Monday, January 12, 2015

Adventures in Potty Training!

Potty Training Boot Camp -  Round 1
Everett: 1          Me: 0

I've said it once, and I've said it at least four times after I said it that one time: raising a child is like training a dog. When we acquired Willow, we read this awesome book about how to train a dog. You see, dogs are social beings, and each "pack" has a social makeup.  The first step in training a dog is to get them used to their place in the family's hierarchy. There are simple non-verbal cues you can give a dog to let her know where she stands, such as rolling her on her back when she tries to take over as alpha, or feeding the dog after the humans have eaten, as beta animals in the pack eat after the alpha dogs.

Everett's "pack" training has been pretty similar, except he gets the first course of meals rather than the table scraps, and we feel no need to roll him into submissive postures to "put him in his place" - although I did have to bodycheck him into his car seat once during a particularly brutal tantrum in the grocery store parking lot. However, for the most part our parenting during this phase of life is teaching him social norms, and giving him both verbal ("We don't play with fire.") and non-verbal (leading by example) cues as to how he can properly behave. Hopefully my wrestling skills will not be put to use too many more times. That singlet doesn't fit me anymore.

So when it came down to potty training, I referenced the good ole Monks for advice. To my absolute shock, I found that they offered ZERO advice on how to potty train a child. Since their crate training methods in no way applied to my toddler, I read some actual potty training manuals (aka articles I found on Pinterest). Kiddo was doing great! He could pretty much pee on command, and he always asked to "Use potty please," when he needed to "Takin' the dump."  <---- Everett's words, not mine.

And then something happened. I don't know what it was, but all of a sudden he became frightened of the process. To get back on track, I decided to implement Potty Training Boot Camp this weekend. Here's the gist of how it all went down -

Me: "Everett, do you want to go potty on the toilet?"
Everett: "No."
Me: "Do you want a piece of candy?"
Everett: "Yeah!"
Me: "Great, you can have a piece of candy if you go potty on the toilet."
Everett: "It's Tuesday...Friday. Garbage truck!"

I'll spare you the gory details of me stepping in a pile of human feces, but I decided to throw in the towel after Everett peed on the kitchen floor, ran away after he realized what was happening, slipped in the puddle, then split his lip open on a kitchen cabinet. One can only take so much trauma in a day.

However, remember how next weekend is a 3-day weekend? I have a few tricks up my sleeve (spoiler alert: it's Hershey Kisses), and I'm looking forward to VICTORY. I do wish we could just stick him in a crate, but I guess the process is pretty similar to training a corgi: hydrate, wait, pee, treat, repeat. The good news is our efforts were not completely wasted. We got him to put on underwear after we made up a song for it, and he will pee on command if he can see the prize, but only if the candy is sitting right there. Baby steps!

If anyone has any advice on potty training boys I am all ears. Wish me luck!

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