Zen and the Art of Potty Training


I missed the memo about Zen and the art of potty training.

Please forgive this foray into the scatological, but my son is nearly 3 so it’s about that time.  When I recently won a free copy of the e-book, “Oh Crap! Potty Training”  I took it as a sign from the gods that we needed to get on the potty training trolley.

The technique recommended by the author makes a lot of intuitive sense, but it’s hard.  It takes a lot of parental focus and what is the theme of modern life, if not distraction?  To help ensure my son’s best start in this potty training adventure, I couldn’t really let him out of my sight for the entire day.  No multi-tasking. I had to be present. I had to clear my mind of my other worries and preoccupations and just tune in to my son. 

Here’s how it went:

Pee No. 1:  He’d had two juice boxes…I should have known better than to turn by back for even a second.  Atticus wanted to get his Play Doh mat from his room, and he raced ahead.  Seconds later when I caught up, he had peed.   Mommy was not present, physically or otherwise.

Poop No. 1:   Atticus  started showing some signs that he needed to go, the farting was a dead giveaway.  He started stressing out a little bit and asking for a diaper. I encouraged him to sit on the potty, but he seemed very dubious about how this was going to work.  After he relaxed, he just pooped and he seemed a little surprised that it happened. The author of the e-book said that looking at the poop and dumping it into the toilet would be a reward onto itself, and it was.  There were several high fives and lots of praise.  It was a big moment! 

Pee No. 2:  We’d been finger painting, and with paint every where, a shower was the only option.  I got us both in the shower, and Atticus promptly peed.  I figured this would happen.

Pee No. 3:  After the shower, Atticus was content to be naked for a while, and just casually sat on the potty, like it was a piece of furniture.  After about 20 minutes, he peed and proudly announced it after the fact.

Pee No. 4:  He was climbing around on the couch and all of a sudden he paused.  I said, “Are you peeing?”  He just got himself to the potty, pulled down his shorts and peed.  This was a bit of a break through, I thought. 

Poop No. 2 & Pee No. 4 1/2:  We were happily stamping letters into Play Doh when Atticus waltzed over to the potty, pulled down his shorts, and started with the tell-tale grunting.  This time he didn’t ask for a diaper or show any distress, he just pooped.  While he was pooping, he also squeezed out a little bit of pee.  As with previous successes, there was much fanfare and rejoicing as we made the deposit and flushed.

Pee No. 5:  As I was washing the insert to the potty, said he needed to pee again.  We have two potties, so I encouraged him to go use the other one.  I figured he might be faking since going potty was starting to become lots o’ fun.  But lo and behold, he peed some more.

Pee No. 6:  I let my guard down to go pee myself, leaving Atticus watching a video in the living room.  Within a minute, Atticus yelled, “I peed!”  I fully expected to see him soaked, but even when I was out of the room, he got himself to the potty and peed.  I was tickled and totally gobsmacked.

Pee No. 6 1/2-7:  I encouraged him to use the potty right before his evening bath and he dutifully complied, but only peed a tiny amount in the potty.  Once he got in the shower, he let fly with a real pee.   Atticus clearly takes a Costanzan view of plumbing.

Since I had been dreading and postponing potty training for some time now, the successes of this day were  a very happy surprise.   Here’s my theory…I gave my son the gift of my relaxed and attentive presence and he gave me the gift of trust and cooperation.  And not changing diapers anymore?  That’s the gift that keeps on giving.  Memo received.

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