I don’t think I’m being overly dramatic when I say that I had been dreading potty training Major since I finished potty training Marlowe. That puts us at about two full years of dread. LOL. I’ve written a few blog posts detailing the before, during, and after phases of Marlowe’s potty training journey– and I’m not quiet about the fact that it was by far the most challenging parenting phase for me. Potty Training is the worst! Now that we’re potty training Major, I thought I would share a post about the similarities, differences, and my takeaways this time around.
I’ll start by saying that Major expressed interest in being potty trained in January. And I don’t mean he was giving us some subtle cues that my finely-trained Mommy Spidey Sense was translating in to a desire to lose the diaper…I mean he was actually telling me “Mama, I don’t want a diaper. I want to go pee pee and poo poo in the big boy potty like Sissy.” Yeah…not much interpretation needed. At the time, we were about to move in to what was for sure the most challenging and uprooted four months of our lives as a family with our renovation– and I just wasn’t ready to do it. In what was probably the “wrong” parenting move, I told him we were going to use diapers for a while longer, and when he was two and a half (the same age your sister was!) we would take away the diaper. That simple, lazy move probably saved my sanity this winter/spring.
I finally bit the bullet a month ago. One day, we told him we were going to put big boy underpants on and we were going to give all the diapers away. He would have pull ups at night, and that was it! If you want to read specifically about my approach before and during the training experience– it is all linked here. I did rely on the same method I used with Marlowe, though their reaction to it differed slightly. I heard SO many tales before potty training Major about how boys were so much harder than girls to potty train– and to be totally honest, I was terrified. But I will tell you that I haven’t found him to be harder to train, per se. It’s just that the readiness and the mechanics have varied slightly.
The first day Major was in underwear, he seemed to really have no idea that he was about to pee. The first couple of times he would look down at his wet underwear and say “Oh no, Mommy! It’s wet!” As if it couldn’t possibly have come from his own body. By the end of the first day, we realized that we had to start putting him on the potty every 45 minutes or so to get him used to the sensation of peeing and having it go in there. After a day or so of implementing that, he started to tell us when he had to go to the bathroom! I didn’t experience with Major the same emotional resistance to potty training that Marlowe had. I chalk it up to a personality difference between them– but I also think that having an older sibling to aspire to really puts the whole things in perspective for the younger sibs.
As with Marlowe, the poop aspect of things took a couple of days. He definitely held his poop at first, and then would get kind of constipated. I’ve found that having him poop on the big potty instead of the little potty really helps. We currently have two little potties: one in the playroom for emergency style rush (I still prefer him to use the big potty if it’s not an emergency) and one in his bedroom for middle of the night pees. He will wake up and tell me if he needs to pee and I go in there and help him. I only go in and help because of his broken leg! I’m assuming that once the cast comes off he will be able to be more independent if he needs to go to the bathroom during the night or in the early morning before it’s wake up time.
And speaking of helping him, a week in to potty training, he broke his leg. And it has REALLY complicated things. I’m a huge believer in never quitting potty training once you’ve begun (I think it sends a confusing message), and so we’ve stuck with it. But it’s definitely made the process harder on everyone. He isn’t that mobile and can’t get on the potty by himself, making it necessary for him to voice his own cues, or for us to be hyper vigilant with him. I’ve been super impressed, though, with how well he’s done. He still has the occasional poop accident (you will remember that this happened with Marlowe also at first), but otherwise he monitors his pee well – and is even dry at night! I can only imagine that his success will increase when he can go walk and plop himself down on the potty at will. At least I hope so! In other news, trying to get poop accident underwear off of a two year old, with a full leg cast, without a serious disaster is quite the art form. I’ll be here waiting for my trophy…LOL.
All in all, potty training is still horrible, but I feel way more prepared the second time around. I think also having him home this year to do it, instead of trying to manage Marlowe’s daycare routine and home routine in a way that would guarantee her potty training success, has made the process less stressful for me. Being fully in control of the “method”, so to speak, has been really helpful. I’m so proud of him for sticking with something so challenging and doing such a great job! And, let’s be honest, there is probably nothing cuter than a little boy in little tiny underpants. Ha! Do you have anything to share about potty training your second child?? Please let me know in the comments below!
Potty training must haves…
Ps- these pics were all taken pre-leg break, clearly!
Photographs by Julia Dags