At approximately 7:55 a.m. on Wednesday, April 29, 2009, right after breakfast, I took Ethan into the bathroom and had him strip from the waist down. I said, "Honey, remember that Mommy had an appointment yesterday?" Nods. "Well, Mommy went to the doctor and the doctor said that you have to stay in the bathroom until you go poopy." A little whining, but not much. "So when you've gone poopy, call Mommy and I'll come help you clean it up." I sat him down on his little potty and pushed a box of books over to him. "Here's the special books Aunt Sheesha bought you to read while you go poop. Call me when you're done!" I kept it cheery and left the room.
It's true - I had gone to a doctor the day before. It wasn't Ethan's doctor, but he didn't need to know that. The doctor, bless her, gave me a John Rosemond article that suggested this approach to my child who hasn't wet his pants in months, yet refuses to poop in the potty. I love John Rosemond. His column frequently appears in the local paper and I love his no-nonsense approach to parenting. Like any other "expert," I take his advice with a grain of salt, but it's usually good stuff.
Ethan called me about 5 minutes into "poopy time." He hadn't gone yet. "I'm sorry, honey. You must've misunderstood Mommy. You only call me once you've gone poopy." About 10 minutes later, he called me again. "Mommy, read me this book!" "No, baby, I'm sorry, I can't. The doctor said pooping is a private thing and Mommy can't come in until you're done." (This part I totally pulled out of my butt.) At one point he came out of the bathroom. "Did you poop?" "No." "Then you have to go back in the bathroom. Doctor's orders!" Again, I stayed cheery. There was no yelling, no arguing, and 30 minutes in, he had pooped. He dumped the little potty into the big toilet, flushed, washed his hands, and got dressed, all with a terrific attitude! We didn't have to deal with it the rest of the day.
I was amazed. I still am. This morning there was a little bit more resistance, but not much, and again, about 30 minutes in, he had gone poop, we cleaned up, got ready for school, and off we went. I'll admit I'm a little worried about tomorrow because it's our preschool field trip to Green Meadows Farm and we're supposed to be there by 9:15, but that's okay. If we're late, we're late. It was really, really hard for me to not go in this morning and tell him to hurry up, but I didn't. That wouldn't be fair to him and it's not necessary. I just did some deep breathing and kept telling myself, "Stay the course. Stay the course."
It's funny how many things I've vowed to do different with Micah because of "mistakes" I feel I've made with Ethan. I really think I waited too long to potty train him. It might not have gone any faster, but I also might not have had so much resistance. And headaches. I'm starting Micah this summer. I'm going to enlist Ethan's help, I'm not going to rush, but I am at least going to introduce the idea of going in the potty. Who knows? Maybe in a year or two I'll be done with diapers. Done with diapers! Yea!