This little dude. What a guy. Benjamin brings so much joy to our family; I don’t know how we ever lived without him. I adore him. But I do not adore dirty diapers… or forking over piles of cash for the mountains of diapers! Potty training, my friends… This is a good thing. I never understood why moms always complained so heartily about the big P-T (Potty Training). But this guy…. He felt I needed a dose of empathy, so he decided to show me what was so difficult about this crazy stage of parenthood.
Let me back up. I have four kids, and I successfully potty trained the first two when they were 19 months old and my third when he was 21 months. I tried to train Gideon when he was 19 months like the first two kids, but after an unsuccessful morning I shelved that effort and came back to it two months later with glowing success! “See!” I told myself. “I’m flexible! Look at how laid back I am. I hoped Gideon would be ready to train as early as the first two, but when he wasn’t ready I coolly accepted that and waited for the right time. Good for me.” Ha!
Then comes along Benjamin. Oh what a dear. His pregnancy was the most difficult. The labor was intense (although Joel claimed I looked bored… By my fourth baby I had learned how to breath, but I was SO far from being bored!), and he was my most challenging baby. I literally could not put the child down to play on the floor by himself until he was 8 months old. He didn’t sleep through the night until he was around a year and a half. And oh, the potty training. Oh, the potty training.
I started young just like all the others. After the first day I knew that he would be more challenging than the rest, but I was full of optimism and was determined to have patience! I’m good at this potty training thing, after all. After 3 days we jumped ship. Benjamin knew how to pee in the potty after this initial potty training time. And for the next almost YEAR AND A HALF I have encouraged him to pee in the potty at every single diaper change. Benjamin had knowledge of what to do and the skills with which to do it… But did he do it? Nooo…. I still had a lesson to learn.
Every few months (for that YEAR AND A HALF) new training days were attempted. And abandoned. I tried ice cream. Gifts. Phone calls to relatives. Cheers from siblings. Stickers. Nothing worked. He could pee on command, but actually coming to me when he had to go and keeping the pants dry in the meantime… never happened.
Until two weeks ago… GRAMMY happened!
My wonderful mother agreed to watch the kids so the hubby and I could have a couple of days alone. I adore my children, but occasionally having the opportunity to spend alone time with the guy I’m crazy about is fabulous! While the kids were at Grammy’s house she completed Benjamin’s potty training! The moment I left, she ripped the diaper off that almost 3 year old and that was that! The little guy was more than happy to impress Grammy with his skills!
Ever since then my little boy has been diaperless and virtually accident-free! (We do still put a diaper on him at bedtime, but he’s been mostly waking up dry in the mornings, so that will be fading out soon.)
How awesome is that?! Don’t I have the coolest mom ever? I had no idea she was going to do it. She knew my struggles and that there was nothing more that I could do. Being the amazingly loving and empathetic person that she is, she couldn’t just sit there and watch me struggle. She took the challenge upon herself and lightened my load immensely by an act of selfless love. I appreciate her so much. As far as I’m concerned, Benjamin would be that one kid in college who still wears a diaper if it weren’t for his awesome Grammy.
What I learned through this process: Empathy. Seriously, I always think I’m an empathetic person until my lack of empathy slaps me across the face. Ugh. After relatively easy potty training experiences with my first three kids I didn’t really understand what all the potty training hullabaloo was about. Now I do. Some kids potty train easily; others do not. I will not judge. And I will carry this new-found empathy to other areas of life as well. I refuse to walk away from learning experiences unchanged. By the grace of God, this struggle will help me be more helpful and loving to others. And for that I am thankful that Benjamin did not potty train easily.