Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Potty Party Part II: The Outcome

Last week, I reported the details of my family's desperate plan to potty train our kids, the potty party. As a quick recap, the plan was to throw a day-long party to celebrate the absence of diapers in our home. The idea was that by forcing them to come up with non-diapered means of expulsion through a positive theme, we would circumnavigate all the hurt feelings and frustration that we've been experiencing over the whole idea.

The whole day was a wash. I mean, we had fun, but there was no notion of household productivity. The decorations were hung, the cake was made, and just to throw a harpoon in the whale of the notion of diet, we had homemade chocolate chip buscuits for breakfast and brought in pizza for dinner. The day was shamefully full of movie watching, and the yard rested quietly outside, escaping even the slightest effort of mantanence that I might have considered appropriate on a regular Saturday. But the pottys were set up and waiting, and that's what mattered.

It worked--mostly.

We now stand at a new and exciting ratio of potty users in the famiy; our older daughter has not worn a diaper since Friday, and it is now Wednesday. To top that off, she hasn't had even a single accident.

All we had to do was weather the first excruciating half of Potty Party Day (as it will hence be refered). She screamed. She begged. She ran in circles. She wanted a bath (presumably to be used as a covert urinal) and argued that her dirty fingernails demanded bathtime attentions. All the while, her little sister sat happily on her potty--holding everything in for all it was worth.

We almost caved at least once every hour.

And finally, at noon, she could hold back no longer. She sat on her little potty, positioned comfortably in the living room, squeezing my hand in terror. Then, finally, she looked at me and said, "Daddy, don't be happy." I assured her I wouldn't be.

"Daddy," she said, "Don't be proud." Again, pride was far from my demenor.

"Daddy," she begged, "Don't clap and say 'yay.'" And I told her I wouldn't.

"I pee-peed."

The chear that I let out instantly broke all of those forced promises, but she cheered, too. She wanted to call her grandparents. She wanted the world to know. And she pull on her panties with what can only be described as glee.

Ever since then, she has, perhaps, over-pottied. She takes such pride that if she's not fully occupied, she will choose to practice her art.

For whatever reason, our younger daughter just wasn't ready. She begrudgingly returned to diapers. Despite sitting on the potty, she just won't go in it. Her big sister is trying to teach her, with limited success. We'll try again, soon, to get her to go cold turkey like her sister, but, heck, she is a year younger.

So, if you're stuck with an older kid in diapers, the Potty Party just might be for you.


Jenny said...

I'm glad to know it was a success! My daughter is 9 months old so I have a while before I need to worry about potties. I was actually going to skip the tiny potty purchase and just buy a special seat for the regular one, but it seems like the little ones help a lot of kids.

tillytoo9 said...

"I doned like my pandies". I don't like my panties (I hate that word)
"My diaHper is not beesy" My diaper is not busy. Busy to her; not available.
"I needah bweak, my leg hurtz" I need a break, my leg hurts.
"I doned want to potty"

I can honestly say that in 36 years- I've never wanted to grab a toddler and scream as much as I did last week. My daughter is crazy paranoid about the pee/poop coming out without the diaper. I mean crazy. Jumping up and down, screaming, snot coming from her nose....insane. I held a diaper under her while on the potty- come on, this is ridiculous- just go.

I'm with you- read the books, etc. This isn't an awareness issue. Is it control, change? Huh?!
Another thing- she'll wear a pee soaked diaper until it falls off (I wouldn't try to teach her a lesson or anything...). She doesn't care.

So, I'm giving it (myself) a break for a bit. I still ask her each diaper change if she wants a diaper or pandies. I let her choose. Duh, diaper please.
But when she wants something like a beer, or to bet your ass I'm gonna tell her, "Sorrrrreeeee, only big girls can do that!"

sara said...

Okay, so I am a little ashamed (let's be honest: a lot) that my *gulp* four year old is still wearing diapers. I am desperate. Rewards of his most favorite thing ever (Pixar Cars *sigh* I know, I know) don't even work. NOTHING is working. Our 2.5 year old boy is on the very same path and - as exactly as you said in your previous post - because he is emulating his hero, his older brother. I don't know if a potty party would work here, but I am going to try. I did tell him, a few months ago, that we'd have a potty party for all our friends and family once he trained. We'd have a poo party (little boys LOVE the sound of that, let me tell you!) and people would bring underpants for them! we'd have a poop cake! the whole nine! The catch? it's AFTER the fact - and that's hard for even an adult to swallow sometimes... why did I think a 4 year old would approve!?

If you have any other ideas, please share. I wonder how girl#2 worked out... if she is now trained as well and what got her there. It sucks... it's my least favorite parenting thing so far.

Thanks for sharing your life, Sol, it's an interesting read!

Sol Smith said...


Don't feel bad about the age thing. People move through stages at different rates. No one stays in diapers forever (do they?).

Our second daughter potty trained about a 9 months after her older sister with the help of another potty party. It was clear that she was ready, she just needed an enthusiastic push out the door.

You know, the potty parties made quite an impression on these girls. Last month was Solstice's 5th birthday and she instructed me in "surprising" her with decorations by saying, "I want balloons and color tape [streamers] all over the house just like at my potty party!" Every party in her life is compared to that, and it happened when she was 3.

Give it a shot. Set up the party, tell him the night before (or, hell, both of them) and don't let them wear diapers until one of them uses that potty! Make it positive and happy.

I know it's hard. I know it sucks. But since he's older, he will be a pro once it happens, no accidents, I bet.

Good luck! Thanks for reading, and please let us know how things turn out!