When my son Dax was two, I gave birth to our second son, Case. My husband Dan, feeling the burden of having two little ones in diapers, (and feeling a little bit useless to help with our newborn considering he doesn’t lactate) took it upon himself to begin Potty Training Boot Camp with Dax.
Being a proud big brother, and presumably wanting to differentiate himself from his “baby” brother, Dax took to the potty like a natural. It took Dan less than a week to get him from diapers to undies. I was proud, yes. But more than that? I was relieved.
Before Case was born, I was already feeling pressure from Dax’s preschool teachers and other parents I knew to get Dax potty trained as quickly as possible. While I should have been basking in the glow (LOL) of my pregnancy, focusing all of my energy into nesting and creating room for the new baby, I was stressing over meeting some arbitrary parenting milestone in order to appease literally everyone else.
Fast forward to today: Case will be three years old in just a little over two months. And we’re in a much different spot than we were with his brother.
You see, he knows how to use the potty. He knows how to keep himself dry until he’s got to go. But he just plain flat out does not want to.
Wearing underwear terrifies him so much that he cries the entire time they’re on him. When we’ve tried to make the transition out of diapers, he won’t let us put clothes on him at all, and he refuses to leave the toilet.
The longest stretch I let him do this for was three hours. And while it was a bit of a frustrating stand off, I have to hand it to him. My toddler sat still for three hours! Sure, it was because he was terrified of peeing on the floor, but still! As far as wiggly toddlers go, that has got to be some sort of a record! (Does anyone have a connection with the Guinness folks? Pass my information onto them if you get a chance.)
All that to say, at almost three years old, Case isn’t potty trained yet.
And you know what? This time, I don’t care.
I don’t care what people think of my parenting style, my child, or me. I don’t care what they think my kid should or shouldn’t be doing at his age. And, while financially irritating and environmentally challenging, I don’t care that I’m still a slave to the “DIAPERS” line item in our budget.
Do you know what I do care about?
I care about Case being happy. I care about him playing with his brother in lieu of being chained to the toilet all day. I care about whether or not he falls asleep at naptime. I care about the friends he has, and how he treats them when he plays with them.
If Dax is any indication, I know that Case will absolutely not go to Kindergarten in diapers. He will eventually get to a point where underwear does not cause him panic. He will be able to function in a society where using bathrooms is the norm. We will get there.
But this time, we’re doing it at our own pace.