I’ve written a couple times about how Leo has to do absolutely everything his brothers do. As of the past two week, I have come to realize there is one thing, and only one thing he does not copy. And this one thing is the thing I really, really wish he would copy.
Yes, we have started potty training, and Leo has absolutely zero interest in it.
My potty taining strategy has always been to just stick the boys in underwear, sit them on the potty seat every 45 minutes and let them have all the accidents they need to have. I act cheerful and keep the whole thing stress-free for the boys—no pressure, we’re just having fun! It took Vincenzo a few months of good-natured trying before he got it down; it took Rocco two days.
We ran into a problem with Leo the first day I sat him on the potty seat and he *gasp* went potty on it. He looked down at what was happening and yelled, “No!” with the most terrified look on his face, then stood up and tried to get off it, still with potty running down his legs.
The following couple of days were a mess, with him screaming at the mere mention of the word “potty seat” and us giving out Skittles just to get Leo within arm’s reach of it.
Then one afternoon he told me he had to go to poop so I sat him on the potty seat and lo and behold, he pooped and mercy, did he freak out. You would have thought he pooped out a friggin’ zombie army, he got off of that seat so fast!
Seriously, what does he think I’ve been doing during all those diaper changes the past two years? Wiping rainbows and glitter off his spanking-clean bum?
That first week, Leo was so terrified of his body’s waste-disposal system that he began holding it in for hours and hours on end. I’d put undies on him and he’d fetch himself a diaper and insist I’d put it on him. I’d read him a book to forget about the undies and we’d be all right. Then four hours later I’d notice that he hadn’t leaked so much as a drop, and as it was bedtime I’d put a diaper on him and he’d enthusiastically fill it. I’d change that and he’d fill the second one with equal gusto.
I’m a bit worried about the damage he can cause his system by holding it so much, so I rallied the troops at our house. My boys have traditionally been “sitters,” so I did a mini-lesson on standing up at the toilet and instructed them to call Leo in every time they have to go. I myself have taken to squatting above the toilet so Leo can see what happens. So now no one in our house relieves themselves without a bemused two-year-old’s face mere inches away from their business.
Did it help? No! Not a bit! Is it weird and creepy for everyone else in the family? Absolutely!
The second week of training, Leo began to love sitting on the potty seat and we have been able to swap out treats for books. He’s fine with undies, too, though he still holds it for an unhealthy amount of time. Yesterday he had two accidents in the house. We cheered! We celebrated! We gave him a Skittle for the having an accident because it was progress, man!
But despite the “happy little accidents,”* Leo has done nothing in the toilet seat since the first couple of days. The potty seat is simply his new reading chair.
So yesterday Leo found a long-lost favorite stuffed animal and an idea hit me. Now whenever I want Leo to use the potty I tell him his leopard has to go and I hold Leopard over the potty seat while subtly squeezing a water bottle behind Leopard to make it look like he is going potty. It is the most bizarre thing I have done as a parent. If you don’t believe me, take a stuffed animal and a squirt bottle and try it yourself. You will want to go to confession afterwards.
After Leopard goes potty, Leo sits on the potty seat and wants Leopard to watch him, so he holds Leopard’s face right next to his business. I mean, right next to it. And the only thing more disturbing than making your child’s toy pee in a potty seat is watching your child’s toy press his nose up to your child’s junk while he tries to pee.
I’ll give it another week or two of trying but if things don’t get better we’re going to have to take a break. I don’t know if Leo needs it, but all the rest of us most definitely DO.
In conclusion, come to our house where you can step on wet spots on the carpet and pee like a pedophile and see stuffed animals do things you really wish you hadn’t seen them do!
We’ll give you a Skittle if you do…
*’Sup, all you Bob Ross fans!
Update: I drafted this post two days ago and since then, BOOM! Leo has been using the potty seat!!! So everything that sounded weird and off about this post is no longer weird and off! Right?