Wednesday, July 30, 2014

I'm Not Sure Exactly Where Things Went Wrong

So we've been failing at potty training for a few months now. Stow takes everything slow and easy, and getting out of diapers has been no different. I mean, he still sleeps in a crib and eats in a high chair. Of course, part of this is because he's my third kid and if he's happy being contained, I'm happy keeping him out of trouble. Besides, the kid really does love the comfort and safety of confined spaces (sensory issues anyone?). Plus, we lost several important toddler bed parts when we moved and have to wait four more weeks until the big kid bedroom set arrives. So, there's that, too.

Anyway, it turns out that the only way we can get Stow to consistently use the potty is to let him walk around the house naked all day long. I know friends who used this approach over the course of a weekend, and voila! their kids were potty trained. Stow, not so much. For you analytical thinkers, here's the problem written as a set of math equations:

No clothes = No potty accidents

Yes clothes = A big fat mess (unless, of course, you put him in a pull-up, and then he just pretends he's never heard of toilets or holding it until he gets to one)

Here's a little story to illustrate my point:

Last week, Stow had his annual kidney ultrasound to check on the status of his hydronephrosis. For best results, one is supposed to come to a kidney ultrasound with a full bladder. Hahahahaha! Full bladder!! Hahahaha! (wipes tear from eye). You try explaining to a three year-old that he needs to drink 20 ounces of water and then hold it until we get to the hospital and onto the exam table. I tried. I really did. I gave him his water and then put him in his absolute favorite brand-spanking new Shinkansen underpants. All things being equal, I figured I had a slightly higher chance of him holding it if he wasn’t in a pull-up and if he was wearing a picture of his all-time favorite thing on his bum. Besides, I could hardly take him to the appointment naked.

When I made him promise, cross-his-heart-and-hope-to-die that he wouldn’t dirty his new underpants, Stow looked at me with a convincingly sincere expression and whispered, "Okay, Mommy.”

I figured this plan was either genius or one of the worst ideas in the history of the human race. It turned out to be that second one.

Stow loves big boy underpants because they all seem to have this handy pocket right in the middle! But even the mighty Shinkansen had no power over him.
The thing is, I think we totally would've made it if they'd been running on time and (and this is important) if I'd noticed that moment when Stow's initial hiding-in-the-corner-from-strangers posture had morphed into his covert pooping posture. I was about 10 seconds too late in figuring that one out, so by the time I got to him, there was a puddle. Fortunately, the puddle was small (most of the mess having gone into his pant leg and shoes), the carpet was speckled, and he was hiding behind a plant, so I don't think anyone noticed it when I scooped him up and ran to the bathroom.

I had exactly two things going for me that day. One: I remembered to pack a change of clothes. Two: the hospital changing table was in the wheelchair accessible stall right next to the toilet and there was a huge roll of toilet paper. Have you ever tried to deal with two days’ worth of loose stool while stripping wet shoes, socks, and pants off of a three year-old perched perilously in the standing position on top of a public bathroom flip down changing table? No? Well, let me be the first to tell you: it’s a challenge. Fortunately, given the proximity of the toilet to the changing table, I was able to keep one hand on Stow while using the other to wipe and dispose of his mess as quickly as possible. Half a roll of toilet paper and 25 baby wipes later, Stow was in clean clothes and ready to go back to his seat (though there wasn’t much I could do about his “water-logged” shoes). I tied his newly rinsed underwear and wet clothes into an odor-free bag, stuck them in the baby bag, and lugged Stow back to the waiting room.

When we got there, the ultrasound technician was waiting for us.

“I was surprised when they told me he was in the restroom," she said. "I really wish you would have waited.” Then, I sucker punched her and shoved the bag of wet and smelly clothes into her face. Ok, that’s not entirely accurate and may in fact be a blatant lie. I did, however, silently escort Stow to his ultrasound and hold his hand until it was finished.

If you come to visit, don't be surprised to be greeted by a naked 3 year-old. Believe me, it's better than the alternative. That's all I'm saying.

1 comment:

Steffikins said...

I know I'm a bit late to the party on this post, but I just had to say that that tech must not have kids. Seriously, why say that? He's three, they can't be convinced to hold it. You are a nicer person than me, I would have loudly and angrily told her what I had just been through and where she can shove her "wishes"... I'll cross my fingers for ya that he gets it down soon, I've dealt with the naked thing with little cousins, mine is still too young, but the best day was when the mailman came to the glass door to knock and my then 3 year old cousin pressed his naked body to the glass and yelled "hi mail guy, I'm naked!" The look on the guy's face was PRICELESS and I was in tears with laughter and apologizing at the same time. Best part? Their house faced the local community college, which was busy with people heading to classes, so about 30 people looked. He's 10 now, I can't wait to share the story with his first girlfriend in about 5 years... :D