Ant had been giving us signs that he was ready to start potty training for a while now. He's interested in the potty chairs, excited about "big boy underwear," and he's met all the other milestones the experts recommend (being able to stay dry for a certain amount of time, being able to undress himself, etc). So after Husband deployed (and Ant seemed to show no reaction to Daddy being gone), I decided it would be a good way to pass the time. And what an awesome "present" for Husband to come home to - one kid out of diapers without any work on his part!
We started yesterday. We read all our different books on using the potty, took a tour of the bathroom, including two potty chairs (one on loan to us that looks like a dinosaur!), his potty chart, rewards for going potty, toilet paper, the sink and soap, etc. We were set, and we were both very excited to get this show on the road.
How do you start potty training? The "experts" all say to let the kid run around without pants on. They're more aware of what's going on with their down-theres, then, and less likely to confuse underwear as just another form of diaper (which also means less laundry in the form of soiled underwear every time the kid forgets). I knew going in to this that we'd have some accidents, and they'd likely be on the carpet, so I was prepared. I've had two kids, we have two painfully stupid dogs and a cat; I'm certainly accustomed to messes on the carpet, couches, walls, and so on. I bought a brand new bottle of Resolve Pet Stain Remover just the other day.
The morning started out with me asking Ant every 2 minutes if he had to pee or poop and reminding him to run to the potty if he felt like he needed to go. I can't even begin to tell you how excited I was the first time he jumped up, ran to the bathroom, and happily exclaimed that he'd peed in the potty. I ran in to see for myself, and, sure enough, he had! Pee, right there, in the dinosaur potty. And some next to the dinosaur potty. ... And some on the rugs. But still! Pee in the potty!!
And he kept doing it, too! Pee, in the potty, at least 8 times yesterday.
But pooping was another thing entirely. I had a feeling it was going to be more difficult, but the peeing was just going so well. He was playing by himself with his Little People farm toy when I notice he stopped moving for a second... and was in a tell-tale squatting position... I jumped up to grab him, yelling (in my most helpful, polite-but-urgent, mommy voice), "Ant! Do you need to go to the potty to poop?!" Too late. Poop. On the carpet.
It's okay, not a big deal. It cleaned up easily (easier than the stupid dogs' poop ever is). We talked about how he didn't get a prize (skittles) for that one, because it was on the carpet, and not in the potty, where it's supposed to be. He was sad, but he understood. Just to show me how well he understood, he proceeded to pee in the potty (and get his skittles).
The rest of the day was uneventful (except for one pee incident, on a kitchen chair, because he was too involved with his play-doh to realize he had to pee - in spite of my asking every 2 minutes if he needed to go). More successful pottying, and even some (remarkably small) poops. Gross, I know, but this is the reality of having and raising children, people.
The day ended with a minor battle over how to proceed with nighttime potty training. I made the mistake of telling Ant he could come and get me if he needed to pee, and I'd help him take his diaper off. Being the crafty little kid he is, he realized this was the perfect excuse to stay up late - even if it was just staying up to sit on the potty. I let him sit there for 30 minutes (producing nothing) before I cracked and forced him to go to bed, telling him it was okay if he peed in his diaper.
He woke me up this morning, bright and early, excited to get back to potty training. It should probably be noted that he thinks a "potty train" is an actual train and something that will be his when he can use the potty correctly. He keeps asking for his potty train, which, to anyone who didn't know what he actually meant, would probably sound very progressive - toddler-led potty training: "I want my POTTY TRAIN!!" It isn't progressive; it's actually just greedy.
It would appear that he had peed immediately before waking me up, because his diaper was fully loaded, and he didn't need to pee for the first several hours we were awake, in spite of my incessant asking.
He was sitting on the couch with his blankets and a hammer-and-ball toy thing when my phone rang. Seeing a number that started with a bunch of 0's, I got super excited, because I knew it had to be Husband, calling from somewhere "over there." I hadn't talked to him since he left, so I was very eager to hear his voice and regale him with the events of our last few days, specifically our potty training successes thus far.
About two minutes into the annoyingly-voice-delayed call, Ant suddenly started screaming. I looked up just in time to see him jump up from where he was sitting on the couch, kick his legs and flail his arms about, and throw himself to the other side of the couch, before dropping to the floor, all while screaming like a lunatic. His toys and blankets got caught up in the action, also springing about on the couch, and Sweet D, standing in front of the couch where Ant had just been sitting, began to hit the couch and yell in excitement.
