Oh Crap, Indeed

I’d been dreading planning potty training for a long time. Six months ago, I read the infamous Oh Crap! Potty Training: Everything Modern Parents Need to Know to Do It Once and Do It Right potty training book and put together a mental game plan. In November, we decided that Martin Luther King weekend was the weekend we were going all in. Minh and I both had MLK Day off, but we took off Tuesday too to get four full days of potty training under our belts.

The concept of the Oh Crap! method is to strip kiddo naked, then watch him literally all waking hours and pick him up and place him on the potty as soon as you notice him peeing or doing his “pee-pee dance.” Emphasis on the watching. Literally all day. No social media. No TV. No dishes, laundry, or vacuuming. You sit. And you watch. And you sit and you watch. All day long.

Anyway, as soon as he can essentially pee on command, you add in pants, then eventually undies and small outings. Apparently, the book mentioned many a time that the initial stages would be stressful, but honestly I think I just kind of glossed over that part.

Leon and I started Saturday (Day 1) by ceremoniously saying “bye-bye” to our stash of diapers and pulling the potty chair out into the living room. We spent half the morning doing puzzles and reading books. It was exhausting focusing so intently on one thing (pun intended), but by 10 a.m., he had gone twice on the potty with only one accident when we first started. Things were going well! This potty training business was nothing!

Hasta la vista, diapers!

But by 6:30 p.m. on Day 1, he had had multiple accidents and no additional successes, and I was starting to lose hope. We did end the day on a positive note, but I was still mentally exhausted after being “on” all day and went to bed at 8:30 p.m. 

Sunday (Day 2) is Minh’s day to get up early with Leon, so I slept until 8:30 a.m. when it was my turn to take over. Leon held it in for most of the morning, then had two accidents before his nap. While he was napping, Minh and I seriously debated giving up. I only hesitated throwing in the towel because I really, really didn’t want to go through this process again in a couple months. I posted on the Facebook Oh Crap! book club group, and advice quickly poured in urging me not to give up so soon. With a little attitude adjustment, Minh and I were back on board. We ended the day on another positive note, but I was still exhausted and went to bed early again.

On Monday (Day 3) we loaded little Leon up with water, Pedialyte, and salty snacks to make him thirsty. He held it in until about 11:30 a.m., then peed on the potty a little while fussing and trying to stop it. We were so excited we gave him a sticker, a freeze-dried fruit treat, and more Pedialyte — basically what Oh Crap! says not to do, but you know what? If I have to give him a sticker every time he pees until he’s five years old, that’s fine with me. I have a book of 786 stickers that cost me $13. I can afford that. 

I went into the kitchen for a minute after our celebration and came out to find him sitting on the potty again. Right as I told him, “Leon, you don’t need to sit on the potty all day if you don’t —”, I heard him going again. Cue celebration #2 (but not that #2). 

Day 3 ended great — he had one accident and five total successes, two of which were self-initiated. We decided that even though he was anxious about peeing, we would power through and move on to the commando stage for Day 4. 

On Tuesday (Day 4), Leon immediately peed through all the sweatpants I had set out for potty training, so we had no choice but to jump into underwear while his other clothes were in the wash. He was so proud to wear boxer-briefs like Minh that he had no accidents between 10 a.m. and bedtime. We did have to swap out the undies at one point because he started to go before he had himself situated on the potty, and I tried to help but it turns out I have no idea how to help a little boy aim himself downward.

Oh, also, on Day 4 we realized that Leon really doesn’t really care about stickers as a reward. So I have about 775 stickers with no immediate use. Go figure.

This morning (Day 5) was our first day back at daycare. We said hi to the crossing guard, per usual (albeit very, very quickly); ran back into the house to pee (unsuccessful); buckled ourselves into the car (doggie pee pad under Leon, of course); and drove to daycare. Leon’s morning teacher, Ms. Brittany, was excited to see him and asked if he needed to go potty — he said yes, but as soon as he sat on the kiddie toilet and realized his feet couldn’t touch the ground like with the potty at home, he started to fuss. I assume it also didn’t help that he had an audience of five curious toddlers standing at the door gawking at him. I left before I found out if he went or not, but I packed his entire wardrobe (including two extra pairs of shoes) so he should be set in the event of an accident. More to come!

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