When I found out I was pregnant with our third last summer we had more than a few people tell us that we should “get on” with potty training my then 2 year old. “You don’t want 2 in diapers…if you can help it!” is what they said.
So I “got on” with it.
We started around October, he was about 2 ½. Things went well, I mean as well as could be expected. I let him pick out which pair of underwear he wanted to put on every morning, bought him the cute frog pot, and the Mickey Mouse toddler wipes. We rewarded with candy corn, m&m’s and jelly beans. I set him up to succeed each and every day.
I’m not gonna lie, it was rough…not horrible mind you but rough. My first son trained very quickly which I thought was due to my tremendous skills. Unlike Napoleon Dynamite….I don’t have any skills.
So we started in October and he slowly started to get it. And then just after Thanksgiving he gave up altogether and just absolutely refused. Once he gave up, I gave myself permission to give up as well. I was 7 months pregnant, we were getting ready to do two weeks and the holidays in AZ, and I was tired of washing endless amounts of poopy underwear.
Fast forward past the holidays, past baby sister’s birth in February, to the end of March. I was on the phone signing him up for preschool for next year and he disappears into the bathroom. When I got off the phone I went in and found him doing #1 AND #2 on the potty all by himself. Shocked, I asked him what he was doing. “I’m getting ready for preschool,” he said.
And that was it, we were back on the potty train.
There were more hits than misses and before I knew it we were able to go out and about, confidently, in underwear. Not only was he telling me when he needed to go, he was going on his own as well.
That is until about 2 weeks ago. Everything stopped. Not constipation (Lordy, I wish it were constipation!) …REGRESSION! He just decided in his little mind that he didn’t want to poop OR pee in the potty. So he didn’t.
I was back to constantly staying on him to go to the bathroom. If I didn’t, he peed and pooped in his pants. At first he hid it, he’d lay on the floor on his stomach just super still. It didn’t take long for me to pick up on that cue. But after a while he was just brazen about it. He’d just stare at me and pee…in the driveway, in the bathroom, on his shoes, at the table, on my carpet. It felt more like potty training a puppy than a boy. I was always hustling him into the bathroom when he got “that look”. He’d yell, I’d yell, there were tears, lots of tears. I just didn’t understand! It wasn’t like he hadn’t been potty trained, he was. I just couldn’t wrap my mind around this defiance and it was ramping up my anxiety little by little.
It all came to a head last week. I was parked in the mall parking lot nursing my baby in the back row of the car. He was wandering around the minivan entertaining himself. I look up and he’s looking at me with that look. I look down and he’s peeing on the floor of the car!
“What are you doing???”…”I’m peeing!” You’re peeing!!! You’re peeing!!! In my car, on the floor and you’re just going to tell me about it all nonchalant like after the fact?
In one fell swoop I lifted him out of the car, nursing baby still attached, while simultaneously morphing into angry mommy! As I was trying to reason with my toddler (why do we even try?) he gave me this mean look then exclaimed, “Now I’m pooping”. It just spiraled down from there and involved a whole lotta words that just should never have been said. I was p**sed off, he was p**sed on and while we walked into Kohl’s I prayed to God above that a turd wouldn’t roll out of his shorts and onto the floor.
That night as I laid in bed I prayed. I prayed mostly that my son would stop being defiant and poop on the potty. But what I heard in return was a still, small voice that said, “You need to be more merciful with your kids. You are shown mercy upon mercy every day. Be more merciful!” And I whispered back, “You are right and I am so, so sorry.”
Cut to the next morning when my oldest runs into our room at 6am to notify us that his brother had taken all of the diapers out of his drawer, spread them on the floor and then pooped on them (it looked like he made a freakin nest and dropped a duece right in the middle of it). My husband sprang into action but I took a moment, just one more small moment in bed to breathe.
“Go show mercy”, said that voice again. I mean really? I was ready to do that but did it have to be the exact same situation? Yes, apparently, it did. “Go show mercy”. Ok, I will.
So I met up with my boy in the bathroom as he sat on the potty. He looked at me with question in his eyes. Will she be mad, will she be scary? “Had to poop, huh?”, I asked. “Yep” was his response. Then he said in a quiet voice, “Will you please wash my feet”. When I looked down his feet were covered in poop because he stepped in it and tracked it across the floor, which my husband was cleaning furiously out of the carpet with the first thing he could find which was Shout stain remover. When I told him that was probably not the best cleaning agent he shouted at me “I’m shouting it out, OK?!” (I mean you can’t make this irony up in a situation like this). Anyway…
I took another moment and breathed in mercy and breathed out mercy. “Yes, baby, I will wash your feet.”
We are still in IT. This back and forth potty struggle. I’m not perfect, neither is he. Yesterday he did everything I already knew he was capable of without being asked. Today he even pooped on command (he really wanted to go to the beach). So I’m not as in control of things as I thought I was or wanted to be, and maybe he’s not 100% in control either. But the difference now is that I approach him with what he deserves as my child. Mercy makes all the difference in the world.
Disclaimer: I am a good mom but I am not perfect. He is a great kid but not perfect. I lose it, I ask forgiveness and make amends. Please don’t crap on me…I have more than enough of that at home. 🙂