Every once in a blue moon, my wife and I actually feel (for a brief moment) that we are succeeding as parents. It’s a flash, a glimmer, a sliver of optimism on the upward climb of parenting, but it’s something special nonetheless. It’s like when we started potty-training my oldest daughter—oh wait, no, no, it’s not like that at all. That was NOT a shining moment in our family’s history. It lasted just 6 hours, but it felt like 6 years. Tears were shed (not by my daughter), emotions ran hot (again, not my daughter), tempers were lost, and poop was everywhere. As I do with any story that references my child’s feces, I’m going to replace the word “poop” with something less descriptive: let’s call it ‘pinecones’. Let’s go ahead and replace “pee” with ‘legos’ while we’re at it, because there’s plenty of that to go around. To reiterate: Poop = Pinecones and Pee = Legos.
Our daughter tried to be a genius, she really did. At 14-15 months, she started holding her legos in overnight. Her diaper would be dry when waking up and within 15 minutes she’d release the flood of legos into her diaper. When we noticed her doing this, we quickly got her to the potty and BAM! the legos started finding the potty. I thought I was Father-of-the-Year material and Eliza was destined for a Nobel Prize. Apparently potty training doesn’t actually complete after the first time your child uses the potty. Unfortunately, our daughter was/is in daycare and the age room she was in did not allow potty training. We were all excited to take in training pants and rewards but the daycare provider would not allow it. This little potty training success wave ended after just a week or two. THANKS DAYCARE, we could have had a 15 MONTH OLD potty trained. It’s been over a year since this happened, and she still isn’t potty-trained (it’s always easier to blame someone else…).
Fast forward several months until my daughter is graduating rooms at daycare and our second child is on the way. My wife gets this brilliant idea from a friend about this thing called a naked weekend; she asks around and several coworkers also have experience with it. I do some online research and say ‘what the heck’ and we decide to go for it. The naked weekend, for those not in the know, is basically a 3 or 4 day weekend where you start your kid off naked, shove ‘em full of fluids, and rush to the bathroom regularly. There’s a lot more to it than that, but you get the gist. Kid runs around naked, puts legos in the toilet, and everyone celebrates. It’s a fairly well regarded method with quite a few success stories out there.
Since my wife was pregnant and not sleeping well, I decided to take the first shift. On Saturdays, I always wake up with Eliza and let my wife sleep in as long as she can. Eliza slept in until about 5:30 am and the naked weekend had commenced. I sat down with Eliza after stripping her down and explained that there is now no place for the legos and pinecones to go; she has to start using the potty. She nods her head like a champ and I’m feeling pretty good about myself and our prospects. I give her some water and then bust out the juice (she doesn’t normally get juice); she sucked down about 17 liters of fluids in the first 30 minutes and I was ready for the lego fireworks.
Unfortunately, the pinecones came first, and with a vengeance. Eliza pineconed all over the living room floor (hardwood but still) and I stood in amazement. I’ve dealt with plenty of diapers and accidents, but Eliza is now 2 years old. Her pinecones are the size of a grizzly bear’s and that was my first time witnessing her pineconing from a standing position with no diaper. It was like watching one of those gruesome nature videos where a python swallows an antelope whole; it’s disgusting but you can’t look away. The pinecones plastered the floor and her legs and probably my optimism and spirit as well. It was a horrifying foreshadowing for how successful this potty-training stint was going to be.
We’ll return tomorrow with Part 2 of The Naked Weekend: Our Trip to Potty Training Hell.