Nater Tater friends, hold on to your hats–because what I’m about to tell you is really huge news. REALLY HUGE. Ready? Nate the Great is potty trained.
We have been on this journey since September of 2012, though it hasn’t been a continuous attempt. We stopped for Superstorm Sandy, when we lost power for a week. We pulled back on the frequency of required potty visits (from every half-hour to every 1.5 or 2 hours) when Nate became overwhelmed and the process turned negative. And we completely stopped this past fall, when Nate’s academic and behavioral regression was so great that we collectively felt those goals took priority over potty training.
Over Christmas break, we started potty training again in earnest. During Extended School Year (ESY), Nate lost the bladder control that he had gained during the academic year, and wasn’t able to get to the shortened school day without a diaper change. By Christmas, Nate had regained it and was staying dry throughout the long school day and overnight. We took it to be a sign that he might be ready to potty train again. The trick was to get Nate to use that bladder control for good (e.g. hold it and release it in the potty) instead of for evil (e.g. hold it on the potty for 45 minutes and then pee in his diaper).
As with previous attempts, we didn’t have much success. Wins were few and far between and, even though the reward was a beloved lollipop, Nate just wasn’t playing along. Until this month.
I have tried to explain to Nate’s current therapy team how our boy conquers major milestones. It’s hard to believe until you witness it and, now, I think they understand. For crawling and walking, Nate never really practiced. One day, he didn’t do it and the next he did. He crawled backwards forever and one day he went forward and never stopped. For walking, he cruised on furniture like most tots but, at eighteen months, he was crusing on the fireplace gate, saw the dishwasher two rooms away, and went for it. And then he never stopped walking. I suspected that potty training (and speech, too) would follow the same pattern but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t help Nate toward that goal.
Nate started having regular wins this month at home with his gal pal, Ms. Gwen, but there were accidents too, and most of the time it was in underoos or an underoo/diaper combo. Last week, Nate decided it was time — and he told us so. He shakes his head “no” at the sight of a diaper; in fact, Nate’s gone cold turkey. Underoos are all the rage. Nate won’t even wear a diaper overnight; if we sneak one on him in his sleep (just in case), Nate wakes up, takes the diaper off, and toddles into our room to say good morning.
We’ve been accident free for six (!!!) days. Nate runs to his wee little potty every time he needs to go; he no longer needs constant reminders. Sometimes he uses the real potty upstairs, though we’ve had our first “mystery flush” that clogged the toilet. (We still don’t know what toy was sacrificed in the name of a swirling scientific experiment.) We’re weaning Nate off of lollis as a reward for every win. He gets them here and there, usually when he asks for them (by standing at the cabinet door where they’re located), but otherwise we move along like it’s no big deal.
That’s not to say we’re done. We haven’t attempted a public bathroom. We haven’t gone on any road trips. And planes? The thought makes me shudder. But we’ve certainly hit a major milestone — a huge life skill – three months shy of Nate’s fifth birthday. (And, as I hit “publish,” I certainly hope I haven’t jinxed myself….)