Friday, March 27, 2009

Underwear and accidents.

I had planned to wait for Liam to show unmistakable signs of readiness before plunging once again into the mind-bending world of potty training, but thanks to Wal-Mart we have pushed aside our better judgment and jumped in full throttle.

Now I dislike Wal-Mart as much as the next guy, but I have to admit that every once in a while they get something right. Their White Cloud brand diapers are one such exception. They're cheap, never leak, and don't smell like pee like some of the fancier brands we've tried. They are the only brand we've ever used. We make special trips to the ghetto ass Family Fun Mart down the street just for the diapers. I can't count the number of times we've hurried past police officers to get to the baby aisle. But the diapers. The diapers! They're so good they're almost worth the trip.

You can imagine our disappointment when we found out this week that the diapers have suddenly, without warning, been discontinued. We didn't even get a chance to stock pile before being left high and not-so-dry without a diaper in the house.

When Liam woke up Wednesday morning and I realized we had also run out of our leaky-stinky-otherbrand-back-up-diapers, I slapped a pair of tighty whiteys on his cute little bum and told him he would be wearing big boy pants from now on. I don't know what came over me. I mean, up until that exact moment, I hadn't thought about potty training in months.

I didn't have a plan of attack or any idea what I would do if Liam peed in his pants in public but there I was, marching my diaper-free child out to the car and on to our Spanish class. I didn't even have the presence of mind to bring him a change of clothes. Something crazy had come over me and I was powerless to stop it.

Ready or not, we were potty training!

The random approach I came up with is something I affectionately call Underwear and Accidents. I am pretending not to be totally freaked out by the possibility of pee on my couch and he is wearing underwear or going commando at all times. He wears a Pull-Up at night or if he's in the care of someone other than me or Bill. Since this doesn't happen all that often I figure we can spare our friends and neighbors from the joy of accidents without setting ourselves back too too much.

So far I'd say our results are...mixed.

Wednesday was surprisingly good. Not only did he not pee his pants at Spanish class (how lucky am I?) he peed in the potty more times than not. I was kind of shocked. Last time we tried this old song and dance he would just hold it, hold it, hold it until I put a diaper on him and he could let loose without getting all wet. But not this time. Even when he'd have an accident, he'd usually get at least some of the pee in the potty. Half a success is better than no success at all!

But the biggest story on Wednesday happened at nap time. Still under the wicked spell of now or never, I decided to put Liam to bed in nothing but his underwear. Yeah. I'm not sure but I think I was trying to prove how ready I am for potty training. By putting him to bed without a safety net it was like saying, I'm ready for whatever kind of unimaginable mess you can make. Bring it on! Instead Liam, A) went to sleep in his big boy bed without a fuss, and B) woke up DRY.

I know!

With so much success on Wednesday, you might think Thursday would have been a breeze. Well, you'd be wrong. We had lots of accidents and resistance ("But Maamuh, I'm just not cozy in these underwear") and managed to get through the entire day without a single pure success (a trip to the potty that doesn't require a change of clothes).

The lowest of the low was when I took Liam to work with me (in underwear!) and he had an accident. While I was holding him. I wasn't in a Fortune 500 corner office or anything; just hanging out in an elementary school gym with some third graders. But still, I got peed on at work.

Liam was off by himself checking out the tether ball situation when all of a sudden a look of panic washed over his face. From across the gym I heard the uncertainty in his voice, "Mama?" I rushed over and scooped him up, trying to divert the other kids' eyes while making a bee line for the bathroom. By the time we were locked safely inside a stall, my arm was warm enough for me to know we had gotten there too late. I was somewhat more prepared this time around and quickly changed Liam into his dry clothes. But I smelled like pee the rest of the afternoon.

I woke up this with morning with no idea what to expect. Here's what I got:

Successes - 6
Accidents - 0

Seriously! He even got himself out of bed during nap time, unzipped and removed his footie pajamas, sat on the potty I had left in his room and peed in it all by himself. Then he called for me to come do the potty dance with him and decided that his special treat for peeing like a big boy would be not going back down for a nap. Eh. You win some, you lose some.

I am not sure why the sudden turn of events but suspect there are a few factors at work.
  1. His outfit. He stayed in his arctic scene pajamas for most of the day and was free balling underneath. I bet he has learned that once he pees in his pants he can no longer wear them and probably didn't want to give up his favorite jammies. I also read somewhere that underwear can make some kids think they are wearing a diaper so maybe commando is the way to go.

  2. He's growing. This is the third day of focusing 100% of our effort on potty training. He's a smart kid - maybe he's just catching on.

  3. We bribed him. Last night I got a whole sack full of treats at the grocery store. Everything from jelly beans and chocolate eggs to one of those greeting cards that plays music to bubbles and his very own pair of scissors. Small bribes (like three jelly beans and a dance party) for a single success; larger bribes for a full day of success (like today!). I have promised him that once he goes three days without an accident, we will go get the mouse puppet he's been coveting at the bookstore and bring it home for keeps.
At the end of the day today he decided he was finally ready to get dressed. He took off his arctic scene and hung out naked while he figured out what to wear. I wasn't the least bit surprised at what he chose (a green striped shirt and tan pants) but was quite taken aback at the way he did it. As he was pulling things out of his drawers he was narrating, "I need my green striped shirt with the threes on it, underwear, and tan pants." I didn't coax or prod or even let on that I was paying attention. But I was so proud of him! Underwear? Just like that? I think he's finally starting to get it.

That's some risky business!


sunT said...

yippeee! congrats on going full force! i hear it works the best. not that i would know YET!
boo! what are they thinking discontinuing the best diapers ever! i mean its not like they dont sell out of them (usually about the time i go to get them)

Callie said...

yay Liam!!!