It has been 342 days today since our family canonized “Jrue’s Potty Party,” the celebratory Memorial Day Weekend Saturday that marked the official beginning of “potty-trained big boys” in our home. We flounced about, declaring the day special with dramatic flourish.
The night before, I had spent some time fastening and hanging a colorful Potty Party banner in the hallway from coloring pages constructed the day before. In preparation of the weekend, we had “Elmo’s Potty Time” DVD on repeat in Jrue’s room and Elmo’s Potty book in constant read mode at night. We had discussed the merits of peeing in the potty with Jrue; we made up a potty dance to perform each time he successfully went in the pot. We bought an additional potty chair so that he’d literally have a toilet in every room of the house. When the time came, we took off that last diaper and instructed Jrue to drink juice and run amok, bare-bottomed, as was a large segment of the explicit instructions of the 3-Day Potty Method.
This post from January details our intense three days of ensuring that Jrue capitalized on the process. We were pleasantly and warmly surprised that, indeed, Jrue was ready to go to the potty and has since been, for lack of better phrasing, “conclusively potty-trained.”
Take notice of those quotation marks.
So, what happened once this little boy of mine scaled over that initial hump of potty-training comfort? What happens once most kids are initially out from under the diaper barrier?
I quote my husband here: “There’s still a lot of piss.”
There’s no more paying for diapers, but there’s now an increased budget for aerosol sprays, plug-ins, carpet cleaners, waterproof mattress covers, bleach, bleach for underwear, bleach for bed sheets…
In short, after potty-training, potty-training…doesn’t…end.
I was, admittedly, naïve to think that Jrue would catch it and keep running the bases. He has done well in the foundational sense, but we have noticed some unique after-effects of learning to go on the toilet.
For one, he drinks a lot more, particularly at bedtime. Jrue is not yet a consistent eater, but will gulp down a gallon of milk alone in less than a week. I often find myself manning the time in the evening to ensure that he is not drinking too much before getting into bed because he is, ironically, not yet a fan of going to the toilet overnight. Jrue seems to prefer holding his bladder over relieving himself, even when wide awake and moving about, so his nighttime accidents can be frustrating for all involved in the cleaning formalities.
In addition, Jrue is progressively confident in his 3-year-old body and doesn’t mind bolting, post-pee and post-poop, naked from the belly down. He doesn’t take note of who is in the house or if his actions could be embarrassing. Oh, no…when he’s finished his personal excavation process, he just takes off down the hallway and plops himself on mommy’s new sofa. We just recently coached him into bringing his underwear down the hall in hand so that we can help him re-cover his exposed…part. Parts.
He can use the potty at school and pull up both underwear and pants in one swoop. At home, he’s a streaker.
Jrue has also become quite verbal about having to dump a poo poo, which he yells out in mid-sentence at the pressure, followed by a little potty jig. He has to have some bit of entertainment with him as he sits and goes, preferably a cell phone (the influence is strong here) or 2 toys and a remote, and cannot have his underwear and pants around his ankles. Once his clothing is down, he usually kicks the pieces not only away from his body, but normally into a corner of his room that I must often check for past-worn underwear.
Another effect that we didn’t expect was Jrue’s emotional attachment to his potty chair. At one point last month or so, I had stored his cleaned potty seat in a closet. Jrue was adjusting to peeing standing up, though, with little aim and lots of laughter, which is what he still does when he goes in public restrooms. But, one day, Jai realized that she was strong enough to pull the potty out into the hallway, and Jrue saw it and had a long, reassured cry. (I’m assuming he thought it was lost forever.)
Jrue has betrothed himself to his potty, even refusing to go in the “big toilet” while declaring the evident urge. For just a little while, we have consented to allow him to use the potty on his beloved chair in his room, as he now expresses privacy and shuts the door to go, and we usually have to empty it immediately to keep Jai from dropping her little hands in the bowl to explore. We will go back to the big toilet once this particular wheel breaks.
For now, we go with whatever works.
There’s no handbook for the potty-going phase, but most certainly some confusing, cringe-worthy minutes that we’re keeping sacred for blackmail later on.
Specifically this tale: one of the most memorable moments of our potty-training journey with Jrue.
At 172 days into Jrue’s potty training, we decided that Jrue should be wearing his underwear full-time and not just during the day. Jrue and I went on a 4-hour road trip to visit his aunt in Kentucky and were rolling back to Georgia in the car. Jrue was riding peacefully, playing with his tablet. The music was going, and I was concentrating on the finish line ahead. 20 miles from our house, however, he uttered, out of the blue, one of many scary four-phrase sentences:
“Poo poo in potty?”
We were in a four-mile stretch of Nowhere, Georgia where there were no exits off of the highway. I immediately sped past (raced?) a wall of trucks, flew off the next exit, and came to…a construction stop, a full stop of cars and trucks getting off the exit.
I repeated, “Hold on to it, Jrue! Don’t let it go! Nooo poo poo! Nooo poo poo!” like my life depended on it. After a minute, we didn’t inch forward at all.
So. I hopped onto the shoulder and sped on.
A potty-training tot who had to poop was an emergency to me.
I pulled up to a gas station, cut off the car and opened the door simultaneously, and jogged around to his side. I swooshed in, popped open his car seat buckles, and slung him into my arms. I flipped his body into the horizontal position that I’d assume while carrying a long plank of wood and ran into the gas station while repeating, “Poo poo on potty, poo poo on potty” so that these strangers wouldn’t think (1) this woman just kidnapped this child, or (2) this woman is in danger/going crazy.
The bathroom was a single unisex one. I just burst in without knocking. Another woman (a man!) could have been sitting there, enjoying the experience, and I would have screamed at them to get up. I tore down Jrue’s sweats and underwear to around his ankles and plopped him down, him bare-butting the seat, me not caring and holding him in place for confidence. I’d worry about germs later. He did a small grunt and voila! Poop dropped!
I’d never been so happy before that time to be in the presence of a child’s poop.
Jrue gestured to get down. I complied. He demanded, “Take them off,” referring to his pants and underwear around his ankles. I did so and put him back on the toilet, instructing him to balance with his hands. I stood in that tiny bathroom, cheering him on, holding little 2T Paw Patrol drawers and sweatpants over a kid posed on the toilet, and trying to act like the floating fragrance didn’t bother me.
It was a great, weird moment in history.
I’m sure his existing potty habits and preferences will be replaced soon with even stranger nuances. Then we’ll pull the little lady’s potty-training card. Who knows the adventures she’ll facilitate?
Bring it on.