Potty training Micah

We are finishing the third week of potty training Micah, who is nearly 3. He is making great progress. After potty training Silas I already knew for sure I didn't want to start potty training Micah until he was 3 years old or very close and I think that was the right choice this time for 3 reasons:

First, he is talking well. One year ago around his 2nd birthday he literally said only 2-3 words. Now he has a large vocabulary and can communicate in complete sentences.

Second, he can dress and undress himself. This is a new development over the past couple of months and the learning process involved a lot of grunting, screaming, crying and saying "I can't do it!" I couldn't help it: I told him he sounded like he was having a baby. But he did learn and he is actually enjoying his newfound independence. Yesterday he changed his clothes three times.

Third, waiting gave him time to adjust to having a new brother in the house. It seemed like combining potty training with being displaced from his position as baby of the family would be a bad idea.

Around the end of July Julian had been with us for over 2 months and Micah seemed ready. Christopher and I were a little apprehensive because Micah is our willful child but we were ready to stop changing his diapers. I started off the same way we potty trained Silas: by letting Micah go around in nothing but a t-shirt for a couple of days. No diaper, no underpants, no pants. There were quite a few accidents, of course. Just for these first two days I let him have as much juice as he wanted -- a tip from a friend. On the second day he started using his little training potty mostly without prompting. I was thrilled!

Then I tried putting him in underpants. They are the cutest little Thomas the Train training pants. This was probably the hardest part of the whole process so far. For a few days he tried to treat the underpants like diapers and had accidents as soon I put them on him. Then when he realized underpants are not like those nice absorbant diapers he got upset. He demanded to wear diapers. Of course we said NO. In a nice way. For about a week every time he saw that I had got him out a pair of underpants to wear during the day instead of a diaper he would run away screaming. Yes, this was as funny as it sounds. We continued to kindly but firmly insist he wear underpants instead of diapers.

Even though this potty training has involved a battle of wills, on my mom's advice I've tried to keep things positive. I did this by rewarding him with 3 M&Ms every time he used his little potty and also, instead of saying "DON'T wet your pants" all the time I tried to talk instead about keeping his pants dry and clean. And of course, we never get mad or yell when he has an accident, we just calmly help him get changed and talk again about trying to remember to go in the potty.

Gradually over the last two weeks there have been fewer and fewer accidents and he has gotten better and better about using his potty. This week he was able to keep his underpants dry all day but was having trouble remembering to use his potty when he needed to go poop. Not every time, just sometimes. However, he did get very upset when he had a poop accident in his underpants so I considered that progress. He still asks to wear diapers but without as much vim as before. I think he is starting to accept that those Thomas the Train undies are part of his life now.

For awhile we were allowing him to wear a Pull-up to bed but he had so much self-control he was mostly able to wait to poop until he was wearing a Pull-up and ensconced in his bed and so after about a week of that we had to start making him wear underpants to bed.

(I was debating whether or not to say the word "poop" but the truth is life with 3 children 4 and under involves a lot of poop. There's no getting around it.)

It's amazing how different kids are from each other. When we potty trained Silas there was no progress for months and months and then all of the sudden he got it and it almost seemed like he was potty trained overnight. Since that time he has never had an accident, day or night, except for circumstances beyond his control, like he couldn't get his overalls unclipped in time, poor guy. Nor did he ever spend a morning yelling "DIAPERS!" over and over because he was mad that we put him in underwear. That's just not his personality. The hardest part for Silas was understanding what he was supposed to do. Having an older brother, it was easier for Micah to understand what he was supposed to do but he was determined not to give up the comfort and convenience of diapers. He was certainly not potty trained overnight but he has made gradual progress over the last 3 weeks. I'm convinced now there's no one magic formula for potty training but parents have to consider what is best for each child.

I should mention we were able to take days off from potty training during these 3 weeks and it didn't seem to do any harm at all. By the time we got to Friday in the first week I was so weary from cleaning up potty accidents and from the battle of wills that I told him to just go ahead and put on a Pull-up because Mom was taking the weekend off. We started up again on Monday and it didn't seem to me like we had lost any ground.

I am proud of Micah for all the progress he has made. He has our guidance but in the end he had to make the decision to keep his pants dry.

P.S. As my only reader so far Christopher may think it is strange that I would write about potty training but I assure you Christopher, moms are very interested in these things.

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