The Naked Weekend: Our Trip to Potty Training Hell, Part II

If you missed it yesterday, be sure to read the first installment HERE. A quick refresher: at the urging of several other positive reviews of The Naked Weekend, my wife and I decided to let Eliza try this potty training exercise. The Naked Weekend, in a nutshell (please Google for a detailed description), tells parents to take a 3 or 4 day weekend with their child to address PT. You’re supposed to strip them down, explain that there is nothing there to catch their bodily functions, overwhelm them with fluids, sit on the potty every hour, and celebrate like crazy when they succeed. When they have an accident (remember, they’re NAKED), you calmly explain that there’s nothing there to potty into and clean it up. This method has supposedly worked for thousands and thousands of parents…but that legion does not include us, unfortunately. A naked toddler running around hopped up on juice and the exhilaration of a bare bottom? What could go wrong? As a reminder, to somewhat curb the disgusting nature of the story, I refer to pee as legos and poop as pinecones.

It’s 5:30 am and I’m one-on-one with Eliza. Her mom (pregnant) is sleeping in as long as possible and I’ve already got my little girl loaded with fluids and ready for success. She’s immediately thrown me a curveball and dropped a gigantic helping of pinecones all over the living room floor to start the morning. It’s funny how accustomed parents become to dealing with bowel movements, but this first pinecone explosion…overwhelmed my senses, so to speak. I’ve got a full roll of paper towels and Clorox wipes, and I’m shoveling up the wreckage as quickly as possible, all while trying to explain to my naked sweetheart that everything has to go into the potty to prevent the accidents. Spending half an hour elbow-deep in pinecones was a disheartening start to the day, but I was encouraged by little Eliza saying “Yeah, poopy goes in the potty” and nodding like she understood my words completely.

After finally cleaning the first chunky flood, I rushed Eliza to the potty for a trial attempt at corralling some legos into the proper channel. After 20 minutes and no luck, I allow her to leave the potty. Four steps into the hallway and I hear the waterfall of legos spilling across the floor. Sigh. I rush her right back to the potty but the damage is done and her bladder has been emptied. It’s back to the paper towels and a gentle explanation of why the potty is the place for legos. Once again, as I’m on all fours cleaning, Eliza nods her head furiously and promises comprehension on where her next Lego splash will land.

Since she just emptied her reserves, I assume a brief respite in the living room is allowable. I sit on the couch for a quick breather only to hear the dreaded sound of pinecones once again. It’s not often that my toddler poops twice within an hour, but it’s only apropos that it had to happen on Naked Weekend. Pinecones everywhere. Pinecone blast #2 is even worse than the first (who feeds this wombat?). I’m already onto paper towel roll #2 and struggling to maintain my gentle demeanor while discussing her third accident as she nods in approval. After clearing the pinecones, I’m scrubbing with disinfectants when another avalanche of legos drops three feet away where Eliza is standing and smiling.

Do you know how hard it is to clean legos and pinecones with a 2 year old who is fascinated with this phenomenon? She’s grinning wildly with the curiosity only a toddler can manifest, in full squat position at eye level pointing and trying to touch. My sanity is starting to crumble as I’m onto accident #4. I can’t keep up with her body’s pace, as another lego splashdown foils my cleaning attempt at the previous. The ship is going down folks! For the next 2 hours, we hit the potty every 15 minutes to try to generate a success. I know that if I can just get that first ‘win’ recorded, I can celebrate with her and reward her with stickers and snacks. It doesn’t happen. Over those 2 hours (half of which is spent ON THE POTTY), she sneaks in another 4 lego splashes on the living room floor. We’re up to 9 accidents and it’s not even 10 am. We don’t normally give Eliza juice, so she was happy to snarf it down at record pace, resulting in this overabundance of incidents. I could go into more detail, but understand that I’m doing my best to block all memories of that day. Plus…it’s gross.

My pregnant wife awakes from her slumber and mercifully taps me out. I rarely take naps but had no choice but to hand Eliza off to her mother and assume the fetal position in bed while weeping myself to sleep. I gave Eliza a full 2 hours with her mother, in which she impressively lays another four lego puddles in the living room. Despite running her back and forth to the potty 20+ times in six hours, we have failed to catch a single stream into the toilet. I join my wife in the living room and we look at each other exhaustedly while lamenting our failures. It couldn’t get any worse.

It couldn’t get any worse? Famous last words for any parents of young children. After yet another accident or two in between potty sit-downs, my toddler loses some steam and wearily sits down in the living room, which is fairly uncommon for her energetic self. We’re all three slumped in defeat but my wife finally rises to check on Eliza and discovers she’s running a fever. This was actually not the worst news; it meant we could finally quit Naked Weekend! Three and a half days early too! But it also meant that we just endured 15 pinecone and lego spills all over our living room…for nothing.

We take Eliza back to her crib (diapered up now) and lay her down for her nap. We walk away dejected, demoralized, and defeated. It couldn’t get any worse. OH WAIT! There’s that expression again! We hear a familiar gurgling and rush into Eliza’s room 30 minutes into her nap and discover she’s thrown up all over her crib. We were at our breaking point, but somehow seeing Eliza in pain restored our adrenaline just enough to get a crib full of vomit cleared and our crying toddler settled down. I should probably select another word for “vomit” but I’d rather not even describe the cascading nightmare that crib was saturated in.

Our Naked Weekend lasted a whopping 7 hours and you’d be hard-pressed to compress that much failure into such a short time span. I wish I had something encouraging or humorous to share to provide hope for those that might someday do a naked weekend, but I don’t. In fact, writing this is giving me anxiety—those few hours crippled my spirit for days. Oh well, you start life in diapers, you end life in diapers, we might as well just wear diapers in between! We’ll be back tomorrow with some final potty training reflections…this parenting life is never boring, no?

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