Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A Pleasant Surprise in Being Wrong

Guess what happened last week? Mattias potty trained himself completely.

I think you should know that my experience with Noah led me to say things like,

"It seems that anecdotally girls can train themselves, but boys need a lot of reinforcement"

I was very good a rattling off a long list of all the things I did to potty train Noah. Noah was potty trained by 29 months of age, when he started a preschool-like program that required that he be potty trained. Getting him trained, however, was not without a good amount of preserverance and, frankly, TRAINING MYSELF to read his mind. It took about 3 months. But I we did it!

This summer when Mattias reached the same age that Noah was, I kept thinking of how much work it was to potty train Noah. And I kept swatting away the thought. Later.

Then autumn came, and I felt terrible from all the first trimester morning sickness. Somehow plugging my nose with a clothespin during diaper changes (yes, I really did that) seemed highly preferable to sitting around in the bathroom waiting for him to go.

My mother did some tsk-ing. I responded by making some more attempts to potty train him.

There was always some reason it didn't work or wasn't the right time. I kept relenting in my efforts. I made excuses.

He's so stubborn. He's not feeling well. He's not ready. It's not working. I'm not ready. I'm not feeling well. I still have some diapers to use up.  Now I'm out of diapers but I still have a lot of wipes. None of his pants are very potty-training-friendly. We're just about to go on vacation. We're adjusting from being on vacation. The holiday has him too wound up. 

On and on and on. (That's my mother tsk-ing, too.)

Last week I ran out of diapers again. Mattias was sick. Not ideal timing. Nonetheless, I showed him the empty diaper box, and told him he needed to wear his 'big boy' pants, like I've done before. He protested, like he's done before. Then we put the 'big boy' pants on, like we've done before. UNLIKE before, he told me when he needed to use the potty. He ran to the bathroom himself. He pulled down his own pants. And he climbed on the potty. AND WENT. And then he repeated this behavior all week, day and night.

I was floored. It was like a light switch had been flipped in his brain. He proceeded to have only two accidents total over the course of an entire week. I'm calling that trained. It didn't work like that AT ALL with Noah.

So, who knows why it was so easy this time around. Because I waited longer (Noah was 29 months, Mattias is 34 months)? Maybe I was just lazy and excuse-ridden enough? Maybe Grandma needed to get in an adequate number of tsks? Maybe he's a different kid? Whatever the reason, I'll take the self-training over my long list of potty-training techniques with Noah. I'm happy about this! Also, here's that anecdotal experience where the boy-child trains himself.

However, this also illustrates this frustrating aspect of parenthood (for me), wherein, I'd like to say, Look, I did A, B, and C and VoilĂ ! Success! See! I'm doing something right! But then, I do neither A, nor B, nor C and somehow I get the same result, with a lot less effort. I wonder. I ask myself if I will ever get to congratulate myself on anything parenting related. That's pretty selfish and arrogant, huh? I think sometimes I'm just too goal-oriented and self-centered for the task of child raising.


Sara Struckman said...

So jealous. My girl is not the "normal" girl if normal means that they potty train earlier and easier. Maybe I should just wait?

Anonymous said...

I think we are always making lists with our first experience. The second time around, we are less consciously aware about what we are doing.

All the failed attempts counted for something. They just didn't fit into a nice, tidy, conscious plan.

Unknown said...

Tell me - how do you train boys to wipe themselves after the big thing? Any experience already with this?

Ann Wyse said...

Unknown - Since this whole parenting thing is such a moving target, I can only say that with Noah I watched him closely/helped until he was at least 4 years old. He wasn't so interested in doing it himself before then. But around 4, he figured it out and does a decent job as long as everything is functionaing normally. Also, I think there's a whole matter of 1) disadvantageous bodily proportions and 2) kinetic (kinesthetic?) awareness that doesn't kick in until that age.
Mattias wants to do it himself. I'm still insisting on helping because of 1) and 2) . No idea how long it will be necessary. Who knows? Maybe I'm wrong again and he's already got it figured out and I'm just being a control freak.

Pregnantly Plump said...

Mine were the opposite. Little Elvis wanted to, and was way easier to train. Baby Plum didn't want to, and fought us every step of the way. And he's regressed recently. He's wet the bed 5 out of 7 nights.