to learn and as a result he would stay with his stuff until he was done playing with it regardless if he had just peed himself. Now he's starting to get comfortable with the fact that no one will steal his stuff while he's in the washroom, so there's been much improvement lately. Ugh, it sounds like he was in a prison environment before. Geez, it wasn't all that bad!
It is now February. We started last October with the training so it's been 5 months. I'm very proud to say he had two days last week and two days this week with NO ACCIDENTS!!! This is probably not Montessori of me at all, but I gave him a little reward - a Schleich toy each day without an accident. He was so surprised by it! Rrraar! I'll have to work out a way to make the rewards more random once he gets more consistent with his no accident days. But right now I'm so proud of him I just want to give him all the animals at once! Yay!
I find now when we are out he likes to tell you when he has to go, just so he can pee in interesting places. We've peed in the grocery store toilet, the shoppers drug mart toilet, restaurant toilets, at the walk-in-clinic (ew, by the way), on the side of the road in the country (Liam likes to say he peed in the forest because there were trees nearby), on a snowbank downtown and in the snow at the park. When you gotta go, you gotta go. And wherever we are, I'm more than happy to seek out the nearest toilet or tree for him! My little boy is growing up!! *tear*
So here's hoping next week he has two more no-accident days...or maybe even three!!!