But then I noticed a little something else was involved in the flailing mix. It didn't register at first, because I'd never been witness to anything similar, mostly because I've never spent any remarkable amount of time in monkey houses at the zoo.
Shit. It was shit. I don't feel like I need to apologize for using that word in this scenario, because it's truly the only appropriate word to describe the reality. It was horrible, noxious, filthy, diarrhea shit. And it was all over my couch. Then all over Ant. And all over his blankets and toys. Oh God, no, the table. Stop moving, Ant, STOP MOVING! Now my pillows. And the carpet. JUST STOP, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, STOP MOVING. IT'S SHIT; HE SHIT ON THE COUCH; OH MY GOD. And the rug. No... NO, SWEET D, NO!! ... And Sweet D.
I was frozen for what seemed like minutes, but was probably only a couple seconds. I yelled to Ant, "did you not know you were going to poop?!"
"Nooooooo!" He wailed. Looking at the diarrhea-poop, I'd guess that was probably true.
"GO TO THE BATHROOM AND WAIT FOR ME."
Oh yeah, I'm still on the phone to Husband, who is separated from the shit-living room by his security bubble of half the world and a 3-second phone delay. I started trying to explain to him what was happening when I saw Sweet D going for the kill - inches from a giant pile of shit, she had that crazy look in her eyes that only an eager 10-month old can get when she's about to grab something that she instinctively knows is off-limits.
"WHAT DO I DO?!"
Husband, ever the level-headed rational one suggests, "put Sweet D in the bathroom with Ant and deal with him first, then clean everything else up after he's calmed down."
Good plan. Baby to the bathroom. Oh God, the bathroom is also somehow covered in shit. Is more coming out, or is it just splatters of already-coated flailing limbs? HOW DO I EVEN BEGIN TO GET CONTROL OF THIS?!
Ant, sitting calmly on his dinosaur potty now, stands up and announces, "I peed in the potty! I get a special treat."
I start trying to wipe Ant off with toilet paper and realize it's just not going to cut it. "Let's go to your room and use some wipes. Oh no, what does Sweet D have? IT'S SHIT. SHE HAS SHIT ON HER HANDS. AND SHE'S PAINTING THE FLOOR WITH IT!! AHHHH, CHILDREN!!!"
After frantically cleaning Sweet D's hand, we proceeded to clean Ant up in his room (and getting more shit all over everything in there), and then back to the bathroom to have a family bath. I'll never feel clean again. Ant, in typical Ant fashion, starts throwing a fit. No sympathy, into the tub. Thankfully, Sweet D loves water, so she gladly gets in and gets clean. My kids have some sort of psychic ability with each other - if they're only minorly upset, they will, inevitably, always be minorly upset at the same time. They throw fits at the same time, wake up at night at the same time, get hurt at the same time, need attention at the same time. But if something is TRULY wrong (like shit-splosion all over the house, or accidentally biting their tongue in half), they have an awesome ability to take turns. I'm so thankful for that.
I get the kids cleaned, DIAPERED (both of them), and dressed, then head back out to clean up the shit-covered living room. Meanwhile, the phone system interrupts our call and informs Husband and me that we have 15 more seconds to talk. Great, I'm glad we got a chance to catch up...
I used half a bottle of Resolve on the couch, carpet, and rug, and half a container of disinfecting wipes on the table and toys. Blankets go into the washer, my hands get washed 18 times, and I sit down at my computer to get on Amazon and order a steam vac. I've been wanting one since we bought our house, and it seems now is the perfect time to stop putting it off. Because I'm NOT going to sit on that couch again until it's been semi-professionally cleaned.
In the meantime, I've decided it's not going to hurt anything if Ant doesn't potty train right now. He's not starting school any time soon, and I hate the idea of having to hunt down bathrooms every single time we go shopping or to the park, etc. Maybe another few months in diapers won't be a bad thing, and I'll be thankful to have the stress off of me. If Husband were going to be gone for a real, full-length deployment, I'd have no choice but to do it myself. But as it is, it seems like waiting 3 months and doing it during his Block Leave, so he can help, is a pretty freaking ingenious idea. After all, I've heard some stories about what a nightmare he was to potty train (whereas I potty trained myself at 18 months). It would seem as if there's some 26 year old karma waiting around to catch up with him.