I am finally comfortable saying it - PETER IN POTTY TRAINED! WOOOOO HOOOO... seriously, lets have a party because that was the hardest 15 months of my freaking life!
Peter first went potty on the potty in April of 2010, had a short stint of being semi-potty trained around his birthday last year (when he turned 3), and then about 2 weeks after his 4th birthday he decided he was ready and BOOM... Potty trained in two days.
Peter took all the rules of how to potty train a kid and laughed in their face. He proved that he was strong willed, and was not going to do it until he was good and ready. I'm not going to lie, it was extremely taxing on Brett and I. Sometimes there were tears shed, and sometimes it wasn't Peter doing the crying.
Many people said things that hurt my feelings and Peter's feelings on the subject. As a parent I cannot tell you how hard it was to listen to friends say to Peter, "Don't you want to be a big boy?" and having him cry about it later.
Or how hard it was when people told me that, "Boys are physically ready by the time they are three." - Thanks, are you trying to say that my kid is delayed or that I am a bad parent?
There are moments the past year that MORTIFIED me. Being the only mom in the 2007 playgroup who's kid was still in diapers was so hard, and the few times when I was changing Peter's diaper in public restrooms and strangers walked by and said, "He is a little big to be in diapers!" I wanted to curl up and hide.
The fact was, Peter was TERRIFIED of pooping. He held it for DAYS until he would be rolling on the floor crying from the pain. Because he was holding his poop, he wasn't able to hold his pee. Because of both I had to let him wear Pull-Ups.
Based on all the research we did online, and talking to doctors and parents with the same issues, this is normal for boys. "Normal" does not make it easier to live with, but it did make me realize that I was powerless and needed to stop getting frustrated. Peter kept telling us that he was going to start wearing underwear when he turned 4.
The day after his 4th birthday I asked him if he was ready for underwear and he said, "Maybe when I turn 5." So I waited.
Two weeks later we were at the Disney store. Peter wanted everything in site. So I let him pick a toy (Cars) and a new pack of underwear and headed to check out. When I got home I put the kids down for naps and got to work making a chart (entitled: Peter and Aaron's Race to Diaper Independence):
Day 1 - Lot of accidents, Peter cried for his Pull-Ups. I gave them back and reminded him that even though he was wearing Pull-Ups he could still use the potty when he needed to go.
Day 2 - Peter wore Pull-Ups and didn't have any accidents, BUT I saw him holding his poop. I decided to give him something to help him go so it would be less traumatic. Fifteen minutes later he ran to the bathroom, went poop and has been going on the potty with no problem ever since (I think it helped that I made a HUGE deal about how it didn't hurt and wasn't scary at all).
Day 3 - Went back to underwear and has been virtually accident free ever since.
He does wear "training pants" at night (they are essentially cloth diaper pull ups, but with very little absorbancy), but he has a lot of dry nights and I am not really concerned about that.
This experience has taught me a few things, the two most important being -
1. Waiting until your child is ready to potty train is so much easier than fighting with them. Pushing when they are not physically or emotionally ready is only going to frustrate you both and could potentially do more damage than good.
2. Do not let people make you feel bad about the way you choose to deal with tough situations with your kids. I let people get to me. I knew in my heart that Peter would do it when he was ready, but outsiders frequently made me feel like a bad parent.
I know this is a much longer blog than I usually write (and more serious), but to any mom who is having trouble, you are not alone. And to people who know someone who is having trouble - give your friend/relative a break. It is hard enough without your commentary.
Next task - Aaron... who, guess what? Is also terrified of pooping. Of course he is.