Photo Credit: Jessica Lewis/Flickr Open/Getty Images
After dozens of diaper rashes, hundreds of kicks to the face and precisely four poop stains on the carpet, my wife and I were more than ready to potty train our 2.5-year-old. We friend-sourced suggestions for strategy, and an overwhelming number of confidantes suggested "3 Day Potty Training," by Lora Jensen. We bought the e-book. We made it our Bible. We checked our calendars.
Finally, this past weekend, we were ready to give it a whirl.
And so, what follows is a (significantly edited) play-by-play of 72 hours in hell. The lowlights? Puddles in the kitchen, poop on the floor and lots and lots of screaming. The highlights? Read on to find out.
Friday, 12:30 p.m.
Training begins promptly when my wife, Nikki, and my toddler (we'll call her "L") return from the kid's weekly play group. The three of us gather in L's room, where (per instructions in the book) we have L throw all of her diapers into a big garbage bag. The last diaper in is the one around L's waist. She pulls on Dora (the Explorer) undies and heads to the family room.
Friday, 1 pm
Accident No. 1, all over the family room floor. I'm upstairs writing in my office when this occurs, but can decipher what's happening from the screams.
Friday, 1:30 pm
Accident No. 2, this time in the downstairs bathroom. More screaming. Nikki breaks into the reward stickers to calm the kid down.
Friday, 2 pm
Accident No. 3 leaves a veritable puddle in the kitchen. Screams are so loud this time, it surprises me none of our neighbors call the police. I relieve my wife for the afternoon so she can have some time to herself. No way I'm getting work done in this madhouse.
Friday, 3 pm
L and I sprawl out on the floor of my bedroom closet, rolling quarters. I feel guilty she has to endure the weekend in nothing but underpants and a T-shirt, so I take off my shorts to don the same "uniform." Her reaction: "Daddy, you don’t have Dora on your undies." Thankfully, she is correct.
Friday, 4:30 pm
Minor squirming, followed by major temper tantrum. By reading The Cat in the Hat aloud, I convince her to sit on potty in upstairs bathroom. After 20 seconds, she gets up and smiles at a tiny drop of pee in potty. She screams, "I did it. I made pee-pee in the potty!" Nikki and I are so happy we reward her with a package of glow-in-the-dark bracelets. Two minutes later, she has Accident No. 4 all over the kitchen floor.
Friday, 5 pm
Guilt sets in about not spending enough time with our 4-month-old daughter. She has spent more time than usual in her bassinette today. Am I a terrible parent? Friday, 525 pm Out of the blue during dinner, L declares she has pee. I follow her into the bathroom, reading The Cat in the Hat again. After about a minute on the potty, she stands up to reveal a veritable gallon of urine. She starts jumping up and down, yelling, "I did it! I did it! I did it!" We spend the next 20 minutes calling family members to share the good news.
Friday, 6:45 pm
With the baby asleep, Nikki takes over L's pre-bed ritual so I can run to the gym. Before I go, I set out an emergency preparedness kit for the night: two sheets, two waterproof mattress pads, two pairs of pajamas and two pairs of undies. Too much? Perhaps. But I'm expecting a long night filled with torrents of urine. I have to be prepared.
Read on for Day 2....