I potty-trained Big Brother (BB) this week. I’m still surprised. It’s something I’ve known was coming but I honestly thought he’d be 3 before he was out of diapers. The past few weeks he’s been showing signs that he’s ready and then bam! The week was here, we threw away his diapers (well, most of them. I put half a box in Little Brother’s (LB) room for when he’s bigger) threw on his Spiderman underwear and went to work. I went through a roll and a half of paper towels the first day cleaning up all his accidents. But somehow I was still optimistic that it would work.
I used Lora Jensen’s 3-day Potty Training method which has a strong emphasis on praise and not getting frustrated about the accidents. It sounds simple and it honestly should be a 365-day parenting method. It was amazing to watch how he responded so well to my upbeat, no problem attitude.
Of course I’m bursting with pride about how well he has done, but I’ve also learned a few things I didn’t expect through this whole process.
1. Give him an inch and he’ll go a mile. Prior to this week, he was afraid of the pool from a falling accident a month ago. He couldn’t pedal his trike. He was a bit irritable with me. After the last 5 days of potty training he has a new confidence and a better attitude. I took him to my mom’s for our first “outing” to go swimming. He was in the water with her before I could get LB changed! He was swimming (with floaties), floating on his back, laughing and splashing all around! It was amazing. The day before, we had a quick outside play time and he pedaled his tricycle down the street and a few times in the garage. His smile of pride and self-confidence practically breaks my heart with excitement.
2. I have really strong arms. Last week I reread Proverbs 31 in an effort to motivate myself to just be better at home. I spent a lot of time meditating on the wife of noble character in this passage when BB was a baby. This week, I was continually reminded of verse 17 “She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks”. BB weighs 35 lbs and LB is a little over 20 lbs. Between these two little men, the baskets of laundry (so much laundry!) dragging the exersaucer around the house while holding LB…my arms are in amazing shape! I just kept reminding myself that my arms are able to do this. The scripture helped reinforce the idea that I can do this. I had to do it and I could!
3. He wants to be with me all the time. In addition to constant praise, the 3-day method requires someone to be with the child at all times (except when sleeping) for 3 days. I thought this was going to break me. Ok, this plus not being able to leave the house. I thought I’d go nuts being in this house with my little shadow for 3 full days alone. But he loved it! In fact, he’s been more affectionate since we’ve spent so much time together. Instead of saying “I’m going to change LB’s diaper, you stay in the playroom and I’ll be back” I said “I have to change LB’s diaper, do you want to come?” which he responds with a joyful “yes!” as if we were going to a theme park. He voluntarily sat down next to me twice this week! This is a big deal, he’s not a super cuddly kid. He wants to be with me during the minutia of my day. Doing the dishes, sweeping the floor, taking out the laundry…all the things I would think he’d rather skip out on (or maybe the things I think it’d be easier to do alone?) he wants to be right there with me! He has really blossomed under the (nearly) undivided attention I’ve give him this week. It can’t be like that forever since I think LB noticed the difference a bit, but it was enlightening to see him open up without the distractions of grocery shopping, cleaning, yardwork and (let’s face it) Facebook that can take me away from him. I don’t know why it surprised me so, but I honestly feel like inviting him to stay with me is part of what has put him in such a good mood. And I want to keep it that way.
4. He needed this. This has been a great week of self-discovery for BB. He has learned more about himself and needed to know that he could accomplish something like this. He needed to move up into the next phase of being a “big boy”.
5. I needed this. Sometimes I feel desperately hopeless during the day. Like I’m about to pass out with 10 miles left in a marathon. I’m not sure I’m going to make it. I have felt frustrated with the kids and then frustrated with myself. It’s not been a really healthy cycle. But I did this. Ty helped a bit in the evenings, but this is something I really did all by myself. And not just because I have the anatomy for it. I researched, prepared and stuck to it. And I’m proud of me for it. This whole process taught me that I can make it. I can do this. It’s not easy, but I can do it.