Not in a million years did I think I would one day find myself staring into a toilet alongside my wife, loudly celebrating the contents in the bowl.
What happened? Our son had finally gone to the bathroom on his own.
And now, just like that, it has become part of his normal routine. He knows to go in the morning, he knows to go when he gets home from day care, and he knows, after a reminder or two, that he needs to go before he goes to bed.
And once again, after worrying that it would never happen, we’re now wondering: What were we worried about?
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But we did worry. Or at least I did.
After he turned 3, we found ourselves continuing to change dirty diapers. I began to doubt that we would ever know that wonderful moment of never having to do this again!
It just wasn’t happening. We’d suggest underpants and he’d loudly declare his allegiance to the diaper. We’d cave and pull out another, and off he would go.
I finally had to raise the issue of potty training with our pediatrician. His response? Do very little, he said, because too much pressure could result in our son pressuring himself, which might manifest itself in the form of constipation. And then that would need to be corrected with medication, he said.
And then I had a vision of the mess that would ensue.
So we did very little, although we hinted at what we wanted him to do by leaving the bathroom door open, the light on, and the seat up on his potty-training toilet.
Still, the diaper got more action than the bathroom did.
And then we began to notice something: His sense of privacy kicked in. Suddenly, the house would get quiet and he’d disappear into another room, wanting to be by himself to take care of business.
And then there were those brief ventures into the bathroom.
I’d get up to see what he was doing, and he’d wave me away, wanting to be left alone. I’d hear him kind of playing with the potty-training toilet, and then he’d come running out, touting his accomplishment.
Nothing had happened, of course, but we seemed to be getting closer to something happening.
Finally, I began to bring him along to that first trip to the bathroom in the morning. He wasn’t happy at first, wanting to get straight to breakfast and cartoons. But those regular trips to the bathroom in the morning began to work: He wanted to go to the bathroom just like Daddy did.
So here we are: Our almost 31/2-year-old son has put diapers behind him, preferring his Paw Patrol underpants. Sure, there are still accidents, but I’m happy to say we have cleared that first hurdle.
In the end, we really didn’t do that much as parents to get him potty-trained, just as the doctor had suggested.
But guess who did? A huge shout-out is in order for those at our son’s day care. They’ve helped potty train an army of children, including ours. We had the easy part. They didn’t.