This post was begun on January 30, 2014.
Success! Well, sort of.
What happened was this:
Shlomo turned three in March. Traditionally, when a boy turns three, you cut his hair for the first time (a ceremony called “upsherin/upshernish” by American Jews and called a “chalakah” by Israelis), and give him a kipa (religious head covering) and tzitzit. About a month before his birthday, his ganenet announced that there was NO WAY that he would have his chalakah in a diaper. How can you put tzitzit on a kid with a poopy diaper? I agreed with her, and said that I’m all for it, but as we both know, it’s not fully up to us.
She insisted that we go for it and try again. It just had to work. She’s been a ganenet for twenty years and never has a kid worn kipa and tzitzit with a diaper. I agreed, not fully believing that it would work – after all, this is time three, right? And the first two ended in failure because Shlomo was just too stubborn, and at the end of the day, no one can make you pee or poop in the toilet if you don’t want to.
So we went for it. Diaper off in the morning, on only at bedtime. Poop belongs in the potty. And for some reason, which Yitzchak and I believe to be a desire to get us to leave him alone, it worked. Sort of. He held in his pee – usually. Stayed dry, and peed in the toilet, just enough to satisfy us and get himself nominally out of diapers (which is what led to the title of this post – Shlomo was nominally trained, and therefore there was no turning back). We think that he just figured that if he didn’t give in, we’d keep trying every so often until he did, so he might as well just give up, or at least pretend to.
After a while it became more frequent, with less accidents. But still, poops were saved for the bedtime diaper. We would put him in pajamas and a diaper, get ready to read him a book, and he would poop. We were just happy that he wasn’t holding it in; a lot of kids do, and the ganenet, when she saw that he wasn’t pooping in gan, asked if he was pooping at home, because she was worried.
At some point, I’m not sure how, we got him to poop on the toilet. Yitzchak says that it was the tablet that he received as a gift for his birthday, from Bubby (Yitzchak’s mother). We also bribed him with cookies and make a big fuss over it. After a while, when he was more comfortable pooping on the potty, we stopped making such a big deal of it, and on condition that one of us sit with him (usually Yitzchak because my nose is more sensitive than his) he agreed to poop prize-free. When we started seeing him backslide, we at first returned the treats and then realized that he was abusing the privilege: He would put a small poop in the toilet, get the treat, and then make a big poop in diaper. Haha, you silly parents. You fell for it, again. And again. So we took away all treats until he made a successful poop in the potty with no poops in his underwear. And that’s been our policy since.
We STILL backslide sometimes. I’m not quite sure why. This morning I was feeding him and something started to stink. I couldn’t figure out what it was, until it hit me and I asked Yitzchak to check his diaper (Shlomo was still in pajamas). Yep, poopy in the diaper. But as mad as we were, we were also relieved – Shlomo hadn’t pooped in four days (and prior to that, had made a week’s worth of poops in his underwear). This evening, Yitzchak brought the tablet, sat with him, and Shlomo pooped in the potty. We praised him. And he got his treats back. Boy, was he proud of himself. I just wish I knew how to keep the poop in the potty – and what motivates him to decide to go on potty-strike.
Yes, Yitzchak STILL sits with him. Poops are in a potty. Pees are standing up, peeing into the big toilet, like any guy on the street. I think the poops go in the potty for three reasons: 1. He’s scared of sitting on the big toilet. 2. The toilet seat we have isn’t comfortable. 3. It’s easier to poop with your feet on the floor. Plus, you get the lid of the real toilet as a table to drive cars on.
Shlomo is not potty trained at night yet, and honestly, I don’t expect him to be. He stays dry when he naps during the day, even during long 4-5 hour naps (which we allow only when we are going to be up late and we need the quiet to prepare for a holiday). But my siblings didn’t stay dry till age five or six, and even then, I remember walking them to the toilet in the middle of the night. If I remember correctly, twice – once about an hour after they went to sleep, and once around ten or eleven at night.
And after talking to Yitzchak’s mother, I found that she had had a similar experience with her kids. So with a combination of genes like that, and the knowledge the a lot of night training is physiological and not necessarily within the child’s control – we still buy diapers for the nighttime. One Shabbat, we had forgotten. Since we had been planning to experiment anyways, we let him sleep in underwear. Suffice it to say, experiment failed. When we see that the diaper is dry several mornings in a row, we will try again.
And with this, dear readers, I [hopefully] end our saga of potty training until next time – which will hopefully be only with the next kid.