Einstein will be two and a half on Valentine's Day, which is pretty young by many potty training standards, but he's been interested in the process for several months, and he meets most of the "milestones" described by experts like Dr. Sears. So the idea of potty training has been circling in my brain for a while. But the idea of 3-day potty training never really caught my attention. Until...
Oh, the dreaded mommy- comparison. We all do it (though we try not to). My sister-in-law, who is basically Super Mom, started her little girl on a 3-Day Training Crusade. Said cousin is only 2 weeks older than Einstein, and though the kids are as different as night and day, they are similar enough developmentally that comparisons naturally arise between them. So when Super Mom graciously emailed me the training method e-book she had been using, trying it out seemed the sporting thing to do.
To give credit where it is due, the method did have a ton of ideas in it that I loved. For example,
- No Pull-ups allowed - underwear only. (Excellent - we can't afford to put a kiddo in Pull-ups all day, everyday!)
- Kids as young as 22 months are able to follow the method. (This eased my fears about Einstein being too young)
- There is no forcing, bribing, scolding, or punishing involved, but...
- Small rewards are allowed. (Hooray! Sticker sheets are just so appealing.)
- The quick success promised is based on being with your kid every moment of the the 3 days so you can catch every accident. (Makes sense based on what I've learned about conditioning, as well as my limited experience with puppy housebreaking.)
Many of these ideas had been extolled by other moms I had talked to, so the method seemed pretty legit.
We tried it.
Day one - Einstein started out super excited and ready to "play the potty game." Two accidents, one partial-accident on the way to the potty, and then 3 successes!! Hooray! He was brilliant! He totally got it!
And then I got lazy. Somehow, I found other things that needed to be done around the house. Accidents began to be missed here and there. The day culminated with a lovely big accident in Daddy's desk chair. Welp, I vowed to try harder tomorrow. Side note: Einstein started coughing like crazy at bedtime.
Day two - Einstein's cough morphed into an all-out runny-nosed, hacking, exhausting cold. The house was looking worse and worse due to neglect. Laundry was piling up, dishes were lining the counter. But in spite of letting the house go to the dogs, I couldn't manage to keep my eye on Einstein enough to catch every accident. No successes. Frustration began to creep in. Due to the worsening cold, Daddy and I decided to give Einstein as much to drink as he wanted at bedtime (against the rules), and just put him in a Pull-up for the night.
Day three - The cold continued. The house worsened. The baby started feeling neglected (and rightly so, poor little thing). A million accidents (give or take a few). No successes. The carpet was starting to have big damp spots on it from cleaned-up (but not dried yet) accidents. The couch was starting to smell from an accident that I forgot to clean up in time. Daddy started a new healthy-eating plan, so I was in the kitchen chopping lettuce and radishes while a peeing toddler ravaged the house.
I gave up.
That was the highlight of the three days.
I felt like a total failure, of course. But all of a sudden, I started thinking about things besides potty training. Like how cute Einstein is in his big-kid undies, how proud he made me by painting "dinosaurs" with his watercolors, how sweet he can be with his little sister. I realized how much I'd been pressuring him, and also what a good sport he'd been in spite of it!
Of course, I didn't just have these epiphanies and feel better. My frazzled, failed, stressed-out brain required a bit more than that. I may possibly have cried off and on for the better part of four hours. Oh well.
And that is how we (I) failed at 3-Day Potty-Training. But guess what? Today is day four. We used a Pull-up in bed last night with no guilt. We used a pull-up at church this morning with no guilt. And Einstein successfully went potty twice!! Throwing out the rule-book seems to be working.